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How the Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code Affects the Cost to Build a House

Posted by REEF Builders on Thu, Mar 14, 2024

Explore the influence of the Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code on the expenses related to constructing a house.

Understanding the Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code

The Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code refers to a policy that allows municipalities in Massachusetts to adopt and enforce their own building regulations and requirements. It gives local governments the authority to establish rules and standards that align with their specific needs and priorities. This code provides flexibility for municipalities to address unique challenges and promote sustainable development. Currently, as of March 2024, the towns of Wellfleet and Truro of adopted this optional code, however, several other towns such as Orleans, Eastham, Chatham, and Barnstable are considering adoption.


By understanding the Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code, homebuyers and builders can gain insights into the specific regulations and requirements they need to adhere to when constructing a house in a particular municipality. It is crucial to familiarize oneself with the code to ensure compliance and avoid any unexpected costs or delays.

Impact on Building Permits and Regulations

One of the significant impacts of the Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code on the cost to build a house is related to building permits and regulations. With this code, municipalities have the authority to establish their own permitting processes and requirements, which may differ from those at the state level.

While this can provide more tailored regulations for local needs, it can also introduce additional costs. Builders and homebuyers may need to navigate through a potentially more complex permitting process, which might involve additional documentation, inspections, or fees.

Furthermore, the code may introduce stricter regulations in certain areas, such as zoning restrictions or design guidelines, which can impact the overall cost of construction. It is essential to consider these factors when estimating the expenses associated with building a house.


Effect on Material and Labor Costs

The Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code can also have an effect on material and labor costs. As municipalities have the ability to establish their own building regulations, they may require the use of specific materials or construction techniques that differ from the statewide standards.

These variations can impact the availability and cost of materials. Builders may need to source materials that comply with the municipality's regulations, which could be more expensive or harder to find. Additionally, the code may require the use of labor-intensive techniques or specialized contractors, which can contribute to increased labor costs.

It is important for builders and home buyers to consider these potential impacts on material and labor costs when budgeting for the construction of a house.

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Consideration of Energy Efficiency Standards

Another important aspect to consider when assessing the cost to build a house under the Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code is the consideration of energy efficiency standards. Municipalities may have the authority to establish their own requirements for energy-efficient construction and design.

While these standards aim to promote sustainability and reduce energy consumption, they may also add to the overall expenses of building a house. Energy-efficient materials and technologies can sometimes be more costly upfront, although they may lead to long-term savings in energy bills.

Builders and homebuyers should carefully evaluate the energy efficiency standards set by the municipality and consider the potential impact on the cost of construction and the long-term benefits of reduced energy consumption. Currently the consensus is that the payback period for these changes is more than 50 years, especially when you factor in the increased cost of renewable energy production, soon to hit consumers.



Overall Implications for Homebuyers and Builders

In conclusion, the Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code can have various implications for homebuyers and builders in terms of the cost to build a house. It provides municipalities with the flexibility to establish their own building regulations and requirements, which can result in both advantages and challenges.

While the code allows for tailored regulations that address local needs, it can introduce additional costs related to building permits, materials, labor, and energy efficiency standards. Homebuyers and builders should thoroughly understand the code and its potential impact on expenses to make informed decisions and ensure compliance with the regulations set by the municipality.

By considering these factors and carefully planning the construction process, individuals can navigate the Massachusetts Municipal Opt-in Code effectively and successfully build their desired houses.

If you would like more information about the Municipal Opt-in code and how it may impact your renovation, remodeling or new construction project here on Cape Cod, Click Here to download the latest version of our Construction Cost Guide

Tags: energy efficiency, massachusetts building code, energy code

New Massachusetts Building Code Version Coming January 1

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Tue, Jul 18, 2017

The State of Massachusetts has confirmed that January 1, 2018 will be the definitive date for adoption of the 9th edition of the building code. This code update will consist of the 2015 versions of the International Code Council regulations, with some modifications specific to the State.

Here are some highlights of the major revisions:

Massachusetts 9th Edition Changes


Some of the major changes have to do with the wind loading requirements, which will basically eliminate the need for upgraded "hurricane windows" or other special high wind requirements except in areas of extreme exposure (oceanfront or waterfront homes). The 9th Version also provides additional guidance on flood zone construction, which could have significant impacts on projects within or near the Coastal "A" zones.


Here's a link to the latest press release from the Department of Public Safety outlining the release dates and new regulations that will be in effect as of January 1, 2018

9th Edition Building Code Release Dates


If you are thinking of building a new custom home on Cape Cod, or if you would like to remodel or renovate your existing Cape Cod home, these new regulations will definitely have an impact on your project!


If you want to know what your new home might cost - take a look our Construction Cost Guide

If you are considering building new or renovating a waterfront property - take a look at our Waterfront Property Guide

You've been visiting the Cape your whole life, isn't it time you stayed?





Tags: Construction Costs, massachusetts building code, waterfront property guide

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

Light Bulbs that last for 20 Years?

Posted by Matthew Teague on Tue, May 08, 2012

   The building and remodeling industry is constantly changing.  Whether building codes, new products, materials, or techniques, something new is always around the corner.   Massachusetts is going to adopt a new building code in July 2012 that will raise the bar on energy efficiency.  This new code covers not only insulation, windows, and HVAC systems, but also energy efficient lighting.  Under this new code, at least 75% of the lighting in your new home will have to be high efficiency.   The cost of high efficiency lighting in a new home or renovation can be expensive.  But as custom builders, who struggle with controlling costs on a daily basis, we were happy to see this new bulb from Phillips.  This light has a working life of at least 20 years!! So for a reasonable additional cost, you can almost guarantee worry free lighting for the lifespan of the new home.


Here is the full article on this new light: 20 Year Light Bulb


If you are thinking of a new home, renovation, or remodeling project on Cape Cod this year, you should definitely contact us to see how this new code may impact your project.  Click below to talk to one of our experts!

Click me

Tags: new homes, energy efficiency, massachusetts building code

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