Boston’s temporary construction guidelines during COVID-19 crisis

BOSTON — With Governor Charlie Baker’s four-phase plan to reopening Massachusetts set to be released on Monday, May 18, the City of Boston is taking steps to ensure construction sites in the city are on track to get back to work as soon as possible.

On May 14, the city released a set of guidelines for allowing construction projects to resume, but it does limit the projects to considered “essential.”

On May 5, the city began the submission process for required COVID-19 Safety Affidavits and COVID-19 Safety Plans for permitted construction work.


  • May 5, 2020 - Essential construction projects with approved safety plans and signed affidavits filed with the appropriate regulatory agencies wm be authorized to prepare the site with project-specific COVID-19 safety measures.
  • May 18, 2020 - The City of Boston will allow essential construction project on sites that meet the following criteria: (1) Projects are permitted, in compliance and have filed a Covid-19 Safety plan and a signed affidavit; (2) Project sites are sufficiently prepared to adhere to all criteria of their safety plan; and (3) the work is for hospitals, public schools, residential buildings [1-3 units], road and utility work, or other outdoor/open air-work such as steel erection, roofing and constructing foundations.
  • May 26, 2020 - The City of Boston will allow all essential construction projects to re-commence construction activities in adherence to their safety plans. This incremental approach will provide the time necessary to allow complex, large-scale development an opportunity to educate their workforce, safely remobilize and implement their site-specific Safety Plan.


The City will be incrementally expanding the construction work permitted in Boston to align with the state's list of allowed construction work. The key dates are outlined below.


The City will only allow work that is essential to the safety and well-being of our residents at this time — particularly work related to this public health crisis.

That essential work includes:

  • emergency utility, road or building work, such as gas leaks, water leaks and sinkholes
  • new utility connections to occupied buildings
  • mandated building or utility work
  • work at public health facilities, healthcare facilities, shelters, including temporary shelters and other facilities that support vulnerable populations
  • emergency work necessary to render occupied residential buildings safe and healthy
  • work immediately necessary related to life safety systems
  • work which ensures the reliability of the transportation network
  • small residential construction projects in dwellings of 3 units or less (for example, kitchen or bathroom remodeling), and
  • other work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully habitable.


The City will allow essential construction, as defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that meet the following criteria:

  1. projects are permitted, are in compliance with and have filed a COVID-19 Safety Plan and signed affidavit
  2. project sites are sufficiently prepared to adhere to all criteria of their safety plan, and
  3. the work is for hospitals, public schools, residential buildings (1-3 units), road and utility work, or other outdoor or open-air work, such as steel erection, roofing, and construction foundations.

After May 25, the City will permit any construction type that is allowed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


For the health and safety of workers, their families, and our communities, all permitted construction will be required to adhere to COVID-19 best practices during this public health emergency.

To implement this policy, permitted construction work will be required to sign a COVID-19 Safety Affidavit and provide the City with a COVID-19 Safety Plan.


To apply for an ISD Building Permit, please visit the Inspection Services Department webpage. For Street Occupancy, Street Excavation, or Street Emergency Permits, please visit the Public Works webpage.



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