The Massachusetts State Building Code states that "it shall be unlawful to construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, remove or demolish a structure; or to change the use or occupancy of a building or structure; or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by this code" without first obtaining a building permit. This includes, but is not limited to, new structures, additions, dormers, chimneys, woodstoves, decks, roofing, siding, swimming pools, antennas, and sheds. The only exception is an ordinary repair. An ordinary repair does not require a building permit.
Paving projects do not require a building permit but will require a permit from the Highway Department if work is being done within the public right-of-way. There are also zoning restrictions on the amount and location of paving, so check first with the Highway Department.