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Building/Property History Systems

NOTE:  Some municipalities in the state use automated systems to keep track of various functions of their offices regarding building and property regulation.  These systems, which we are referring to generically as "Building/Property History Systems," contain information in such areas as planning, zoning, building permits and inspections, fire safety, code enforcement, violations and complaints.  In general, these systems do not replace existing hard copy-based systems, but do create some of the forms and other paper records in these files.  In addition, these systems contain data files and other electronic records not found in manual systems.  The items below are meant to cover not only electronic records contained in these automated systems, but also maps, reports and other system output maintained in both traditional hard copy and electronic format as well.

More importantly, these systems often contain summary information on various municipal activity regarding a specific building and/or parcel of real property.  The building/property history data file, listed below, may contain retrospective information on building permit issuance, building inspection, certificate of occupancy issuance, site plan review or other planning actions, zoning variances, special use permits and fire inspections for a single parcel of property over a period of time.

*1.[657] Building/property history data file contained in building/property history system, and related records, created for informational and reference purposes, containing information on such areas as building permit issuance, building inspection, certificate of occupancy issuance, site plan review or other planning actions, zoning variances, special use permits and fire inspections:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

 

NOTE: Municipalities should consider permanent retention of the basic data elements of these building/property history systems for all parcels of property in the municipality.  This information may be useful for long-range planning purposes, and for community, urban planning and architectural history research. More importantly, this data provides for ease of access to summary data on individual parcels of real property and the structures located on them.  In addition, this data file may be used to access more detailed records maintained in electronic data output or maps, plans, permits and other paper records in inactive storage.  Contact SARA for additional advice.

*2.[658]

Street address/parcel number authority data file, used to supply building/property history system with accurate, up-to-date information on real property tax parcel numbers, property owners' names and addresses, parcel sizes, E-911 or other street addresses, and other essential data necessary for system to operate:
RETENTION:        Retain until superseding or updated file received

 

NOTE:  This data is often received from an assessor's or tax office.  See items covering real property data systems in the Taxation and Assessment section.

*3.[659] Lists, reports, studies, queries, searches for information, special project records and analyses created from data contained in one or more data files in building/property history system
 

a. Final reports and studies resulting from analysis of system data, including background materials and supporting documentation containing significant information on real property and structures located thereon, used for such purposes as long-range planning, change of zoning boundaries and regulations, or planning infrastructure improvements or new facility construction:
RETENTION:        6 years after project completed, or after date of final entry in record

 

 

NOTE: Appraise these records for historical significance prior to disposition.  Records for important projects have historical value and should be retained permanently.  Contact State Archives for additional advice. 

 

b. Reports and studies resulting from analysis of system data, including background materials and supporting documentation, queries, searches for information, lists, logs or other internal information records, containing routine information on real property and structures located thereon, or used to produce final reports and studies:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

NOTE:  Queries conducted in automated systems are not considered "records" unless the query and/or its results are saved in electronic or manual format.  See also related items in the Electronic Data Processing section.

 

Building and Construction (Regulation and Inspection)

NOTE:  Applications for permits necessary for connection to public water supply system or municipal sewer, for individual water supply or sewage disposal system, for groundwater drainage, and for soil or stream disturbance or realty subdivision construction, are found in the Environmental Health section of this Schedule.  For additional records dealing with historic preservation, see item no. 336 in the Miscellaneous section.

1.[58] Master summary record, including index, log or journal, covering building code complaints, inspections, investigations, and violations:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT
2.[59] Housing maintenance or building inspection records, including but not limited to complaints, inspection reports, notice of violation, cumulative building inspection record, appeal or review and final disposition of case
 

a. For school, public building, multifamily dwelling, commercial or industrial structure, or hazardous structure:
RETENTION:        6 years after building no longer exists, but not less than 21 years

  b. For single family home:
RETENTION:        6 years after last entry in record

NOTE: Building inspection records relating to building permit issuance are covered by item no. 60, below.

**3.[917] Fire safety inspection records
 

a. Master summary record of inspections performed:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

b. Report on inspection at school, public building, multifamily dwelling, or commercial or industrial facility and notice of violation:
RETENTION:        21 years

NOTE:  If fire safety inspection records are combined or interfiled with building inspection records, use item no. 59a, immediately above.

 

c. Report on inspection of single family dwelling and notice of violation:
RETENTION:        6 years

*4.[660] Building inspection data file contained in building/property history system, and related records, created for informational and reference purposes, containing information on building inspections not related to building permit issuance, certificate of occupancy issuance, fire inspections, and other relevant detailed information:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

NOTE: Municipalities should consider permanent retention of the basic data elements of this building inspection data for all parcels of property in the municipality,unless that data is preserved by the building/property history system overall summary data file (see item no. 657, above.)  This information may be useful for long-range planning purposes, and for community, urban planning and architectural history research.  More importantly, this data provides for ease of access to summary building permit data on individual parcels of real property and the structures located on them.  In addition, this data file may be used to access more detailed building permit records in electronic data output or maps, plans, permits and other paper records in inactive storage.  Contact SARA for additional advice.

*5.[60]

Building permit and certificate of occupancy issuance records

NOTE: Building permit files often contain plans, sketches, photographs, and other records that provide valuable information on individual structures.  These records may have continuing value for historical or other research, and SARA suggests they be retained permanently.

  a. Master summary record of applications for building, plumbing, electrical, demolition or related permits, or for certificates of occupancy granted:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT
  b. Log or other chronological list recording permits or certificates of occupancy issued:
RETENTION:        1 year after last entry in record, or 1 year after posting
 

c. Building, plumbing, electrical, demolition or related permit file, including application and supporting materials; plans, maps and drawings; specifications; inspection reports; copies of all required permits and approvals; affidavit of compliance or completion of work; records of appeal when permit is denied; certificate of occupancy and correspondence

When permit is granted:
RETENTION:        6 years after building no longer exists

When permit is denied:
RETENTION:        6 years after final decision

When application is discontinued, has lapsed or is incomplete:
RETENTION:        90 days after date of most recent entry in record

 

For non-structural modifications to shopping mall, office complex or similar structure (modifications not involving changes to fire suppression or alarm systems), when permit is granted:

 

RETENTION:        10 years

NOTE: Certain records covered by this item may be included under item no. 661, below, such as in instances where they are maintained in electronic format and not created as hard-copy output and included in the building permit file.  In these cases, the electronic records covered by item no. 661 must be retained as long as specified by this item.

  d.       Certificate of occupancy and application when not related to building permit application:
RETENTION:        6 years after building no longer exists

 

  e.       Detailed construction specifications submitted as part of building permit application:
RETENTION:        6 years after denial of permit or completion of work

 

*6.[661]

Building permit issuance data file contained in building/property history system, and related records, created for informational and reference purposes, containing information on applications for and issuance of building permits, including related inspections, certificate of occupancy issuance, and other relevant detailed information:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

NOTE: Municipalities should consider permanent retention of the basic data elements of this building permit issuance data for all parcels of property in the municipality, unless that data is preserved by the master summary record (see item no. 58, above.)  This information may be useful for long-range planning purposes, and for community, urban planning and architectural history research. More importantly, this data provides for ease of access to summary building permit data on individual parcels of real property and the structures located on them.  In addition, this data file may be used to access more detailed building permit records in electronic data output or maps, plans, permits and other paper records in inactive storage.  Contact SARA for additional advice in this area.

7.[61] Building condemnation and demolition files, including application, copy of permit, correspondence, and notice of condemnation:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT
8.[62] Contractors' liability insurance records
 

a. Certificate of insurance or copy of insurance policy:
RETENTION:        6 years after denial or expiration of relevant permit

 

b. Master summary record of contractors doing business in municipality and their insurance coverage:
RETENTION:        1 year after superseded or obsolete

*9.[662]

Building complaints/violations records, including data file contained in building/property history system, and related records, containing information on complaint tracking and violation processing, and other relevant information:
RETENTION:        6 years

NOTE:  For citizen complaints and requests for services, not covered by items in this section, see item no. 29 in the General section.  For sanitary code violations, see item no. 213 in the Environmental Health section.

NOTE: Municipalities should consider longer retention of the basic data elements of this complaints/violations data for all parcels of property in the municipality,unless that data is preserved by the building/property history system overall summary data file (see item no. 657, above.)  This information may be useful for long-range planning purposes in conjunction with building permit issuance and building inspection data.  Contact SARA for additional advice.

 

Planning

1.[397] Comprehensive plan development file, including but not limited to official copy of comprehensive plan and all background surveys, studies, reports, and draft versions of plan:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT
*2.[663] Planning action data file contained in building/property history system, and related records, created for informational and reference purposes, containing information on mandatory or discretionary planning review, planning projects, and other relevant detailed information:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

NOTE: Municipalities should consider permanent retention of the basic data elements of this planning action data for all parcels of property in the municipality,unless that data is preserved by the building/property history system overall summary data file (see item no. 657, above.)  This information may be useful for long-range planning purposes, and for community and land use history research. More importantly, this data provides for ease of access to summary building permit data on individual parcels of real property and the structures located on them.  In addition, this data file may be used to access more detailed building permit records in electronic data output or maps, plans, permits and other paper records in inactive storage.  Contact SARA for additional advice.

3.[398] Planning project or program file for project or program developed by or for planning agency
  a.       Final report and essential supporting information used to develop report, including but not limited to maps, plans, technical memoranda and environmental impact studies:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT
  b.       Background material, including but not limited to notes, memos, worksheets and correspondence:
RETENTION:        6 years

 

4.[399] Master summary record (log or register) maintained by planning agency to record receipt of planning or zoning reviews and projects, and to record subsequent action taken:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

5.[400] Geographic reference file maintained by planning agency for internal reference purposes, usually arranged by name of government agency or other service organization:
RETENTION:        0 after obsolete
*6.[401]

Mandatory planning review case file for required review of site plan, zoning variance, special permit, change of zoning, subdivision creation or enlargement, municipal planning action, or other required review, including but not limited to maps, plans, sketches, photographs, engineering reports, environmental impact statements and studies, copies of zoning records, project narrative, correspondence, and record of final determination

  a.       Subdivision, historic structure, major commercial or industrial development, or capital construction, where application is approved or denied (except records covered by part "d"):
RETENTION:        PERMANENT
  b.       Subdivision, historic structure, major commercial or industrial development, or capital construction, where application is withdrawn or abandoned (exceptrecords covered by part "d"):
RETENTION:        10 years after last entry
  c.       Any other mandatory review:
RETENTION:        6 years after last entry
  d.       Detailed construction specifications, receipts and transmittal documents, lists of abutting properties, superseded versions of plans and drawings, routine correspondence and internal notes and memoranda from all files:
RETENTION:        6 years after last entry

 

 

e.       Informal consultation records, created as a result of informal meeting with prospective applicant, prior to actual submission of application:
RETENTION:        1 year after last entry

NOTE:  "Subdivision," as used in this item, means the division of one parcel of land into two or more lots, blocks, plots or sites.

7.[402] Discretionary planning review case file, including review of planning review cases, Federal or other aid projects, environmental impact or similar studies, or other reviews, including but not limited to application, correspondence, copies of local planning or zoning records, maps, plans, sketches, and other supporting materials
  a.       When review is carried out, and comments are forwarded by planning agency: 
RETENTION:        3 years after last entry

 

 

  b.       When no comments are forwarded by planning agency:
RETENTION:        1 year after receipt of request to review

 

Zoning

NOTE: For additional records dealing with historic preservation, see item no. 336 in the Miscellaneous section.

*1.[664] Master summary record (log or register) maintained by zoning agency to record receipt of zoning variance and special use permit applications, change of zoning applications for individual parcels, and other zoning activity, and to record subsequent action taken:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT
2.[648] Zoning maps, and all updates:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT
*3.[665] Zoning action data file contained in building/property history system, and related records, created for informational and reference purposes, containing information on zoning variances, special use permits, and other relevant detailed information:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

NOTE: Municipalities should consider permanent retention of the basic data elements of this zoning action data for all parcels of property in the municipality, unlessthat data is preserved by the building/property history system overall summary data file (see item no. [657], above.)  This information may be useful for long-range planning purposes, and for community and land use history research. More importantly, this data provides for ease of access to summary building permit data on individual parcels of real property and the structures located on them.  In addition, this data file may be used to access more detailed building permit records in electronic data output or maps, plans, permits and other paper records in inactive storage.  Contact SARA for additional advice.

*4.[649] Change of zoning records, including application, petition, protest, hearing minutes, preliminary and final reports and correspondence, relating to changes proposed in zoning boundaries or regulations:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

NOTE:  Change of zoning records relating to changes in zoning classification for individual parcels of property, not affecting other parcels or larger areas, are covered by item no. 650, below, as if these were zoning variance applications.

*5.[650] Zoning variance or special permit file, including application and supporting materials, hearing results, decision and appeal records
 

a. For commercial, industrial, historic structure or multi-unit residential variance or permit (except records covered by part "c"):
RETENTION: PERMANENT

 

b. For single-unit residential variance or permit:
RETENTION:  25 years after date of last entry

NOTE:  Certain single-unit residential variance and permit files may be significant because they set legal precedents and should be retained permanently.  Those involving the definition of what constitutes a "family" may be particularly important.

 

c. Detailed construction specifications, receipts and transmittal documents, lists of abutting properties, superseded versions of plans and drawings, routine correspondence and internal notes and memoranda from all files:
RETENTION:        6 years after last entry

 

 

d. Informal consultation records, created as a result of informal meeting with prospective applicant, prior to actual submission of application:
RETENTION:        1 year after last entry

6.[651]

Notification of proposed zoning change, received from adjacent town:
RETENTION:        1 year

7.[652] Zoning ordinance violation records, not related to zoning variance or special permit application
 

a. For alleged but unfounded violation:
RETENTION: 1 year

 

b. Violation files:
RETENTION: 6 years after date of last entry in record

 

c. Master summary record of violations:
RETENTION: PERMANENT

 

 

Last updated
Wed, 2015-10-14 15:16