State of Illinois Contractor Requirements

What are the contractor requirements for the state of Illinois?
Most states require contractors to get licensed in order to do construction work. But in Illinois, licensing for general contractors and most specialty contractors is regulated at the city or county level. The only trades licensed at the state level are plumbing and roofing. In this article, we’ll break down the Illinois contractor licensing requirements, with links to applications and other resources to make sure your bases are covered.

Illinois Contractor License Questions:

  1. How to get a general contractor license in Illinois Chicago Aurora Joliet Rockford State licenses for plumbing & roofing Plumbing licenses Applications & fees Roofing licenses Insurance & bond requirements Penalties for unlicensed contracting in Illinois

2. Do you need a license to file a mechanics lien in Illinois?

3. How to get a general contractor license in Illinois In Illinois, general contractors are not licensed at the state level — each city or county sets its own licensing rules.

Contractors do need to register their business with the Illinois Department of Revenue. In addition, contractors that plan to work on plumbing systems will likely need to secure a plumbing license through the Department of Health. (Jump to plumbing licenses.) Below, we’ll cover licensing rules for general contractors and some trade requirements in the four most populous cities in Illinois.

Check with the city or municipal government before starting any construction work to ensure your business is in compliance with local regulations.
Chicago – The city of Chicago requires licenses and registrations for general contractors, supervising electricians, brick masons, private alarm contractors, and many more. Contractor licensing is governed by the Chicago Department of Buildings. There are five types of general contractor licenses in Chicago, each with a limit to the project size they can undertake.

Class A – No Limit / $2,000 Annual Fee

Class B – $10,000,000 / $1,000 Annual fee

Class C – $5,000,000 / $750 Annual Fee

Class D – $2,000,000 / $500 Annual Fee Class

E – $500,00 / $300 Annual Fee General contractors will also have to disclose their business structure and provide proof of general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance when applying.

The application, examination, and renewal processes are administered by Continental Testing Services, a private testing company. This company handles testing for all of the trades, including stationary engineers, brick masons, supervising electricians, crane operators, concrete masons, and more. View Continental Testing Service’s full list of Chicago contractor requirements by trade. Aurora The City of Aurora requires most contractors to carry a license or register with the city. Licensing is governed by the Department of Buildings & Permits. Here are the applicable trades and applications for each: General Contractor, Signage, HVAC, Electrical contractors license application Plumbing or Fire Alarm contractors registration application Fence or Pavement (private property only) contractors registration application Pavement (including aprons and right of way) contractors registration application Different trades will have separate insurance requirements and application fees, but general contractors, HVAC, electrical, and roofing contractors can expect to pay $200 for a license application fee. Joliet Joliet’s contracting registration process is short and sweet. All contractors have to register with the Building and Inspectional Services Division: Contractor registration form To work in Joliet, contractors need to provide a certificate of insurance for a general liability policy naming the City of Joliet as a certificate holder.

Minimum insurance amounts:

$250,000.00 Bodily Injury Per Person

$500,000.00 Bodilly Per Occurrence

$250,000.00 Property Damage Per Occurrence

There are also some additional trade-specific insurance requirements:

A contractor working in the Public Right-of-Way: $10,000 Street Obstruction Bond Demolition Contractor (taking a structure down): $50,000

Wrecking Bond Plumbing Contractor: Illinois State Plumbing License (055 #) Electrical Contractor: City of Joliet Electrical License or license from another municipality

HVAC Contractor: City of Joliet or another municipality HVAC/Business License Roofing Contractor: Illinois State Roofing License Siding Contractor: VSI (Vinyl Siding Institute) Certificate Keep in mind that Joliet does require roofers and plumbers to carry the appropriate state license.

As of January 1, 2023, all electrical, plumbing, and HVAC contractors listed on a project must submit a Letter of Intent to the Building and Inspectional Services Division. View a sample Letter of Intent. Rockford Contractors looking to work in Rockford will have an easy go of it. There aren’t many licensing requirements, opting instead for registration. Rockford does expect roofing and plumbing contractors to carry valid Illinois-issued licenses and register with the city, however. Demolition contractors have to apply for one of three licenses, each with its own parameters and requirements. There are some registration requirements to be aware of. For example, electrical contractors will have to register each year, to the tune of $25. State licenses for plumbing & roofing Only two types of contracting work require a state-issued license: plumbing and roofing. Below, see exactly the steps you’ll need to take to get licensed. Plumbing licenses Plumbing in general is governed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), which includes the issuance of licenses for plumbers, plumbing contractors, plumbers’ apprentices, irrigation contractors, and retired plumbers. The difference between a plumber and plumbing contractor can be confusing, even as defined in state law. Generally, a plumber is someone who performs plumbing work as an employee, while a plumbing contractor is someone who does plumbing work under contract with another party (e.g. a homeowner, commercial property owner, etc.). Applications & fees Plumbers’ apprentice application. Fee: $100 Plumber application. Fee: $175 Plumbing contractor application. Fee: $150 Irrigation contractor application. Fee: $400-1500, based on the number of plumbers required Retired plumber application. Fee: $25 Roofing licenses Roofing licenses in Illinois go through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). All that’s required for a roofing license is that a qualifying individual apply and pass an examination. This qualifying individual does not have to own the business — they must only be employed by it. This person will have to disclose criminal records, child support, and other personal information, however. There are two types of roofing contractor licenses: limited and unlimited. Limited license holders are able to take on residential projects consisting of eight units or less. Unlimited license holders can take any roofing project. The fee for both of these is $226. Insurance & bond requirements Roofing contractor insurance and bond minimums: Property damage insurance: $250,000 per occurrence General liability insurance: $500,000 for each occurrence of personal injury or bodily harm License bond: $10,000 Penalties for unlicensed contracting in Illinois The state takes a hard line on unlicensed plumbing and roofing contractors. Both can see hefty fines for contracting without a license. For plumbers, a first offense can result in a $1,000 fine, but only if there are no violations of the Illinois Plumbing Code found. If there are violations, a contractor could see a fine of $3,000 for that first offense. A second offense can result in a $3,000 fine, and subsequent offenses can tally $5,000. Unlicensed roofing can be just as steep: Each offense is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, each individual municipality has the right to set its own fine and penalties, so it’s best to stay above board and follow any rules. Do you need a license to file a mechanics lien in Illinois? Even though almost all contractors need to carry some form of license or registration, Illinois does not explicitly require a contractor to hold a license in order to file a mechanics lien. With that said, a 2005 court case found that two architects were unable to successfully foreclose on a lien because they did not carry the proper licenses. So, it’s highly advisable to carry any required licenses in your trade to fully ensure you can successfully protect your payments.ChatGPT

Title: Navigating Illinois Contractor Licensing: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re looking to kickstart a construction project in Illinois, understanding the intricate web of contractor licensing is crucial. Unlike many states that mandate state-level licensing for contractors, Illinois takes a unique approach. In this blog post, we’ll dissect the intricacies of contractor licensing in Illinois, particularly in its major cities, Chicago, Aurora, Joliet, and Rockford. Plus, we’ll delve into state licenses for plumbing and roofing, penalties for unlicensed contracting, and whether you need a license to file a mechanics lien in the Land of Lincoln.

General Contractor Licensing in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, general contractors aren’t required to obtain a state-level license. Instead, the licensing requirements are determined by individual cities and counties. However, they must register their businesses with the Illinois Department of Revenue. If you intend to work on plumbing systems, a plumbing license from the Department of Health may also be necessary.

Before embarking on any construction project, always check with the local city or municipal government to ensure compliance with their specific regulations. Below, we outline the licensing rules for general contractors in four of the most populous cities in Illinois.

Chicago

The city of Chicago has a well-defined system for contractor licensing, overseen by the Chicago Department of Buildings. There are five classes of general contractor licenses in Chicago, each with project size limits:

  1. Class A – No Limit / $2,000 Annual Fee
  2. Class B – $10,000,000 / $1,000 Annual fee
  3. Class C – $5,000,000 / $750 Annual Fee
  4. Class D – $2,000,000 / $500 Annual Fee
  5. Class E – $500,000 / $300 Annual Fee

General contractors in Chicago must also disclose their business structure and provide proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance during the application process. The application, examination, and renewal procedures are administered by Continental Testing Services, a private testing company.

Aurora

In Aurora, contractor licensing is managed by the Department of Buildings & Permits. Various trades require licenses or registrations, including general contractors, HVAC, electrical contractors, plumbing contractors, and more. Fees and insurance requirements may vary by trade, but general contractors, HVAC, electrical, and roofing contractors can typically expect a $200 license application fee.

Joliet

Joliet keeps its contracting registration process straightforward. All contractors must register with the Building and Inspectional Services Division. To work in Joliet, contractors need to provide a certificate of insurance for a general liability policy, with minimum insurance amounts specified.

Additional trade-specific insurance requirements apply, such as a state plumbing license for plumbing contractors or a city electrical license for electrical contractors. As of January 1, 2023, certain contractors listed on a project must also submit a Letter of Intent to the Building and Inspectional Services Division.

Rockford

Rockford takes a relatively simple approach, favoring registration over stringent licensing requirements. However, roofing and plumbing contractors must possess valid Illinois-issued licenses and register with the city. Demolition contractors have three license options, each with its own specific parameters and prerequisites.

Keep in mind that electrical contractors in Rockford are required to register annually, with a $25 fee.

State Licenses for Plumbing & Roofing

In Illinois, only two types of contracting work necessitate a state-issued license: plumbing and roofing. Below, we outline the steps to obtain these licenses.

Plumbing Licenses

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) governs plumbing in general, including licenses for plumbers, plumbing contractors, plumbers’ apprentices, irrigation contractors, and retired plumbers. Understanding the distinction between a plumber and a plumbing contractor is crucial, as state law defines each differently.

  • Plumbers’ apprentice application: Fee – $100
  • Plumber application: Fee – $175
  • Plumbing contractor application: Fee – $150
  • Irrigation contractor application: Fee – $400-1500 (varies based on the number of plumbers required)
  • Retired plumber application: Fee – $25

Roofing Licenses

Roofing licenses in Illinois are managed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). To obtain a roofing license, a qualifying individual employed by the roofing business must apply and pass an examination. This individual doesn’t necessarily need to own the business but must disclose relevant personal information, including criminal records and child support.

Two types of roofing contractor licenses are available: limited and unlimited. Limited license holders can work on residential projects with eight units or fewer, while unlimited license holders can tackle any roofing project. The fee for both types of licenses is $226.

Insurance & Bond Requirements for Roofing Contractors

Roofing contractors in Illinois must meet specific insurance and bond minimums:

  • Property damage insurance: $250,000 per occurrence
  • General liability insurance: $500,000 for each occurrence of personal injury or bodily harm
  • License bond: $10,000

Penalties for Unlicensed Contracting in Illinois

Illinois takes a firm stance on unlicensed plumbing and roofing contractors, imposing significant fines for non-compliance. Plumbers face fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for offenses, depending on the presence of Illinois Plumbing Code violations. Unlicensed roofing can result in fines of up to $5,000 for each offense. Municipalities may also establish their own fines and penalties, so it’s crucial to adhere to all regulations.

Mechanics Lien Filing in Illinois

Although most contractors in Illinois must hold some form of license or registration, filing a mechanics lien doesn’t explicitly require a contractor license. However, a 2005 court case highlighted that lacking the appropriate licenses could hinder successful foreclosure of a lien. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to obtain any necessary licenses for your trade to protect your payments effectively.

Navigating contractor licensing in Illinois can be a complex journey, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can ensure compliance with local and state regulations, safeguard your business, and keep your construction projects on track.

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