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Massachusetts City Near Boston Casts Unanimous Vote for Safer Building Codes

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Last week, Waltham, MA, city councilors voted unanimously to call on the state of Massachusetts to implement tighter restrictions on the size of wood-frame residential buildings after a massive ten-alarm fire that destroyed a wooden apartment complex under construction in late July. The fire was the Boston-area’s second major wood-frame fire in a month and the fourth since the start of June. The incidents come at a time of increasing concern over the use combustible building materials in the low- to mid-rise residential building market, as a number of wood-frame apartment complexes have been the site of notable fires in Charlotte, NC; Warner Robins, GA;  Midvale, UT; Oakland, Dorchester, Lawrence and Lowell, MA; East Hollywood, CA; Waterbury, CT, Emeryville, CA; St. Petersburg, FL; Arlington, VA; College Park, MD; Overland Park, KS; Raleigh, NC; and Maplewood, NJ. There have been dozens over the last few years.

"The buildings made of this material have shown a propensity to erupt into a conflagration," Waltham Council Vice President Robert G. Logan said in a Boston Globe article. "So I think the state needs to go back and rethink whether or not to allow that kind of construction, especially in buildings of that size."

Through the Build with Strength initiative, NRMCA has resources to help members and state affiliates advocate for resilient and safer construction, including model legislation, talking points, public relations, and other key strategies. To learn more about how NRMCA can assist in state advocacy, please contact NRMCA Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs, John Loyer at 703-675-7603 or

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