Laboratory Requirements



The demand for biotech laboratory research and development led the City of Watertown to be a desirable location for new facilities. Many biotech laboratories utilize or generate radioactive, flammable, infectious, hazardous, or toxic chemicals and substances. These chemicals and substances can create conditions that have the latent and actual capacity to inflict grave harm in the event of a public health or public safety emergency.


The provisions for laboratory registration shall apply to any building, room, or workplace designed and/or used for the development, observation, or conducting of scientific, chemical, or biological experimentation or research that involves the usage or storage of hazardous materials or chemicals. Laboratories that fall under NFPA 45 or ones required to register or be permitted by the Watertown Board of Health shall be covered by this section. (See the “useful information” section for assistance on whether this section applies to your facility)


Requiring laboratories to register with the Watertown Fire Department will ensure the public safety and public health officials have the information needed to respond to an emergency adequately and effectively at a laboratory facility. This information is critical to the safety of laboratory staff, the public, and emergency responders. Facilities maintaining accurate records of hazardous materials and having the proper documentation detailing the facility’s hazardous materials strategy will expedite the fire department permitting process for hazardous/flammable and combustible materials storage.

To maintain consistency with neighboring communities, the Watertown Fire Department is requiring documentation, per 527 CMR 1.12.2, for laboratories seeking or renewing a registration with the fire department or hazardous/flammable and combustible materials permits. A copy of a building’s code required (780 CMR 414.1.3) “Building Hazardous Materials Report” and a “Laboratory Compliance Report” shall be provided to the fire department. The combination of provided documents ensures laboratories seeking hazardous/flammable and combustible materials permits maintain compliance with applicable fire and building codes.

Building Hazardous Materials Report

The purpose of a Building Hazardous Materials Report (708 CMR 414.1.3) is to identify each Control Area and or Laboratory Unit within a building and outline the hazardous materials strategy for the building. Detailed in this report is the maximum allowable quantities (MAQ) of hazardous materials permitted in each control area and the code required fire protection features of the building. This report shall be prepared by a qualified person, firm, or corporation.

Laboratory Compliance Report

The Watertown Fire Department is requiring documentation from approved Fire Protection Engineers (FPE) per 527 CMR section 26.1.6. All new laboratory registrations, or ones requiring significant changes to an existing registration, shall utilize an approved FPE to generate a laboratory compliance report. The report will verify that the hazardous/flammable and combustible permit request is compliant with applicable fire codes and is consistent with building design based on the Building Hazardous Materials Report. The report will meet the requirements of 527 CMR Chapter 60.

Fire Protection Engineering Firms (FPE) approved to create a "Building Hazardous Materials Report" or "Laboratory Compliance Report":

William C-K Wong

Andrew Shanahan

Eric Montplaisir

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