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Boston (Mass.). Building Department

 Organization

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 This act was superseded by Chapter 419 of the Acts of 1892. This act, although amended from time to time, remained in effect until August 1, 1907, when it was superseded by Chapter 550 of the Acts of 1907, which remained as the Building Law of the City of Boston until 1943.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State Building Code, Chapter 802 of the Acts of 1972, as amended, went into effect in the City of Boston and superseded all previous codes.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.

Found in 12 Collections and/or Records:

Building Codes

 Series
Identifier: 5410.006
Scope and Contents Printed volumes of legislation relating to buildings for the years 1887, 1892, 1895, 1901, 1915, 1921, 1944, 1954, 1962, 1964 and 1970.

Building Commissioner correspondence

 Series
Identifier: 5410.013
Scope and Contents note Includes incoming and outgoing correspondence of the Building Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner. This collection is unprocessed.

Building Commissioner subject files

 Series
Identifier: 5410.007
Scope and Contents Subject files of the Building Commissioner. Includes correspondence, reports, plans, etc.

Building Commissioner's Bulletin

 Series
Identifier: 5410.008
Scope and Contents note Building Commissioner's Bulletins relating to approvals for use of new building products. Includes bulletins #101-#184.

Building Department annual reports

 Item
Identifier: 5410.014
Scope and Contents Annual report of the Building Department from 1939.

Demolished building permit files ("Takedowns")

 Series
Identifier: 5410.001
Scope and Contents Building permit files of demolished buildings, also called "Takedowns." File jacket usually includes original building permit, permits for repair or renovation, violation notices, correspondence and permit to repair or raze (Takedown permit).

Demolished building (takedowns) photographs

 Series
Identifier: 5410.002
Scope and Contents Photograph files of buildings ordered razed by the City of Boston. Photographs document condition of building just prior to demolition and usually include photograph of lot after demolition.

Hotel Vendome records

 Series — Box: 1
Identifier: 5410.011
Scope and Contents Records relating to the collapse of the Hotel Vendome which killed nine Boston firefighters on June 17, 1972. Includes files of permits, correspondence, etc. of the Hotel Vendome at 154-170 Commonwealth avenue that were reviewed during the investigation into the collapse; correspondence relating to the investigation; final report of the investigation; and supplemental report on the reconstruction.

Permits and permit log books

 Series
Identifier: 5410.003
Scope and Contents Miscellaneous building/alteration permits and logs of permits issued and applications filed. Includes permits to do alterations, 1874-1876, 1886 and 1888; logs of daily entry sheets of new construction, alterations, elevators, fire escapes, takedowns, etc., 1946-1947, 1950-1959, logs of gas fitting permits, 1939, 1953-1963; log of electrical permits, 1956-1959, log of plumbing permits, 1953-1957; log of applications to install boilers, engines, ovens, sprinklers, etc., 1958-1962; log of unsafe ...

Photographs of Building Department offices

 Series
Identifier: 5410.009
Scope and Contents Includes photographs of Building Department offices from circa 1917 including Commissioner's Office, Inspectors' desks, plans area, and document file vault. Also includes photographs of Building Department offices in the New City Hall, 1968.

Special examination reports and photographs

 Item — Box: 1
Identifier: 5410.010
Scope and Contents Reports of special examinations of buildings in response to complaints of unsafe conditions. Includes photographs of buildings.

Street numbering records

 Series
Identifier: 5410.012
Scope and Contents Includes Building Department copies of notices of changes in street numbering sent by the Public Works Department and street number logs from 1898-1946, 1951-1958 and 1964-1970.