City of North Adams, MA
Berkshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[1]
For law of the Commonwealth as to State Building Code, see MGL c. 143. As to numbering of buildings, see § 21-2. As to moving buildings through streets, see § 21-9. For provisions concerning zoning regulations, see the Appendix.

Sec. 3-1 Short title and purpose.

Sec. 3-2 Construction of chapter.

Sec. 3-3 Applicability of chapter.

Sec. 3-4 Compliance with chapter required.

Sec. 3-5 Determination of requirements not specifically covered by chapter.

Sec. 3-6 Ordinary repairs.

Sec. 3-7 Certificate of approval prerequisite to use of installed, altered, repaired, etc., service equipment.

Sec. 3-8 Safe and sanitary maintenance of buildings.

Sec. 3-9 Continuation of use and occupancy of existing buildings.

Sec. 3-10 Change in use or occupancy of buildings.

Sec. 3-11 Alteration or repair of existing buildings.

Sec. 3-12 Powers and duties of building inspector generally.

Sec. 3-13 Modifications or variances from provisions of chapter.

Sec. 3-14 Inspection of buildings, materials, etc.; inspection reports.

Sec. 3-15 Right of entry by building inspector in performance of duties; badge; cooperation from other municipal officials.

Sec. 3-16 Building permit—Required; exceptions.

Sec. 3-17 Same—Application generally.

Sec. 3-18 Same—Approval or rejection of application; previous approval; issuance.

Sec. 3-19 Same—Approval for part of structure.

Sec. 3-20 Same—Endorsement of plans; display of plans at building site.

Sec. 3-21 Same—Signing by building inspector or authorized subordinate.

Sec. 3-22 Same—Posting at building site.

Sec. 3-23 Same—Notice of commencement of work under permit.

Sec. 3-24 Same—Expiration.

Sec. 3-25 Same—Conditions.

Sec. 3-26 Same—Revocation.

Sec. 3-27 Demolition and removal of buildings.

Sec. 3-28 Certificates of use and occupancy generally.

Sec. 3-29 Posting of buildings as to use and occupancy; removal, etc., of signs prohibited; inspection of signs.

Sec. 3-30 Unsafe buildings — Defined; notice; restoration or demolition.

Sec. 3-31 Same—Emergency measures.

Sec. 3-32 Board of appeals—Authority generally.

Sec. 3-33 Same—Time for perfecting appeal.

Sec. 3-34 Same—Notice and hearing; action by board.

Sec. 3-35 Controlled materials procedure.

Sec. 3-36 Fire limits.

Sec. 3-37 Classification of buildings—Generally.

Sec. 3-38 Same—Manner of determining classification.

Sec. 3-39 Construction of buildings—District A.

Sec. 3-40 Same—District B.

Sec. 3-41 Same—District C.

Sec. 3-42 Adoptions of Massachusetts State Building Code and Energy Code.

Sec. 3-43 Violation of chapter—Penalty.

Sec. 3-44 Same—Continuation of unlawful occupancy or use a violation.

Sec. 3-45 Same—Abatement-Notice from Building Inspector.

Sec. 3-46 Same—Same—Prosecution upon noncompliance with notice.

Sec. 3-47 Same—Same—Action by city.

Sec. 3-48 Same—Stop-work order.

Sec. 3-49 Registration of vacant or foreclosed residential properties.

Sec. 3-49.1 Definitions.

Sec. 3-49.2 Registration of ownership.

Sec. 3-49.3 Registration fee.

Sec. 3-49.4 Enforcement penalties.

Sec. 3-49.5 Severability.

Sec. 3-49.6 Implementation.

Sec. 3-49.7 Notice.

Sec. 3-1 Short title and purpose.

[3-23-65, § 3.1]
These regulations shall be known as the "Building Code of The City of North Adams, hereinafter referred to as the "Basic Code." They shall control all matters concerning the construction, alteration, addition, repair, removal, demolition, use, location, occupancy and maintenance of all buildings and structures and their service equipment as herein defined and shall apply to existing or proposed buildings and structures in the City except as such matters are otherwise provided for in other ordinances or statutes.

Sec. 3-2 Construction of chapter.

[3-23-65, § 3.2]
The Basic Code shall be construed to secure its expressed intent and insure public safety health and welfare insofar as they are affected by building construction through structural strength, adequate, egress facilities, sanitary equipment, light and ventilation and fire safety and in general, to secure safety to life and property from all hazards incident to the design, erection, repair, removal, demolition or use and occupancy of buildings, structures or premises.

Sec. 3-3 Applicability of chapter.

[3-23-65, § 3.3]
The provisions of the Basic Code shall apply to all buildings and structures and their appurtenant constructions, including vaults, area and street projections and accessory additions, and shall apply with equal force to municipal, county, state and private buildings except where such buildings are otherwise specifically provided for by statute.

Sec. 3-4 Compliance with chapter required.

[3-23-65, § 3.32]
No building or structure shall be constructed, extended, repaired, removed or altered in violation of these provisions except for ordinary repairs as defined in section 3-6 and except, further, that the raising or lowering or moving of a building or structure as a unit necessitated by a change in legal grade or widening of a street shall be permitted; provided, that the building is not otherwise altered or its use or occupancy changed.

Sec. 3-5 Determination of requirements not specifically covered by chapter.

[3-23-65, § 3.3.2]
Any requirement essential for structural, fire or sanitary safety of an existing or proposed building or structure or essential for the safety of the occupants thereof and which is not specifically covered by the Basic Code shall be determined by the building inspector consistent with existing law.

Sec. 3-6 Ordinary repairs.

[3-23-65, § 3.3.3]
Ordinary repairs to buildings may be made without application or notice to the building inspector, but such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or bearing support or the removal or change of any required means of egress or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the exit requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.

Sec. 3-7 Certificate of approval prerequisite to use of installed, altered, repaired, etc., service equipment.

[3-23-65, § 3.5]
When the installation, extension, alteration or repair of an elevator, moving stairway, mechanical equipment, refrigerating, air conditioning or ventilating apparatus, plumbing, gas piping, electric wiring, heating system or any other equipment is specifically controlled by the provisions of the Basic Code or applicable regulations or laws, it shall be unlawful to use such equipment until a certificate of approval has been issued therefor by the building inspector or other governmental agency having jurisdiction.

Sec. 3-8 Safe and sanitary maintenance of buildings.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.6, 3.6.1]
All building and structures and all parts thereof, both existing and new, shall be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition. All service equipment, means of egress, devices and safeguards which are required by the Basic Code in a building or which were required by a previous statute in a building when erected, altered or repaired shall be maintained in good working order.
The owner or his designated agent shall be responsible for the safe and sanitary maintenance of the building or structure and its exit facilities at all times.

Sec. 3-9 Continuation of use and occupancy of existing buildings.

[3-23-65, § 3.7]
The legal use and occupancy of any structure existing on April 1, 1965, or for which it had been heretofore approved may be continued without change except as may be specifically covered in the Basic Code or as may be deemed necessary by the building inspector for the general safety and welfare of the occupants and the public.

Sec. 3-10 Change in use or occupancy of buildings.

[3-23-65, § 3.7.1]
It shall be unlawful to make any change in the use or occupancy of any structure which would subject it to any special provision of the Basic Code without approval of the building inspector and his certification that such structure meets the intent of the provisions of law governing building construction for the proposed new use and occupancy and that such change does not result in any greater hazard to public safety or welfare.

Sec. 3-11 Alteration or repair of existing buildings.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.8 to 3.8.7]
Except as provided in this section, existing buildings when altered or repaired as herein specified shall be made to conform to the full requirements of the Basic Code for new buildings:
(a) 
Alterations exceeding 50%. If alterations or repairs are made within any period of 12 months, costing in excess of 50% of the physical value of the building.
[3-23-65, §§ 3.8 to 3.8.7]
(b) 
Damages exceeding 50%. If the building is damaged by fire or any other cause to an extent in excess of 50% of the physical value of the building before the damage was incurred.
(c) 
Alterations under 50%. If the cost of alterations or repairs described herein is between 25 and 50% of the physical value of the building, the building inspector shall determine to what degree the portions so altered or repaired shall be made to conform to the requirements for new buildings.
(d) 
Alterations under 25%. If the cost of alterations or repairs described herein is 25% or less of the physical value of the building, the building inspector shall permit the restoration of the building to its condition previous to damage or deterioration with the same kind of materials as those of which the building was constructed; provided, that such construction does not endanger the general safety and public welfare and complies with the provisions of section 109.2 of the Third Edition, 1960, BOCA Abridged Building Code as amended, in respect to existing roofs.
(e) 
Increase in size. If the building is increased in floor area or number of stories, the entire building shall be made to conform with the requirements of the Basic Code in respect to means of egress, fire safety, light and ventilation.
(f) 
Partial change in use or occupancy. If a portion of the building is changed in occupancy or to a new use group and that portion is separated from the remainder of the building with the required vertical and horizontal fire divisions complying with the fire grading in Appendix E1 of the Third Edition, 1960, BOCA Abridged Building Code, as amended, then the construction involved in the change shall be made to conform to the requirements for the new use and occupancy, and the existing portion shall be made to comply with the exit requirements of the Basic Code.
In applying the provisions of this section, the physical value of the building shall be determined by the building inspector based on current replacement costs.

Sec. 3-12 Powers and duties of building inspector generally.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.9, 3.9.5]
The building inspector shall enforce all the provisions of the Basic Code and shall act on any question relative to the mode or manner of construction and the materials to be used in the erection, addition to, alteration, repair, removal, demolition, installation of service equipment and the location, use, occupancy and maintenance of all buildings and structures except as may otherwise be specifically provided for by statutory requirements or as herein provided:
(a) 
Applications and permits. He shall receive applications and issue permits for the erection and alteration of buildings and structures and examine the premises for which such permits have been issued and enforce compliance with the Basic Code provisions.
(b) 
Building notices and orders. He shall issue all necessary notices or orders to remove illegal or unsafe conditions, to require the necessary safeguards during construction, to require adequate exit facilities in existing buildings and structures and to insure compliance with all the code requirements for the safety, health and general welfare of the public.
(c) 
Inspections. He shall make all the required inspections, or he may accept reports of inspection of authoritative and recognized services or individuals; and all reports of such inspections shall be in writing and certified by a responsible officer of such authoritative service or by the responsible individual; or he may engage such expert opinion as he may deem necessary to report upon unusual technical issues that may arise, subject to the approval of the appointing authority.
(d) 
Research and investigations. He shall make or cause to be made investigations of new developments in the building industry. Subject to local climatic or other conditions, he shall accredit tests meeting the functional requirements of the Basic Code conducted by accredited authoritative agencies listed in Appendix A of the Third Edition, 1960, BOCA Abridged Building Code, as amended, or he may accept duty authenticated reports from the Building Inspectors Conference of America or from recognized authoritative sources of all new materials and methods of construction proposed for use which are not specifically provided for in the Basic Code. The costs of all tests or other investigations required under these provisions shall be paid by the applicant.
(e) 
New materials. He shall establish the conditions for use of new materials consistent with the provisions of the Basic Code and with minimum requirements based on accepted engineering practice.

Sec. 3-13 Modifications or variances from provisions of chapter.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.10, 3.10.1]
When there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out structural or mechanical provisions of the Basic Code, the building inspector may vary or modify such provision upon application of the owner or his representative; provided, that the spirit and intent of the law shall be observed and public welfare and safety be assured. The application for modification and the final decision of the building inspector shall be in writing and shall be officially recorded with the application for the permit in the permanent records of the department of building inspection.

Sec. 3-14 Inspection of buildings, materials, etc.; inspection reports.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.11 to 3.11.4]
(a) 
Preliminary inspection. Before issuing a permit, the building inspector shall examine or cause to be examined all buildings, structures and sites for which an application has been filed for a permit to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, demolish or change the use thereof, and he shall conduct such inspections from time to time during and upon completion of the work for which he has issued a permit; he shall maintain a record of all such examinations and inspections and of all violations of the Basic Code.
(b) 
Accredited inspection services. He may accept reports of his own inspectors or of approved inspection services which satisfy his requirements as to qualifications and reliability.
(c) 
Plant inspection. When required by the provisions of the Basic Code, materials or assemblies shall be inspected at the point of manufacture or fabrication.
(d) 
Inspection reports. All inspection reports shall be in writing and shall be certified by the licensed authority or responsible officer of the service or the individual when expert inspection services are accepted. A label or mark of approval permanently fixed to the product indicating that factory inspection has been made shall be accepted in lieu of the aforesaid report in writing.
(e) 
Final inspection. Upon completion of the building or structure and before issuance of the certificate of use and occupancy required in section 3-28, a final inspection shall be made, and all violations of the approved plans and permit shall be noted, and the holder of the permit shall be notified of the discrepancies.

Sec. 3-15 Right of entry by building inspector in performance of duties; badge; cooperation from other municipal officials.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.12 to 3.12.2]
Right of entry. In the discharge of his duties, the building inspector or his authorized representative shall have the authority to enter at any reasonable hour any building, structure or premises in the municipality to enforce the provisions of the Basic Code.
Official badge. He may adopt a badge of office for himself and assistants, which shall be displayed for the purpose of identification.
Municipal cooperation. The assistance and cooperation of the police, fire, and health departments and all other municipal officials shall be available to him as required in the performance of his duties.

Sec. 3-16 Building permit—Required; exceptions.

[3-23-65, § 3.13]
It shall be unlawful to construct, enlarge, alter, remove or demolish or change the occupancy of a building from one use group to another requiring greater strength, exit or sanitary provisions or to change to a prohibited use or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by the Basic Code without first filing an application with the building inspector in writing and obtaining the required permit therefor; except that ordinary repairs as defined in section 3-6 which do not involve any violation of the Basic Code shall be exempt from this provision.

Sec. 3-17 Same—Application generally.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.13.1 to 3.13.8]
(a) 
Form. The application for a permit shall be submitted in such form as the building inspector may prescribe.
(b) 
By whom made. Application for a permit shall be made by the owner or lessee of the building or structure or agent of either or by the licensed engineer or architect employed in connection with the proposed work. If the application is made by a person other than the owner in fee, it shall be accompanied by a duly verified affidavit of the owner or the qualified person making the application that the proposed work is authorized by the owner in fee and that the applicant is authorized to make such application. The full names and addresses of the owner, lessee, applicant and of the responsible officers, if the owner or lessee is a corporate body, shall be stated in the application.
(c) 
Description of work. The application shall contain a general description of the proposed work, its location, the use and occupancy of all parts of the building or structure and of all portions of the site or lot not covered by the building and such additional information as may be required by the building inspector.
(d) 
Plans and specifications. The application for the permit shall be accompanied by not less than two copies of specifications and of plans drawn to scale with sufficient clarity and detail dimensions to show the nature and character of the work to be performed. When quality of materials is essential for conformity to the Basic Code, specific information shall be given to establish such quality; and in no case shall the code be cited or the term "legal" or its equivalent be used as a substitute for specific information. The building inspector may waive the requirement for filing plans when the work involved is of a minor nature.
(e) 
Plot diagram. There shall also be filed a plot plan showing to scale the size and location of all the new construction and all existing structures on the site, distances from lot lines and the established street grades; and it shall be drawn in accordance with an accurate boundary line survey. In the case of demolition, the plot plan shall show all construction to be demolished and the location and size of all existing buildings and construction that are to remain on the site or plot.
(f) 
Engineering details. The building inspector may require adequate details of structural, mechanical and electrical work including computations, stress diagrams and other essential technical data to be filed. All engineering plans and computations shall bear the signature of the engineer or architect responsible for the design.
(g) 
Amendments. Amendments to a plan, application or other records accompanying the same may be filed at any time before completion of the work for which the permit is sought or issued; and such amendments shall be deemed part of the original application and shall be filed therewith.
(h) 
Time limitation of application. An application for a permit for any proposed work shall be deemed to have been abandoned six months after date of filing unless such application has been diligently prosecuted or a permit shall have been issued; except that for reasonable cause, the building inspector may grant one or more extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding 90 days each.

Sec. 3-18 Same—Approval or rejection of application; previous approval; issuance.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.14 to 3.14.2]
The building inspector shall examine or cause to be examined all applications for permits and amendments thereto within a reasonable time after filing. If the application or the plans do not conform to the requirements of all pertinent laws, he shall reject such application in writing stating the reasons therefor. If he is satisfied that the proposed work conforms to the requirements of the Basic Code and all laws and ordinances applicable thereto, he shall issue a permit therefor as soon as practicable.
Nothing in the Basic Code shall require changes in the plans, construction or designated use of a building for which a lawful permit has been heretofore issued or otherwise lawfully authorized and the construction of which shall have been actively prosecuted within 90 days after the effective date of this chapter; and the entire building shall be completed as authorized within two years after the date of approval of the application.

Sec. 3-19 Same—Approval for part of structure.

[3-23-65, § 3.14.6]
The building inspector may issue a permit for the construction of foundations or any other part of a building or structure before the entire plans and specifications for the whole building have been submitted; provided, adequate information and detailed statements have been filed complying with all the pertinent requirements of the Basic Code. The holder of such permit for the foundations or other part of a building or structure shall proceed at his own risk with the building operation and without assurance that a permit for the entire structure will be granted.

Sec. 3-20 Same—Endorsement of plans; display of plans at building site.

[3-23-65, § 3.14.4]
The building inspector shall stamp or endorse in writing both sets of corrected plans "Approved." One set of such approved plans shall be retained by him, and the other set shall be kept at the building site, open to inspection of the building inspector or his authorized representative at all reasonable times.

Sec. 3-21 Same—Signing by building inspector or authorized subordinate.

[3-23-65, § 3.14.3]
The building inspector shall attach his signature to every permit, or he may authorize a subordinate to affix such signature thereto.

Sec. 3-22 Same—Posting at building site.

[3-23-65, § 3.14.7]
A true copy of the building permit shall be kept on the site of operations open to public inspection during the entire time of prosecution of the work and until the completion of the same.

Sec. 3-23 Same—Notice of commencement of work under permit.

[3-23-65, § 3.14.8]
At least 24 hours' notice of start of work under a building permit shall be given to the building inspector.

Sec. 3-24 Same—Expiration.

[3-23-65, § 3.14.1]
Any permit issued shall become invalid if the authorized work is suspended or abandoned for a period of six months after the time of commencing the work.

Sec. 3-25 Same—Conditions.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.15 to 3.15.3]
(a) 
Compliance with chapter. The permit shall be a license to proceed with the work and shall not be construed as authority to violate, cancel or set aside any of the provisions of the Basic Code except as specifically stipulated by modification or legally granted variation as described in the application.
(b) 
Compliance with application and plans. All work, shall conform to the approved application and plans for which the permit has been issued and any approved amendments thereto.
(c) 
Compliance with plot plan. All new work shall be located strictly in accordance with the approved plot plan.
(d) 
Change in plot plan. No lot or plot shall be changed, increased or diminished in area from that shown on the official plot plan unless a revised diagram showing such changes accompanied by the necessary affidavit of owner or applicant shall have been filed and approved; except that such revised plot plan will not be required if the change is caused by reason of ail official street opening, street widening or other public improvement.

Sec. 3-26 Same—Revocation.

[3-23-65, § 3.14.5]
The building inspector may revoke a permit or approval issued under the provisions of the Basic Code in case of any false statement or misrepresentation of fact in the application or on the plans on which the permit or approval was based.

Sec. 3-27 Demolition and removal of buildings.

[3-23-1965, §§ 3.16 to 3.16.2; Ord. of 4-10-2001]
Before the razing of any building or structure is begun, an application shall be made out on blanks to be furnished by the inspector, containing a statement of the facts in relation thereto and as to ownership and location thereof. The applicant shall be filed with the inspector and a written permit obtained from him. Such permit shall expire by limitation two months from the date of its issue. The inspector shall be given notice immediately before the razing of any building or structure is begun. No permit for razing a building or structure located within 25 feet of a street line shall be issued unless the application for such permit shall have been filed with the City clerk, a bond approved prior to such filing by the City solicitor as to compliance and form and with such approval endorsed by him thereon in the penal sums hereinafter set forth, duly executed by the applicant and by either a surety company qualified to do business in the commonwealth, or by two personal sureties, which sureties shall be approved and acceptable to the inspector, who shall endorse his approval and acceptance of the sureties on the bond, conditioned to indemnify the City against any and all claims (including costs of trial) for personal injuries (including consequential damages and death) or damage to property resulting from the razing of any such building or structure and further conditioned to apply all judgments obtained against the applicant by reason of personal injuries (including consequential damages and death) or damage to property resulting from the razing of any such building or structure. Such bond or one similar in effect and amount must be maintained in force by the obligor until 90 days after the completion of the work.
A liability insurance policy providing at least the same protection to the City and to other persons as hereinbefore set forth, approved by the City Solicitor as to compliance and form and with such approval endorsed by him thereon prior to such filing, may be substituted for such bond at the option of the applicant under the same conditions as to filing and maintaining in force. The penal sum of the bond or the amount of the liability insurance policy shall be in the sum of $1,000,000 on account of injury (including consequential damages and death) on one person; $1,000,000 on account of injury (including consequential damages and death) of more than one person; $50,000 on account of any accident resulting in damage to property.
In razing any building or structure or part thereof, one story at a time shall be removed. Old material shall be lowered to the ground immediately upon displacement, and the material to be removed shall be properly wet to lay the dust incident to its removal.
Before a building can be demolished or removed, the owner or agent shall notify all utilities having service connections within the building such as water, electric, gas, sewer or other connections. A permit to demolish or remove a building shall not be issued until a release is obtained from the utilities, stating that their respective service connections and appurtenant equipment such as meters and regulators have been removed or sealed and plugged in a safe manner.
Whenever a building is demolished or removed, the premises shall be maintained free from all unsafe or hazardous conditions by the proper regulation of the lot, restoration of established grades and the erection of the necessary retaining walls and fences.

Sec. 3-28 Certificates of use and occupancy generally.

[3-23-1965, §§ 3.17 to 3.17.4]
(a) 
New buildings. No building hereafter erected shall be used or occupied in whole or in part until the certificate of use and occupancy shall have been issued by the Building Inspector.
(b) 
Existing buildings. Upon written request from the owner of an existing building, the Building Inspector shall issue a certificate of use and occupancy; provided, there are no violations of law or orders of the Building Inspector pending, and it is established after inspection and investigation that the alleged use of the building has heretofore existed. Nothing in the Basic Code shall require the removal, alteration or abandonment of or prevent the continuance of the use and occupancy of a lawfully existing building unless such use is deemed to endanger public safety and welfare.
(c) 
Changes in use and occupancy. No building hereafter erected or hereafter enlarged, extended or altered to change from one use group to another in whole or in part and no building hereafter altered for which a certificate of use and occupancy has not been heretofore issued shall be occupied or used until the certificate shall have been issued by the Building Inspector, certifying that the work has been completed in accordance with the provisions of the approved permit; except that any, use or occupancy, which was not discontinued during the work of alteration shall be discontinued within 30 days after the completion of the alteration unless the required certificate is secured from the Building Inspector. After a charge of use has been made in a building, the reestablishment of a prior use that would not have been legal in a new building of the same type of construction is prohibited unless all the applicable provisions of the Basic Code are complied with. A change from one prohibited use, for which a permit has been granted, to another prohibited use shall be deemed a violation of the Basic Code.
(d) 
Temporary occupancy. Upon the request of a holder of a permit, the Building Inspector may issue a temporary certificate of occupancy for a building or structure or part thereof before the entire work covered by the permit shall have been completed; provided, such portion or portions may be occupied safely prior to full completion of the building without endangering life or public welfare.

Sec. 3-29 Posting of buildings as to use and occupancy; removal, etc., of signs prohibited; inspection of signs.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.18 to 3.18.3]
Every building and structure and part thereof designed for storage, mercantile, industrial or business use shall be posted on all floors by the owner with a suitably designed placard in a form designated by the Building Inspector, which shall be securely fastened to the structure in a readily visible place, stating: the fire grading, the live load and the occupancy load.
Every building and structure and part thereof designed for use as a place of public assembly or as an institutional building for harboring people for penal, correctional, educational, medical or other care or treatment shall be posted with an approved placard designating the maximum occupancy load.
All posting signs shall be furnished by the owner and shall be of permanent design, shall not be removed or defaced, and if lost, removed or defaced, they shall be immediately replaced.
The Building Inspector may periodically inspect all existing buildings and structures except one-family dwellings for compliance with the law in respect to posting, or he may accept the report of such inspection from an authorized licensed professional engineer or architect, and such inspection and report shall specify any violation of the requirements of the Basic Code in respect to the posting of floor load, fire grading, occupancy load and use group of the building.

Sec. 3-30 Unsafe buildings — Defined; notice; restoration or demolition. [1]

[3-23-65, §§ 3.21 to 3.21.2]
All buildings or structures that are or hereafter shall become unsafe, unsanitary or deficient in adequate exit facilities or which constitute a fire hazard or are otherwise dangerous to human life or the public welfare or which by reason of illegal or improper use, occupancy or maintenance shall be deemed unsafe buildings or structures. All unsafe buildings shall be taken down and removed or, made safe and secure as the Building Inspector may deemed necessary and as provided in this section. A vacant building, unguarded or open at door or window, shall be deemed a fire hazard and unsafe within the meaning of the Basic Code.
If an unsafe condition is found in a building or structure, the Building Inspector shall serve on the owner, agent or person in control of the building or structure a written notice describing the building or structure deemed unsafe specifying the required repairs or improvements to be made to render the building or structure safe and secure or requiring the unsafe building or structure or portion thereof to be, demolished within a stipulated time. Such notice shall require the person thus notified to immediately declare to the Building Inspector his acceptance or rejection of the terms of the order.
A building or structure condemned by the Building Inspector may be restored to safe condition; provided, no change of use or occupancy is contemplated or compelled by reason of such reconstruction or restoration; except that if the damage or cost of such reconstruction or restoration is in excess of 50% of its replacement value, exclusive of foundations, such building shall be made to comply in all respects with the requirements for materials and methods of construction of buildings hereafter erected.
Upon refusal or neglect of the person served with an unsafe notice to comply with the requirements of the order to abate the unsafe condition, the appropriate action to compel compliance shall be instituted and prosecuted.
[1]
For law of the Commonwealth as to unsafe buildings generally, one G.L.C. 143, § 6 et seq.

Sec. 3-31 Same—Emergency measures.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.22 to 3.22.4]
(a) 
Vacating and placarding. When in the opinion of the Building Inspector there is actual and immediate danger of failure or collapse of a building or structure or any part thereof which would endanger life or when any structure or part of a structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the building, the Building Inspector is hereby authorized and empowered to order and require the inmates and occupants to vacate the same forthwith. He shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such building a notice reading as follows:
"THIS BUILDING IS UNSAFE AN ITS USE OR
OCCUPANCY HAS BEEN PROHIBITED BY
THE BUILDING INSPECTOR"
It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such building or structure except for the purpose of making the required repairs or of demolishing the same.
(b) 
Temporary safeguards. When, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, there is actual and immediate danger of collapse or failure of a building or structure or any part thereof which would endanger life, he shall cause the necessary work to be done to render such building or structure or part thereof temporarily safe in accordance with chapter 143.
(c) 
Closing adjacent streets, buildings, etc. When necessary for the public safety, the Building Inspector may temporarily close sidewalks, streets, buildings and structures and places adjacent to such unsafe buildings and prohibit the same from being used.
(d) 
Emergency repairs. For the purposes of this section the Building Inspector shall employ the necessary labor and materials to perform the required work as expeditiously as possible.
(e) 
Costs of emergency repairs. Costs incurred in the performance of emergency work shall be paid from the municipal treasury on certificate of the Building Inspector, and the legal authority of the municipality shall institute appropriate action against the owner of the premises where the unsafe building or structure was located for the recovery of such costs.

Sec. 3-32 Board of appeals—Authority generally.

[3-23-65, § 3.23]
The board of appeals as provided for in sections 2-87 to 2-98, shall act as the board of appeals under this chapter and shall have the same authority with respect to all matters coming before it in relation to this chapter as it now has by statute concerning zoning ordinances[1] unless otherwise provided.
[1]
See G.L., C. 40A, § 13 et seq.

Sec. 3-33 Same—Time for perfecting appeal.

[3-23-65, § 3.23.1]
A person whose application for a permit under this chapter has been refused by the inspector may appeal to the board of appeals within 15 days thereafter. A person who has been ordered by the inspector to incur expense, as provided in section 3-12, may so appeal therefrom within 15 days of the date of such order, and such appeal shall operate to stay such order pending determination of the appeal, except that, in case of a building or structure which, in the opinion of the inspector, is unsafe or dangerous, the inspector may in his order limit the time for such appeal to a shorter period.

Sec. 3-34 Same—Notice and hearing; action by board.

[3-23-65, § 3.23.2]
The board of appeals, when appealed to under the preceding section and after due notice to all interested parties and a public hearing, may vary the application of any provision of this chapter to any particular case when, in its opinion, the enforcement thereof would do manifest injustice and would be contrary to the spirit and purpose of this chapter.

Sec. 3-35 Controlled materials procedure.

[3-23-65, §§ 3.24 to 3.24.2]
When plans for the erection or alteration of a building, are prepared by a licensed professional engineer or registered architect which contemplate structural work or structural changes involving public safety or health and such plans are accompanied by an affidavit of the applicant that he has supervised the preparation of the architectural, structural and mechanical design plans and that he will supervise or check all working drawings and shop details for the construction and that the structure will be built under his field supervision and in accordance with the approved plans and that such plans conform to all the provisions of the Basic Code and that all the material used in the construction will be controlled materials as herein defined, the Building Inspector may waive examination of the, plans and field inspection of the construction and may issue a permit for the performance of the work.
The licensed professional engineer or architect shall be qualified by experience and training in the particular field of construction involved in the building project under consideration.
Before the issuance of the certificate of use and occupancy for such building, the licensed professional engineer or architect who prepared and filed the original plans and who supervised the erection of the building shall file a verified report that the structure has been erected in accordance with the approved plans and, as erected, the building complies in all respects with the Basic Code and all other laws governing building construction except as to the specific variations legally authorized under the provisions of the Basic Code and as specifically noted in the verified report and cited in the certificate of use and occupancy.

Sec. 3-36 Fire limits.

[3-23-65, § 3.25]
Fire limits are hereby established and shall be known as "District A," "District B" and "District C."
The area known as District A shall be those areas shown on the official "Building Zone Map, City of North Adams, Dated December 28, 1956," and any revisions thereto, as an I district 1, I district 2, CB district 1, CB district 2, and AP district.
The area known as district B shall be those areas shown on the official "Building Zone Map, City of North Adams, Dated December 28, 1956," and any revisions thereto, as CA-1, CA-2, CC-1 and CC-2 districts.
The area known as District C shall be those areas shown on the official "Building Zone Map, City of North Adams, Dated December 28, 1956," and any revisions thereto, as FP, RU-1, R-1, R-2 and R-3 districts.

Sec. 3-37 Classification of buildings—Generally.

[3-23-65, § 3.26]
For the purpose of this chapter, construction as used in buildings shall be of three classes:
(a) 
Buildings of Class One shall consist of noncombustible materials throughout, with floors having iron, steel or reinforced concrete beams, filled in between with terra cotta or other masonry arches or with concrete or reinforced concrete slabs and with no air space between the top of any floor arches and the floor boardings; except that wood may be used only for under and upper floors, windows and door frames, sashes, doors, interior finish and handrails for stairs, necessary sleepers and isolated furrings bedded in cement or mortar.
(b) 
Buildings of Class Two shall have external and party walls of brick, stone, terra cotta, tile, steel, concrete or other equally substantial and fire-resistant material. The roof, floors and partitions shall be of approved fire-resistant construction.
(c) 
Buildings of Class Three shall include any wood frame buildings, with floors, roof and partitions of wooden joist and stud construction, the supporting posts and girders of which may be of wood.

Sec. 3-38 Same—Manner of determining classification.

[3-23-65, § 3.27]
All buildings required to be of a given type of construction shall conform to the minimum requirements of this chapter for that class, but materials and combinations of materials which offer, greater resistance to fire than those specified for minimum requirements may be used.
When two or more types of construction occur in the same building and are separated as provided in this chapter, each portion so separated may be classified as of the type of construction to which it conforms; otherwise the entire building shall be classified as of the least fire-resistant type of construction used and shall be subject to the restrictions of this chapter imposed upon that type. An existing building which cannot be definitely classified as one of the types defined above shall be deemed for the purpose of this chapter to belong to the less fire-resistant of the three types to which it most nearly conforms.

Sec. 3-39 Construction of buildings—District A.

[3-23-65, § 3.28]
Every building hereafter erected in District A shall be constructed in accordance with the provisions of building of Class 1 as defined in section 3-37 unless otherwise permitted by the board of appeals.

Sec. 3-40 Same—District B.

[3-23-65, § 3.29]
Every building hereafter erected in District B shall be constructed in accordance with the provisions of building of Class 1 or 11 as defined in section 3-37 unless otherwise permitted by the board of appeals.

Sec. 3-41 Same—District C.

[3-23-65, § 3.30]
Every building hereafter erected in District C shall be constructed in accordance with the provisions for building of Class 1, 11 or 111 as defined in section 3-37 unless otherwise permitted by the board of appeals.

Sec. 3-42 Adoptions of Massachusetts State Building Code and Energy Code.

[3-23-1965, § 3.31, 10-24-1967; Ord. of 10-26-2010]
The City of North Adams adopts and incorporates by reference the International Building Code, 2009 Edition (IBC), including Section 110, Special Regulations, Section 115, Appendices A-AA. The International Building Code together with modifications as set forth as the Massachusetts amendments to the International Building Code 2009, shall collectively comprise the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR), Eighth Edition, Base Volume, and shall run concurrently with the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR), Seventh Edition, Base Volume until February 6, 2011. Commencing February 7, 2011, the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR), Eighth Edition, Base Volume, and all its amendment described above, shall be in full effect.
The City of North Adams adopts and incorporates by reference the International Energy Conservation Code, 2009 Edition (IECC) with Massachusetts amendments (780 CMR 115.AA)

Sec. 3-43 Violation of chapter—Penalty.

[3-23-65, § 3.19.2]
Any person who shall violate a provision of the Basic Code or shall fail to comply, with any of the requirements thereof or who shall erect, construct, alter or repair a building or structure in violation of an approved plan or directive of the Building Inspector or of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of the Basic Code shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $100. Each day that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.

Sec. 3-44 Same—Continuation of unlawful occupancy or use a violation.

[3-23-65, § 3.3.3]
The continuation of occupancy or use of a building or structure or of a part thereof contrary to the provisions of the Basic Code shall be deemed a violation and subject to the penalties prescribed by these Revised ordinances and the General Laws.

Sec. 3-45 Same—Abatement-Notice from Building Inspector.

[3-23-65, § 3.19]
The Building Inspector shall serve a notice of violation or order on the person responsible for the erection, construction, alteration, extension, repair, use or occupancy of a building or structure in violation of the provisions of the Basic Code or in violation of a detailed statement or a plan approved thereunder or in violation of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of the Basic Code; such order shall direct the discontinuance of the illegal action or condition and the abatement of the violation.

Sec. 3-46 Same—Same—Prosecution upon noncompliance with notice.

[3-23-65, § 3.19.1]
If the notice of violation is not complied with promptly, the Building Inspector shall request the legal counsel of the municipality to institute the appropriate proceeding, at law or in equity to restrain, correct or abate such violation or to require the removal or termination of the unlawful use of the building or structure in violation of the Basic Code or of the order or direction made pursuant thereto.

Sec. 3-47 Same—Same—Action by city.

[3-23-65, § 3.19.3]
The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the legal officer of the municipality from instituting appropriate action to prevent unlawful construction or to restrain, correct or abate a violation or to prevent illegal occupancy of a building, structure or premises or to stop an illegal act, conduct, business or use of a building or structure in or about any premises.

Sec. 3-48 Same—Stop-work order.

[3-23-65, § 3.20.1]
Upon notice from the Building Inspector that work on any building or structure is being prosecuted contrary to the provisions of the Basic Code or in an unsafe and dangerous manner, such work shall be immediately stopped. The stop-work order shall be in writing and shall be given to the owner of the property involved or to the owner's agent or to the person doing the work or posted on the premises where the work is being performed and shall state the conditions under which work may be resumed.
Any person who shall continue any work in or about the building after having been served with a stop order, (except such work as he is directed to perform to remove a violation or unsafe conditions) shall be deemed to be violating the Basic Code and shall be subject to punishment therefor in accordance with law.

Sec. 3-49 Registration of vacant or foreclosed residential properties.

[Ord. of 6-22-2010]

Sec. 3-49.1 Definitions.

When used in this Chapter, unless a contrary intention clearly appears, the following terms shall have the following meaning:
ADDRESS
A location as described by the full street number, if any, and the street name in the City of North Adams. "Address" shall not include a mailing address such as a post office box.
AGENT IN CHARGE
One who manages real estate, including, but not limited to, the collection of rents and supervision and maintenance of property.
FORECLOSED
The result of the legal proceeding in which a mortgagee, or other lienholder, obtains a court-ordered termination of a mortgagor's equitable right of redemption.
LOCAL
Residing within 20 driving miles distance of the property in question.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Any property that contains one or more dwelling units used, intended or designed to be occupied for living purposes. For the purposes of this section, such property does not include property owned by or subject to control of the City or any of its governmental bodies. Such property includes, but is not limited to, property owned or controlled by the North Adams Redevelopment Authority and the North Adams Housing Authority.
OWNERS
Every person, corporation, partnership, or trust, who alone or severally with others has legal title to any dwelling, dwelling unit, or mobile dwelling unit.
VACANT
Any residential property not currently legally occupied and not properly maintained or secured.

Sec. 3-49.2 Registration of ownership.

All owners of foreclosed residential properties, whether vacant or occupied, must register such property with the Office of the Building Inspector or his or her designee. Such registration shall take place no later than 10 business days after a residential property is foreclosed upon.
All registrations shall state the owner's and/or agent in charge's telephone number and address. This registration must also certify that the property was inspected by the owner or agent in charge and identify whether the property is vacant at the time of registration.
If the property is vacant, the owner must designate a local agent in charge who will be responsible for the security and maintenance of the property. This designation must state the agent in charge's name, telephone number, and local mailing address. Registrations may require other information as required by the Building Inspector.

Sec. 3-49.3 Registration fee.

The fee for the registration of ownership of a vacant foreclosed property shall be $15 per property.

Sec. 3-49.4 Enforcement penalties.

Enforcement penalties shall be provided under Section 29-2, Noncriminal disposition. The City of North Adams shall establish a Building Inspector Fund. All monies collected pursuant to the violations of this chapter shall be directed to the Building Inspector Enforcement Fund.

Sec. 3-49.5 Severability.

If any provision of this section is held to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction then such provision shall be considered separately and apart from the remaining provisions which shall remain in full force and effect.

Sec. 3-49.6 Implementation.

The provisions of this section are effective immediately upon passage and all provisions shall be enforced immediately but no monetary fine shall be imposed pursuant hereto until 90 days after passage.

Sec. 3-49.7 Notice.

[Ord. of 5-26-2009]
A copy of this section is to be mailed to all loan institutions, banks, real estate offices and management companies located and/or having legal or equitable interests in residential property located in the City of North Adams.