Guidelines for roof work in MA
November 22, 2013 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Our landlord sent us an email last week telling us that they were doing roof work on our building. They asked us to leave the driveway free so they could put a dumspter there, which we did. They're currently *doing* the roof work, but there is no dumpster, no scaffolding, and no work permit, and they setting up to go up on the roof in the rain. Is this kosher? There are safety nets, but as far as I can tell nothing else. This is for a commercial property in Massachusetts

I don't want to be alarmist, but we run a child care business and have events scheduled all weekend long. Yesterday they not only closed off the side driveway but also the front sidewalk, which was news to me. They've put up caution tape in front of the building, but like I said, there's no work permit or anything else posted. I need to know if a) we are legally allowed to be open while they are doing this work, and b) what the requirements are for doing roof work in MA, so I can be somewhat informed when talking to the landlord. I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but I DO want to make sure it's done right (i.e. that they're not leaving loose masonry on top of the building). If we need to close while they're doing it, I need to be able to tell parents sooner rather than later.

Please advise, thanks!
posted by puckish to Work & Money (8 answers total)
Depending on what the work is, they may not need a permit for the work.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:24 AM on November 22, 2013

Response by poster: It's masonry
posted by puckish at 7:27 AM on November 22, 2013

Masonry? You mean terracotta roof tiles?
posted by misterbrandt at 7:32 AM on November 22, 2013

Response by poster: No, I mean they are working on the brickwork.
posted by puckish at 7:43 AM on November 22, 2013

Are they repointing the brick? How is it "roof work"? Regardless, it would be good to be able to describe the scope/extent of exactly what they are doing if you are going to speak to anyone about your concerns, so that you can communicate the magnitude of the problem.

I would probably put in a call to whatever state licensing agency governs child care operations in MA, and possibly your insurance agent/carrier as well. I would assume that you would not want to allow kids outside while work is ongoing, but inside would be okay, but again, I am not exactly clear what kind of work they are doing.
posted by misterbrandt at 7:51 AM on November 22, 2013

It's unclear what aspect of this you think is unsafe, especially if they've already roped off the affected area with caution tape. Dumpsters and scaffolding are not safety-related, nor does the lack of a "posted" permit mean that they don't have one. That is, if I get some plumbing or electrical work done that requires a permit and an inspection, in many jurisdictions there's no requirement that this be put up on a signpost.

This is in addition to the confusion over what you are calling the roof. Masonry sounds like a wall, not a roof.
posted by kiltedtaco at 8:10 AM on November 22, 2013

If you want to know if they have a permit, give the local Building Department a call. Or a visit. They should be able to tell you what is required, too.

Is anything they are doing disturbing painted surfaces, especially painted surfaces inside your space or near an exterior play area? If so, you may have a legit concern if the contractors aren't RRP trained -- also, if they're disturbing over a certain square footage/area they should have given notifications to parents of children under six.
posted by pie ninja at 8:19 AM on November 22, 2013

Best answer: I'm the OHS person for a construction company.

What do your local OHS regulations say about working at heights? It's different everywhere. Here, anybody working over 3 meters must have a two-day approved training course. It's the law. Our workers would have the proper administrative, engineering, or PPE controls in place before working at heights but the regulations vary greatly from region to region. There should be an OHS number you can call if you think people are working unsafely. Ours here is anonymous. They will come out and do an inspection. Even with these regulations in place, there are still blatant violations all over the place. Screw that. Everybody deserves to work safely.

We always get the proper permits. We almost never post them where anybody could see them. That part means nothing. Call the building department in your municipality to ask.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:38 AM on November 22, 2013

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