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General contractor subclasses

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Subclass 1.3 limited

On June 25, 2008, following the coming into force of the Regulation respecting the professional qualification of contractors and owner-buildersThis link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window., the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) sent all contractors who held licence subclass 1.2 (Contractor – Small buildings), but did not have licence subclass 1.3 (Contractor – All buildings), a new licence containing the addition of subclass 1.3 limited – Contractor - All buildings. This measure was taken to preserve the rights of small building contractors.

This subclass is "limited" in that it includes only the work authorized by subclass(es) that contractors held prior to June 25, 2008 (former subcategories 4041, 4043, 4047, 4050.1 and 4050.2). Please refer to the Concordance Table in Schedule IV of the List of Licence Subclasses – PDF (109 KB).

Definitions of subclass 1.3 limitations included on the contractor's or owner-builder's licence:

  • 4041 Residential buildings, Class I: This subcategory includes construction work in respect of buildings of a building height of 4 stories or less, not covered by the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings, (O.C. 841-98), and intended to be used mainly for residential purposes and similar or related construction work.
  • 4043 Maintenance, renovation, repair and alteration of residential buildings: This subcategory includes the construction work to maintain, renovate, repair and alter, in whole or in part, residential buildings including the construction of small additions with respect to the building as a whole.
  • 4047 Building removal: This subcategory includes preliminary underpinning work, transportation, installation and restoration of buildings and similar or related construction work.
  • 4050.1 Public, commercial and industrial buildings, Class I: This subcategory includes the construction work for buildings having a building height of 4 storeys or less designed mainly for public service, government and commercial use and for light industry and similar or related construction work.
  • 4050.2 Shelters, all types: This subcategory includes the construction work for prefabricated shelters, greenhouses and similar constructions designed mainly for public service, government and commercial use and for light industry and similar or related construction work.

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What a general contractor's licence allows you to do

A general contractor is authorized to bid on, to carry out or to have carried out construction work covered by a general contractor's licence.

Usually, a general contractor does general work, such as building a house or putting up a transmission line, or has such work carried out.

A general contractor need never actually do construction work. He or she may stick to organizing a construction site and coordinating the work carried out by subcontractors, who themselves may be either general or specialized contractors. This is true, for instance, of a real estate promoter.

Work the contractor can subcontract

A general contractor can subcontract work covered by all the subclasses in Schedules II and III of the List of Licence Subclasses – PDF (109 KB), where this work is carried out on buildings or works included in the Schedule I licence subclass the contractor holds.

Work the contractor can carry out

A general contractor is also authorized to carry out the following work:

  • Work included in all the lower-risk specialized subclasses in Schedule III of the List of Licence Subclasses – PDF (109 KB) under the Regulation respecting the professional qualification of contractors and owner-builders, where this work concerns buildings, installations or works included in the general contractor's licence (see Example 1)
  • Work included in the higher-risk subclasses in Schedule II of the List of Licence Subclasses – PDF (109 KB) that are listed under the general contractor's subclass, for the types of buildings, installations or works it covers (see Example 2)
  • Work included in the specialized licence subclasses held in addition to the subclass(es) of their general contractor's licence

Example 1

A general contractor holding a subclass 1.1.1 licence (Contractor – New residential buildings covered by a guaranty plan, Class 1) may carry out work authorized by subclass 2.7 (Contractor – Sitework) without having this subclass listed on their licence, where this work relates to the construction of any building described under subclass 1.1.1.

Example 2

A general contractor holding a subclass 1.2 licence (Contractor – Small buildings) is not required to hold specialized subclass 6.1 (Contractor – Wood structures) to carry out work related to the wood frame of a building described under subclass 1.2, since specialized subclass 6.1 is included in subclass 1.2. However, the contractor may not carry out work in connection with fire alarm systems without holding subclass 13.2 (Contractor – Fire alarm systems).

N.B.: A general contractor can always bid on contracts covered by their subclasses and have the work carried out by subcontractors, but may not always be permitted to do the work personally.

Also note that a general or specialized contractor can always bid on, carry out or have carried out a fraction of the work that is normally included in their subclass, even if this work is not specifically included in the subclass definition. For example, a holder of subclass 1.7 (Contractor – Telecommunications, transmission, transformation and distribution of electric power) may bid on fibre optic cable splicing, and an interior finishing contractor (specialized subclass 9.0) may bid on drywall jointing or woodwork stripping.

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Important: Reserved work

Neither general nor specialized contractors can have construction work relating to electrical installations, plumbing installations or heating systems performed by the staff they employ, even if staff members hold qualification cards for electricity, plumbing or heating systems. In fact:

  • only electrical contractors (subclass 16) may  perform, with their qualified staff, work relating to electrical installations
  • only master pipe-mechanics (subclasses 15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4 and 15.5) may perform, with their qualified staff, work relating to plumbing or heating systems. 

Therefore, any time a contract covers electrical or plumbing and heating work, this part of the work must be entrusted to an electrical contractor or a master pipe-mechanic.

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