Making Sure You Have the Correct Licenses and Permits

Making Sure You Have the Correct Licenses and Permits

Before you get started on any construction process, you'll want to ensure you have the proper permissions to get it done. There are several types of licenses and permits you may need for a construction job depending on where you're located and what types of work are required to complete the task.

Permits and licenses exist at the federal, state and local levels as a way to ensure all construction work is completed safely, correctly and within code. While complying with all of these regulations and gathering permits can feel like a burden, having the right licenses in place protects you and makes you more appealing to clients — especially larger, higher-paying corporate clients.

Here are some of the most common licenses and permits you may need to begin a construction job.

Contractor License

In many states, general contractors need to get a construction license that proves they're competent and allows them to work safely and get insurance coverage. These licenses are distributed through the State Contractors Board or the Department of Labor for each state. 

Generally, the licensure process will require you to pass a general contractor competency exam and provide proof of your qualifications, experience or education. If you perform certain types of specialized work, like electrical, plumbing, roofing or HVAC, you may be required to get additional licenses for each.

If you're not sure about licensing rules where you work, check with your state and local offices. They'll be able to tell you what's required for you to legally and safely conduct your business.

Building Permits

Before you get to work on a new construction job, you need to check to see if you're required to have a construction permit. These permits, issued by your local government or municipality, verify that your intended project meets certain standards for safety, zoning and code and can proceed as planned.

Permit requirements vary depending on your state and local regulations, but you usually need a permit for any major building projects, renovations, changes to a structure, add-ons or demolition. If you're taking on a project with a larger scope, you may also need specialized permits for any electrical, plumbing or mechanical work involved.

Check with your municipality at the beginning of each project to determine which permits you might need to secure. 

Commercial Vehicle License

Larger construction projects may require you to use commercial or oversized vehicles and machinery. While most off-road construction equipment doesn't require any special licensure, some vehicles that are meant to be driven on the road and those used to transport supplies may require you to have a commercial driver's license (CDL) from your state's Department of Transportation.

Machines like cement trucks, dump trucks and crane trucks all require a CDL to operate legally on the road. Vehicles are considered oversized based on their gross vehicle weight ratings and gross combination weight ratings, so you'll need to consider the weight of any trailers or supplies you may be towing when you determine whether you need a CDL.

Get Your Permits and Get to Work

Once you've got all your permits and licenses in place, turn to The Cat® Rental Store for the equipment you need to get started. Learn more about the products available at your local Cat dealer or schedule a free rental quote by calling 1-800-RENT-CAT. You can browse equipment options online to rent whatever you need from the people who do whatever it takes. 

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