About Construction Projects in Providence, RI
If you’re a contractor in Providence, Rhode Island, start your business by learning about building permits. Homeowners also need to know about permits, even though most will want to use contractors. Permits keep work up to code standards. They also create plans so that contractors and homeowners are always on the same page.
Most building work in Providence needs a permit before you can start. Permits you need include:
- Building permit
- Electrical permit
- Plumbing permit
- Mechanical permit
- Building razes permit
Send your permit and plans to the Department of Inspection and Standards. Other departments might look at your plans before you get your permit. These include:
- Fire prevention
- Fire alarm
Permits for minor work, like new siding, you can usually get in one day. Permits for interior work are available within 15 days. Permits and plan reviews for big jobs typically take 30 days.
A lot of minor work doesn’t need permits in Providence. To give you an idea, here are some examples of residential work that you can do without permits:
- Detached accessory buildings. They have to be one story and need to be smaller than 64 square feet
- Fences shorter than 6 feet
- Most retaining walls shorter than 32 inches
- Water tanks that hold 5,000 gallons or fewer. The height to width ratio has to be 2:1 or less
- Sidewalks or driveways. They have to be fewer than 30 inches above grade. They also can’t go over basements
- Interior work like painting or putting up cabinets
- Ready-made swimming pools that are shallower than two feet
- Playhouses, swings, and other play equipment. The area has to be fewer than 24 square feet
- Most window awnings
- Window sash replacements
Some of the commercial work you can do without a permit is similar to the residential work you can do without a permit. Here are some other examples of commercial projects you can do without a permit:
- Oil derricks
- Retaining walls 4 feet tall or shorter
- Temporary theater stages. This includes scenery and temporary movie screens
- Shade cloth you might put up for agriculture or plant nurseries
- Movable racks, counters, or partitions. They have to be 5 feet 9 inches or shorter
Licensing and Liability for Contractors
If you are a homeowner, you can get a permit for work done on your house. Otherwise, you need to be a licensed contractor. In Providence, homeowners need to prove they can do the work before they can get some permits. That’s why getting a licensed contractor is a smart move.
Contractors in Providence need to follow Rhode Island state licensing and liability requirements. The city doesn’t have additional guidelines.
Even if you are a homeowner in Providence, getting a contractor is the smart move. A contractor knows the business. Contractors also know what kind of manlifts, boom lifts, scissor lifts, and forklifts to rent to get your job done. Contractors should always be familiar with how to get permits in Providence before starting any jobs.