Contractors, Construction, The City and You:
An Introduction by the City of Rawlins
The goal of the City of Rawlins for contractor licensing, construction permits and inspections is to ensure building codes are being met for the health and safety of current and future residents. We require all contractors working within City limits to be licensed per Rawlins Municipal Code 15.28.020. Work can also be performed by homeowners provided that all work meets the requirements of the code, a permit is issued, and is inspected by the building Inspector.
Why a Licensed Contractor?
The City of Rawlins requires contractors to be licensed for three reasons:
- Our licensing process includes the contractor proving they have relevant training and experience. This varies by type of work they perform, and certain contractors such as electrical and plumbing are also regulated by the state.
- Our licensing requires the contractor is current with their general liability insurance, which provides protection for the quality of the work and protects you from liability if the contractor is injured on your property.
- We help hold licensed contractors accountable for pulling the proper permits and for getting the required inspections, to check the quality of work.
How do I find a contractor?
The City can help you find a licensed contractor. Our office has a complete list of current licensed contractors available upon request in person, by email or by phone. All contractor's files, including any complaints, are public record available upon request. Contractors should be able to furnish a copy of their current license with their name, number and expiration date.
How are contractors licensed?
In order to get a license, an applicant must complete the application and provide proof of insurance. They must also submit information showing their experience, such as:
- Current license from another municipality with the same or stricter rules
- Reference letters; minimum 3. These are reviewed thoroughly to show they are unbiased.
- Pay stubs, w2’s from previous construction work
- Other options as approved by the Building Official
Contractors are also regulated by the City throughout the process. We have:
- Placed a contractor on an introductory period with their license to ensure they pull permits, inspections and do quality work that meets code
- Started contractors at a lower class and allowed them to work their way up
- Restricted the number of permits they can pull at a time to monitor them more closely
- Placed contractors on suspension
- In extreme cases revoked or not renewed their license
Contractors are licensed at three different levels:
A: Commercial Structural work. This is our highest level of license and it allows the contractor to built a commercial structure from the ground up and perform any of the needed skills individually.
B: Residential Construction Work. This allows the contractor to build a residence from the ground up and perform any of the needed skills individually.
C: Catch-all for specialty licenses, such as plumbers, electricians, roofers, fence builders, and handyman. For any questions on what type of Class C license a contractor has, please contact Public Works.
What about permits?
Permits are used to identify and monitor construction work. This allows the City to make sure that projects are being completed to code for your health and safety. Not all construction work requires a permit however. For a general list visit rawlinswy.org/building or request the list in person, by phone or by email. Additionally, some types of construction also require a plan review. More information about permits can be found in Rawlins Municipal Code Title 15.12. A lack of permits and inspections can effect the future sale of your home.
What are my responsibilities when I hire a contractor?
Although the City has a system to help protect our residents, the homeowner also has responsibilities.
- If you are starting a project, we can help from the beginning. Visit with Public Works and even schedule a site visit for free to understand the process your project will require.
- Make sure your contractor is licensed by the City.
- For all construction that requires a permit, various inspections will be required which are listed on the permit paperwork. Touch base with your contractor and/or the City about these inspections.
- If you ever have any concerns about your contractor, please reach out to the Community Development Department. The sooner we are notified, the more able we are to help identify the issue and take action.
- Contractors are required to show they are completing the work properly. We prefer to work with the contractor to correct the issue. If they do not, they can be fined, given a violation letter, and even have their licensed removed by the City.
What other protection do I have?
The City of Rawlins is limited to fining contractors and eventually removing their license. If you have problems with the work done by a contractor, you do have options to pursue:
- Collecting against the contractors insurance, either independently or in conjunction with your homeowners insurance.
- Make a legal claim against the contractor in civil court.