Florida Residential Contractor vs Building Contractor

Building Contractors

What is the difference between the two types of licenses?

In the state of Florida, a Certified Residential (CRC) and a Certified Building Contractor (CBC) are able to tackle different types of projects based on the size, scope, and type of work that needs to be completed.  As the name may imply, a Residential contractor is restricted to building residences/homes, while a Building Contractor can construct or remodel commercial structures so long as they don’t exceed 3 stories.  Any commercial structure exceeding 3 stories would need a General contractors license.

More details regarding the specific building opportunities associated with each license can be found below.  

Residential Contractor (CRC) vs Building Contractor (CBC) License Requirements:

When performing contracting services for compensation in the state of Florida, one must be properly licensed.  

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

Residential vs Building Contractor Experience Requirements:

Both licenses require that applicants have worked 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.  These are the essential elements to building a solid structure from the “ground up”. 

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.

Residential Contractor:
  A CRC applicant must have acquired their experience under either a licensed Residential, Building or even a General contractor. 

Differences in a CRC and a CBC Scope of Work:  

Based on some early details in this article, you can probably guess that the Building contractor can benefit from being able to build both residential and small commercial structures not exceeding 3 stories.  A Residential contractor is restricted to building structures for residences, but it is important to note that the structure must not exceed 2 habitable stories.  This means that a Residential contractor can construct a residential home that is 3 stories in height, so long as the bottom story is structural, but not considered inhabitable.   

If you would like to learn more about how to get your Residential or Building contractors 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.