A growing number of Shrewsbury homeowners have started renovating their properties over the past year. Garage renovations and additions are among the most popular home improvement that they seek. Unfortunately, there are a number of building codes that homeowners need to navigate before commencing on a project. Here are some of the key details that you need to be aware of.
Building Code Requirements for Garages
The requirements for new garages are outlined under the State Board of Building Code Regulations and Standards. Some of the most important building code regulations are listed below. Although these are state laws, the Shrewsbury Building Inspector is responsible for overseeing and enforcing them. You can reach them at (508) 841-8512 if you need information beyond the scope of this guide. Your contractor will also be happy to provide additional information as needed.
Working with a CLS Contractor
According to 780 CMR, Section 108.3.5, any work that is done to a structural element of your property must be conducted by a contractor with a Contractor Supervisor License (CSL) if you want to receive the protections afforded by the CSL and HIC programs. Constructing or renovating a garage falls under the scope of this provision, so you should seriously consider hiring a CSL contractor. Otherwise, you have few protections if you have a dispute with your contractor.
Life Safety System Requirements
Massachusetts Building Code 780 CMR 5313 specifies that all garages that are attached to the rest of the house must have certain life safety systems in place. These include fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. They must include simulated voice and tone alarms to ensure homeowners are alerted of potential hazards. They must also have a backup battery in case the electric connection fails.
Understand Zoning Requirements
It is imperative that you understand the zoning requirements before building or renovating a garage. State regulations prohibit homeowners from storing more than three vehicles in a residential garage, so you don’t want to build a large garage for the sole purpose of keeping additional cars for your guests. The law also limits the amount of exposed ground in the garage to 10% of the lot size.
There are some additional regulations on storage of commercial vehicles and other factors that you need to be aware of. You should consult with your CSL contractor or the Shrewsbury Building Inspector if you need more guidance.