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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. How do I go about getting a General Contractorís License?
A. You donít. In Massachusetts, thereís no such thing as a General Contractorís License

Q. So what kind of license do I need to be a contractor?
A. An Unrestricted Construction Supervisorís License (CSL).

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Q. What can I do with an Unrestricted CSL?
A. With the Unrestricted CSL you can pull building permits to do the following work:

  • 1. Build buildings containing less than 35,000 cu. feet of enclosed space.
  • 2. One and two family dwellings.
  • 3. Buildings used for farm purposes.
  • 4. Retaining walls less than 10 feet in height.

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Q. What if my project does not fall within these limits?
A. Youíll work under the direction of a Registered Professional Architect or Engineer. This is called construction control.

Q. If all I work on is large projects, either as a contractor or sub-contractor, do I need a CSL?
A. Yes. Even though the code does not require it, the contract will. The common perception in the business community and with the general public is, if youíre a contractor, you must have a ďcontractorísĒ license. The closest thing Massachusetts has to offer is the CSL.

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Q. What are the qualifications to take the state exam?
A. You must have three years of full time construction or design experience.

Q. Do I have to have worked for a licensed contractor?
A. No. Self-employment is OK.

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Q. Are there any general requirements to take this course?
A. Yes. You must be able to read and comprehend English. The Massachusetts State Building Code is printed in English only; therefore, the state exam is given in English only.

Q. I need to better understand building codes, but I donít qualify to take the state exam. Can I take this course?
A. Yes. Many people have taken this course that do not take the state exam. If your profession or business requires you to deal with contracts, contractors, building inspectors, property managers, etc., you will find this course very helpful.

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Q. Iíve been building for 20 years and know everything about construction. Why should I take this course?
A. The state exam is not about your knowledge of construction but your knowledge of building codes. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and try to fill both sides with all you know about code. This book has 805 pages.

Q. Is this course hard?
A. Most people think construction work is hard. You probably enjoy it, so itís all relative. Is this course a lot of work? Yes. You will only get out of this course what you are willing to put into it.

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Q. Is there a lot of homework?
A. We recommend 3-4 hours per week of reading. The only way youíre going to grasp what are code-regulated issues is to read the code book. There is no easy way around this.

Q. What will we do each week in class?
A. Test-review, test-review, test-review...Each week you will have a reading assignment, in class you will take a test on that reading, and the following week we will review the test. This teaching methodology will give you experience in using the code book plus valuable test taking skills. Test will be taken in small groups to facilitate learning. This is called cooperative learning (a.k.a. cheating!)

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