Building Department & Zoning Enforcement Office

UPDATE 3.26.2020 - Construction Worker Protocol from Governor Baker.  Please click the below link for further information....

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, effective today, March 17, 2020, the Town Hall buildings are now closed to the public until April 7th (updated from 4.6.20 as of 3.19.2020 per Board of Selectmen) however, we are still working our normal office hours; (updated as of 3.19.20 - Nelson and Cindy will be working remotely and when in the office, spuratically.  The best way of contact is to call the office 508.347.2505 or email Cindy at  We will continue to process permits.  We will continue to pick up permits/plans left in the drop box; daily at 10am and 4pm.

To submit permit applications, plans or other documents, please either mail to the Town of Sturbridge, 308 Main Street, Sturbridge, MA 01566, email the paperwork or you can leave your permits, plans in our drop box & bin just outside our building located at 301 Main Street, Sturbridge.    We are checking these locations on an hourly basis.

For inspections, we are working on a critical need basis at this time.

Building Inspection:  any structural, commercial, new construction or complex project will require an in-person inspection scheduled by appointment.  All other more simple inspections (siding, roof, fences) we will require a few pictures emailed to our office.  You will receive a “pass or fail” email back from the inspector.

Plumbing and/or Gas Inspection:  any new construction or complex project will be an in-person inspection scheduled by the inspector, Peter Starkus, directly at 508.735.5277.  Any simple, fixture replacement inspection we will require a few pictures emailed to our office.  You will receive a “pass or fail” email back from the inspector.

Electrical Inspection:  any service, finals, new construction inspection will require an in-person inspection scheduled by appointment. Any simple, fixture replacement inspection, we will require a few pictures emailed to our office.  You will receive a “pass or fail” email back from the inspector.

Send all email pictures to Cindy Forgit at, please include the property address.

Permit applications can be found on our Departmental webpage (Building), left hand column under "Permit Forms: Applications and Documents".  We appreciate your business in this town and thank you for your patience and understanding as we work in a different way through this everchanging process.

THE NEW MA 2020 ELECTRICAL CODE GOES INTO EFFECT JAN 2020.  HERE IS A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE CHANGES FOR MOST RESIDENTIAL 1) SERVICES NOW REQUIRE "FIREMAN'S DISCONNECT", 2) SURGE SUPPRESSOR MUST BE INSTALLED ON NEW & REPLACEMENT SERVICES & 3) ALL CIRCUTS IN A FINISHED BASEMENT AREA MUST BE GFCI-AFCI PROTECTED.  There are 25 major changes which will affect all electricians, I urge you all to attend your continue education classes early in this code cycle, as these changes are substantial and will affect contractors in the bidding process.  Clyde Gagnon, Wire Inspector 

Energy Codes & Standards Update -  Mar 5, 2020  c/o MA Saves Energy Code Technical Support Program

Massachusetts adopted the 2018 IECC, what’s next? Last month we announced the Commonwealth’s implementation of the 2018 IECC with Massachusetts amendments, which began on February 7th and will become mandatory on August 7th, 2020. This change does not, however, change the basic tenets of the Stretch Energy Code. This newsletter addresses recent activity regarding updating the stretch code and what the future might hold.  
Stretch Code and Net Zero-Stretch Code Development
During both of the 2019 public hearings held by the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS), an overwhelming number of attendees, including members of the Massachusetts legislature, voiced their support for the development of a net-zero stretch code. Subsequently, the BBRS tasked their Energy Advisory Committee (EAC) with defining “net-zero” and providing the BBRS with a rough outline of what a net-zero building code may look like.  

In December 2019, AIA Massachusetts submitted their ZERO Code, a standard for new commercial, institutional, and mid- to high-rise residential buildings, to the BBRS as their proposal for a net-zero stretch code for commercial buildings. The BBRS referred this to the EAC with the request to determine its feasibility, cost impacts, and legality.  

The EAC met only sparingly in 2019 but meetings have picked up steam in 2020, so it is expected that things will move more quickly in the coming months. 

In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), which is tasked with creating, maintaining, and updating the Stretch Energy Code is working on their own proposal, which is also expected to address the goal of net zero energy construction.  

780 CMR 10th Edition Development 
Outside of the energy code, the BBRS in mid-2019 decided to skip the 2018 I-Codes for the 10th Edition Building Code and move straight to the 2021 suite of codes. ICC has not yet published the 2021 codes, but the BBRS would like to see the 10th Edition in place in early 2021.   

We will continue to keep a close eye on the advancements of code development in Massachusetts and, as always, will be sure to pass along updates throughout 2020. 

UPDATE:  Feb 2020:  Status-Quo Remains as such:  As of October 1, 2019 we have a new permitting software system for which we are still experiencing on-going bugs.  At this time, we are unable to entertain on-line applications and/or payment.  Please continue to submit and pay via by mail or walk-in.  We apologize for the inconvenience while we continue to work on these issues. 

The Building Department has an open door policy. If a citizen, taxpayer, homeowner, etc., has a question or concern, please give our staff a call so we can address the matter. A staff member is available most anytime during office hours, no appointment is necessary unless you are in need of meeting with the Building Commissioner and/or the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

  • Building Inspector:  By appointment.
  • Electrical Inspector:  By appointment, inspections after 3:15pm
  • Plumbing/Gas Inspector: By appointment, please contact Peter Starkus directly.
  • To Schedule an Appointment: Call 508.347.2505 or email the day prior to your inspection or between 7am-9am the day of requested inspection.

To find a GIS Map of a property, please follow these steps: 

  • At "Home Page" of the Town Website, see the left hand side of the page under "Sturbridge NE Crossroads"
  • Then click on "GIS/Maps"
  • Then click on the link for "On Line GIS"
  • Then click on "Agree", then at the next screen, enter the street number & name in the top left hand corner and hit "enter" key

*** STRETCH CODE ADOPTED BY TOWN OF STURBRIDGE; EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2018   For clarification: Stretch Code Requirements go into effect January 1, 2019, not July 1,2018.  **

Staff Contacts

Name Title Phone
Nelson Burlingame Bldg Commissioner/Zoning Official
Cindy Sowa Forgit Administrative Assistant
Peter Starkus Plumbing Inspector (508) 735-5277
Clyde Gagnon Electrical Inspector
Robert Garon Asst.Inspector