If I don't know any good contractors, can the Building Department recommend someone?
No. Due to obvious conflicts of interest, we can not get involved in the hiring or recommendation of contractors or in any contract disputes. One way to find a good contractor is to ask someone who has recently had similar work done on their home for a recommendation. The Building Department has a list of all permits issued. We suggest that you review this list and if you find a project similar to yours, contact the owner to see if they were happy with the work. Most homeowners are happy to talk about their construction projects. Keep in mind that it is important to check references, but don't rely on references given to you by the contractor.
I understand that if I obtain the building permit, I do not need to be licensed, but if I hire a contractor, does my contractor need a license?
If you are hiring a contractor, they will have to hold a Home Improvement Contractor's License and, if doing structural work, will be required to hold a Construction Supervisor's License. If they obtain a building permit, we will make certain that they have the proper licenses before issuing the permit. Be wary of a contractor who tries to convince you to obtain the permit as a way around his/her need for a license. These licenses are to protect you. If you would like to verify that your contractor has the required licenses, go to the State Board of Building Regulations and Standards page on the Department of Public Safety website here.