Licensing Now Required for General Contractors in McPherson

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
June 23, 2016

City commissioners this week approved a new ordinance that will require general contractors to obtain a license in order to do business in the city of McPherson.

Up until now, the city of McPherson has not required a license for general contractors overseeing the work of licensed subcontractors. That’s now going to change.

“The way this ordinance is set up and intended to be is that nobody will be without a license beginning August 1, 2016, once they come in, make their application, have their insurance in place, and pay their contractor fee,” said Bill Athey, McPherson’s Lead Buildling Inspector.

After submitting an application, the contractor will then have 24 months to satisfy the rest of the requirements outlined in the new ordinance.

The idea of requiring licenses for general contractors in McPherson has been talked about for years. According to city administrator Nick Gregory, McPherson is probably one of the bigger cities in Kansas not to license general contractors up until this point.

Athey said he began talking about this ordinance with local contractors back in March of 2015.

“Most [contractors] are very supportive,” Athey said. “We might have one or two that have questions, but for the most part everybody is very encouraged and supportive. In fact, comments even came to the point of saying that this should have been in place many years ago. They’re glad to see this going to some sort of governance.

“It has been talked about for years,” Athey added.

Some local general contractors are already stepping up and going through the process of obtaining their license.

“There are five of our local contractors who have gone out and taken the test to have the credential for the full contractor license Class A,” Athey told city commissioners at Monday’s meeting. “So they can build anything, they’ll be unlimited. They’ve really jumped on board.”

An additional two local contractors on Monday were also in the process in obtaining their Class A contracting license.

Effective August 1, 2016, a current contractor license will be required for all contractors to apply for and receive a building permit. A licensed contractor under this ordinance is responsible for all work performed under this contract. Exceptions to the licensing requirement include an employee working under a licensed contractor or a homeowner who occupies or will occupy the residence and does not complete more than three projects in a four-year period.

Three types of contractor licenses are available, including contractor licenses, local contractor licenses and conditional licenses.

Contractor licenses require experience, a certificate, or a four-year degree in a specific construction related field from an accredited institution of higher learning and continuing education units.

The contractor license includes Class A Commercial, Class B Commercial, Class C Residential and Class D Specialties.

Local contractor licenses require experience and 20 hours of code training (2 CEU) with no mandated certification or degree and will remain conditional for up to 24 months and until all requirements are met.

The local contractor license includes Local Class B Commercial and Local Class C Residential. There is no guarantee local contractor licenses will reciprocate with other jurisdictions.

Conditional licenses offer the same Class B Commercial and Class C Residential as the local contractor license, but the conditional license will only be in effect for 24 months with a sunset date of January 1, 2019. This license is intended to be transitional and issued for those seeking either a full Class A, B, C or D license or a local Class B or C license.

The initial licensing period that goes into effect this August 1 will be good through the end of 2017. After that, contractors will be required to renew their license every calendar year on the first of January with late renewals subject to a penalty after February 1.

The licensing process ensures standard building procedures are completed, ensuring overall safety and quality construction.

For more information, contact Bill Athley at 620.245.2547.

A complete copy of the new contractor licensing ordinance is available at the Municipal Center at 400 E. Kansas Ave. in McPherson and can also be found on the city’s website at