General Building Contractor License: Acquisition & Details

Any person who does more than supply furnishings made or constructed by another manufacturer – whether they’re applied inside or outside a residential or commercial property, will require a general building contractor license to avoid being fined for the work; no matter how well it turns out. Although this is a basic and all-encompassing rule that extends nationwide; there are other general contractor requirements with which a builder must become familiar. These can vary from state-to-state. The license isn’t only required to legally build and construct, but also for less-intensive projects such as painting and electrical repairs.

General Contractor Requirements: First Steps

Much like a law degree; possessing a general building contractor license in one state doesn’t necessarily guarantee the ability to practice renovations and constructions in another state. It is imperative for the interested person to determine what specific rules apply in his or her state, in order to avoid penalties for carrying out the applicable construction jobs that are covered by the license. Furthermore, going through the process of gathering this information will inform him of the kinds of jobs he can do without getting a general contractor license – which also varies from state to state. Listed below is a minimal list of general contractor requirements that can be found in most states:

  • Must be a legal resident of the United States; which means either a citizen or a resident alien
  • Must be a legal adult – 18 years old and higher
  • Must have a GED, high school diploma or other applicable certificate of completion
  • Photo identification of a state-listed size – usually about the same size as a passport picture
  • Legal document proving incorporation registration from the appropriate government official

There are a handful of other general requirements; but they depend mostly on the caliber of work already done by a contractor who has received a general building contractor license in another jurisdiction/state. For example, if any citation of other demerit has been received for work completed – even if appealed – then it must be reported when applying for the license in a new state. Similarly, depending on the scale of the work, there must be evidence that the contractor is capable of carrying out state projects, as determined from the caliber and type of previous contracting jobs. These are, of course, just basic, and only a thorough review of particular states’ general building contractor license requirements can ensure coverage.

Additional Considerations

Beyond presenting all the required documentation, there will also be an exam covering aspects of constructor law and occupation-specific considerations. Overall, this test is meant to illustrate the contractor’s proficiency in his stated sub-field, as well as overall business organization and general contracting. If rated in one state as an adequate electrician or plumber, the written exam will make him prove it, essentially, in order to be eligible for work in the issuing state. This ensures that both unqualified and violation-prone contractors can’t jump from state to state if their licenses are revoked or they have too many citations to continue finding adequate work in their local area.

Ultimately, a thorough search is enough to be informed of the requisite educational background, as well as the continued educational requirements necessary to obtain a general building contractor license. Once these are secured, the state-specific amendments or additions should be relatively easy to come by for the competent contractor who abides by the rules of his initiating state.
Once you’re properly certified, let Fixxbook help you start finding work. When you register at a trusted contractor directory like Fixxbook, you’re more visible to prospective clients and the national facilities world. Find out more in our How it Works section.

For more advice on certification, qualification and other aspects of contracting, visit our Resources section.

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