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New building rates might be down in most of Alabama, but Mobile is still growing. A new Hilton Garden Inn opened in 2016 in Bienville Square in downtown. And, the new Strada Patient Care Center at the University of South Alabama opened in March 2017. Before your business starts a new project as well, make sure you have all of the permits, licenses, insurance, and equipment you need.
Here are the some of the projects for which you need permits in Mobile:
You do not have to get a permit for basic repairs. You also do not need one for installing a sidewalk or driveway, painting, carpeting, installing new cabinets, or replacing light fixtures. Call the Mobile Permitting and Development office for more details at 251-208-7198.
After you get a permit, you will need one or more inspections. Only permit holders can request an inspection. To schedule one, call the Mobile County Inspection Office at 251-574-3507. After all your reviews are done, you will get a Certificate of Occupancy or a Letter of Completion for your project.
In Mobile and the rest of Alabama, you must get a license for commercial projects that cost more than $50,000 or residential projects that are more than $10,000. Here are some of the most common types of licenses:
When you apply for your license, you will need a credit report and three or four references. The number of references depends on the type of license. General contractors must take a Business and Law exam. Others must take an exam in their specialty. Also, commercial general contractors must have a net worth of over $10,000. Electricians need four years of experience or three years of experience and two years of education. Most licenses expire every year on Dec. 31.
You do not need liability insurance in Alabama. But, you do need workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees. You should still get bodily injury and property damage liability insurance to protect your business from lawsuits. Personal injury awards can be as high as three times the damages, or $1.5 million. Mobile does not require any extra coverage.
Before you start your project, make sure you have all the building equipment you need. One or more forklifts can help you carry heavy materials. Scissor lifts, manlifts, and boom lifts are great for reaching high windows, walls, ceilings, or roofs. You can save money and time by renting instead of buying. That way, you won’t have to maintain equipment or store it when the job is done.
Make sure your business has all the necessary licenses, insurance, permits, inspections, and equipment before you start working. Being prepared will help protect you from fines, delays, and even lawsuits. If you are still unsure, take a look at the city’s website.