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Building permit plans

Identifier: 5410.004

Scope and Contents

The Building permit plans series includes building plans that were submitted to the Inspectional Services Department (formerly the Building Department) for approval by the Building Inspector. Building plans and plot plans are required to be submitted with the long-form permit application which is used for new construction and updates to existing buildings. The Building Inspector reviews the plans prior to the issuance of the building permit. This series includes plans submitted in paper format which date from circa 1883-1970 (bulk, 1902-1970) and plans that were filmed and stored on microfilm aperture cards which date from circa 1970-1995.


  • Creation: circa 1883-1995
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1902-1995


Historical note

The Building Department was established by Chapter 280 of the Acts of 1871 “An Act to Provide for the Regulation and Inspection of Buildings, the more effectual Prevention of Fire and the Better Protection of Life and Property in the City of Boston.” This act was superseded by Chapter 419 of the Acts of 1892. This act, although amended from time to time, remained in effect until August 1, 1907, when it was superseded by Chapter 550 of the Acts of 1907, which remained as the Building Law of the City of Boston until 1943. Chapter 479 of the Acts of 1938 as amended, “An Act for the Codification, Revision and Amendment of the Laws Relative to the Construction, Alterations and Maintenance of Buildings and other Structures in the City of Boston” was passed by the Legislature on June 27, 1938, with the provision that it take effect upon its acceptance by the Boston City Council, whereupon the Council proceeded to hold a series of public hearings on proposed amendments submitted by architects, builders, property owners and various civic organizations. As a result of these hearings, numerous amendments to the act were accepted by the City Council. The Act was approved by the Council in 1943. Since 1943, the code underwent several minor and a number of major amendments or revisions. On January 1, 1975, the Massachusetts State Building Code, Chapter 802 of the Acts of 1972, as amended, went into effect in the City of Boston and superseded all previous codes. The Building Department and the Housing Inspection Department were abolished and all powers and duties transferred to the Inspectional Services Department by Chapter 19 of the Ordinances of 1981.


8000 Cubic feet (7 file cabinets and 1334 bins)

Language of Materials


Language of description
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Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
617-635-1194 (Fax)