General contractor license and insurance requirements in Colorado

Jun 17, 2023 · 8 minutes to read

Colorado, unlike most states in the U.S., does not require general contractors to be licensed at the state level. Most general contractor projects, however, are regulated locally. In the cities and counties where you live, you may need to obtain a permit or license.

Continue reading if you’re wondering if regular contractors do electrical work or how to get a Colorado general contractor’s license.

How to obtain a Colorado general contractor’s license

The licensing process for general contractors in Colorado is controlled by the local government. This means that it will vary from one location to another. In most areas, a contractor is only required to be licensed when they perform work that requires building permits.

Contact the local authorities in the area where you intend to work.

Contractors in most areas must have worked under a licensed contractor for a certain number of years before they are eligible to get a license. Contractors should purchase general contractor coverage as they near the completion of the required experience. Below, we’ll provide more information.

Since many localities in Colorado do not recognize reciprocity agreements you cannot earn your license in a city in Colorado and then use it in another. Contractors will need to get multiple licenses and meet multiple requirements when working in multiple cities.

Colorado General Contractor License Types

Colorado offers several different types of general contractor licenses. However, not all types are available in every municipality. Many municipalities, such as Longmont or Boulder classify general contractor licensing into three categories.

Class A License: This license is the most general. Contractors with this license can work on any size of any building project. Contractors who hold a Class A license cannot work in plumbing, electrical, mechanical, or fire extinguishing systems, nor can they install elevators.

Cass B License: This license allows contractors to work on residential and commercial construction projects except for those that are designated IA or IIA by the International Building Code. Class B contractors are not allowed to work in certain trades without additional licenses.

Class C License: This license is only available to contractors who are working on residential projects for multi-family or single-family homes. The houses must have no more than four living units or three stories. Contractors cannot work in certain trades if they do not have additional licenses.

General contractor license requirements

Contractors will typically need to pass the International Code Council (ICC) exam to be eligible for a license. In Colorado, many areas use the ICC national standard exams for Class A, B, and C licenses.

In some urban areas such as Denver, local tests are used in conjunction with national exams depending on the chosen specialization of the contractor.

Licenses for general contractors in Denver

Denver has the largest number of general contractors in Colorado but also the most restrictive licensing requirements.

The Denver Office of Community Planning and Development is responsible for issuing contractor licenses.

The applicant must be licensed as an electrician, plumber or possess a Supervisor Certificate.

You’ll need to follow these steps after you meet the initial requirements:

  • Chapter 1 of Denver Building and Fire Code.
  • Fill out the application form and indicate the classification of license you desire.
  • Submit a supervisor statement of responsibility from the certificate holder at your company if you are not an electrician or plumber licensed by the state.
  • Provide a copy of your Colorado Contractor Card and your Master Electrician/Master plumber ID card if you are a licensed state electrician or a licensed state plumber.
  • Documentation from the Secretary of State confirming the legal status of the company you are contracting with (LLC or Corporation, sole proprietorship, etc.) is required.
  • Submit your application and reference forms along with any proof of ICC exam results required, as well as the applicable fees, to the Denver Community Planning & Development Office either online or by delivering them to the Contractor Licensing Desk.

How long does it usually take to obtain a Colorado general contractor’s license?

After you have submitted your application, the review process will take several weeks, depending on which municipality you are in. Applications submitted by mail may take longer to review than those submitted online or personally.

Denver, for instance, tells applicants to expect 14-20 business days for the review of their application, whereas the Larimer County chief building official will issue all licenses in seven business days after receiving a complete application.

Common challenges to obtaining a license

It can be difficult to navigate through the application process in Colorado because each locality sets its own licensing requirements. Some localities require city-level licenses, while others are managed at the county level.

Some jurisdictions offer information and FAQs on their websites, while others only handle applications for contractor licenses in person. Visit your local office before you start your project to minimize the delays in processing.

Colorado general contractor license renewal requirements

In Colorado, most general contractor licenses will need to be renewed every 1 to 3 years. Common requirements include the following:

  • A request for an application.
  • Renewal License Fee.
  • A Certificate of Insurance Coverage.

Some localities may require additional requirements for renewal, such as an exam on the latest changes to building codes. Contractors with unresolved code violations will be denied renewals by most jurisdictions.

Insurance requirements for Colorado general contractors

To get licensed in Colorado, you will need Colorado Business Insurance. Take a look at the different types of insurance below.

General Liability Insurance

To receive a license, contractors are required to provide proof of coverage at a minimum level of liability insurance. The amount of coverage can vary depending on the type of license, location, and type of work performed.

In most areas, a policy of general liability with a policy limit of at least $100,000 is required to obtain a license. In urban areas, or in areas where there are larger construction projects, higher levels of coverage may be required.

Below are some examples of Colorado liability insurance requirements

Pikes Peak Regional Building Department requires contractors with a class A license to have combined single limit insurance of $500,000 and contractors with a class B or C license to carry combined single limit insurance of $300,000.

General contracts with a Class A or B license are mandated to have $1 million combined single-limit insurance by Larimer County. Contractors holding a roofing license, mechanical license, or single-trade license are required to carry $300,000 of combined single-limit insurance.

The city of Longmont has a requirement that general contractors carry $1 million combined single limit liability insurance, $2,000,000 general aggregate liability coverage, and $2,000,000 products completed aggregate liability coverage.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance by Colorado law. Medical costs and lost wages for employees who are injured or ill can be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

Insurance for Tools and Equipment

Tools & Equipment Insurance for General Contractors Colorado covers the costs of repairing and replacing tools and equipment that are used on the job and in business.

Commercial Auto Insurance for General Contractors

Commercial Auto Insurance does not apply to all general contractors. Colorado law, however, requires that all business owners who own company vehicles carry commercial auto coverage. The size and usage of the vehicle will determine the amount of coverage needed.

Colorado requires the following minimum coverages:

  • $255,000 for each person injured in an accident
  • $50,000 for each individual involved in any single accident
  • Property damage of up to $15,000 per accident

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance protects the property that you own or rent for your general contractor business, by covering damage and vandalism.

How BizInsure supports Colorado general contractors

BIzInsure helps contractors navigate Colorado’s complex regulatory system to find the best business insurance at a reasonable price.

Our licensed U.S. advisors are ready to assist you if you have any questions.

Get a quote today.

This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your general contractor license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.
As with any insurance, coverage will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this guide is general only and should not be relied upon as advice. The number of quotes provided varies between products, occupations and other underwriting factors determined by the insurers.
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