If you have the talents and abilities required to make improvements to your community through the construction of new buildings or public works, or even by performing renovations on already existing structures, why not put your skills to work by becoming a general contractor?
If you reside in the state of Hawaii, there are two types of general contractor’s licenses available in the state. These are as follows:
- General engineering contractor’s license – This classification is for those seeking to work on fixed works projects, which include highways, tunnels, bridges, harbors, drainage, and water power projects.
- General building contractor’s license – This type of license allows for the construction of structures involving more than two unrelated building trades.
Generally speaking, possession of a general contractor’s license is a requirement for anyone who offers to perform construction or renovation of residential buildings, commercial buildings, or public works projects. The holder of the license may be an individual or a business entity, but both must meet a certain set of requirements and complete or obtain the necessary documents to be submitted to the Contractors License Board in Honolulu for approval.
Obtaining a general contractor’s license can be somewhat of a complicated and intricate process, so we have provided an easy, step-by-step guide to outline everything you need to know on your journey to becoming a licensed general contractor in the state of Hawaii.
Job Description: General Contractor
General contractors are responsible for every step of the building process from the initial bid creation to the final finishing design touches. Because of this, general contractors must be intimately familiar with every aspect of construction to keep everything on track.
The first step general contractors take on any project is to create a bid. The bidding process involves creating an estimate of all possible costs associated with a project. General contractors work with construction estimators to assess the proposed blueprints and plans, then create itemized lists of materials, equipment, labor, etc. The goal is to present the client with a reasonably priced estimate without going so low that you will be forced to go over budget or lose profits. Because this process requires being familiar with every step of the construction process, general contractors must have extensive experience in construction.
If the bid is accepted, general contractors move on to organizing the project – ordering materials and equipment, hiring subcontractors, and securing the necessary permits and resources. For decades, OnePointe Solutions has been the go-to manufacturer for materials and industrial and laboratory furniture among general contractors for their various projects.
For example, if your project is for multiple classrooms in a middle school, we can provide you with epoxy resin, phenolic resin, stainless steel, plastic laminate and even solid surface as work surfaces or countertops. As storage and organization options, we can provide you with metal cabinets, stainless steel cabinets, and plastic laminate as well. We can also deisgn and manufacture custom workstations and student tables to encourage learning and discovery among the students. Our expertise and range of products we offer are at your disposal.
Once construction begins, many general contractors work on-site with their crew, overseeing progress and ensuring that everything is completed safely and according to regulations and building code. Some general contractors may oversee more than one project at a time, in which case they delegate management responsibilities to other members of their team.
To summarize, general contractors are in charge of the following:
- Crew safety
- Equipment and site safety
- Permits and street closures
- Anticipating weather conditions and scheduling accordingly
- Enforcing quality and safety standards
Special Skills & Qualifications
We will cover Florida-specific qualifications a little further in this guide, but first, we have to mention those special skills that can’t necessarily be taught or learned. All general contractors need to have some of the same basic skills, many of which are related to work ethic, attitude, and personality. No matter where you work as a general contractor, having the following skills will help you in your career:
- Ability to read building plans and blueprints
- Building/construction skills
- Excellent time management and organizational skills
- Attention to detail
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Budget and purchasing experience
- Comfortable working with new people
- Able to learn quickly and in stressful situations
- Concern for the wellbeing of others and a touch of perfectionism
What are the Requirements to Become a General Contractor?
In order to be eligible for a general contractor’s license, you must first make sure that you meet all the requirements to qualify for application. These requirements are as follows:
- Social Security Number – Federal law dictates that, in order to receive your license, your identity must first be verified. This verification is done via your Social Security Number.
- Work Experience – Any individual applying for a general contractor’s license must have completed a minimum of four years of full-time supervisory work experience in the past ten years. Journeyman, foreman, supervisor, and contractor positions all quality as valid work experience. The application requires you to submit at least three notarized documents certifying your supervisory experience as well as a chronological Project List that provides detailed descriptions and timelines of the supervisory work you completed during those four years.
- Financial Statements & Credit Report – A current accountant’s report and financial statement (audited, compiled, or reviewed) must be submitted with your application. You must also be prepared to provide an up-to-date credit report for each officer, partner, manager, or member explaining the status of their current and past debts with details about each one.
- Tax Clearance & Trade Name Documents – You must provide a copy of your current trade name registration that has been approved by the Business Registration Division of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs as well as a Hawaii State Tax Clearance with the official State Department of Taxation stamp.
- Application Fee – You must submit a $50.00 fee with your application.
- General Contractor’s License Application – Along with the above documents, do not forget to submit your actual license application. The forms can be found online via the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website.
Once you have submitted your application along with all the necessary documentation, the Contractors License Board will survey your application. If it is approved, you will then be given the opportunity to take the Hawaii Contractors Exam.
Taking the Hawaii Contractors Exam
The Contractors License Board will supply you with exam registration documents to be completed and sent along with an examination fee to Prometric, the organization that administers the Hawaii Contractors Exam. The exam is two parts, with each part costing $75.00 in fees.
The subject matter of part one of the exam deals with business and law. It is a written exam consisting of eighty questions, all pertaining to the laws and regulations that you will be required to know and work with regularly as a general contractor. Possible topics may include payroll taxes, Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment Compensation, and lien laws.
Part two of the exam tests your trade knowledge, asking specific questions about the work that general contractors perform in the state of Hawaii. It is also a written exam comprising another eighty questions, and each individual part of the exam requires a seventy-five percent to pass. Both parts are timed, with the first section allowing a maximum of three hours to complete and the section allowing four hours.
What Happens After I Pass the Contractors Exam?
If you are able to pass the Hawaii Contractors Exam, the Contractors License Board will next ask you for another set of documents to complete your certification. The required documents are as follows:
- Proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance – If you have anyone working for you, you will be asked to provide a certificate from your insurance company of workers’ compensation insurance. The Contractors License Board also requires a statement from the company certifying that they will be notified if the insurance is ever cancelled.
- Proof of Liability Insurance – You must also submit an insurance certificate proving that you have the following amounts of liability coverage at a minimum:
- Bodily Injury Liability – $100,000 per person, $300,000 per occurrence
- Property Damage Liability – $50,000 per occurrence
- Business Address – You are required to have a set business location in which to display your license and at which you may be served any notice or legal process.
- License Fee – Your license fee varies depending on the time and number of the year in which you submit your application. If you receive your license between October 1 of an even-numbered year and September 30 of an odd-numbered year, your fee will be $663.00. On the other hand, if you receive your license between October 1 of an odd-numbered year and September 30 of an even-numbered year, your fee will then be $494.00.
- Surety Bond – In some cases, you will be required to obtain a Hawaii contractor license bond. The purpose of a bond is to ensure that you as a contractor seeking to work in compliance with building regulations and Hawaii Statues. The amount paid for your bond depends on the bond type and is determined by the Contractors License Board, but the minimum amount will likely be $5,000.
After submitting the necessary documents back to the Contractors License Board, you should receive your general contractor’s license and can begin working.
Maintaining Your General Contractor’s License
Congratulations, you successfully completed the complex process of receiving your general contractor’s license in the state of Hawaii! Now, you need to maintain your license in order to avoid having to endure that process a second time.
Contractor licenses expire on September 30 of every even-numbered year. To ensure that your license is renewed on time, you must complete and submit any renewal documents received in the mail before your license’s expiration date. Renewal documents should arrive before August 15, allowing you plenty of time to gather the necessary items.
The renewal fee for a general contractor’s license is $353. Failure to submit both the renewal fee and required documents before the expiration date will result in termination of your license, meaning that if you would like to continue practicing as a contractor in the state of Hawaii, you must then go through the application process and all its fees again.
Summarizing the General Contractor’s Licensing Process
Now, let’s do a quick overview of the detailed process of obtaining your general contractor’s license in Hawaii and look at the timeline for how long the process will take to complete. Make sure that you meet all the basic qualifications first, namely that you are at least eighteen years of age, and you have the necessary four years of surveying experience required to submit the first part of your application. You should do so before the first Tuesday of the month.
The following month, the Contractors License Board will review your application. If you are approved, you will then complete the required documents to register for your exam, which you will likely be able to take the following month. After that, the process is quite quick and easy. Once you pass your exam, you will be asked to supply the last round of license requirements. With all the necessary documentation provided and fees paid along the way, you should then receive your general contractor’s license just a few short months after you submitted the first section of your application.
With your license in hand, you are now certified to perform constructions, renovations, and alterations for your community and local businesses. Be sure to renew your license every year and keep up-to-date with any changes that occur in the licensing regulations as well as the Hawaii Statutes and building codes. You do not want to have to pay any extra money for code violations or to get a new license should you happen to forget to renew your current one.
How We Can Assist You as a General Contractor
If you work as a general contractor, a large part of your job entails frequently communicating with suppliers. Whether it be raw materials, furnishings, or specialized items, you will want to work with companies that provide you the highest quality products in order to ensure that your projects always turn out just the way you envisioned them.
OnePointe Solutions has been supplying general contractors with quality custom industrial workbenches, commercial cabinets, and laboratory furniture for many years. We have built a reputation that you can rely on by always prioritizing the needs of our customers. We are willing to work alongside you and your vision to build the exact pieces you have imagined and help you put the finishing touches on your projects.
Need Help With Your Upcoming Project?
If you’re a general contractor in Hawaii or another state in the U.S. and need laboratory furniture, commercial furniture, or even industrial furniture, give us a call at (866) 222-7494 to speak to a project consultant today.