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Michigan Builder Licensing Frequently Asked Questions
There are three major steps to getting your Michigan Residential Builders or Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License:
Step 1 – Complete an approved 60-Hour Prelicense Course for builders.
Step 2 – Send your license application, Certificates of Completion and $195 fee to the State of Michigan for approval. This usually takes 2-4 weeks.
Step 3 – Register with PSI for the State Exam ($111) and pass it on your first try (Free exam prep courses are part of our packages). To schedule your Michigan Builders testing date:
Call PSI at (800) 733-9267, 24 hours a day and schedule using the Automated Registration System or speak with a representative between 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. ET. Builders license exams are given at the following locations:
You will be told immediately after passing the exam if you passed. PSI will notify the State of Michigan Licensing Division and they will send you your license and identification card.
There are two parts to the test:
Part 1: Business/Law, 50 questions, you have 75 minutes and must get 36 correct.
Part 2: Trades/Practices, 100 questions, you have 150 minutes and must get 73 correct.
NOTE: Our 60-Hour builders license Program covers both parts of the exam thoroughly and provides hundreds of sample questions as close to the real test as it gets. Our Michigan builders license course will provide you with the tools you need to pass the Michigan builders license exam.
Our Michigan builders license 60 hour program consists of eight separate courses:
1. Business of Building walks you through setting up your business, the rules that apply and prepares you for the Business/Law portion of the State exam.
(6 hours Business management, estimating, and job costing; 3 hours Electives)
2. Marketing for Contractors teaches you how to bring in new customers year round.
(6 hours Marketing and Sales; 1 hour Electives)
3. Project Management teaches you how to complete your projects on time and on budget.
(6 hours Project Management and Scheduling; 1 hour Electives)
4. Contracts and Risk Management makes sure you understand the importance of contracts and insurance.
(6 hours Contracts and Risk Management; 1 hour Electives)
5. Construction Safety reviews the OSHA Standards of the industry.
(6 hours Construction safety standards promulgated under the Michigan occupational safety and health act, 1974 PA 154, MCL 408.1001 to 408.1094; 1 hour Electives)
6. Overview of Building Trades focuses on what you need to know to pass the Trades portion of the State exam.
(9 hours Electives)
7. Building Green shows you how to save your customer’s money and boost your profit at the same time.
(6 hours Design and Building Science; 1 hour Electives)
8. Residential Code Review walks you through the codebook so you can use it as a tool.
(6 hours of the Current Michigan Residential Code; 1 hour Electives)
Also included with the course:
The best exam prep software available, with sample questions as close to the real test as it gets. You will receive an Exam Prep for the Business & Law and the IRB Trades Exam.
Construction Math tutorial that teaches you the math formulas you will see on the State exam.
All forms and applications you will need, along with step by step instructions of the licensing process.
Certificates of Completion
Instructor Support (click here for more information)
Money Back Guarantee for our online 60-hour program, please see our refund policy.
Yes, the State requires that you own a copy of the most current code-book to become licensed.
No, the exam is closed book. You are only allowed to take silent, battery-operated calculators into the exam. They cannot have a keyboard on them or the ability to convert measurements from inches to feet to yards. We suggest that you take two calculators in case there is a malfunction with one.
The State exam is made up of two main parts:
Part 1: Business and Law Exam – There are 50 questions on the exam and you must answer at least 36 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 72%. You are allowed 75 minutes to complete the exam.
Part 2: Trades Exam – The Trades Exam is different for the Individual Residential Builder and the Maintenance & Alteration licensing.
Residential Builder Trades Exam – There are 100 questions on the Residential Builder exam and you must answer at least 73 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 73%. You are allowed 150 minutes to complete the exam.
Maintenance & Alteration Trades Exam – A separate trade exam is required for each trade you wish to be licensed in. Each trade exam ranges from 25 to 50 questions. Please click on the link below for the PSI candidate information bulletin.
A candidate information bulletin is included with our 60-Hour course which outlines the topics covered on the exam. If you are taking an exam for an individual trade, please call us or email us and we will send you the outline for that trade. You can also find this information at www.psiexams.com.
The Residential Builder may build a new home from the ground up or may do any kind of repairs. The builder may contract for the entire job but will have to subcontract for plumbing, electrical, and mechanical (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) work.
The Residential Maintenance & Alteration (M&A) Contractor is licensed to perform only specific trades and services and may accept contracts only in the services for which they are licensed (whether or not the building is new construction or remodeling).
The M&A trades and their equivalent letter codes are:
Insulation Work (G)
Painting & Decorating (J)
Screen & Storm Sash (N)
Tile & Marble (P)
House Wrecking (R)
Swimming Pools (S)
Basement Waterproofing (T)
Each of these trades must be performed by a licensee.
Each Residential Builder receives a wall license and a pocket card showing that he or she is properly licensed. For the Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor
Yes, even the M&A Contractors have to complete the whole 60 hours of builders prelicensure education before applying for the license or registering for the exam. Even if you are only painting or building swimming pools. There are no exceptions.
PSI Examinations Services has testing centers in Dearborn, Holt, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Marquette, and Southfield. You can test out of State at any of the PSI centers, but you would have to submit the Out-Of-State form and make special arrangements. You can get the form from their website at www.psiexams.com.
No, a Michigan Builders License is not reciprocal with other States.
The Michigan Builders License is not reciprocal with other States. Out of State Companies that want to become licensed in Michigan must include this form with the application: Michigan Application C “CONSENT TO SERVICE OF PROCESS” form http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-35299_61343_36737—,00.html
If you are applying for a license or re-licensure as a residential builder or residential maintenance and alteration (M&A) contractor, you may be exempt from the requirement of successfully completing prelicensure courses if all of the following conditions are met:
(a) Your application is submitted between September 16, 2014, and March 16, 2016, and
(b) You held an individual license as a residential builder or residential maintenance and alteration (M&A) contractor or held a license as a qualifying officer of a licensed residential builder or residential maintenance and alteration (M&A) contractor, at any time within the 9-year period preceding your application.
NOTE: The information above regarding the waiver of the prelicensure course–if you were actively licensed in the past nine years–is effective until March 2016. The waiver is part of a temporary amendment that expires March 16, 2016.
To be sure, we recommend you call the Builders Unit within the State of Michigan at (517) 373-8376 and ask them to verify whether you need to take the 60-hour program.
If you are renovating homes or child-occupied facilities that were built before 1978, you must take an eight-hour certification course and become certified as a Lead Paint Renovator.
In general, a person who contracts with a property owner to do residential construction or remodeling on a project whose total value is $600 or more, including material and labor, is required to be licensed as either a Residential Builder or a Maintenance & Alteration Contractor.
Activities Requiring a Licensed Individual
New Construction/Remodeling of homes, apartment buildings, condominiums, townhouses, etc.
Painting & Decorating
Screen & Storm Sash
Tile & Marble
Replacement windows/doors /garage doors
Laying wood floors
ACTIVITY LICENSE – NOT REQUIRED
Sewer and septic, water lines, sprinklers
Pavers without mortar
Carpeting and vinyl floors (not wood)
Plaster and Lath
The Occupational Code lists several exemptions from the licensing law. Some of the more common exemptions are:
An owner of a property, with reference to a structure on the property for the owner’s own use and occupancy.
An owner of rental property, with reference to the maintenance and alteration of that rental property.
A subcontractor to a licensed builder, that is, a person other than a salesperson who engages solely in the business of performing work and services under contract with a Residential Builder or a Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor licensed under this article.
A person working on 1 undertaking or project by 1 or more contracts, the aggregate contract price for which labor, material, and any other item is less than $600.00. A license is required if the construction work is only a part of a larger or major operation (whether undertaken by the same or a different Residential Builder or Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor), or in which a division of the operation is made in contracts of amounts less than $600.00 to evade this act.
For the full text of the exemptions, you may wish to visit the Builders website at www.michigan.gov/builders and review Article 24 of the Occupational Code.
By the letter of the law, a residential builder’s license does not allow you to do any electrical, plumbing or mechanical work. Please contact the state of Michigan for further information.
MCL 339.2401(b) requires that a person who “engages in purchase, substantial rehabilitation or improvement, and resale of a residential structure, engaging in that activity on the same structure more than twice in 1 calendar year” have a residential builder or M&A contractor license unless the work is for the person’s own use and occupancy, they contract/hire a licensee to perform all the work, or they have a licensed employee who does the work.
An unlicensed property owner who acts as his/her own general contractor is required to reside in the home upon completion and issuance of the occupancy permit. An owner-builder shall not sell or transfer ownership for at least 365 days after living (full or part-time) in the residential structure. If the owner-builder is unable to reside in the home due to unforeseen circumstances, the home may be sold (this exception can only be used once per year). For more information see
the Owner Built Residence Transfer Act, Public Act 6 of 2008.
All employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. These courses train individuals within companies to identify potential hazards at their work sites and ways to correct them, improving the occupational safety and health for all within the company. All companies need to have a designated, qualified employee to implement this training.
REGISTER NOW for Classroom Course
If you are working for a licensed Residential Builder or Maintenance and Alteration (M&A) Contractor, and collecting money or signing contracts, you must pass a 50 question State exam and obtain a Salesperson’s license.
YES! To send payments using a cashiers check or money order, please contact our offices at 1-800-727-7104 and speak with a registration specialist.
If you have been licensed more than 6 years (or two license cycles), you only need a three-hour Code-Law-Safety course once every 3-year licensing cycle. The renewal date is May 31st, every three years depending on when you were licensed.
If you have been licensed less than 6 years, you are required to complete 21 hours of continuing competency the first three years of your licensing cycle, and another 21 hours during the second three-year cycle.
Yes, you can complete your education online as long as the courses fulfill the requirements outlined by the State of Michigan. All of our continuing competency courses fulfill the requirements outlined by the State.
You are required to renew your license every 3 years. You may need to check your license for your specific renewal date. For most licensees, next renewal deadline is May 31, 2020.
You must renew your license(s) HERE by using LARA’s online renewal system with a debit or credit card containing a MasterCard, Visa, or Discover logo or by electronic check (e-check).
When you have completed your required continuing education course(s) you will be provided a certificate of completion. This certificate may be given to you by an instructor at the end of your classroom session, or you may print your certificate when you complete your online course(s). In the past, the state would audit 17% of the builders in Michigan. If you are audited, you will then need to send a copy of the certificate to the state.
Our Code Official courses cover a large variety of subject matter. We have many state-approved individual courses and packages to choose from. Click HERE for a full review of our course packages and details.
Please contact the Bureau of Construction Codes:
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Bureau of Construction Codes
www.candidate.psiexams.com – This is the company you need to contact to schedule your exam for the Michigan Residential Builders or Maintenance and Alterations Contractor exam.
http://michiganworks.org/agencies/find/ – If you feel you may qualify for the No Worker Left Behind Program, this link will allow you to find the Michigan WORKS! office near you.
http://www.craftsman-book.com – Get a 15% discount on everything offered at this link when you enter your instructor’s last name in small letters as a promo code. If you have not yet taken one of our programs, enter francis as a promo code.
http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/dms/results.asp?docowner=BCSC&doccat=Builders&Search=Searchl – This is the link to all of the forms, applications and publications for Michigan Residential Builders.
https://www2.dleg.state.mi.us/colaLicVerify/ – This is the link where you can verify that a builder or a company is licensed.
www.michigan.gov/builders – This is the State of Michigan Builders Unit Web Page
Interpretations of Article 1 through 6, Article 24, Lien Laws (PDF, rev. 2013)
Information is continually added and updated. Please check back
"I just took my State exam and passed both parts first try. Your 60-Hour online video course was extremely helpful. I couldn't have passed without it. Everyone in your office was very helpful and friendly every time I called. Thank you very much."
-- Jake Lindloff, Sault Ste Marie, Michigan
"The Michigan Online 60-Hour Course was very informative and prepared me for the test very well. I felt great walking out and passed the test on my first try. Thank you Builders License Training Institute."
-- Brian Chinoski from Warren, Michigan
"I have no real experience in framing and building homes because I specialize in roofing and waterproofing. Because your course was so thorough, I took the whole residential builders exam and passed my test the first time. No ifs, and's or buts, it was your program that got me through. Thank you."
-- Eric Walker, Expert Roofing & Basement Waterproofing from Granger, Michigan