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Ordinance 9-9.12 of the Boston Municipal Code

In 1995, the city of Boston issued an ordinance requiring regular façade inspections of its buildings. The basis for the ordinance, which is officially referred to as Ordinance 9-9.12 of the Boston Municipal Code, is the ASTM E2270. The ASTM E2270 is also known as the Standard Practice for Periodic Inspection of Building Facades for Unsafe Conditions. The intent of this ordinance is to keep the public safe from potential falling debris due to failure of façade components. It is enforced by the Inspectional Services Department (ISD).

Ordinance 9-9.12 Requirements

Each city has building ordinances with different requirements. Below are the scope, frequency and reporting requirements specific to Boston’s Ordinance 9-9.12.


Similar to the ASTM standard, Ordinance 9-9.12 breaks inspections down into two categories. Once the inspections are conducted, a report must be filed with the ISD within 30 days.

  • 70’-125’ Tall – Buildings in this category only need to be inspected for unsafe conditions visually. This can be accomplished by using binoculars and/or a high-powered lens on a camera from ground or roof level, or an adjacent structure.
  • High-Rise Buildings (Above 125’) – Building inspections in the high-rise category must include a close-range visual inspection with at least one drop from grade to roof level along each elevation of the building. These drops are often conducted utilizing suspended scaffolding, rope access, or a boom lift.


For occupied buildings, inspections are only required once every 5 years. Unoccupied buildings are required to be inspected once each year.


Reports of inspections documenting the building’s condition must be written by a registered architect or engineer and should be filed with the City of Boston. The inspector is encouraged to follow ASTM E2270 standards. The ASTM E2270 standards state that the report should contain information such as:

  • The service history of the building
  • A statement of water tightness
  • Specific, detailed photos of the deleterious conditions

Consequences of Late or Incomplete Filings

Once the report has been filed, the building owner will receive a certificate of proof for the exterior wall inspection. It is issued to be displayed in the lobby of the building. O>If the report is late or not filed, the building owner will be fined $100 for each subsequent day the report is not received.

Partner With a Firm When You’re Ready

Sullivan Engineering recommends partnering with an architecture or engineering firm that specializes in exterior restoration services when you are ready to have your building inspected. A professional firm like Sullivan Engineering will know exactly what to look for and be able to identify conditions such as superficial cracks and deterioration. They will ensure that these conditions will not be mislabeled, and more importantly, that unsafe conditions posing threats to public safety will not go unnoticed and unreported.

At Sullivan Engineering, our purpose is to empower others to improve their quality of life. We support our clients by alleviating their workload, allowing them to focus on other priorities, all while strictly adhering to our core values. While we continue to grow, our emphasis on providing quick turnarounds, practical solutions and delivering a consistent, exceptional experience at every opportunity remains as important as ever. To learn more about us and our core values and determine if we are the right partner for you, visit our About Us page.

When you are ready to discuss your façade inspection needs, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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This information is provided as a courtesy to those reading it. Since this is an evolving ordinance please consult with the City of Boston for updates or contact Sullivan Engineering, LLC.