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Pennsylvania General Contractor Regulations – By City

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The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not require General Contractors to hold a license from the state; however, a bill passed in 2009 requires all contractors to register with Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.  The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act states that any contractor performing work of $5,000 or more in a calendar year must complete an application and register with the Attorney General.

Contractors have the option of registering online or by mail.  When registering online, contractors receive a registration number and temporary certificate which allows them to begin contracting work.  There is a $50 nonrefundable registration fee, which is payable by credit card.  Additionally, contractors must prove that they hold injury and liability insurance worth $50,000 as well as $50,000 in property damage coverage.

To register online, please visit:

https://hic.attorneygeneral.gov/login.aspx

If online registration is not possible, contractors may ask for a physical copy of the application by calling: (717)-772-2425

Mail the completed application and fee, in the form of a check made payable to the “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” to:

Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
Bureau of Consumer Protection
15th Floor, Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Attn: Home Improvement Contractor Registration

For additional information and frequently asked questions about registration, please visit:

http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/hic.aspx?id=4339

In addition to registering with the PA Attorney General, all contractors should look into the laws and regulations of their city or municipality.  Some cities in Pennsylvania require contractors to obtain additional building permits or licensing before they begin working on a construction project.

Listed below are the regulations for some of the larger cities in Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia, PA

General Contractors in Philadelphia, PA are required to hold a license from the city when working on projects worth $500 or more.  Licenses are issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspection.  To receive a license, contractors must prove that they hold:

  • Commercial Activity License
  • Comprehensive General Liability Insurance
  • Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance
  • Worker’s Compensation and Employer’s Liability Insurance
  • Business Tax Identification Number

Additionally, contractors are required to post a bond in the amount of $1,000.  There is an application fee of $100.  Licenses are renewed once a year.

Click the link below for a copy of the application:

https://business.phila.gov/Documents/Licenses/contractor.pdf

For more information about General Contractor Licensing in the City of Philadelphia, please visit:

City of Philadelphia Contactor’s License Page

Pittsburgh, PA

The Bureau of Building and Inspection (BBI) protects residents in the City of Pittsburgh by requiring all General Contractors to hold a license.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old.  Click the link below for a copy of the application:

http://apps.pittsburghpa.gov/bbi/General%20Contractor%20License%20Application.pdf

In addition to filling out the application, contractors are required to prove that they hold:

  • General Liability Insurance with a minimum limit of $300,000
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance or an Affidavit of Exemption if the contractor does not employ workers
  • City Tax ID Certificate from the City Finance Department

There is a $95 licensing fee.  The BBI accepts payments in the form of check or money order made payable to “Treasurer, City of Pittsburgh.”

Mail the completed application and fee to:

City of Pittsburgh
Bureau of Building Inspections
200 Ross Street Room 320
Pittsburgh, PA  15219

Applicants may also submit the application in-person to the same address.  The BBI Cashier Counter is located on the 3rd floor of the building.

For more information about General Contractor Licensing in the City of Pittsburgh, please visit:

http://pittsburghpa.gov/bbi/licenses/trades/general-contractor

Allentown, PA

Before beginning work on a construction project in the City of Allentown, PA, contractors are required to hold a building permit.  In addition to holding a building permit, contractors are required to go through an inspection from the city’s zoning office.

To find out what types of projects require a building permit, please visit:

City of Allentown – When Residential Permits Are Required

For more information about permit requirements and to apply for a permit or inspection, click the link below:

http://www.allentownpa.gov/Government/Departments-Bureaus/Building-Standards-Safety/Building-Permit-Info

Erie, PA

The Department of Building regulates General Contractors in the city of Erie, PA.  The Department is responsible for reviewing, inspecting and approving building permits for residential and commercial contractors.  Building permits protect the public and ensure that general contractors operate and work under construction codes and regulations set forth by the city.

For more information on obtaining a building permit in Erie, PA, go to:

http://www.erie.pa.us/Departments/CodeEnforcement/DepartmentofBuilding.aspx

For additional questions or information, contact the Building Inspector at: (814)-870-1471

OR

Email: sheitzenrater@erie.pa.us

Reading, PA

The City of Reading, PA requires contractors to hold a building permit from the Building and Trades Office before starting work on a construction project.  Additionally, contractors are required to obtain zoning and land development approval.

Building permit applications are accepted in-person, by mail or fax.  All applicants are required to report the type of work that they intend to perform and how they will use their permit.

For more information about building permits in Reading, PA, go to:

http://www.readingpa.gov/building_trades_forms