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Temporary guidance for construction in the City of Boston

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Public Works

On March 16, the City of Boston announced that it would temporarily pause some non-essential construction in the City of Boston. This is done to stem the current public health crisis and support the health of workers in the City.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, March 25, Mayor Walsh announced he is affirmatively extending the City of Boston's order to pause non-essential construction for City of Boston permitted sites. Read the press release.


The City will still allow work that is essential to the safety and well-being of our residents at this time - particularly work related to this public health crisis.

That essential work includes:

  • Emergency utility, road or building work, such as gas leaks, water leaks and sinkholes;
  • New utility connections to occupied buildings;
  • Mandated building or utility work;
  • Work at public health facilities, healthcare facilities, shelters, including temporary shelters and other facilities that support vulnerable populations;
  • Emergency work necessary to render occupied residential buildings safe and healthy;
  • Work immediately necessary related to life safety systems;
  • Work which ensures the reliability of the transportation network;
  • Small residential construction projects in dwellings of 3 units or less (e.g. kitchen or bathroom remodeling); and
  • Other work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully habitable.

In addition to the list of essential construction projects, the City will, on a case-by-case basis, review requests for exemptions to the temporary construction moratorium.  These may be granted by the Commissioner of Inspectional Services (ISDCommissioner@boston.gov) for building-related work or the Commissioner of Public Works for street-related work. These will be granted if they support increased public health and safety and precautions are taken to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 among workers.  

This policy is effective as of March 17 and will be reviewed at regular intervals.  New projects cannot be started at this time, unless they meet the criteria for essential work outlined above.  Any currently permitted and active construction project must be in a secure situation by Monday, March 23. This policy only applies to projects permitted by the City of Boston.

Download temporary guidance