Engineering FAQ's

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions of the Engineering Division.

How do I request records from the Engineering Division?

Record requests may be made in person at Public Works during normal business hours.  Records may also be requested by sending an email request to James Wilcox (  A small fee for time and materials is due at the time the request is filled.

How do I request assignment or verification of a street address?

All requests for assignment or verification of street addresses must be made in writing to James Wilcox, Director of Engineering Services,  Requests are generally completed in 5 business days.

When is an Engineering Division review of a building permit application needed?

Engineering Division review of building permit applications generally requires 5 business days.  Larger or complicated projects may require a longer review time.
See procedure below:

        Criteria for Site Plan Review by Public Works Department of Building Permit Application

The purpose of this procedure is to help insure that the necessary coordination has taken place between the developer and the Cambridge Public Works Department during the design process and prior to the issuance of the building permit.  The objective is to help minimize future problems thereby avoiding potential added cost and delay in project completion.

In you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, Public Works will need to review and initial your building permit application and site/utility plan prior to submission and processing by the Inspectional Services Department.

  1. Is this a new building or an addition greater than 150 sq. feet?                              Yes______No_____
  2. Is this a rehab/renovation of an industrial/commercial property of a
    residential property greater than 5,000 sq. feet?                                                         Yes______No_____
  3. Are you adding or altering roof or foundation drains that currently discharge
    or are proposed to discharge, into the City's sanitary or storm water system?    Yes______No_____
  4. Is the use of the property being changed from a residential or business use
    group to another use group?                                                                                           Yes______No_____
  5. Do you plan to abandon or replace the existing sanitary or storm sewer?            Yes______No_____
  6. Are you planning to dewater the site, either during construction or on a
    permanent basis?                                                                                                             Yes______No_____
  7. Are new paved areas being provided as part of this project?                                   Yes______No_____
  8. Does project require a new or modified curb cut or is there a need to
    abandon  an existing curb cut?                            


How do I obtain a temporary construction dewatering permit?

The process of obtaining a construction dewatering permit is determined by the location of the site.  Sites in combined sewer areas are required to obtain a permit from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.  Sites within separated sewer and drainage area are required to obtain a Remediation General Permit from the  United States EPA.  Once an MWRA or EPA permit is obtained, the applicant may apply for a permit with the City of Cambridge.  The entire dewatering application permit process generally takes 8 to 12 weeks.

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm