About the On-Line Permit Center
The on-line permit center allows homeowners and licensed contractors to apply for and receive building permits over the internet. You can also track the status of your permit application and request inspections.
Why am I required to get an account before using the system?
All users of the system must obtain an account with a user name and password which will allow the system to store your applications and other important pieces of information.
Can I use the system to do research on permit applications in my city or other cities?
Yes, the system has a reports function which will allow you to look up information about permit applications and approvals in all participating cities. Because the system is new, the amount of data available at this time may be limited.
How secure is my information?
Usernames, passwords, and all financial information related to payments are encrypted using secure servers and Advanced Encryption Standards (AES). ViewPermit uses SSL certificate (HTTPS) and Rijndael Symmetric Encryption algorithms and no credit card or financial information of any kind is ever retained by the software.
The contents of applications and permits, as well as correspondence related to permits are, however, generally considered public information under the Freedom of Information Act and may be provided to other citizens upon their request. Some information related to permitting activity will be available over the internet through the reports function of this system.
When is a permit required?
A permit must be obtained before beginning construction, alteration or repairs, other than ordinary repairs. (Ordinary repairs are nonstructural repairs and do not include addition to, alteration of, or replacement or relocation of water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electrical wiring, or mechanical or other work for which a permit is required by the building official). Work requiring permits includes swimming pools over 24 inches in depth, decks, window replacements, installation of a wood or pellet stove, and installation of a pre-fabricated shed on your property.
What are the fees associated with getting a permit?
Each jurisdiction has a slightly different fee schedule, in most cases based on the value of the work being done. The fee will be automatically calculated by the system.
Does it cost extra to apply on-line?
If you pay on-line through the system, the payment partner (PayPal) does charge a fee of up to 3%, which under many cities' statutes must be passed on directly to the permit applicant. The fee is calculated automatically and you will have the opportunity to review it before approving your payment.
If you wish to avoid this payment you may mail in your application or pay in person, however, users should consider the cost of stamps or the time and fuel required.
Who may apply for a permit?
A permit may be applied for by a homeowner or the homeowner’s authorized representative. An authorized representative must have authorization in writing to apply for a permit on the homeowner’s behalf.
Who can do the work?
A homeowner can do his or her own work, if he or she occupies the home and does not rent out any part of it. The homeowner is still required to get a permit. Contractors will also have the ability to log into the system and apply for permits by setting a username and password just as a city resident would do.
How long will it take for me to get a permit?
Express Permits, which do not require plan review, will be issued instantly unless there are conditions that require review by an official (such as a property in a historic district). Examples of Express Permits may include roofing, window replacement, electrical upgrades, and water heater installation. Most other permits are required by law to be approved or denied within 30 days but the specific time for your permit t o be issued will depend on a variety of factors. The new on-line permit system is part of a regional effort to make the approval process as quick and transparent as possible in the hopes that the permit application process time-frame be reduced drastically.
Why should I get a permit?
There are many important reasons to obtain the required building permit(s) and to obtain the required inspections for your construction project.
Helps protect property value - Your home or business is an investment. If your construction project does not comply with the codes adopted by your community, the value of your investment could be reduced.
Saves Money - Property insurers may not cover work or damages caused by work done without permits and inspections.
Makes Selling Property Easier - When property is sold through a multiple listing association, the owner is required to disclose any improvements or repairs made and if permits and inspections were obtained. Many financial institutions will not finance a purchase without proof of a final inspection. If you decide to sell a home or building that has had modifications without a permit, you may be required to tear down the addition, leave it unoccupied or do costly repairs.
Improves safety – The permit review and inspections process is designed to ensure that all construction is safe, to reduce potential hazards of unsafe construction to provide for public health, safety and welfare. By following code guidelines, your completed project will meet minimum standards of safety and will be less likely to cause injury to you, your family, and your friends or future owners. Mandatory inspections complement the contractor’s experience and act as a system of checks and balances resulting in a safer project.
It’s the Law - Work without a permit may be subject to removal or other costly remedies.
How do I submit plans or other documents as part of my permit application?
The system allows you to attach documents, photos, and plans before you submit them. If you prefer, you can drop off your plans at 25 Meade Street Worcester, MA 01610. If you do so, make sure you reference the permit tracking number that you are given at the time of application.
Is my electronic signature equivalent to a real signature?
The law. An “electronic signature” is defined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 110G, § 2 as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” Pursuant to c.110G, § 9, an “electronic signature is attributable to a person if it was the act of the person. The act of the person may be shown in any manner, including a showing of the efficacy of any security procedure applied to determine the person to which the electronic record or electronic signature was attributable.”