Codes that Affect Your Projects:

When it comes to construction, everything we do is governed by “the code.” Building codes are adopted by legislature and set forth the minimum requirements and standards for construction. In order to complete a construction project, all trade professionals must adhere strictly to the code. The code is ever evolving. Especially within the past few years, many changes to the code have been made that affect every project.

One change to the code that has made waves in recent years is the new energy code. Anyone who has been involved in a new construction project or significant renovation in the last two years knows that the insulation requirements have been increased for walls and ceilings. In practical terms this means that you must either use spray foam insulation or build thicker walls (2×6 to be exact) in order to meet the code. This can be a costly endeavor and if you are to undertake a project you need to plan for this accordingly. Although spray-foam is the quickest and easiest solution, it is not the only one. We are currently working on a project where the homeowner is allergic to the compounds in closed cell spray foam. Our solution on this project was to reach out to a specialty contractor, dolphin insulation, in order to install a densely packed cellulose system. Check out our website and Facebook page for updates on the results.

I recently came across an article on suggesting that fire sprinkler may be added as a standard to new building codes in the near future. You can read the article here:

Once again a costly change to the code that will affect all construction projects significantly. Typically adding a fire sprinkler system to a single family home would run from 5-10,000 dollars depending on square footage.

Speaking of new code, the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations has announced that the new 9th edition of the code will be adopted this year without a concurrency period of adjustment for designers. (See the article here: ). “With this in mind, developers, owners, designers, contractors, architects and engineers should familiarize themselves with the draft 9th Edition of the State Building Code, so that permit applications for projects which only conform to the 8th Edition of the State Building Code can be submitted before the effective date of the 9th Edition and then diligently prosecuted, and so that permit applications for projects submitted after the effective date of the 9th Edition can be appropriately designed.” We will be keeping up with the key changes that affect all future projects here to ensure our clients are insulated from costly code change expenses.

Another interesting article I read: In this case, the homeowner made requests of the contractor to perform work in violation of the building code. The contractor appeased the requests and performed the work. It is no surprise to me that the contractor was held liable for said code violations. However, I feel it is important for potential clients to be aware that all work must first and foremost comply with the building codes, then design and aesthetic requirements, and then cost requirements.


Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding your next construction project. I am always happy to offer my expertise.



My major take away from the Colliers International | 37th Annual Seminar – Trends in the Real Estate Market 2016 conference with keynote speaker Governor Charlie Baker:

  • Not a mystery to anyone, the Boston/Cambridge market is strong. However, the theme of growth is set to continue on its current trajectory over the next 3-6 years. This is evidenced by lease and delivery commitments through to 2019.
  • Although growth in 2015 was extremely strong and in some cases record breaking, we have are 33% below the peak of the market back in 2007.
  • What does this mean for the construction industry? Specification built new construction projects are maxed out in Boston and surrounding to the 95/128 belt. Prices are high within this region. With all of the new office, retail, lab, and housing space being moved into, there is a huge amount of existing space on the outskirts of Boston to renovate and move into for a significant bargain.
  • Hemenhalt will be targeting this sector of existing space in suburban Massachusetts to fit out and make ready for clients at a fraction of the cost of new spec built construction space.



Book of the Month: Sigmund Freud: “Civilization and it’s Discontents”

An oldie but a classic read and great discussion on the basic societal motivations, this book is still 100% relevant today.

ITunes Store for $3.99: