[Tools & Resources]

MA Sprinkler Requirements: What We Know

A recent notice from The Board of Building Regulations and Standards regarding a clarification on automatic fire sprinkler systems for facilities with five or fewer persons receiving custodial care has caused some confusion. To help clear some of that up, here is our understanding:

  • The notice clarifies that an automatic fire sprinkler system is not required by building code for community residences with five or fewer people.
  • The notice created a step that was previously not required: a variance from the State Office of Public Safety and Inspections is now required before the Town Building Official will issue a building permit.
  • The variance requires first a denial letter from the Building Official because the house will not have fire sprinklers. Then, the denial letter, the variance application, and a copy of the service providers license, must be submitted to Daniel P. Walsh, Assistant Chief of Inspections – Building and Engineering, to receive the variance (and thus, a building permit).  
  • The variance does not require a full hearing; however, it does require requisite sign-offs as part of the internal review at the Office of Public Safety & Inspections.

At CIL, we are working to understand how the Office of Public Safety & Inspections processes the variance applications, especially with regard to timeline, as well as if they will further revise the variance process. We will update this post as we learn more. Read the full notice here.