Building Division

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The Building Division is responsible for ensuring public safety, health, and welfare insofar as they are affected by building construction. We enforce the Massachusetts State Building Code 780 CMR, the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board Regulations 521 CMR and any other applicable rules, regulations and laws related to building construction and safety. 

Permits Issued

Building permits are issued through our office for all residential and commercial buildings and structures within the Town of Canton to:

  • Alter
  • Change occupancy
  • Construct
  • Demolish
  • Reconstruct
  • Relocate
  • Repair

We also issue permits for the following:

  • Accessory sheds
  • Fences
  • Signs
  • Solid fuel burning stoves
  • Swimming pools
  • Temporary structures
    • Tents
    • Trailers

Does Not Require a Permit

The following is a very short list of activities that do not require a building permit under the Massachusetts State Building Code 780 CMR:

  • 1-story detached accessory structure in which the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet
  • Fences 6 feet in height or less
  • Retaining walls that are not a threat to the public safety, health or welfare and which retain less than 4 feet of unbalanced fill
  • Greenhouses covered exclusively with plastic film
    • This exemption does not apply if the greenhouse is used for any other use or uses other than what is normally expected for this purpose
  • Ordinary repairs which do not effect the following:
    • Egress
    • Electrical systems
    • Energy provisions
    • Fire protection
    • Fire rating
    • Gas systems
    • Plumbing
    • Sanitary
    • Structure

If you are uncertain as to whether or not you need a building permit please call our office.


The Building Division is responsible for performing site, rough, insulation and final inspections on all building permits issued by this office. For new construction and additions we would also perform additional inspections to evaluate soil conditions, footings, and foundation walls. These inspections are necessary to ensure that the work performed complies with the standards set forth in the Massachusetts State Building Code 780 CMR

We are also responsible for performing annual inspections for the following:

  • Churches
  • Day-cares
  • Function halls
  • Places of assembly to ensure that life safety items are being maintained safely and properly such as:
    • Emergency lights
    • Exit doors
    • Exit signs
    • Occupancy capacity
  • Restaurants
  • Schools

Build & Remodel

When building a new home or remodeling you will want to review the Building Procedure for Residential Alterations or Additions or Building Procedure for New Residential Homes. These two documents describe some of the items that you will need when applying for a permit.