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Did You Know New Massachusetts Building Codes Are In Effect? Now You Do.

You may or may not be aware that on January 1, 2018, the ninth edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR) went into effect including significant changes to several key categories. This new edition is based on 2015 International Building Code (IBC), the 2015 International Existing Building Code (IEBC), and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) including amendments or modifications as published by the International Code Council (ICC).

How may these changes affect your project?

It is important to know the details of these changes because they may impact your project depending upon when the building permit application was submitted.

  • In order to maintain the eighth edition code standards, building permit applications were required to be filed on or before December 31, 2017.
  • Building permit applications received on or after January 1, 2018, will need to comply with the new ninth edition code standards. For example, applicants submitting construction documents based on the eighth edition will need to either revise the documents to include the ninth edition standards or seek relief through the Building Code of Appeals (BCAB).

Code changes can significantly slow down the progress of your project if you are not prepared. We highly recommend that each year you help your team stay abreast of changes by attending training sessions and workshops. Businesses such as the AKF Group and R. W. Sullivan Engineering, provide great continuous training on these matters. Windover’s team stayed proactive in 2017 knowing these changes were coming and as a result, have been able to take the necessary measures with our clients and design partners to ensure our projects are not impacted by these changes.

Which chapters and sections have been impacted?

Following is a brief summary highlighting the major changes in several of the chapters and sections according to the new ninth edition code of 780 CMR.

  • Building and Planning
    • Chapter 3: Use and Occupancy Classification, in particular new occupancy classifications for Commercial Kitchens, Group I-1 Occupancies (Section 308.3), and Group I-2 Occupancies (Section 308.4)
    • Chapter 4: Special Use and Occupancy, in particular Fire Service Access Elevators (FSAE) (Section 403.6.1), and Open Parking Garages (Section 406.5); and Healthcare, in particular Corridors (Section 407.2 & 407.4.3), Care Suites (Section 407.4.4), and Smoke Compartments (Section 407.5), Incidental Uses (Section 509), Mechanical Ventilation (Section 1203), and other additional requirements
    • Chapter 5: Height and Area, in particular Mezzanines (Section 505), and Podium Building (Section 510)
  • Fire Protection
    • Chapter 7: Fire and Smoke Protection Features, in particular Horizontal Ducts, and Smoke Barrier Penetration
    • Chapter 9: Fire Protection Systems, in particular Group A assembly occupancies on roofs (Section 903.2.1.6), Group A (Section 907.2.1.1), and Group E (Section 907.2.3 & 915), Group R-2 College and University Buildings (Section 907.2.9.3), and Insufficient Water Supply in Existing Buildings (IBEC 804.2.2)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Chapter 10: Means of Egress, in particular Occupant Load Factors (Section 1004.1.2), Unenclosed Stairs (Section 1019.3), Travel Distance (Section 1017.2.2)
    • Chapter 13: Energy Code Commissioning
    • Chapter 17: Special Inspections
    • Chapter 30: Elevators
    • Chapter 35: Reference Standards, includes multiple NFPA Standards
  • 527 CMR (NFPA 1) Adoption Changes
    • Chapter 7: Level 1 Alterations, in particular to Window Replacements (Section 702.4 & 702.5), and Reroofing (Section 706)
    • Chapter 8: Level 2 Alterations, in particular to Sprinkler Systems (Section 804.2.2) and Residential Ventilation

Further Reading and Resources

For more information on the new code changes in the ninth edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR), here is a listing of resources to reference:

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