Inspectional Services

Aerial photo of Kendall Square

Due to statewide emergency orders limiting the size of public gatherings in response to COVID-19, and in accordance with Governor Charles D. Baker's Executive Order of March 12, 2020, temporarily amending certain requirements of the Open Meeting Law, as well as the City of Cambridge Temporary Emergency Restrictions on City Public Meetings, City Events and City Permitted Events Due to COVID-19 dated May 27, 2020, meetings of the Planning Board will be held with remote participation until further notice. Meetings will be closed to in-person attendance. Read More


The City of Cambridge issued a temporary emergency order allowing restaurants to sell groceries directly to consumers during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. Inspectional Services has released mandatory guidelines to restaurants for this temporary service. Read More


The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) is responsible for the enforcement all laws and related City ordinances that pertain to the Massachusetts State Building Code and certain articles of the State Sanitary Code.

State law requires registration of short-term rentals and payment of State excise tax.  Learn more

Tips and FAQs

How can I view Inspectional Services records and archives?

Inspectional Services Department record room is located on the lower level at 831 Massachusetts Avenue.

Record room is open:
  • Monday - Thursday: 9:30am - Noon, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
  • Friday: 9:30am - Noon
All available records of BZA decisions; building, plumbing and electrical permits issued; plans submitted at time of application or completion of work: restaurant inspections; housing inspections; certificates of occupancy and certificates of inspection are stored in the records room.

What actions are recommended to control rodents?

  • Store garbage in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight lids.
  • Place trash outside shortly before pickup. Don't leave plastic garbage bags out overnight.
  • Remove weeds and debris near buildings. Don't give rodents a place to hide.
  • Store open food in metal or glass containers with tight lids.
  • Don't leave extra pet food out. Store it in a tight container.
  • Sweep up food remains, litter, and trash inside and outside your home.
  • Inspect your basement and house for cracks and holes; seal them with mortar.
  • Make sure you have screens on windows; inspect windows and screens for holes.
  • Keep outside doors closed; use metal trim to prevent rodents from gnawing and entering¬†underneath.
  • Don't provide hiding places for rodents; store materials such as lumber and boxes on a rack¬†with a clean, open area underneath. Get rid of unused materials.

When is a building permit required?

Anyone seeking to construct, alter, or demolish a structure or install a sign must first obtain a building permit from a building inspector at the Inspectional Services Department. The building permit must be obtained before the start of any work and must be prominently posted at the job site.

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