About Construction Projects in California

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What You Need to Know

If you’re a general contractor in California, you need to have the right licensing and permits before you take on a construction project. It’s also important to research the soil type in the part of the state where you plan to work. The soil type can determine what construction equipment you need for the project. Take a look at this guide to learn more about some of the key factors of building in California.

Building Permits Required

As a contractor in the state of California, you must visit the building permit department in the city you plan to build. This rule makes it clear that you can’t build, move, repair, or tear down structures and buildings without permits. Start by checking with the city where you’ll be working on the project. If it’s outside city limits, check with county authorities to get the right permits. The names of the departments issuing these permits vary, so you may need to check the city’s website to find the right place to apply.

Supplementary Permits

You might need other permits beyond the building permit for your construction project. If you’re working with larger residential and commercial developments, you’ll likely need to apply for a general permit from the State Water Resources Control Board for discharges of stormwater. At the city level, you might need extra permits for electrical work, plumbing, mechanical, and irrigation system implementation.

Licensing Requirements for Builders

California’s Department of Consumer Affairs oversees the Contractors’ State License Board. This board handles the issuing of licenses to contractors who meet the minimum requirements. For example, you need four years of practical experience before you can sit for the licensing exam. Internships, apprenticeships, training, and educational coursework apply toward this four-year requirement. Ultimately, the licensing board wants to make sure that only professionals who understand liabilities, safety, and workplace ethics can work as contractors in California.

Soil Types

Once you have the right permits and licensing, you need to think about the types of soil you’ll encounter on your job site. Depending on the topography and proximity to water, the various regions of California have their own unique soil type.

It’s common to find sandy soil near mountains and foothills. Sandy soil is also typical for coastal regions and areas near inland bodies of water, such as lakes and streams. Consisting of clay and sand intermingled, loam is the kind of soil you find in floodplains, valleys, and many flat areas. In urban areas, expect to find clay soils. Because it doesn’t easily drain, dirt consisting of clay enables runoff. It’s also prone to shifting during earthquakes.

Types of Construction Equipment

The soil type will determine what construction equipment you need. From excavators to rollers, as a general contractor, you need to understand which equipment is best for your project. You’ll also want to look into renting your aerial equipment like scissor lifts, boom lifts, manlifts, and forklifts.

Before you start a construction project in California, you need to make sure you have the right licensing, permits, and equipment. These will help you successfully complete your project on schedule.

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