About Construction Projects in Irvine, CA
The City of Irvine takes pride in its building and safety program. The program falls in line with the rules that govern construction in the state of California. If you’re starting a building project in Irvine, here’s what you need to know.
Applying for Building Permits
The first step in getting a permit is to send a plan for review. Once approved, you need the following to apply for a permit:
- The plan check number.
- Your contractor’s license pocket card that states the type of work you do.
- A City of Irvine business license.
- A workers’ compensation certificate.
Take the application form and the above papers to the permit processing counter at City Hall. For small residential permits, you can apply online. It will save a trip to City Hall and knock $16 off your application fee. You can apply online for small electrical and plumbing jobs and to fit water heaters, replace air conditioners, or do roofing work.
Getting a License
If you’re doing building work valued at over $500, the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) must grant you a license. In addition, you will also need a business license in Irvine. To get both, you will have to pass two exams: a business and law exam and a trade exam. This applies to all contractors including general, electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, and HVAC.
California has heavy penalties for unlicensed contractors. If you build without a valid license, you could face fines of $15,000 or more. The CSLB will also take legal action against any electrical contractor who uses uncertified staff to do electrical work.
Bonds and Insurance
Bonds and insurance are important in California. The CSLB will not issue or renew licenses without them.
The bonds you need are:
- $15,000 contractor bond or cash deposit.
- $12,500 qualifying individual bond or cash deposit.
- $100,000 surety bond for Limited Liability Companies.
Limited Liability Companies need at least $1 million in liability insurance for five or fewer members and a further $100,000 for more than five members, up to a total of $5 million.
Workers’ compensation is compulsory. Only certificates written by an insurance company licensed through the California Department of Insurance are acceptable. Make sure to list the CSLB or the City of Irvine as the certificate holder.
California’s Energy Codes
Builders in California need to meet the Green Building Standards Code. This code sets out certain criteria to fit water-saving and energy-efficient systems in houses. Installing solar energy systems also qualifies you for various rebates, incentives, and tax credits. In addition, the City of Irvine offers no-fee permits on all solar systems installed.
The Right Equipment for the Job
If you are a small business or have limited funds to buy your own equipment, renting building equipment makes better sense. You can hire all types of aerial and material-handling equipment. Equipment rental companies hire out machines like scissor lifts, manlifts, forklifts, and boom lifts at a good price.
You may find the rules and laws for building in California quite strict. However, when you consider that earthquakes are common, it’s understandable that they take building so seriously. Once the paperwork is sorted, you can take on building jobs with confidence.