Welcome to the Cape Cod Builder blog

Another Building Code Change for 2017? How will it impact your project?

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Thu, Oct 13, 2016

     The State of Massachusetts is going to adopt a new building code starting in January 2017.  Since 2010, the building code has changed several times and many of those changes were dramatic and have resulted in significant increases in the cost of new homes, remodeling and additions throughout the state.  Designing and building on Cape Cod was further impacted by the adoption of the "Windborne Debris Zone" which required the use of impact resistant windows  and doors or storm shutters for all homes within 1 mile of the shore.

   The changes that are forthcoming with the 9th Edition of the Massachusetts Building Code (780 CMR) in 2017 are not quite as dramatic for new custom homes, and some of the changes serve to reduce the cost of design and construction. For instance, the "Windborne Debris Zone" will now be eliminated, and the geographical areas requiring impact resistant windows and doors will be substantially reduced.

There are some things that will add costs.  The 9th Edition will require more stringent design and construction methods for homes located in flood zones.  The new mapping available, allows officials to clearly determine a "Coastal A" flood zone, which is subject to wave action of 1.5-3'.  The code will now require design and construction of homes resistant to wave action in this zone, which can dramatically increase engineering and construction costs.   The State is also slated to adopt the "Existing Building Code" which will have substantial impacts on the design and costs associated with renovation and remodeling projects, as it provides different thresholds which can trigger other improvements not required in the past, such as insulation, mechanical systems, or structural systems, which were previously considered "grandfathered" or "non-conforming conditions.  2017 is the first year this Existing Buildng Code will come into play and we will wait and see where the true impacts are of these new regulations.

If you are considering designing or building a custom home on Cape Cod, this code change is something you will want to pay attention to these code changes as they will definitely impact the final cost and design of your new Cape Cod Home!


Here's a good summary of the pending code changes from the Board of Building Regulations and Standards: Summary of 9th Edition Building Code



Tags: Construction Costs, building code, massachusetts building code

Risks with Hiring an Unlicensed Contractor for your Home Remodeling

Posted by Matthew Teague on Tue, Dec 11, 2012

    We have been asked several times to take over jobs started by homeowners or unlicensed contractors.  Most of the times, these jobs were started without plans, permits, engineering or any of the other prerequisites for a legal construction project.  After a town building inspector has been notified of an illegal project, they will issue a "stop work" order, bringing the New Home, Remodeling, or Renovation project to a halt.  The time and money a homeowner might save by skirting the permit process is far outweighed by the headache, embarrassment, and costs associated with correcting un-permitted work.  In general, the homeowner has to start from scratch, and usually ends up removing any of the work that was done so the critical items can be properly inspected.

   So if you are thinking of performing your own work, and not hiring a contractor, or even worse, if you are thinking of hiring an unlicensed contractor to do your work without a permit you are setting yourself up for failure.

Don't make this mistake, because you will regret it in the long run.  Sometimes people are unable to sell their homes because of poor workmanship, or discovery of un-permitted work. 

If you are thinking of a New Home, Renovation, or Remodeling Project on Cape Cod, click below to download our guide to hiring a contractor! Here is an article from MSN.com that talks about the risks: Work Without Permits

Click meHiring a Contractor

Tags: remodeling, building a home, building code, Hiring a Contractor

New Home Building hits 4 Year High

Posted by Matthew Teague on Wed, Nov 28, 2012

   As of October, new home construction has hit a 4 year high!  And the consistent month over month growth to this level indicates that the housing industry is strengthening and has re-bounded off of it's 2008 lows. One of the primary factors that contributed to this increase is low mortgage rates, which will continue to stay low for the forseeable future, especially with the recent Federal Reserve decision to purchase $40 billion in mortgages every month.

So what does this mean if you are planning on building, remodeling or renovating a home on Cape Cod? Well first of all, you should strongly consider building or starting your project to take advantage of the low mortgage rates, available labor, and still-low material costs.  Second, we forsee a continued, steady increase in material and labor costs over the next 12-18 months, in response to the natural supply and demand cycles, so building now could save you thousands of dollars on your project.  As building demand increases, new regulations will come into play, and there is already talk of upgrading the energy and other mechanical codes over the next 2 years that may add as much as 5-10% to the cost of your project. Finally, land prices will begin to stabilize and then increase based on demand as well, and with limited raw land available on Cape Cod, who knows what a lot might cost in a few years!  If you are thinking of building your Cape Cod home, you really should CONTACT US today to see how you can take advantage of the current market.

Here is the complete article from CNN Money: Home Building at 4 Year High

Cape Cod Custom Home

Tags: Building Costs, building code, housing market

Another Code Change for Massachusetts

Posted by Matthew Teague on Thu, Mar 29, 2012

  The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards is working on changing the building code yet again!  This pending change involves adoption of the IECC 2012 Energy Code.  Massachusetts has been operating under the 2009 version of the IECC Code for approximately the last two years.  When the 2009 version was implemented, there was a 3-5% increase in building costs.  Based on the available information, custom builders will see at least another 2-4% increase.   The Home Builder's Association of Massachusetts has prepared an article outlining the provisions of the new code. There are dramatic increases in energy efficiency, insulation required to make new homes and major renovations compliant.  As a custom builder on Cape Cod, REEF has prided itself in training its staff on the requirements of these ever-changing regulations. It looks like this new code will be adopted in July 2012.  Here is the full article from the Home Builders Association of Masssachusetts: MA to adopt IECC 2012 Energy Code


If you have questions regarding how this change may impact your new custom home, renovation, or remodeling project, click below to contact one of our experts!

Click me

Tags: energy efficiency, custom builder, building code

Residential Fire Sprinklers Voted Down!!!

Posted by Matthew Teague on Mon, Mar 05, 2012

 On February 14th the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards voted against requiring mandatory fire sprinkler systems in homes.   Many of the professional building organizations had opposed this change based on the expens, risk and other problems associated with this change. 

  See the attached article from FireEngineering.com to see the reaction from the fire safety community.


Reaction to Fire Sprinklers

Tags: fire sprinklers, building code

Subscribe to Email Updates

Latest Posts