City of Boston
Department of Neighborhood Development
Contact Us
City Departments
Middle Income Housing - Builders Information



While the Middle Income Housing Initiative (MIHI) is primarily a market-based program that relies on the builder’s knowledge of construction costs and the needs of the market to make design and construction quality determinations, the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) has also made commitments to local residents that the housing to be built will be attractive and of good quality. It is for this reason that DND is accepting below-market offers on the land so that builders can invest more in the building and less in the land.

To implement that commitment, DND has two Selection Criteria in all of its Middle Income Initiative Requests For Proposals (RFP) that rank proposals on 1) Design and 2) Construction Quality. To enable builders to produce the most competitive proposal possible, DND offers some guidance on these criteria in the form of the Design Principles and Construction Guidance that follow. These are NOT requirements; they are only suggestions that help builders understand what elements DND considers desirable.


The Design comparative evaluation criterion has three key elements: 1) designs that are complementary to the existing site context and residential building types of the immediate neighborhood, 2) designs that offer good architectural details, material finishes and equipment and 3) attractive landscape design. For each of these three, the following explains in more detail what DND is looking for. 


“DESIGNS SHOULD BE COMPLEMENTARYto the existing site context and residential building types of the immediate neighborhood. These are infill lots, which in many cases had homes on them in the past, and it is DND’s goal to reknit the community together with designs that reflect the existing streetscape. DND is looking for buildings that are comparable to the dominant styles on the street in terms of height, massing, setbacks, sideyards and architectural style. It is not expected that the new homes are going to duplicate the existing homes, only that they come from similar architectural traditions.

DESIGNS SHOULD EXHIBIT good architectural details, material finishes and equipment ”.Boston has strong tradition of superior architectural details and finishes in its housing stock. Whether it is the iconic triple decker with its cornices and porches, or a Victorian with its complex roofline and decorative windows, or the decorative trim and painting of a simple clapboard façade, these details and finishes are an essential element of Boston’s architectural heritage. DND wants to encourage builders to incorporate some architectural details and finishes like this in their proposals. Decorative trim, clapboard exteriors with well-designed painting schemes, compound rooflines, traditional multi-pane windows, attractive porches and staircases are all good examples the features that best reflect Boston’s architectural traditions.

PROPOSALS SHOULD offer a landscape design that provides a positive visual aesthetic for surrounding residents”. DND has made a commitment to the neighbors that any new development will improve the look of the neighborhood and enhance local property values. The treatment of the yard, fencing and parking areas is an important component of that promise.  DND will be looking for proposals that have front yard landscaping, unobtrusive fencing where necessary, and parking areas that are limited in size and less visible from the street.


To enable builders to build efficiently, DND has no hard and fast construction standards other than a prohibition on manufactured housing and a requirement that construction meet or exceed all requirements of the State Building Code.

To encourage builders to offer higher quality than just the minimum required by Code, construction quality is a competitive evaluation factor where the construction quality of each proposal will be ranked relative to the construction quality of competing proposals based on what the builders list on their Construction Quality Statement.  To optimize your ranking, you should list as many construction quality elements that you consider to be above Code that result in a superior finished product for the homebuyer. Examples of such elements  include elevated energy-efficiency (e.g. higher u-value windows, increased insulation R-values) and water conservation strategies as defined in Energy Star for Homes; durability related features such as extended warrantees on the roof and windows; use of clapboard over vinyl for siding; efforts to minimize building conditions that are known to trigger asthma and respiratory problems consistent with healthy homes construction principles and methods; use of any renewable energy strategies or the provision for “solar ready” construction which allows solar electric and solar thermal systems to be easily installed at a later date.







City Calendar
City Calendar See a listing of upcoming events sponsored by the Department of Neighborhood Development.
Text Size: XX-Small Font Size X-Small Font Size Small Font Size

Privacy & Security Divider © 2014 City of Boston. All rights reserved.