About Construction Projects in Milwaukee, WI
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is experiencing its biggest construction boom since the 1960s. The Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center will open in 2018, and there are several luxurious new apartment buildings downtown. The Corners of Brookfield outdoor mall and multi-use development opened recently, as well. Before you take advantage of this boom with a large or small project, make sure you have all the right licenses, insurance, permits, inspections, and equipment.
Construction businesses and contractors in Wisconsin need one or more state licenses. Here are some of the many different types available:
- HVAC Contractor
- Fire Sprinkler Contractor
- Tank Installer
- Pump Installer
- Well Driller
- Building Contractor
- Dwelling Contractor
Inside the city, concrete contractors must also have licenses. Most licenses require a training course between eight and 40 hours long or an apprenticeship. Even if you run a one-person business, you must pass the right exam to get permits for your projects. Licenses last for one to four years, and licensing fees range from $25 to $1,000.
Wisconsin requires a $25,000 bond or $250,000 of liability insurance for most projects. You’ll also need proof of workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment insurance, and your subcontractors must have insurance. Milwaukee doesn’t have any extra requirements.
You’ll need a permit for building all new structures, remodeling or renovating an existing building, or for electrical or plumbing work. However, you don’t have to get a permit for projects that only involve basic repairs or finishing work like painting or carpeting. For example, replacing a door or window won’t require a permit, but you’ll need a permit to change the size or shape of the door or window frame.
If a permit is necessary, apply for it at the Milwaukee Development Center and make sure you receive it before you start your project. Otherwise, you could have to pay twice the normal fee along with fines. You can contact the Development Center at 414-286-8211 Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:45 pm.
Milwaukee requires one or more inspections before people start using a finished structure. Here are some of the most common inspections needed during and after construction:
- Footing and foundation
- Rough framing
- Boiler safety
- Final inspection
Most inspections are done the same day you request them or in 48 hours. No one needs to be at the site as long as the area is accessible and unoccupied and copies of the permits and plans are on-site in a convenient place for the inspector. If the building is occupied, someone must escort the inspector.
Before you start your project, you’ll need the right equipment. Forklifts are useful for carrying a range of materials around a site. Scissor lifts, manlifts, and boom lifts help people reach high windows, walls, ceilings, or roofs. If you rent your equipment instead of buying, you can save money and complete your project without worrying about maintenance or storage for these big machines.
Before you start a project, make sure your business has all the licenses, insurance, permits, inspections, and equipment it needs. That way, you can avoid delays or fines and make sure your work is successful.