Boston (Mass.).

Building code of the city of Boston; consisting of chapter 479 of the Acts of 1938, as amended by chapter 217 of the Acts of 1939, with the amendments by ordinance incorporated online

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CITY OF BOSTON |
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BUILDING CODE



OF THE



CITY OF BOSTON



Consisting of Chapter 479 of the Acts of 1938, As Amended

by Chapter 217 of the Acts of 1939, With the

Amendments by Ordinance Incorporated.




CITY OF BOSTON

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DEPARTMENT

PRINTING SECTION

1964







46>S



CITY OF BOSTON,
Office of the City Clerk.

August 15, 1964.

I hereby certify that Chapter 479 of the Acts of 1938,
as amended by Chapter 217 of the Acts of 1939, was
accepted by order passed by the City Council on
May 10, 1943, and approved by the Mayor on May 15,
1943.

I hereby further certify that pages 5 to 284, inclusive,
of this volume contain a true copy of Chapter 479 of
the Acts of 1938 as amended by Chapter 217 of the
Acts of 1939 and by ordinances of the City of Boston
adopted in the period from May 15, 1943, to date.

Attest :



J. M. Dunlea,

City Clerk.



(2)



CONTENTS.



PAGB

Part 1 — Administration 5

2 — Fire Limits 32

3 — Special Requirements for Group A Occupancy: Theatres . 34

4 — Special Requirements for Group B Occupancy: Halls . . 43

5 — Special Requirements for Group C Occupancy: Schools . 50

6 — Special Requirements for Group D Occupancy: Hospitals

and Detention Buildings 55

7 — Special Requirements for Group E Occupancy: Commercial

Buildings of Hazardous Occupancy 59

8 — Special Requirements for Group F Occupancy: Offices and

Commercial Buildings 62

9 — Special Requirements for Group G Occupancy: Commercial

Buildings of Non-Hazardous Occupancy .... 66

10 — Special Requirements for Group H Occupancy: Unlimited

Habitations and Large Dwellings 69

11 — Special Requirements for Group I Occupancy: Limited

Habitations and Small Dwellings 77

12 — Special Requirements for Group J Occupancy: Miscellaneous

Structures 79

13 — Separation of Occupancies 82

14 — Walls and Partitions 86

15 — Protection of Vertical Openings 100

16 — Floor Construction . . 104

17 — Roof Construction and Covering 109

18 — Exits Ill

19 — Doors, Windows and Skylights 123

20 — Penthouses and Roof Structures 126

21 — Chimneys and Heating Apparatus 128

22 — Fire-Resistive Construction 138

23 — Dead and Live Loads 156

24 — Masonry 163

25 — Wood 171

26 — Reinforced Concrete 183

27 — Precast Gypsum Concrete 224

28 — Steel and Iron 227

29 — Excavations and Foundations 297

30 — Fire Extinguishing Apparatus 319

31 — Plumbing 327

32 — Validity 350

33 — War Provision 350

34 — Fall Out Shelters . 350

Gasfitting Regulations 351

Fire Zones 352

Index 354

(3)



Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Boston Public Library



http://www.archive.org/details/buildingcodeofci1964bost



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ACTS OF 1938, CHAPTER 479



An Act for codification, revision and amendment of the laws relative
to the construction, alteration and maintenance of buildings
and other structures in the city of boston.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court
assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

PART I.

ADMINISTRATION.

Section

101 —Title.

102 — Repeals.

103 — Pending Actions.

104 — Other Statutes.

105 — Effective Date.

[10SA — Amendment by Ordinance.]

106 — Definitions.

107 — Scope.

108 — Maintenance.

109 — Organization.

110 — Application for Permit.

111 — Permits.

112 — Fees.

113 — Inspection.

114 — Posting Floor Loads.

115 — Annual Report.

116 — Powers and Duties of Building Commissioner.

117 — Board of Appeal.

118 — Appeals.

119 — Decisions of the Board of Appeal.

120 — Board of Examiners.

121 — Board of Examiners of Gas Fitters.

122 — Penalties.

123 — Enforcement Jurisdiction.

124 — Classification of Buildings by Types of Construction.

125 — Types of Construction.

126 — Type I, Fireproof Construction.

127 — Type II, Semi-Fireproof Construction.

128 — Type III, Heavy Timber and Masonry Construction.

129 — Type IV, Light Wood and Masonry Construction.

(5)



Sees. 101-105

Section

130 — Type V, Metal Frame Construction.

131 — Type VI, Wooden Frame Construction.

132 — Occupancies Classified.

133 — Change of Occupancy.

134 — Multiple Occupancies.

135 — Elevators and Escalators.

136 — Building Height.

Section 101. Title. — This act shall be known and may be cited as the
Boston Building Code and is hereinafter referred to as this code.

Sect. 102. Repeals. — Except as provided in section one hundred and
three, the following acts and parts of acts, as severally amended, are hereby
repealed; — chapter two hundred and sixty-five of the acts of eighteen
hundred and ninety-seven; the two paragraphs added to section four of
chapter three hundred and eighty-three of the acts of nineteen hundred and
five by section one of chapter one hundred and fifty-six of the Special Acts
of nineteen hundred and nineteen; chapter five hundred and fifty of the
acts of nineteen hundred and seven, except section one hundred and twenty-
eight thereof; chapter three hundred and forty-two of the acts of nineteen
hundred and eleven; chapter seven hundred and twenty-nine of the acts of
nineteen hundred and thirteen; chapter seven hundred and eighty-two
of the acts of nineteen hundred and fourteen; sections one to five, inclusive,
of chapter one hundred and sixty-three of the Special Acts of nineteen hundred
and nineteen; chapter two hundred and seventy -eight of the acts of nineteen
hundred and twenty-three; chapter one hundred and eighty-two of the
acts of nineteen hundred and twenty-six; and chapter forty-two of the acts
of nineteen hundred and twenty-seven.

Sect. 103. Pending Actions. — All actions and proceedings, at law or in
equity, and all prosecutions, pending on the effective date of this code, whether
commenced for the purpose of enforcing any of the provisions of the acts, or
parts thereof, repealed by the preceding section or brought upon any complaint
or indictment for the violation of any of such provisions, or for the violation
of any ordinance, rule or regulation established thereunder for the violation
of which a penalty of a fine or imprisonment, or otherwise, is provided therein,
may be prosecuted and enforced to the same extent as if said acts, or parts
thereof, were still in force and effect.

Sect. 104. Other Statutes. — All statutes applicable generally to depart-
ments of the city of Boston, including the provisions of section five of chapter
four hundred and eighty-six of the acts of nineteen hundred and nine, as most
recently amended by chapter two hundred and twenty-seven of the acts of
nineteen hundred and thirty-four, and any pertinent action taken thereunder
whether before or after the effective date of this code, shall apply to the
building department and to the boards established under sections one hundred
and nine, one hundred and seventeen, one hundred and twenty and one
hundred and twenty-one hereof.

*Sect. 105. Effective Date. — This code shall take full effect upon its
acceptance by vote of the city council of the city of Boston, subject to the

(6)



Sees. 105-106

provision of its charter. If an application for a permit is filed before said
effective date, and a permit is issued thereon and the work is actually com-
menced within ninety days after the issuance of the permit, the applicant
notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in section one hundred and
seven, may elect to be governed in the entire operation covered by the permit
either by the building laws as they existed when the application was filed or
by this code.

[ *As amended by Ord. 1948, ch. 2 ]
fSect. 105A. [Amendment by Ordinance.] — The city of Boston,
for the purposes of the prevention of fire and the preservation of life,
health and morals, or for any of such purposes, may from time to time,
by ordinance and upon the written recommendation of the building com-
missioner or the board of appeal, regulate the inspection, materials, con-
struction, alteration, repair, height, area, location and use of buildings and
other structures in said city, except such buildings or structures as are excluded
from the operation of this code by sub-section (a) of section one hundred
and seven, and for any or all of said purposes may from time to time, by
ordinance upon like written recommendation, alter, amend, extend or render
ineffective any provision or provisions of this code regulating building and
other structures as aforesaid.

[ fAs inserted by Stat. 1939, ch. 217 ]
JSect. 106. Definitions. — (a) For the purposes of this code the words
and phrases defined in this section shall be construed as so defined except
when the context clearly indicates that another meaning is intended.

"Abut", touch, be contiguous. A building abuts upon a street when some
part of the building touches or extends to the line of the street. A building
shall be construed to abut upon a street if it is nearer at any point than ten
feet from the street or when the space between the building and the side line
of the street is used wholly or chiefly for the purposes of a street or sidewalk.

"Apartment", a room or suite of rooms occupied by one person or one
family for living and sleeping purposes.

"Apartment hotel", a building containing four or more apartments without
kitchens, primarily for persons who have their residences therein.

"Apartment house", a building containing four or more apartments with
kitchens, primarily for persons who have their residences therein.

"Approved", approved by the building commissioner of the city of
Boston.

"Area of a building", see "Building, area of",

"Assembly hall", a hall or room, including the balconies thereof, if any,
in which persons may assemble in a manner as permitted in Group B, Part 4.

"Attic", finished or unfinished story situated within a sloping roof, the
area of which at a height of four feet (4) above the level of its finished floor
does not exceed two-thirds (2/3) of the area of the story immediately below it.
There shall be only one attic in any building, and it shall be considered as a
half story.

"Auditorium", an assembly hall in which persons may assemble to hear or
see concerts, plays, lectures, athletic or sports events or similar performances.

(7)



Sec. 106

"Automatic sprinklers", a system of piping supplied with water under
pressure with devices for releasing under the influence of heat and spraying
the water on ceilings, walls and floors.

"Balcony", within an auditorium, is a floor, inclined, stepped, or level,
above the main floor, the open side or sides of which shall be protected by a
rail or railings. Where a balcony of an auditorium has exits at two or more
levels opening into separate foyers, one above another, each portion thereof
served by such a foyer shall be considered a separate balcony for the purpose
of this code.

"Basement", a story of a building below the first story.

"Building", a structure forming a shelter for persons, animals or property,
and having a roof The word "building" shall be construed, where the con-
text allows, as though followed by the words "or part thereof." The word
"building" shall not include such frame-works and tents as are customarily
used exclusively for outdoor carnivals, lawn parties or like activities.

"Building, area of", the maximum horizontal projected area of a building,
above ground, within the property lines, including exterior walls one or more
of which may be party walls and including covered porches but excluding
terraces, steps and cornices.

"Building, height of", in linear measure, the vertical distance of the
highest point of the roof, excluding pent houses and roof structures, above
the mean grade of the sidewalk at the line of the street or streets on which
the building abuts; and, if the building does not abut on a street, above the
mean grade of the ground around and contiguous to the building; and provided,
further, that for the purposes of establishing said mean grade, the ground
bounded by the lot lines and contiguous to the building and within twenty
feet of it, shall be considered to slant toward the building not more than one
foot upward or downward in two horizontal feet. In stories, the number of
stories above the floor of the first story.

"Building, pre-code", a building already erected on the effective date of
this code, or thereafter erected, as provided in section one hundred and five,
under permit for its construction subject to the provisions of law in effect prior
to such effective date.

"Building, post-code", a building erected after the effective date of this
code and subject to the provisions thereof.

"Bulkhead", the raised portion of a floor or roof, raised for the passage
of persons, materials, light or air, through the side of such raised portion, or
for other purpose.

"Cellar", see basement.

"Chimney", a vertical structure of masonry with one or more flues in
which smoke or the products of combustion are conducted upward for dis-
posal in the open air at a height above the ground.

"Code", "this code", the Boston Building Code, consisting of this act
and the regulations established thereunder.

"Commissioner", the building commissioner of the city of Boston.

"Corridor", an enclosed passageway.

"Dead load", the weight of materials built into the construction of a

(8)



Sec. 106

building including walls, permanent partitions, floors, roofs, framing and all
other permanent stationary construction entering into and becoming part
of a building.

"Department", the building department of the city of Boston.

"Exit", a means of egress; a way out.

"Exit from a room", a doorway or other means of egress from the room
on the way toward an exit from the building.

"Exit from a story", a stairway, ramp, ladder or other means of egress
from the story on the way toward an exit from the building.

"Exit from a building", a doorway or other means of egress from the build-
ing opening upon a street or upon an open space with unobstructed access to
a street.

"Exit, path of", the continuous series of doorways, connecting rooms,
corridors, passages, stairways, ramps and the like, which leads from any
exit from a room through an exit from the building,

"Family", a group of persons living together who share at least in part
their living quarters and accommodations.

"Fire division", a portion of a building so separated from the rest by
separations as specified in Part 13, that it may be erected to the maximum
height and area allowed for its principal occupancy and type of construction,
independently of adjoining occupancies. A portion of a building separated
from the rest by fire walls. A fire division may not be larger than a maximum
unit of occupancy and may be further limited by the application of require-
ments of Table A, (2), section thirteen hundred and two.

"Fire division, area of", the maximum horizontal projected area of the
division within the property lines including exterior walls, one or more of
which may be party walls, and in the case of separation walls within the
property lines to the center of the separation wall.

"Fire door", a door of fire-resistive construction as described in Part 22.

"Fire extinguisher", a portable device the contents of which are for ex-
tinguishing a fire.

"First aid hose station", a hose connection with valve in a system of piping
adequately supplied with water, hose and nozzle for use of occupants of a
building in extinguishing a fire.

"Floor area", of a room, the area of the floor contained within the walls.

"Foundation", that portion of a building or structure of which the sole
or chief purpose or use is to transmit the weight of the building or structure to
the earth; the support of the lowest portions of columns, walls, piers or other
vertical members.

"Foyer", a foyer, lobby, corridor or passage, one or more in combination,
adjacent to the auditorium of a theatre or assembly hall at the level of the
main floor or a balcony thereof and into which one or more exits therefrom
open, in the path of normal egress from the building.

"Front", a building or wall fronts upon a street when a wall of the building
or the wall faces the street and is parallel thereto or makes an angle of less
than forty-five degrees therewith.

(9)



Sec. 106

"Fusible link", a device consisting of two pieces of brass or other suitable
metal connected by solder or other metal fusible at a moderate temperature,
arranged to release in the presence of fire or excessive heat; or any equivalent
approved device.

"Gage", for sheet metal, United States Standard Gage; for brass and
copper tubing, Stubs Gage; for wire, Washburn & Moen or Roebling Steel
wire gage.

"Garage", a building or portion thereof in which is housed or stored one or
more motor vehicles containing or using a volatile flammable fluid for fuel or
power, or in which such motor vehicles are painted, repaired or serviced.

"Gasfitting", the art of installing, repairing or altering pipes, fittings,
fixtures and other apparatus for distributing gas for heat, light, power or other
purposes; the system of pipes, fittings, fixtures and other apparatus for
distributing gas for heat, light, power or other purposes.

"Grade", elevation with reference to Boston city base, namely, a hori-
zontal plane of reference established and used by the city of Boston.

"Grade, mean", the average of the grades of mid-points of successive equal
distances of not over ten feet measured along the line or lines along which
the mean grade is to be determined.

"Hotel", a building containing four or more apartments without kitchens,
or sleeping accommodations for ten or more persons, primarily the temporary
abode of persons who have their residences elsewhere.

"Kitchen", a room used or adapted for cooking and containing a stove,
range, hot-plate or other cooking apparatus, which burns coal, oil, gas or
other fuel or is heated by electricity, except electric appliances consuming
less than eighteen hundred watts.

"Lintel", a beam in a masonry wall supporting the masonry above an
opening.

"Live load", the load or weight to be supported on floors or other portions
of buildings incidental to their occupancy; the pressure of wind, the weight
of snow, and all loads other than dead loads.

"Masonry", construction of assembled units of stone, brick, concrete,
gypsum or other similar incombustible materials separated from one another
and held in place by mortar.

"Masonry, dry", masonry, except that the units are not separated or held
in place by mortar.

"May", a term giving permission but not, except in the negative, making a
requirement. "May" is used in this code to emphasize that specified con-
struction is not prohibited by the code when such prohibition might other-
wise be implied or construed ; or to limit the scope of a prohibition by except-
ing specified construction from its effect. A permission so expressed in this
code in specific terms shall not be construed as a prohibition of other con-
struction. "May not" is prohibitive.

"Mezzanine floor", a floor within a story between the floor and ceiling
thereof, having an area not over forty per cent of the area of the building at
the level at which the mezzanine floor occurs. A floor of larger area separates
two stories.

(10)



Sec. 106

"Non-corrodible metal", a metal which, under the conditions of its use,
may reasonably be expected, without unusual or excessive maintenance,
to serve its purpose throughout the probable life of the structure in which it is
used as determined by the commissioner.

"Occupancy", use or occupancy of a building, character of use, or desig-
nated purpose of a building or structure or portion thereof.

"Occupancy, unit of", that portion of one building within separations
within which the occupancy, whether of one or more tenants, falls in a single
group and division as classified in section one hundred and thirty-two and
Parts 3 to 12, inclusive, of this code.

"Or", providing an alternative at the option, unless the contrary is clearly
indicated, of the applicant for a permit.

"Owner", the owner of the land as recorded in the registry of deeds for
Suffolk county, or as registered in the land court, except as otherwise provided
in paragraph (d) of this section.

"Partition", see Wall.

"Passageway", a continuous way, of required width, kept clear for use
as an exit, whether enclosed or not.

"Pier", a vertical body of masonry used as a column, the portion of a
masonry wall between thinner portions or between openings when the hori-
zontal dimension parallel to the wall does not exceed four times the thickness.

"Plan or plans". The word plan or plans shall be construed to mean
drawing or drawings illustrating the work involved.

"Plumbing", the art of installing, repairing or altering the pipes, fixtures
and other apparatus for distributing the water supply and removing liquid
and water-carried wastes; the system of pipes, fixtures and other apparatus
installed in buildings for distributing the water supply and for the disposal
of liquid and water-carried wastes, including valves, traps and soil, waste and
vent pipes; provided, that nothing herein contained shall include the work
of steamfitting.

"Projection room", a room in a theatre or assembly hall containing a
projector of moving pictures.

"Remote", in reference to two or more exits, removed or distant from one
another in such manner that a person in any place served by such exits may
choose either of two directions in a path toward an exit and in such manner
that a single fire could not, in its early stages, block both paths toward an
exit.

"Seating capacity", the number of seats within an auditorium or other
hall when fastened to the floor; the number of persons who may be seated
within an auditorium or hall allowing six square feet of floor area per person
unless fixed seats are provided.

"Separation", a system of walls, floors or other construction serving to
separate or cut off one unit of occupancy from another.

"Shaft", an enclosure of a vertical opening in two or more stories.

"Smoke pipe", a flue, approximately horizontal, of metal or other material,
in which smoke or the products of combustion are conducted from a furnace
to a chimney or stack.

(11)



Sec. 106

"Smoke stack", a vertical flue of metal or reinforced concrete, whether'or
not lined with masonry or other protective material, in which smoke, or the
products of combusion, are conducted upward for disposal in the open air
at a height above the ground.

"Soil", the softer matter mostly inorganic composing part of the surface
of the earth in distinction from the firm rock; including gravel, clay, loam
and the like, and filling materials of similar nature.

"Sprinklers, automatic", a system of automatic sprinklers installed in
accordance with this code.

"Stair, rise of", the vertical distance between successive treads or steps
measured always from the same relative position thereon.

"Stair, tread of", the horizontal distance from one riser to the next or from
one nosing to the next.

"Story", that portion of a building included between the top surface of a
floor and the top surface of the next floor or roof above, except that a space
used exclusively for the housing of mechanical services of the building shall
not be considered to be a story if access to such space may be had only for
maintenance of such services.

"Story, first", the lowest story of which sixty-five per cent or more of the
height is above the mean grade from which the height of the building is
measured.

"Structure", a combination of materials assembled at a fixed location to
give support or shelter, such as a building, bridge, trestle, tower, frame-work,
retaining wall, tank, tunnel, tent, stadium, reviewing stand, platform, bin,
fence, sign, flag-pole or the like. The word "structure" shall be constructed,
where the context allows, as though followed by the words "or par thereof".

"Unit of occupancy", see "Occupancy, unit of".

"Unit of occupancy, area of", the maximum horizontal projected area of a
unit of occupancy.

"Vertical opening", an opening in a floor or roof for giving access vertically
from the story below or above for light, ventilation, the movement of persons
or materials or for any other purpose.



Online LibraryBoston (Mass.)Building code of the city of Boston; consisting of chapter 479 of the Acts of 1938, as amended by chapter 217 of the Acts of 1939, with the amendments by ordinance incorporated → online text (page 1 of 40)