What You Need to Know about Boston Construction Guidelines

It’s not enough anymore to know how to estimate the materials needed for a job, or how to actually construct the building. Contractors today are required to have specialized knowledge of a far-reaching roster of effects, and to be able to control the impact of their activities in ways that do not cause noise, dust, traffic problems, or impact air and water quality, cause erosion, create eyesores, or allow pests to flourish.

Construction site managers and project supervisors are also charged with conformance to local, state and national regulations governing health and safety — not only on behalf of their employees and subcontractors, but for the general public as well. Finally, work is frequently inspected by code compliance officers; and various governmental jurisdictions have varying requirements.

It Gets Confusing! But it’s all in a day’s work for anyone involved in construction in the Greater Boston area.

How to Deal with Stringent Requirements

Luckily, no one managing a construction project in downtown Boston is required to memorize all the rules. What is required is a working knowledge of the areas that are governed by local ordinances and regulations, and the ways to obtain specific information and direction when necessary.

At the time you apply for planning and zoning review, or later when it’s time to submit the application for a building permit, it’s wise to visit the Environmental Services Department, and maybe even check in with other city departments, including health, animal control, and any others that are pertinent to your project.

It’s always better to know in advance if the rules have changed, and how existing regulations will actually affect your project.

For instance, there are guidelines that address unnecessary idling of vehicles and machinery at major construction sites, both to control noise and emissions. There are corresponding regulations governing public safety and traffic control. Although requirements vary, and there is some dispute about the practice, police officers are commonly used for flagging and traffic control on major construction sites.

So, chances are that on the day you schedule a large concrete pour, you will have to take into account delay and idling time of the cement mixers, and coordinate the timing carefully. You must always be aware of potential traffic problems created by arrival and departure of large construction equipment.

In addition, Environmental Guidelines suggest ways to minimize the disruption caused by the daily arrival of construction crews on site, including a written policy encouraging “providing secure, on-site storage so that workers do not have to transport tools and equipment each day.”

It’s Not Easy Being a Boston Builder

If those words are your lament, we at New England Building Supply sympathize.

We know that you have multiple resources available to do your job in top-notch fashion. The Boston University Construction/Renovation Safety Program document is a valuable resource for contractors; other forms similarly outline their specific requirements and provide extensive direction for contractors and building officials, in addition to the local, state and federal guidelines.

The bottom line, however, is that we all know how important an undertaking it is to construct a building, whether its a single family home, a fast-food restaurant or a high rise. We all benefit from the current healthy business climate that has caused our robust building boom. We are all winners in Boston. As the only building supply firm and lumberyard in downtown Boston to serve the needs of professional contractors as well as local residents, we are committed to making your job as easy as possible every day in every way.

We hope you’ll call on us with any of your materials questions, just as you call on other experts to help you with the specific rules and regulations that govern your daily efforts to build in this city.