A residential builder is a contractor or sub-contractor who is properly licensed, bonded, and skilled in the construction of residential properties and homes. They work in almost every settled part of the country, and their pay can vary depending on skill level, type of work, and the overall size of their contracting company.
While there are no specific educational or skill requirements to become a residential builder, a specific knowledge of construction and building design is necessary. Often, a degree in construction science is recommended, but the knowledge and skill base can be obtained through real world experience and training with more skilled construction workers. If you are the business owner, ultimate responsibility will lie with you for the quality of your workers and their product.
Often the builder will be responsible for every aspect of construction from design and land acquisition to permitting and actual building. Material choice as well as zoning issues are often part of the knowledge base required to be a successful residential builder. Since the paperwork and code requirements are a continual part of the building process, a degree in business would be helpful, as is a working knowledge of the building codes in the communities where you will be working.
The licensing and bonding procedure is the most intense requirement of the procedure. Each state will have different standards, possibly including testing, background checks, liability insurance, and bonding. Municipalities may impose stricter standards than states, as do government entities with which you will want to contract. Some even require membership in construction boards, union participation, and the payment of prevailing wage. In those areas that require testing, often classes are offered at local universities and community colleges to help prepare.
When beginning your new company, you will likely need to work directly alongside your employees. As with most small businesses, the early years are the most difficult and will require serious time investment by the proprietor. Your major investment will be in equipment, both simple and complex. Everything from a hammer to a truck to a load lifter can be required in the construction business, as are many more specialized tools. You will need to be prepared to make initial investments in building materials as well, while waiting for clients to make payment.
Construction can be a very rewarding business. You get to see the product of your work rise into the sky. But it also requires a lot of skill, commitment, and hard work.
There are two basic types of builders; there are commercial builders and residential builders. The licensing required for the two varies greatly, depending on which type and at what scale the project will be built.
This is the case for being licensed as a builder, as well as being licensed as a business who is a residential builder. The amount of licensing necessary varies between states and within states, and sometimes between municipalities. The building situations vary so greatly that this type of piecemeal licensing effort is necessary. In some places, it is not necessary to have a particular license to become a residential builder. This does not mean that certain precautionary measures are not taken against malpractice or criminality, but that the burden of deciding grievances is different.
With licensing organizations, states and municipalities can regulate and exclude builders based on certain criteria before anything is built. However, in some states, anyone can term themselves a residential builder if they have the appropriate insurance measures taken, and their work is heavily inspected by governmental agencies during several steps in the process, all of which can be interrupted or terminated depending on inspections. In these cases, any malpractice is directed toward that builders’ insurance entities, and any further damage or ineptitude is prevented because the operation cannot continue until each individual part of the inspections are passed in the appropriate order. Although all systems are protected by an inspection protocol of some kind.
However, some states and municipalities grant licenses for residential builders based on expertise and the ability to cover any problems which may occur. This is often done with a bond system of some kind along with stringent insurance requirements. One of the oldest forms of becoming a builder is through the apprentice system and whether informal or formal, it is the system by which most good builders have gained their abilities and knowledge. This system is important in areas with heavily regulated structures because the homes are old and historic, or near other residents. In these cases, a working knowledge of the system is required to prevent homes from being built that do not follow historic or preservation efforts, or safety standards. Because of this wide array of variables, it is necessary to research the appropriate material on residential builder’s licensing in the area and state in which a builder intends to build homes.