Whether you’re a residential builder or a manual construction worker, you’ve probably heard of the elite commercial building industry. Whether you’re looking to explore another career in commercial building or you’re just curious about what makes commercial builders so unique, this article has all the answers you need.
Commercial Builders vs Residential Builders
The main difference between commercial builders and residential builders is the nature of the work they’re doing. As the name suggests, residential builders work on homes and other privately-owned buildings where people live, whereas commercial builders focus on constructing structures for businesses, may they be owned by private business owners, conglomerates, or even the government.
Because of this, the selection process for commercial builders is typically more complicated than that for residential laborers. More often than not, commercial projects require contractors to participate in a bidding process where the firm or agency that can offer the best package for the lowest price bags the contract.
In terms of skills, both builders are expected to be able to execute basic construction tasks such as installing windows on sheds, for instance. But commercial builders are, of course, expected to have more advanced skills, particularly because the scope of their industry is wider. We’ll discuss the kinds of projects commercial builders usually work on later on in the article, but for now, let’s discuss how you can become a commercial builder if you’ve decided to give it a try.
How to Get Licensed as A Commercial Builder
Different states have different requirements for commercial contractors. In Virginia, for instance, you can’t work on any project that’s priced at over $1,000 without a contractor’s license. The licensure exam is not exactly a walk in the park, but there are some groups that offer prep courses that will definitely help you ace the licensing exam in Virginia.
Aside from enrolling in the required 8 hours of pre-licensing courses, it would also do you well to invest in your own books and prep materials. If you want to engage in work soon, you shouldn’t be taking any chances with the licensing exam.
Once you bag the license, though, take note that it will remain valid for as long as you pay any attachable renewal fees, because there are currently no continuing education requirements for commercial building professionals in Virginia, although there is one for tradesmen.
This means that you just have to give everything you have for the license exam and it’ll be enough to keep you in business for the foreseeable future.
What You Can Do with A Commercial Building License
So what exactly do commercial builders do? You might think it’s all just helping build offices and skyscrapers for companies to move in to, but that’s simply not the case.
Once you already have your license, here are some of the most exciting projects you can accept and work on:
- Construction of schools or public markers
- Building recreational facilities like public pools and parks
- Building farms or improving one that has been neglected for years
- Painting/covering walls
- Construction of marine and other military facilities
- Building billboards and large road signs
- Industrial building construction
- Building solar farms and other large-scale renewable energy parks
- Mixed-estate uses like compounds with both condos and malls in them
- Industrial parks
These are just some of the projects that you are allowed to bid on and work on once you have your contractor’s license. If these projects excite you, then you might want to look at working to get your commercial building license soon.
As discussed earlier, being a commercial builder entails more demand — and more opportunities — for contract workers. It’s a good next step if you already racked up enough experience as a carpenter or residential builder, since commercial projects are typically bigger and can thus improve your profit margins greatly. There is really just one question left to ask: are you ready to take the first step towards being a commercial builder?
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