Town of Brewster, Massachusetts


Section II - Public Safety: 2411 Building

Mission Statement

The Brewster Building Department functions to encourage public health, environmental protection, energy conservation, and life safety through the administration and enforcement of the Massachusetts State Building Code 780 CMR, as well as the MA Electrical, Plumbing and Gas Codes. In addition, the Building Department is responsible for enforcement of the Zoning Bylaws of the Town of Brewster, which are intended to regulate land use, protect Brewster's inland and coastal waterways, wetlands, and watersheds, and preserve its unique resources as a coastal New England town. The Department also administers and enforces the regulations of the Old King's Highway Regional Historic District Commission, in conjunction with Brewster's local Old King's Highway committee. The mission of the Brewster Building Department is to protect the citizens and visitors of the town in their connections and uses with structures and land throughout the community.

Accomplishments for FY2022

  • Despite senior staff retirements in Building, the Building and Fire Departments successfully completed inspections on and closed the permits for the construction of a new 17,000 square foot privately owned performing arts practice facility. This project was permitted and run under Control Construction as required by code.
  • The Building Department is overseeing two large-scale housing development projects – one being an addition of 30 units at Brewster Woods in two new buildings, the other being the conversion of the former EPOCH Nursing facility to 132 senior living units. Both projects are well under way.
  • The Brewster Building Department is in final preparations to launch its online permitting platform. The staff has been working diligently both on its own as well as with the program vendor to hone details and establish the revised launch date considering the slowdowns caused by the COVID pandemic as well as those caused by recent staff turnover.
  • Building had been deemed an essential service under the state of emergency issued by the Governor, the Brewster Building Department has continued to operate fully, including performing all field inspections throughout the various COVID lockdown phases of the pandemic.
  • The Building Department has collectively issued 1135 building permits and completed over 1144 inspections.
  • The Department has been transitioning to a new Building Commissioner and Local inspector, both of whom are new hires necessitated by retirements. It is also in the process of hiring a new Senior Department Assistant with an anticipated start date of February 15, 2022.
  • Many changes and updates are being made to forms, policies and procedures to increase the quality of customer service, increase the efficiency of field inspections, reduce administrative workload and processing times, and facilitate the systematic cataloging of records into digital storage.
  • A new permit application filing system has been implemented that includes a real-time list which shows the review status of all permit applications received. This allows all staff to be able to instantly locate a permit application as well as its position in the queue as it waits for review, or as it waits for more information or required documents after review.
  • The Brewster Building Department looks forward to helping other Town Departments assess close to 100 structures at the former Cape Cod Sea Camps campuses.

Goals & Initiatives for FY2023

  • The Department will undergo a comprehensive review of its Fee Schedule, both to ensure that the Fees remain reasonably consistent with those of our neighboring communities, and to ensure that the schedule is structured to be as simple and easy to understand as possible.
  • The Brewster Building Department will continue to streamline its administrative processes in an ongoing effort to operate with more efficiency and transparency, reduce review and processing times, and improve ease of access and use by the public, other town departments, and other governmental agencies.
  • Similarly, the Department will continuously expand the use and access of the online permitting portal program after initial launch to the public. This will also include, with the help of the Brewster I.T. Department, the installation of a mobile, secure computer workstation at the public side of the front counter to familiarize customers with the online permitting process, answer questions and provide real-time solutions to issues that some applicants may have.

Budget Highlights

  • The budget represents a $4,214 (1.00%) decrease over the FY22 budget, primarily due to changes in long-time personnel.
  • An increase of $10,000 in part-time wages is provided for anticipated increases in the number of inspections as well as to more actually reflect the past year expenditures related to the part-time Inspectors.
  • An increase of $50 is provided for for dues, memberships and subscriptions, in order to cover an increase in these fees.