Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
April 23, 2015 – Spring has sprung and many homeowners will start home improvements or building projects. Before you do, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) offers some important tips that will help you find a good contractor, and avoid common and often costly mistakes when planning to remodel or build a new home.
"First and foremost, hire a reputable contractor who is properly licensed in the state of Michigan,” said LARA Deputy Director Shelly Edgerton. “Ask to see a copy of their license, then verify their license by looking it up online or give us a call. Don’t assume individuals found on Internet referral and advertising sites such as Angie’s List or Craigslist are licensed, even if the ad states they are.”
Verify a Builder/Contractor License. Residential Builders and Maintenance and Alteration Contractors: An online license search is available at http://www.michigan.gov/licenselookup or by calling LARA's Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau at 517-241-9288.
Contractors: Electricians, plumbers and mechanical contractors are licensed by LARA's Bureau of Construction Codes and must have a license that corresponds to the work to be done. Mechanical contractors must also have the proper license classification. To verify license information go to: www.michigan.gov/bcclicense or call 517-241-9313.
Don’t pay for the entire job upfront. Customarily, one-third is paid in advance; one-third halfway through the job and one-third upon completion. Make the final payment only when the job is completed, you have inspected and approved the work, the job site has been cleaned up, and the suppliers and subcontractors have been paid as evidenced by waivers of lien. Do not pay with cash. Pay by check or credit card.
Don’t forget your permit! Before starting a project, check with your local or state building department to determine if your project requires a permit. A permit is the legal permission to start construction of a building project in accordance with approved drawings and specifications and ensures it meets minimum safety standards. Proper permits and inspections help guard against defective work. Property insurers may not cover defective work, so the value of the property could be affected and problems may arise when the property is sold if permits are not obtained.
Permits are required for:
Other important tips:
For more information, visit the Corporations, Securities, and Commercial Licensing Bureau website at www.michigan.gov/cscl or Bureau of Construction Codes at www.michigan.gov/bcc. To determine if a state license is needed, go to: www.michigan.gov/statelicensesearch