Minnesota Builders FAQs

The Department of Labor and Industry licenses residential building contractors, remodelers, roofers and manufactured home installers. The department requires certain standards of education and professional conduct be maintained to obtain and retain a license.

Licenses are required for all residential building contractors and residential remodelers who contract with a homeowner to construct or improve dwellings by offering more than one special skill. Owners working on their own property must also be licensed if they build or remodel for the sole purpose of speculation or resale.

All residential building contractors and residential remodelers who contract with an owner to construct or improve dwellings for habitation by one to four families (including detached garages) and perform two or more special skills must be licensed unless exempt under one of the provisions noted below. Roofing requires a separate license.

The licensing requirement also applies to any person acting as a “spec” homebuilder. The only difference between a residential building contractor and residential remodeler is a residential building contractor can build new homes and work on existing structures, whereas a remodeler can only work on existing structures.

Successfully pass the Trade and Business/Law sections of the licensing exam that is administered by the Minnesota DLI.  There are no prerequisite experience or educational requirements to take the residential building contractor or remodeler exam. You can apply online or submit an application to CCLD (PDF) along with the required exam application fee. The exam is offered at DLI’s offices in St. Paul as well as sites in Duluth, St. Cloud, Detroit Lakes, Granite Falls, and Owatonna.

After passing the exam you must apply to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for a license.

About the State Exam:

The exam consists of 110 multiple choice questions; 60 questions on construction and 50 questions on business/law. You must get at least 77 answers correct. Applicants are given four hours in which to complete the exam, which is divided into two sections; the first deals primarily with construction-related matters and the second covers issues relating to running a construction business. A copy of the State Building Code will be provided for reference during the exam.

More Info: Minnesota Prelicense Exam Details

  • Step #1:  Pass both parts (Business/Law and Trades) of the Minnesota Contractor, Remodeler or Roofer License exams.

This is a 110 question test that includes Business and Trades questions.

  • Step #2:  Apply to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for a license.
  • Step #3: Get the proper insurance.

The Minnesota builders license exam is administered by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).  You can apply online or submit an application to CCLD (PDF) along with the required $50 exam application fee. The exam is offered at DLI’s offices in St. Paul as well as sites in Duluth, St. Cloud, Detroit Lakes, Granite Falls and Owatonna.

You must obtain liability insurance coverage meeting the minimum statutory requirements. Also, all applicants must provide evidence of compliance with Minnesota’s workers’ compensation insurance requirement. You may provide a certificate of insurance showing your business is covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

There are associated fees when first applying for and renewing your license. For more information, please click here for the licensing fee table.

Yes

14 hours of continuing education, including 1 hour of energy must be completed every 2 years.

Minnesota Residential Building Contractors
443 Layfayette Rd. North
St. Paul, MN 55155
651-284-5005
www.dli.mn.gov/main.asp

No

No

This is an 8 to 12-hour course (depending on your knowledge and time you spend looking things up in the codebook), however, we highly recommend that you do not put a time limit on how long it takes.  Continue to review the material until you feel confident that you know it thoroughly.  Become familiar with the Minnesota Code Book as well.

You will be given the results (pass/fail) approximately two weeks after you have taken the State Exam.

NOTE:  If you receive a failure notice, you must wait 30 days to reschedule. This thirty-day timeline begins from the date you received notification. 

The exam consists of 110 multiple choice questions; 60 questions on construction and 50 questions on business/law.  You must get at least 77 answers correct. Applicants are given four hours in which to complete the exam, which is divided into two sections; the first deals primarily with construction-related matters and the second covers issues relating to running a construction business. A copy of the State Building Code will be provided for reference during the exam.

Once you pass the exam, you will receive a notice from DLI informing you of your results and instructing you on how to apply for a license. If an individual fails to pass the exam, they must wait 30 days before they can apply to retake the exam. To do so, the individual must submit a new exam application and pay the $51 exam fee.

The residential building contractor/remodeler licensing program requires the business entity, not individual owners of a contracting business, to obtain a license (though an individual operating as a sole proprietor would be required to become licensed as an individual). Each company must designate one individual who will serve as the “qualifying person” regardless of whether the licensee is an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. Guidelines for who may act as a company’s qualifying person are provided below.

I.  Plans and Specifications

II.  Energy Code (Envelope Criteria)

  • Interior Air Barrier
  • Wind Wash Barrier (Exterior)
  • Vapor Retarder
  • Insulation
  • Fenestration (Doors and Windows) Openings
  • Mechanical/Passive Ventilation

III.  Building Planning/Life Safety

  • Means of Egress
  • Stairways
  • Smoke Alarms
  • Required Exit Door
  • Wall Between House and Garage
  • Safety Glazing
  • Natural Light and Ventilation
  • Minimum Ceiling Heights
  • Replacement Windows

IV.  Sitework

  • Soils
  • Surveys
  • Excavation (Gopher One Call)
  • Filling/Soil Correction
  • Erosion Control
  • Backfill
  • Frost Protection

V.  Concrete and Masonry-Footings and Foundations

  • Strength of Concrete
  • Curing
  • Foundation Wall Design
  • Vertical Reinforcement and Anchors
  • Minimum Size Footings
  • Dampproofing and Waterproofing
  • Slab-On-Grade

VI.  Carpentry

  • Protection Against Decay
  • Flooring Systems
  • Wall Framing
  • Roof Framing and Trusses
  • Stairs
  • Decks and Balconies
  • Chimneys and Chases
  • Structural
  • Wood Foundations

VII.  Roofing

  • Underlayment/Ice Protection
  • Rolled Roofing
  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Wood Shingles and SHakes
  • Flashing
  • Ventilation

VIII.  Exterior Finishes

  • House Wraps
  • Flashing
  • Siding
  • Wood Shakes and Shingles
  • Stucco
  • Brick

IX. Foam Plastic Insulation

  • Flame Spread
  • Thermal Protection

X.  Interior Finishes

  • Drywall

XI.  Associated Issues

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Energy

XII.  Job Site Safety

  • Lead

I.  Enforcement Licensing

  • Contracts and Agreements
  • Assumed Name Filing Information
  • Disciplinary Actions
  • Definitions
  • Insurance Requirements
  • Building Contractors Recovery Fund
  • Continuing Education
  • Eligibility and License Renewal

II.  Mechanic’s Liens

III. Warranty

IV. Administration

  • Permits
  • Inspections
  • Building Codes
  • Duties and Powers of the Building Official
  • Construction Documents
  • Violations and Penalty
  • Fees
  • Stop Work Order
  • Certificate of Occupancy
  • Board of Appeals

V.  Management

  • Project management/Supervision

The department maintains a regular examination schedule at its offices in St. Paul and at other sites in greater Minnesota. You determine the location, date, and time of your exam when scheduling your exam.

  • Directions to metro area exam site at  DLI’s St. Paul office
  • Directions to northwest Minnesota exam site in Detroit Lakes
  • Directions to northeast Minnesota exam site in Duluth
  • Directions to southeast Minnesota exam site in Owatonna
  • Directions to central Minnesota exam site in St. Cloud
  • Directions to southwest Minnesota exam site in Granite Falls

The licensing law (Minn. Stat. § 326B.805, subd. 4) provides guidelines for who may act as the qualifying person for each business structure type:

• Individual proprietorship: Must be the proprietor or managing employee

• Partnership: Must be a partner or managing employee

• Limited liability company (LLC): Must be a chief manager or managing employee

• Corporation: Must be a chief executive officer or managing employee

A “managing employee” must be a bona fide W-2 employee of the company “who is regularly employed by the licensee and is actively engaged in the business of residential contracting or residential remodeling on behalf of the licensee.” Under no circumstances can a company’s qualifying person be an independent contractor of the company.

Unlike other business license types regulated by CCLD, a company’s qualifying person may act as the qualifying person for more than one company, but only if there is 25 percent common ownership among the companies and the individual meets the requirements described above with respect to their position within each company. The qualifying person is not required to be the individual holding the 25 percent common ownership.

The qualifying person’s original exam results must be submitted with the company’s license application. Be sure to keep copies of the exam results in your records.

  • Contact the Licensing Unit at
    Phone: (651) 284-5031
    email: DLI.License@state.mn.us

The qualifying person is also responsible for taking 14 hours of CCLD-approved continuing education in order to renew the company’s license every two years.

I enjoyed the (MI 60-Hour) class discussions with the instructor and my classmates who work in other fields of the industry.
Chuck Mc Connaughey - Michigan
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