Florida Building Contractor VS General Contractor

General Contractor Looking At House

What is the difference between the two types of licenses?

In the state of Florida, a Certified Building Contractor (CBC) and a Certified General Contractor (CGC) differ based on the scope of work that they can perform.  A General Contractor is often seen as having unlimited building capabilities, while a close second to that is a Building Contractor who has a few limitations on the size and types of construction projects they can do.

In this article we will break down the differences between a General and a Building Contractor based on the size and scope of their projects, as well as by the license and experience requirements that they must meet.   If you are looking to become licensed in one of these categories, or perhaps you are trying to hire a contractor, keep reading to learn more.

Building Contractor (CBC) vs General Contractor (CGC) License Requirements:

As with most highly regulated industries, the construction industry requires both General and Building contractors to be licensed before performing construction related services for compensation in Florida.  


In order to become licensed, all contractors must meet a basic set of requirements which include:

  • Passing the state licensing exams specific to the license type
  • Be 18 years of age
  • Have good moral character. (A criminal incident in the past does not prevent you from getting a license so long as you have had your civil rights restored, all debts to society paid, no pending or current liens such as IRS, and have no pending or ongoing criminal litigation).
  • Credit score of 660 or above
    • A bond can be placed for individuals with lower credit scores
  • Four years of proven construction experience


Building vs General Contractor Experience Requirements:

It all comes down to the type of experience and the size of the projects one has worked on.  Both licenses require that an applicant have been in a supervisory capacity on projects involving foundations or slabs, masonry walls, steel, elevated slabs, precast concrete structures, column construction, and framework for reinforced concrete.


General Contractor:  A CGC applicant must have acquired their experience under a licensed GC and while working on structures that were greater than 4 stories in elevation.

Building Contractor:  A CBC applicant must have acquired their experience under either a licensed General or Building contractor.  Building contractor applicants are not required to have worked on projects greater than 4 stories, and can use experience from smaller commercial or residential buildings.


Scope of work differences:  

If you took note of the differences in the experience requirements, you likely noticed that a General Contractor had more criteria to meet.  This is because a General Contractor is allowed to build with unlimited scope, whereas a Building Contractor cannot build structures that exceed 3 stories.  That doesn’t mean that a Building Contractor is less qualified to do a project.  A licensed Building Contractor is clear to build very large commercial and residential buildings, and meets the same licensing standards as a General Contractor.  

It is also important to note that a Building Contractor CAN do renovation and remodel work on buildings that are greater than 4 stories so long as they aren’t altering the structural aspect of the building.  

If you would like to learn more about how to get your General or Building Contractor license, Gold Coast Schools offers Florida’s leading construction licensing program.  

Simply use the links provided above, or contact a helpful career counselor at 1-800-732-9140.  We are happy to explain these licenses in great detail.