Choosing the right strategy for your build out

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If you are building out a new office space in Boston, you will need to obtain a building permit from the City – but which kind will you need? The answer depends on the scope of your project.

A short form permit is needed for minor alterations to an existing building that will not change the use, egress, or increase living space or fire protection of the existing building. An example would be changing out a kitchen or bathroom.

A long form permit is needed if you are constructing new buildings or additions, making structural repairs or renovations, changing the use or occupancy of a building, changing the egress of a space, installing a fire suppression or alarm system, or increasing capacity.

Josh Berman on site at a recent fit out that JLL Construction completed for IBM

Josh Berman on site at a recent fit out that JLL Construction completed for IBM

Most tenant fit out projects require a long form permit which can take 4-6 weeks to obtain. This is because the City is responsible for ensuring the plans conform to the building, fire and zoning codes. It is possible to fast-track the long form permit application, shortening the application processing time to 1-3 weeks.

Here is a checklist of what you will need during the fast-track long form permit application process. This process is shortened because the architect and engineers take on a larger role with regard to drawing review and construction inspections/documentation.

If you have any questions about the permitting of your upcoming project, please reach out to Josh Berman, Senior Construction Manager at

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