Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps to getting a Virginia Contractor license?
- Name and register your business entity
- Determine the type of license your company will need (i.e. Class & Specialty)
- Identify your Responsible management
- Identify your Qualified Individual(s)
- Identify your Designated Employee
- Designated Employees complete the licensing exams
- Class A license exams: General, Virginia & Advanced portions & Specialty exam
- Class B license exams: General & Virginia portions & Specialty exam
- Class C license exams: Specialty exam
- Complete the Virginia Basic Business course
- Complete and submit a licensing application with appropriate fees to the Board
What are the pre-license education requirements?
All classes of license applicants must complete 8 hours of pre-license education, which is referred to as the Virginia Basic Business Course.
Who must complete the Virginia Basic Business Course?
- Class A or B applicants: Education must be completed by a member of the Responsible Management or a Designated Employee
- Class C applicants: Education must be completed by a member of the Responsible Management
What are the fees associated with getting a Virginia Contractor license?
Fees vary depending upon certain specialty designations, but in general the fees are based upon the license class as follows:
- Class A: $385.00
- Class B: $370.00
- Class C: $235.00
General Licensing Questions
Who needs a Virginia contractor license?
"Contractor" means any person, that for a fixed price, commission, fee, or percentage undertakes to bid upon, or accepts, or offers to accept, orders or contracts for performing, managing, or superintending in whole or in part, the construction, removal, repair or improvement* of any building or structure permanently annexed to real property owned, controlled, or leased by him or another person or any other improvements to such real property.
*Improvement shall include:
- Remediation, cleanup or containment of premises to remove contaminants
- Site work necessary to make certain real property usable for human occupancy
Does the Commonwealth of Virginia grant temporary licenses?
The Board for Contractors issues Temporary licenses to out-of-state contractor entities only. Temporary licenses are for those out-of-state entities that need a license while it waits to get all permanent license requirements in place. Temporary licenses are valid for 45 days and cannot be renewed, reinstated, reissued or reapplied for. The cost of a Temporary license is $50.00.
Is the NASCLA Accredited Commercial license accepted in Virginia?
Yes! When you pass the NASCLA Accredited Examination for Commercial General Building Contractors, you will be listed in the NASCLA National Examination Database. You will then have this information available for the following states which accept the NASCLA Accredited Examination: AL, AR, GA, LA, MS, NV, NC, OR, SC, TN, UT, US Virgin Islands, VA, and WV. You may also need to take each states’ specific business/law/project management exam in addition to the NASCLA exam.
Licensing Terms and Definitions
What are the different contractor license classes in Virginia?
Classes are based on the value of construction projects undertaken:
- Class A
- Single contract value: $120,000 or more OR
- Total value of construction within 12-month period: $750,000 or more
- Class B
- Single contract value: $10,000 or more but less than $120,000 OR
- Total value of construction within 12-month period: $150,000 or more but less than $750,000
- Class C
- Single contract value: over $1,000 but less than $10,000 OR
- Total value of construction within 12-month period: less than $150,000
What is a specialty designation?
Specialty designations describe the type of work a business is allowed to contract for, and the business must select a qualifying individual to qualify for each specialty.
Who are Responsible Management?
All licensed contractors are required, by law, to identify officers, members, partners, owners, etc., of their business entities. These are the individuals responsible for the license and for ensuring that all regulations and statutes are followed.
Who must be identified depends on the type of business entity being formed.
What is a Qualified Individual?
All business entities must have a Qualified Individual for each of the classifications and specialties listed on their application.
The Qualified Individual must meet the all of the following criteria for the classification or specialty designation they will represent:
- Must be either:
- A full-time employee (Minimum 30 hrs) OR
- Be a member of Responsible Management
- Must meet the minimum years of experience within the relevant classification or specialty:
- Class A: 5 years
- Class B: 3 years
- Class C: 2 years
- Have successfully completed the appropriate prerequisites (listed on the license application)
What is the Virginia Basic Business Course?
The Virginia Basic Business Course is 8 hours of required pre-license education. It covers regulations, statutes and requirements relevant to all business owners in Virginia. The course is not specific to any particular classification or specialty.
General Exam Questions
How do I know what test to take?
- Designated Employees must take the Contractor Business Exam
- Qualifying Individuals must take the appropriate Contractor Specialty Exam (for whichever specialty designation they wish to qualify)
Is the NASCLA Commercial Contractors exam accepted in Virginia?
Yes, the NASCLA exam is considered comparable to the Contractor Business Exam.
Contractor Business Exam
What is on the Virginia Contractor Business Exam?
The Contractor Business Exam consists of different parts depends on the license classification being applied for:
- Class A:
- Part 1 – Virginia Portion
- Part 2 – General Portion
- Part 3 – Advanced Portion
- Class B:
- Part 1 – Virginia Portion
- Part 2 – General Portion
- Class C:
- This exam is not required for Class C license candidates
What topics are covered on the Virginia Portion of the Contractor Business Exam?
The Virginia Portion consists of 24 items on the following topics:
- Regulation of Contractors
- Board Rules & Regulations
- Building Codes
- Transaction Recovery Fund
- Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations
What topics are covered on the General Portion of the Virginia Contractor Business Exam?
The General Portion consists of 50 items on the following topics:
- Business Organization
- Estimating and Bidding
- Contract Management
- Project Management
- Risk Management
- Labor Laws
- Financial Management
- Federal and State Taxes
- Lien Laws
What topics are covered on the Advanced Portion of the Contractor Business Exam?
The Advanced Portion consists of 24 items on the following topics:
- Estimating and Bidding
- Contract Management
- Project Management
- Risk Management
- Labor Laws
- Financial Management
- Federal and State Taxes
- Lien Laws
What are the fees for the exam?
- One portion: $40.00
- Two portions: $72.00
- Three portions: $85.00
Contractor Specialty Exams
What are the Virginia Contractor Specialty exams?
The Contractor Specialty exams are taken by each Qualifying Individual, and cover topics relevant to the specialty designations the Qualifying Individual is seeking.
What are the different specialty exams?
Each of the following specialties has their own designated exam:
- Alternative Energy Systems
- Asphalt Paving and Sealcoating
- Billboard/Sign Contracting
- Commercial Building Technical Contractor
- Commercial Improvement Contracting
- Concrete Contracting▪Drywall Contracting
- Electronic/Communication Service Contracting
- Environment Monitoring Well Contracting
- Environmental Specialties Contracting
- Equipment/Machinery Contracting
- Farm Improvement Contracting
- Finish Carpentry
- Fire Alarm Systems Contracting
- Fire Suppression Contracting
- Floor and Floor Covering
- Framing Subcontractor
- Glass and Glazing
- Highway Heavy Contracting
- Home Improvement Contracting
- Industrial Building Contracting
- Insulation and Weather Stripping
- Landscape Irrigation Contracting
- Landscape Service Contracting Endorsement
- Marine Facility Contracting
- Masonry Contracting
- Painting and Wallcovering Contracting
- Recreational Facility Contracting
- Refrigeration Contracting
- Residential Building Contractor
- Roofing Contracting
- Steel Erection
- Swimming Pool Construction Contracting
- Tile, Marble, Ceramic and Terrazzo
- Underground Utility and Excavating
- Vessel Construction Contracting
What are the fees for the Virginia contractor exam?
What is the NASCLA Accredited Examination Program?
The NASCLA Accredited Examination Program is designed to help participating states by providing one trades licensing examination that is accepted by all participating jurisdictions.
The NASCLA Accredited Examination Program is NOT a nationally recognized license. Contractors will still have to meet additional state licensure requirements within each participating state to obtain their licenses.
Why take the NASCLA Accredited Exam?
The NASCLA Accredited exam benefits contractors who need licenses in multiple states. If your business will expand into any of the participating states, you will save time and money by passing the NASCLA exam.
By passing the NASCLA exam, you will avoid having to take multiple trades exams in other states. You will still need to pass a Business & Law exam in each of the States (except Arkansas). Arkansas will accept the NASCLA Accredited exam as both the Trades and Business/Law.
What states is the NASCLA exam accepted in?
The NASCLA exam is accepted in AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, NV, OR, SC, TN, UT, US Virgin Islands, VA, & WV. For your convenience, we have included links below to our FAQ pages for each of these states to help you find further information.
- Alabama Builder FAQs
- Arizona Contractor FAQs
- Arkansas Contractor FAQs
- Florida Contractor FAQs
- Georgia Contractor FAQs
- Louisiana Contractor FAQs
- Mississippi Contractor FAQs
- Nevada Contractor FAQs
- North Carolina Contractor FAQs
- Oregon Contractor FAQs
- South Carolina Contractor FAQs
- Tennessee Contractor FAQs
- Utah Contractor FAQs
- Virginia Contractor FAQs
- West Virginia Contractor FAQS
Do I have to be approved to take the NASCLA exam?
Yes. Effective November 1, 2016, applicants must get pre-approval from the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) to take the NASCLA exam.
Applicants can apply for approval online at ned.nascla.org. Once approved, the individual’s name will be forwarded from NASCLA to PSI. PSI will then send the applicant an email with information about how to schedule their exam.
What books can I bring to the NASCLA exam?
All of these books can be found in our book store. Click Here to take a look!
- ICC A117.1 - 2017 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities
- BCSI: Guide to Good Practice for Handling, Installing, Restraining, and Bracing of Metal Plate Connected Wood Trusses, 2013 or 2018 Edition
- Carpentry and Building Construction, 2016 Edition
- Code of Federal Regulations -29 CFR Part 1926 (OSHA), with latest available amendments
- Construction Jobsite Management, 4th Edition, 2017
- Construction Project Management, 4th Edition, 2014
- NASCLA Contractors' Guide to Business, Law and Project Management, Basic, 12th or 13th Edition
- Erectors' Manual - Standards and Guidelines for the Erection of Pre-Cast Concrete Products, 2nd Edition, 1999
- Green Building Fundamentals, 2nd Edition, 2011
- Gypsum Construction Handbook, 7th Edition, 2014
- Technical Digest No. 9 –Handling and Erection of Steel Joists and Joist Girders, 3rd Edition, 2008
- International Building Code, 2015 or 2018 Edition
- ACI 318-14 (2014): Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete and Commentary
- Training and Certification of Field Personnel for Unbonded Post-Tensioning -Level 1 Field Fundamentals, 3rd Edition, 2003
- Modern Masonry - Brick, Block, Stone, 8th Edition, 2015
- Pipe and Excavation Contracting, 2011 Edition
- Principles and Practices of Commercial Construction, 9th Edition, 2014
- Roofing Construction and Estimating, 1995 Edition
- Placing Reinforcing Bars, Recommended Practices, 2011
- SDI (Steel Deck Institute) Manual of Construction with Steel Deck, 3rd Edition, 2016
- The Contractor's Guide to Quality Concrete Construction, 4th Edition, 2018
For more information, view the PSI Candidate Bulletin
Can I write in my reference books and still bring them to the exam?
References may be highlighted, underlined, and/or indexed (tabbed with permanent stick tabs), however they may NOT otherwise be written in or marked in any way. Temporary tabs, such as Post-It notes, are not allowed and must be removed from the reference before the exam will begin.
What subject areas will be covered on the NASCLA Accredited Exam?
There are 115 questions and you must get 81 answers correct. You will have 330 minutes to complete the exam. The subjects covered in the exam are listed below, however, the questions are taken at random from a large pool of questions making sure that all contractors are taking a different exam.
Subject Areas and # of Questions:
- General Requirements: 25 questions
- Site Construction: 15 questions
- Concrete: 6 questions
- Masonry: 4 questions
- Metals: 6 questions
- Wood: 5 questions
- Thermal and Moisture Protection: 5 questions
- Doors, Windows, and Glazing: 4 questions
- Finishes: 5 questions
- Mechanical and Plumbing Systems: 6 questions
- Electrical Systems: 3 questions
- Procurement and Contracting Requirements: 31 questions
The exam is based on information found in the reference materials we have listed above as well as trade knowledge or general industry practices. Except for Code books, you may base your answers on later editions of references as they become available. For Code questions, the examinations will be based only on the edition of the Code book listed on the candidate bulletin.
Is the NASCLA exam an open book exam?
The NASCLA exam is an open book exam. All of the books listed on the candidate bulletin may be brought into and used during the exam. Books will not be provided to you at the exam center. If you are in need of books, we offer all of the references listed on the Candidate Bulletin for sale in our Bookstore, or in our complete NASCLA Prep Package.
What can I expect from the NASCLA Exam Prep course?
Our NASCLA Exam Prep course is designed to help you maximize your study time.
The remainder of the lessons are devoted to each book on the Candidate Bulletin. Each of these lessons help you get to know the layout of the books and key information that can be found within. Each book has a quiz dedicated solely to the material in that book.
Finally, you will find the practice test at the end of the course. This practice test consists of a pool of over 1,000 questions, to help you practice taking an exam as well as determine which areas you need to brush up on further.
How long does it take to complete your NASCLA Exam Prep course?
That question is almost entirely up to you!
There are 16 hours of videos, which walk you through each reference allowed in the exam. There are also over 1,000 practice questions, to help you gauge your knowledge and practice using your references in an exam-like setting.
We recommend going through the entire course at least once. After that it is up to you. Some may want to go through the whole course multiple times. You might also find yourself taking note of particular topics you would like to devote more time to, and just going back later to study those areas.
We recommend for you to spend as much time with the course as is necessary to really get to know your reference materials, and be comfortable finding answers with the texts--this will ensure your success on the exam!
Does the NASCLA exam work for residential construction?
The following states allow NASCLA accreditation for residential contractors: AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, NV, OR, SC, TN, UT, Virgin Islands, WV.
Renew a License
Is contractor continued education required in Virginia?
How long is my license good for?
Original contractor’s licenses expire two years from the month in which is was issued.
My Virginia contractor license is expired, what should I do?
If your license has been expired for more than 30 days you must contact the Board.
How do I earn a Virginia Code Official certification?
- Meet the requirements for certification
- Complete and submit an application
What are the requirements for Virginia DHCD certification?
- Establish user profile on the VBCA Online Registration System.
- Register and attend VBCA prerequisite core class.
- Register and attend VBCA classes as indicated on Virginia Certification Requirements for Code Officials.
- Achieve passing score(s) on required exam(s) through selected exam provider, as indicated on Virginia Certification Requirements for Code Officials.
- Submit completed application either online, via email, U.S. mail or fax to the Virginia Building Code Academy within 12 months of hire date for officials or within 18 months of hire date for technical assistants.
- Following certification issuance meet periodic training and continuing education requirements.
When does my Virginia DHCD certification expire?
- Last names A-M: May 1st of Even-Numbered Years
- Last names N-Z: May 1st of Odd-Numbered Years
Which Virginia Code Officials need continuing education?
Those employed by a jurisdiction to enforce the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC):
- Virginia Certified Officials
- Building Inspector
- Fire Inspector
- Plans Examiner
- Elevator Inspector
- Amusement Device Inspector
What continuing education is required?
Virginia Code Officials must complete 16 hours of continuing education each licensing cycle. This is in addition to the mandatory and/or periodic training required for certificate issuance and maintenance).
In the case of an individual receiving their initial certification during the continuing education cycle, the following exception shall apply toward the credit hour requirement. Based on the date of initial certification and the months remaining in the continuing education period, and in accordance with the above schedules, the following credit hours shall be obtained in the initial continuing education period.
- Individuals having 12 months or less remaining in the continuing education period -up to 8 credit hours;
- Individuals having 13 months or more remaining in the continuing education period -up to 16 credit hours
How does the VBCA know I have completed my continuing education?
You will be required to complete the form provided by the DHCD and submit your continuing education hours along with supporting documentation (certificates).
Are there any document retention requirements?
Yes, a periodic audit of documentation and programs shall be conducted by the VBCA based upon a random selection and schedule.
A certificate holder may be required to substantiate their declared continuing education with additional training documentation that affirms and supports the program, course, or activity as requested by the Department, including education provider information, course syllabus, attendance history, and participation certificates.
Therefore, it shall be the responsibility of the certificate holder to retain and maintain all necessary documentation relative to the continuing education program or course for which approval and credit is sought shall be prompted at the issuance of the first certificate and shall be applicable regardless of the number of DHCD certificates held by the individual.
We will also retain your course information if you should have need of it.
ICC Certification Renewal
How do I renew my ICC Certification?
- Complete the required CEUs
- Login to your myICC account
- Input your completed CEUs
- Pay the appropriate fees
When is my ICC Certification due for renewal?
You must renew your certification every three years. Certificates must be renewed on or before the expiration date to remain current. Prior to the expiration date, a courtesy renewal notice will be sent to the contact information in your myICC account. If for any reason you do not receive this notice, you may obtain renewal information specific to your certification from www.iccsafe.org/ renewals.
How much continuing education do I need to renew my ICC Certificate?
Your continuing education requirement depends on how many active certifications you have.
- 1 certification – 1.5 CEUs required
- 2-5 certifications – 3.0 CEUs required
- 6-10 certifications – 4.5 CEUs required
- 11+ certifications – 6.0 CEUs required
- Master Code Professional, CBO, CFM – 6.0 CEUs required.
You must complete half of your continuing education through the ICC or a Preferred Provider – Builders License Training Institute is a Preferred Provider of Education.
What are the fees to renew my ICC Certificate?
- 1 certification – $90 for members – $115 for nonmembers
- 2-5 certifications – $100 for members – $125 for nonmembers
- 6-10 certifications – $120 for members – $135 for nonmembers
- 11+ – $130 for members – $155 for nonmembers
- Reinstatement Fee – $115 for members – $160 for nonmembers
What are the ICC certifications?
B1 Residential Building Inspector
E1 Residential Electrical Inspector
P1 Residential Plumbing Inspector
M1 Residential Mechanical Inspector
R5 Residential Combination Inspector
B2 Commercial Building Inspector
E2 Commercial Electrical Inspector
P2 Commercial Plumbing Inspector
M2 Commercial Mechanical Inspector
C5 Commercial Combination Inspector
B3 Building Plans Examiner
E3 Electrical Plans Examiner
P3 Plumbing Plans Examiner
M3 Mechanical Plans Examiner
R3 Residential Plans Examiner
RF Residential Fire Sprinkler Inspector/PE
C3 Combination Plans Examiner
Energy Inspection/Plans Examiner
77 Commercial Energy Inspector
78 Commercial Energy Plans Examiner
79 Residential Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner
CE Commercial Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner
with ASHRAE 90.1
GC IgCC Inspector/Plans Examiner w/ ASHRAE 189
G1 Green Building—Residential Examiner
66 Fire Inspector I
67 Fire Inspector II
F3 Fire Plans Examiner
FM Certified Fire Marshal (CFM) [6.0 CEUs]
CA Commercial Fire Alarm Inspector
CN Commercial Fire Alarm Plan Examiner I
CR Commercial Fire Alarm Plans Examiner II
CF Commercial Fire Sprinkler Inspector
CP Commercial Fire Sprinkler Plans Examiner
49 Reinforced Concrete Special Inspector
48 Reinforced Concrete Special Inspector Associate
NOTE: ACI Field Technician Grade 1 must be current for 48 or 49
92 Prestressed Concrete Special Inspector
S1 Structural Steel and Bolting Special Inspector
S2 Structural Welding Special Inspector
86 Spray-applied Fireproofing Special Inspector
84 Structural Masonry Special Inspector
EC Soils Special Inspector
MI Master of Special Inspection
14 Permit Technician
21 Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner
75 Zoning Inspector
64 Property Maintenance and Housing Inspector
C1 Coastal and Floodplain Construction Inspector
DR Disaster Response Inspector
FG Fuel Gas Inspector
B5 Building Inspector
E5 Electrical Inspector
P5 Plumbing Inspector
M5 Mechanical Inspector
C8 Combination Inspector (Bldg, Elect, Plbg, Mech)
State-Specific & Specialty
FR Florida Roofing Inspector
I1 California Commercial Building Inspector
I2 California Commercial Electrical Inspector
I3 California Commercial Plumbing Inspector
I4 California Commercial Mechanical Inspector
I5 California Commercial Combination Inspector
I6 California Building Plans Examiner
I8 Combination Inspector—California Codes
J1 California Residential Building Inspector
J2 California Residential Electrical Inspector
J3 California Residential Plumbing Inspector
J4 California Residential Mechanical Inspector
J5 California Residential Combination Inspector
CT CALGreen Inspector/Plans Examiner
76 ICC/AACE Code Enforcement Administrator
73 ICC/AACE Code Enforcement Officer
Code Official & Code Specialist
CB Certified Building Official (CBO) [6.0 CEUs]
B8 Building Code Specialist
CSP Certified Sustainability Professional
ECS IECC/HERS Compliance Specialist
E8 Electrical Code Specialist
P8 Plumbing Code Specialist
M8 Mechanical Code Specialist
H8 Housing and Zoning Code Specialist
FA Fire Code Specialist
G8 Energy Code Specialist
34 Plumbing Inspector UPC
44 Mechanical Inspector UMC
50 Combination Inspector—Uniform Codes
56 Combination Dwelling Inspector—Uniform Codes
57 Light Commercial Combination Inspector – Uniform
CX CAL Green Plans Examiner
CG CAL Green Inspector
F1 Fire Prevention Inspector I—NFPC
F2 Fire Prevention Inspector II—NFPC
L1 Louisiana Residential Plumbing Inspector
L2 Louisiana Commercial Plumbing Inspector
L3 Louisiana Plumbing Plans Examiner
N7 Building Fire Protection Inspector
N8 Building Fire Protection Plans Examiner
97 Elevator Inspector
85 Structural Steel & Welding Special Inspector
88 Reinforced Concrete Special Inspector—Legacy
89 Prestressed Concrete Special Inspector—Legacy
EA Commercial Energy Inspector w/ASHRAE 90.1
EB Commercial Energy PE w/ASHRAE 90.1
G2 IgCC Commercial Inspector
G3 IgCC Commercial Inspector w/ASHRAE 189.1
G4 IgCC Plans Examiner
G5 IgCC Plans Examiner w/ASHRAE 189.1
B6 Certified Building Code Official (CBCO)
E6 Certified Electrical Code Official (CECO)
P6 Certified Plumbing Code Official (CPCO)
M6 Certified Mechanical Code Official (CMCO)
H6 Certified Housing Code Official (CHCO)
F6 Certified Fire Code Official (CFCO)
N2 New Jersey Commercial Plumbing Inspector
N3 New Jersey Plumbing Plans Examiner
MR Minnesota Residential Plumbing Inspector
MC Minnesota Commercial Plumbing Inspector
About the Courses
Once I order the course, how long before I can start?
You may begin immediately! Simply click the Login button in the upper right-hand corner on your desktop or in the upper-right menu on mobile. Once you’ve entered your login and password, you will be taken to your courses. Follow the instructions and enjoy!
Once I start an online course, will I be able to start and stop at anytime?
Our courses are available online 24/7 and you are able to log in and log out at any time during the course. If you are going to be away from your computer for more than 10-15 minutes, simply log out. When you log back in, you will be able to re-enter the lesson you were last in.
How long do your continuing education courses take to complete?
Continuing education requirements vary by state. Each course lists a minimum number of credit hours required to complete the course.
How long do your exam prep courses take to complete?
Each course lists the total amount of hours for the course. However, we cover materials quickly and many contractors like to re-watch materials. In other words, this question really depends on your learning style. We recommend that you go through the course as many times as you need to be comfortable with the material and any applicable reference books. The more familiar you are with the materials, the better you will do on your exam!
How long do I have the courses?
We allow up to 6 months for you to complete the courses. During the six months you have unlimited, 24/7 access. If you need additional time, please contact our offices to arrange an extension (please note: a fee may apply).
Are there tests in the courses?
This varies depending on whether the course is continuing education or exam prep.
There are no quizzes for continuing education courses in Michigan. All other states with continuing education require quizzes to check completion progress.
In exam prep courses there will be a short quiz at the end of each lesson and there is also a longer practice test at the end of each course. These quizzes and tests will help you practice taking an exam and identify areas you may wish to study more.
If I fail a practice test, do I have to take it again?
Practice tests are just that: for practice. You will have the opportunity to retake the practice tests until you do pass. The practice tests are there to help you get used to the process of using your reference materials and finding the correct answers during an exam. If you don’t pass on the first try, take the time to note what sections of the material you need to review.
Once I complete a course, can I still go back and review the lessons and quizzes?
You are able to review the lessons and quizzes at any time during the six months you’ll have access to the courses.