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Home Improvement Resources

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

If you are hiring a contractor for your home improvement project, it is important to be cautious of who you hire, as this individual will be responsible for initiating your project with the City and seeing it through completion. To ensure that the contractor you select is legitimate and dependable, below are a  reminders to help you in hiring a contractor:

  1. Contractors State License Board: Check to ensure that any prospective contractor has a valid State Contractor's License. Call the California Contractors License Board hotline at (800) 321-2752 or visit the Contractors State License Board website to help you verify a contractor’s license, check if a license is active or expired, and other additional information related to the contractor, including insurance and bond information.
  2. City Business License: Check to ensure that any prospective contractor has a valid City of Cerritos business license. In addition to a State license, contractors must also have an active City business license specific to the type of work the contractor will complete.
  3. Specialty Licenses: Please be aware that certain projects require specific licenses. For example, roofing contractors mostly hold what is known as a “C” license. However, other roofing contractors may hold a general contractor’s license or what is known as a “B” license, that allows them to handle a variety of home improvement projects. It is important to know what licenses are required for certain projects (such as electrical, plumbing, and mechanical) so that the appropriate contractor responsible for a permit is able to complete the necessary home improvement.

Obtaining Building Permits

Once you have selected a contractor and verified that a contractor holds the appropriate licenses, your contractor may apply for the applicable permit(s) for your project, with your signature on the City permit application. When a permit is issued, the person who signs as the contractor is on permanent record certifying that the structure is in compliance with all City ordinances and state laws relating to building construction. When your project is completed and you've obtained all necessary inspections, your contractor will receive a signed building permit as proof that your project meets applicable building codes. It is your responsibility to obtain the signed building permit from your contractor for your records.

Hours of Construction

Please note that all construction, demolition, and grading activities shall be limited to the following days and hours, unless otherwise approved in writing by the City of Cerritos:

    • Monday through Friday: Between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
    • Saturday: Between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
    • Sundays and City-observed holidays: No construction, demolition or grading activities are permitted.

Owner-Builder Home Improvement Projects

If you plan to complete a project as homeowner with the intent to do your own home improvements, you may obtain a permit as owner-builder. This means, as owner-builder, you are responsible as the party of record on the permit. Keep in mind that as a owner-builder, the structure must not be intended or offered for sale within a 12-month period following the construction, according to state contractor's law.

To proceed with an owner-builder permit, you should first contact the Department of Community Development to discuss your project and complete the appropriate permit application and applicable supplemental information. Once your application and/or plans are approved by the City, you may fill out a building permit application with the Building & Safety Division. When a permit is issued, the person who signs as owner-builder is on permanent record certifying that the structure is in compliance with all City ordinances and state laws relating to building construction.

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