Informational Alert | Coronavirus Updates

Inspectional Services will be open to members of the public, by appointment only. Appointments are available with building inspectors, sanitary inspectors, housing inspectors, and East and West Cambridge Trade Inspectors, as well as for general administration and zoning services (researching building files, submitting payment or documents, etc.). Appointments can be made online, by phone at 617-349-6100, or by email at

Inspectional Services

Aerial photo of Kendall Square

The City of Cambridge issued an Amended Temporary Emergency Construction Order as of 6-22-20 that applies to all construction activity on both public and private property. Read More. The City has also amended its guidance to contractors. This new guidance is part of the City’s continuing efforts and commitments to safeguard the health of construction workers, all other workers associated with the construction industry and members of the public. Read More. All businesses in the state of MA must develop a written control plan outlining how its workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation in the COVID-19 reopening period. For new construction permits, click here. For addition/alteration permits click here


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.

Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement

Service Requests

Enter a service request via Commonwealth Connect for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.