Notification Prior to Construction or Demolition
By Joshua Philbrook, Construction Safety Specialist
When beginning an interior renovation project, owners, architects and contractors sort through a laundry list of items from basic structural and utility needs to the final brush strokes of wall color and finishes. What they may not discuss, however, is whether or not they need to notify the Department of Environmental Protection regarding the demolition and renovation activities necessary for making their project dream a reality.
The MassDEP requires that an owner or contractor (“person responsible”) file form BWP AQ 06, "Notification Prior to Construction or Demolition" ten (10) days prior to the commencement of any construction or demolition activity.
The Secretary of State’s Code of Massachusetts’s Regulations pertaining to air quality (310 CMR 7.0) require that any industrial or commercial facility notify MassDEP of construction or demolition activities ten days prior to the commencement of work through the submittal of the BWP AQ 06 form (Notification Prior to Construction or Demolition). The language of 310 CMR 7.09 reads:
"(2) No person responsible for any construction or demolition of an industrial, commercial, or institutional building or residential building with 20 or more dwelling units, shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit emissions there from which cause or contribute to a condition of air pollution. Said person shall notify the Department in writing ten working days prior to the initiation of said construction or demolition operation. The ten working day advance notice period will be waived in the event of emergency demolition necessary to prevent a public health or safety hazard."
Most facilities fall within the purview of this regulation, however, definitional questions of what constitutes air pollution, construction and demolition lie at the crux of the confusion as to whether or not this regulation pertains to interior construction and demolition projects. The State defines air pollution as "the presence in the ambient air space of one or more air contaminants or combinations thereof in such concentrations and of such duration as to: (a) cause a nuisance; (b) be injurious, or be on the basis of current information, potentially injurious to human or animal life, to vegetation, or to property; or (c) unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property or the conduct of business."
With regards to construction and demolition, the CMR provides the following definitions:
Construction means any physical change or change in the method of operation (including fabrication, erection, installation, demolition, or modification of an emissions unit) which would result in an increase in potential emissions.
Demolition/Renovation means any operation which involves the wrecking, taking out, removal, stripping, or altering in any way (including repairing, restoring, drilling, cutting, sanding, sawing, scratching, scraping, or digging into) or construction of one or more facility components or facility component insulation. This term includes load and non-load supporting structural members of a facility.
While not all encompassing, the definitions provided by the State define a majority of industrial and commercial renovation and construction projects. Assumptions, often made, that only large scale demolition projects with the potential to effect outside air quality, such as razing of an entire complex, are incorrect. By definition, any activity that has the potential to disrupt the ambient air of any public space, whether interior or exterior, fall within the scope of this regulation.
Consequently, given the loose definition of air pollution, most interior and exterior renovation projects require the DEP Notification. Through the notification, facility owners not only ensure their proper regulatory footing but elevate the best practices of their construction and renovation programs and deter future liability claims.