If the Building Official finds someone performing work without the required building permit(s) then he will require them to secure the proper permit(s) through the Code Enforcement Office. The penalty, at the local level, is a triple permit fee assessed to the permit required to correct the matter. If the person responsible for violating the building code does not follow-through on securing the proper permits then the Building Official shall serve a written notice of violation to such person responsible for performing work without a building permit. Under s.R113.4 of the 7th Edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code, 780 CMR, violation of any provision of 780 CMR shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both for each violation. These types of penalties, at the state level, can be assessed by a judge through the criminal court process, if warranted.
Also, failure to secure the proper permits could jeopardize your property insurance policy or the future sale of your property.