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Building Services

Frequently Asked Questions#

Licenses obtained elsewhere are not transferable to Fort Collins because requirements vary greatly among jurisdictions. Fort Collins recognizes only primary supervisory construction experience, regardless of where it is obtained, to approve a general contractor license or supervisor certificate. All general contractors are required to take the Fort Collins exam that corresponds with the license class they are requesting.

There are no provisions in the regulations that specifically acknowledge upgrading an existing license or certificate to one that is greater in scope (higher class). A person with a current Fort Collins license or certificate who desires to obtain a higher credential must submit a new application and follow the procedures outlined herein.

If, at the time of renewal, the adopted building code or other applicable code over which an examination was administered to the Supervisor is no longer in effect or has substantially changed, the Supervisor will have the option to either pass a renewal exam or provide proof of having successfully completed training covering the current adopted applicable code or the equivalent thereof as approved by the Building Official.

There are no provisions or guidelines for putting a license on hold. If a License Holder Supervisor Certificate Holder has not renewed their license or certificate within sixty (60) days after the renewal deadline, the license or certificate expires. If the License Holder or Supervisor Certificate Holder wants to obtain another license or certificate, he/she must go through the usual application process, and is subject to all related fee, examination, and information submittal requirements.

All general contractors and specialized trade contractors are required to designate a supervisor who must obtain the required supervisor's certificate and who will be personally responsible for overseeing the work authorized under the license they are associated with. The supervisor is required to be on-site and to personally supervise the work on a regular basis throughout the entire construction or installation process and to assure that the construction or installation is done without substantial departure from the drawings and specifications filed and approved by the City as specified on the permit.

When exempt specialized trade subcontractors are used by a licensed specialized trade contractor, the qualified supervisor, in addition to the supervision requirements listed above, must be readily available and present on the project site full-time where such subcontracted work is being performed to ensure that when completed such work fully conforms to applicable code(s).

Employee identification cards are required for all payroll trade employees regulated herein who are performing work on a Ft. Collins job site, if the employee is someone other than the license holder or the supervisor certificate holder. To obtain employee identification cards, copies the employees' W-4 forms, together with a current copy of worker's compensation insurance must be submitted to the Building & Zoning department. For more information, see Employees and Exempt Specialized Trade Subcontractors.

Any licensed specialized trade contractor is allowed to use these types of workers (exempt specialized trade subcontractors) as long as they have a direct subcontract with each such worker. Any licensed specialized trade contractor utilizing such workers are required to provide an additional level of site supervision. See Employees and Exempt Specialized Trade Subcontractors.

No. The language in the licensing regulations was specifically written to prevent further "downstream" subcontracting to non-City-qualified subcontractors, who could be several-times removed from the original licensed contractor. Only City licensed specialized trade contractors may subcontract work to non-licensed subs or independent contract workers. The relationship between these workers and the licensed contractor must be directly through a subcontract for the work done.

If general contractors, in addition to specialized trade contractors, were allowed to subcontract work directly to non-licensed specialty trade subcontractors such as concrete, framing and roofing, and entire home, except for the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems could be farmed out to, and constructed by, non-licensed, non-City-qualified subcontractors. As a result, the "playing field" would be tilted, legitimizing a vast unregulated "underground" industry of non-licensed subcontractors at the expense of established licensed specialized trade contractors. Moreover, under such a scenario, general contractors would then be free to subcontract out all work (except HVAC, electrical and plumbing) to virtually anyone. Such a "free-for-all" would open the floodgates to unqualified workers at immense disservice to the Community.

To obtain legal status as an "Exempt Specialized Trade Subcontractor", requirements include submitting documentation identifying the independent contractors/workers to whom the affected licensed specialized trade contractor is directly subcontracting. Additionally, the licensed contractor must provide proof that such subcontractors and workers are covered by worker's compensation insurance when required by Colorado law in addition to general liability insurance.

Specialized building trades NOT regulated under the new provisions include: plumbing and electrical (which are regulated elsewhere in the City Code), excavation and grading, exterior building sewers, irrigation, landscaping, glazing, drywall, non-structural wood frame, insulation, siding, masonry, structural and non-structural steel framework, non-structural concrete, interior trim and finishes, counters and cabinets, floor covering, rain gutters, swimming pools and spas, fences, elevators and escalators.

A person who personally performs any of these items can do so without obtaining a license. HOWEVER, any person or entity that is paid for the overall construction, alteration, or addition to a building, including work involving any of the City-licensed specialized trades or plumbing or electrical trades regulated by City building codes, is by definition a general contractor. Any such entity is required to obtain the appropriate general contractor license necessary for the scope of work performed.

Any person acting as a contractor, as defined above, for basement finish work, is required to have a minimum of a Class D2 license.

City of Fort Collins does not maintain a code book inventory for purchase, however many building codes are now available to view for free online or for purchase through the International Code Council.

City of Fort Collins Adopted Codes