LARA Suspends Residential Builder Company License of Universal General Contractors, Inc. in Southfield

Company failed to comply with Licensing Board Final Order

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-335-LARA (5272)
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

April 22, 2019 - LARA’s Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) has suspended the residential builder company license of Universal General Contractors, Inc. in Southfield, for failure to comply with a Final Order issued by the Michigan Board of Residential Builders and Maintenance and Alteration Contractors. The board issued the order based upon the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in the Hearing Report from an administrative law judge. The report found the following facts:

  • Nicole Henrietta Miller, president and owner of Universal General Contractors entered into a contract with a homeowner to renovate and convert their three-season room into a four-season den/family room.
  • Ms. Miller did not possess a valid Residential Builders Salesperson license.
  • Majority of the work was done by an unlicensed subcontractor, as Universal uses only subcontractors and has no employees. 
  • The project was not completed in the timeframe per the contract.
  • The homeowners paid Universal a total sum in excess of 50 percent of the total within a week of the project start date, for a project that was to last 3-4 weeks.
  • Construction documents were not revised to show changes in building specifications; windows and stud spacing deviated from what was installed; documents were missing necessary information that was cut off – trimmed from the documents.
  • Multiple inspections done by a local inspector over a period of 9 months (starting six months after the job began) found multiple building code violations that were not corrected by Universal General Contractors within specified timeframes.
  • Inspections revealed (including but not limited to) improper installation of framing, windows, egress door, interior doors, drywall, and siding; installed stud spacing does not match specified; no frame headers installed at doors in bearing walls; uneven floor joists; drywall gap at floor and window frame; doors, window, wall and floor junctions not sealed; no water resistive barrier installed under siding; soffit vents not installed; no heating system in place; no vapor barrier installed; and lack of roof vents in ceiling.  
  • Inspections discovered well over 30 violations of the Michigan Residential Code.

From those facts the administrative law judge determined Universal General Contractors, Inc. violated the Michigan Occupational Code and the Michigan Residential Code by:

  1. Demonstrating a lack of good moral character by failing to serve the public in a fair, honest, and open manner.
  2. Demonstrating gross negligence in the practice of an occupation. 
  3. Incompetence – failure to perform the contract and committing well over 30 violations of the Michigan Residential Code.
  4. Procuring a contract by an unlicensed salesperson under a builder or contractor.
  5. Failing to maintain standards of construction codes.
  6. Abandonment of the job.
  7. Disregarding or departing from building plans or specifications without consent of the homeowner.
  8. Willfully violating the building laws of the State of Michigan.
  9.  Aiding and abetting another person in the unlicensed practice of an occupation, of knowingly combining or conspiring with, or acting as agent, partner, or associate for an unlicensed person.

BCC issued a Notice of License Suspension to Universal General Contractors notifying Ms. Miller of her failure to comply with the Final Order and that any residential building activity requiring a license conducted on or after the date of suspension is unlicensed activity in violation of the Code.   

"Before you hire anyone to perform any kind of building or remodeling work to your home, be sure they are a reputable residential builder or building company that is properly licensed with the State of Michigan,” said BCC Director Keith Lambert. “Be cautious when entering into a contract for building or remodeling. Carefully read and clearly understand all the terms and conditions of the contract. Clearly document a mutual understanding of any changes being made to the contract. Closely monitor the progress of work being done and that it meets contract specifications.”

Residential builders and maintenance and alteration contractors, electricians, plumbers and mechanical contractors are licensed by LARA’s Bureau of Construction Codes and must have a license that corresponds with the work to be done. Before entering into a building or renovation project, Michigan consumers are encouraged to verify license information by going to: https://www.lara.michigan.gov/colaLicVerify/. Or contact BCC at 517-241-9316 or email at: Lara-bcc-licensing@michigan.gov and the bureau can run a license check for you. Consumers are reminded that there is no replacement for their own due diligence. 

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