Projects that need permits


Any construction that goes out of the foundation of a house needs a building plan and a plot plan showing existing structures, proposed addition, required setbacks, well and septic locations, easements and a letter stamped by a registered professional engineer, land surveyor or other qualified wetlands professional stating that no work (including cutting, clearing, landscaping, storage of materials or movement of vehicles or equipment) will be performed within the setbacks of 100 feet of all wetlands, 100 feet of a vernal pool or 200 feet of a perennial stream or river.


A permit is needed for any home project that is not cosmetic.

New House

New house applications have to be approved by the Building Inspector for adherence to the Town of Dover Zoning and State Building Code and also have to be approved by other relevant town departments (Highway for driveway and trenches, Engineer for site plan review, Conservation for wetlands issues, Board of Health for well and septic). Completed applications are submitted to the Building Department which distributes the information to the other departments.

Wood Stoves

Supplemental heating of homes by using wood or other solid fuels must have a permit. A building permit must be obtained prior to installation. The Building Inspector must inspect the appliance after installation but before use. It is also recommended that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors be installed prior to use of a fuel burning appliance.

Swimming Pools

Private swimming pools (in-ground, above ground, on-ground) and hot tubs which have a design water depth of greater than 24 inches need a permit. The building packet for swimming pools also contains the Board of Health application. All applications should be submitted to the Building Department. No pool can be started without the approval of both the Building Department and the Board of Health. A separate approval card will be issued by each department.


Temporary structures that cover an area in excess of 120 square feet and are intended to be used for a gathering of 10 or more people need a permit. Tent companies should obtain tent permits as they need to provide information related to the State Building Code.


Fences over 6 feet need a permit.

Stone Walls

Stone walls 4 feet and over which retain unbalanced fill need a permit. If you plan on altering an existing stone wall on a scenic road you must contact the Planning Board first at 508-785-0032 ext. 238.

Accessory Buildings

One story detached buildings used as tool sheds or storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses whose floor area exceeds 120 square feet need a permit.

Demolitions (The act of taking down a complete building or a substantial part of a building.)

There are two applications for demolition. One from the Building Department and one from the Board of Health. Both completed and signed applications must be brought to the Building Department for approval to demolish. An application for any building or part of a building which was constructed during 1929 or before will be given to the Dover Historical Commission which will determine if the building is “preferably preserved historically significant.”

Certificate of Inspections

Child care centers and schools, summer camps, churches and any premise licensed by the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission are to be inspected by the Building Inspector and Fire Department.

Electrical: Massachusetts

General Law requires every city and town in the state to appoint an Inspector of Wires (Chapter 166, sec. 32). Such Inspector shall supervise every wire over and under streets or in a building in such city and town. Permits are required for all electrical work. The Electrical permitting process provides a written record of the contractor, his license and liability and workers compensation insurances. The wiring inspector checks for compliance with codes and standards. Safety of persons and property is the goal.

Plumbing and Gas

Massachusetts State Law requires a licensed plumber or gas fitter to take out plumbing and gas permits on all residential or commercial buildings.