Contractors working on residential or a combination of residential and commercial buildings must be licensed. Electricians, plumbers and HVAC contractors also have to be licensed.

How to Obtain a License for Michigan Builders

There are three major steps to getting your Michigan Residential Builders or Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License:

There are three different steps you need to follow in order to receive a Michigan Residential Builder or Maintenance and Alteration Contractor Licensure:

Step One – Complete and pass an approved 60-Hour Builders Pre-license Course. 

Step 2 – Submit your license application, Certificates of Completion and pay a $195 fee to the State of Michigan for approval. This process typically takes 2-4 weeks.

Step 3 – Register with PSI for the State of Michigan Exam. This will cost $111, and you must pass it on your first try. You receive a free exam prep with this.To schedule your Michigan Builders testing date, you can do so by the following:

Call PSI. They are available 24 hours/day. To make a scheduled appointment, use the Automated Registration System or speak with a representative between 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. ET.   Builder’s license exams are held at the following locations:

  • Southfield
  • Lansing
  • Grand Rapids
  • Marquette
  • Gaylord

You will know right after the exam if you passed. The PSI will notify the state of Michigan licensing department, and they will send your identification card and license via mail.

Two Parts to the Test:

Part 1: Business/Law. There will be 50 questions, and you have 75 minutes. You are required to get get 36 correct.
Part 2: Trades/Practices. There will be 100 questions, and you have 150 minutes. You are required to get 73 correct.

Residential Code Book: Do I Have to Purchase to get a License?

 Michigan state has a requirement that each licensed contractor and builder need to have their own current copy of the Residential Code Book for Michigan. You will need to sign part of the license application, as well as any renewal forms that confirm you own that code book.

Michigan Residential Builders or Maintenance and Alteration Exam: Can it be an Open book Exam?

The exam can’t be open book at all. The only thing you can take with you to the exam is a silent, battery operated calculator. However, the calculator can’t have a keyboard on it, or even have the ability to convert the measurements at all. You may want to take two calculators, in case one has a malfunction.

State Exam: What to Expect

The state exam is separated into two main parts.

  • Part One: Business and Law Exam –There are 50 questions that are part of the exam. You must answer at least 36 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum score to pass is a 72%. You can allow yourself 75 minutes to complete the exam.
  • Part Two: – Trades Exam– The Trades Exam is different from the Individual Residential Builder and the Maintenance & Alteration licensing:
        • Residential Builder Trades Exam – There are 100 questions on the Residential Builder exam. You need to answer at least 73 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum score to pass is 73%. You can allow yourself 150 minutes to complete the exam.
        • Maintenance & Alteration Trades Exam – A separate trade exam is required for each trade you are seeking a license in. Each trade exam ranges from 25-50 questions. Refer to the link below for the PSI candidate information bulletin.

The candidate information bulletin will be included along with a 60-Hour pre-license course. This outlines the topics that are found on the exam.  If you are completing one of the exams for an individual trade, go ahead and call us or email us. We will send you an outline for the specific trade you’re interested in. For more information, you can find it at: www.psiexams.com.

Difference Between Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor and a Residential Builder: The Difference

A residential builder may build a brand new home from scratch, or may do different repairs. The builder can decide to contract the entire job. He or she may have to subcontract for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work.

Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractors are licensed to perform specific services and trades. They can accept contracts, but only within the services that they have a license to. It doesn’t matter if the building is new remodeling or construction.

M&A Trades and Equivalent letter codes are below:

Carpentry (A)
Concrete (B)
Excavation (D)
Insulation Work (G)
Masonry (I)
Painting & Decorating (J)
Siding (K)
Roofing (M)
Screen & Storm Sash (N)
Gutters (O)
Tile & Marble (P)
House Wrecking (R)
Swimming Pools (S)
Basement Waterproofing (T)
Each of these trades must be performed by a licensee.

Residential Builders receive a wall license, as well as a pocket card that shows he or she has the proper license. The Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor have a pocket card, but it will only show a letter code that describes the trades that they are licensed with.

What if I am Only Working One Trade: Do I need a 60-hour Pre-licensing Course?

Yes. The M&A Contractors will have to finish the entire 60 hours of the builders pre-licensure education prior to applying for any license, or even registering for an exam. There are no exceptions, even if you are only building pools or painting.

License Application Approval: Where do I Take my Exam?

PSI Exam Services have several testing centers throughout Southfield, Lansing (Holt), Gaylord, Marquette, and Grand Rapids. You can even test out of state with the PSI centers. However, you would need to submit the out-of-state form, as well as make special arrangements. You can obtain the form directly on the website at www.psiexams.com.

Working in Other States With a Michigan Builders License

The Michigan Builders License can’t be used in other states. 

My Company is in a Different State: Can I get Licensed With Michigan?

The Michigan Builders License can’t be used in other states. Any out of state companies that wish to receive a license in Michigan must include the following with the form: Michigan Application C – Consent to service of process form. http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-35299_61343_36737—,00.html

I Held a License in the Past: Do I Need the 60-Hour Pre-licensing Course?

If you are applying for a relicensure or a license as a residential maintenance and alteration M&A contractor or a residential builder, you might be exempt from any requirements with completing the pre-license course, if the following are met:

  • An application must be submitted between the dates of September 16th, 2014 and March 16th, 2016.
  • You must have held an individual license as a residential maintenance and alteration M&A contractor or residential builder. Alternatively, you could have held a license as a qualifying officer for a residential maintenance and alteration M&A contractor or residential builder, during the time period of 9-years prior to putting in your application.

Note:The prior information discussing the waiver for the pre-licensure course: If, within the last nine years, you were actively licensed – it will be effective until March 2016. The waiver is part of a temporary amendment, which will set to expire on the date of  March 16th, 2016.

To make sure of the above information, it’s recommended to call the Builders Unit within the state of Michigan. You can call by phone at (517) 373-8376, and ask them to verify whether you should take part in the 60-hour program.

Lead Paint RRP Class: Do I Need It?

An 8-hour certification course is needed if you renovate a home or a child-occupied facility that was built prior to 1978. To do this, you must become certified to be a Lead Pain Renovator.

Maintenance & Alteration Contractor/Residential Builder License: When Are They Needed?

Someone who contracts with a property owner for remodeling or a residential construction project, and if the value is $600 or more, which includes the labor and material, they must be licensed as a Maintenance & Alteration Contractor or a Residential Builder.

Activities in Which Require a Licensed Individual

  • Carpentry
  • New Construction and Remodeling of apartment buildings, homes, townhouses, condominiums, etc.
  • Excavation
  • Concrete
  • Masonry
  • Insulation Work
  • Basement Waterproofing
  • Laying Wood Floors
  • Siding
  • Painting & Decorating
  • Screen & Storm Sash
  • Roofing
  • Tile & Marble
  • Gutters
  • Swimming Pools
  • House Wrecking
  • Replacement doors/windows /garage doors


  • Fences
  • Drywall
  • Pavers Without Mortar
  • Awnings
  • House Moving
  • Water lines, Sewer and septic, sprinklers
  • Asphalt Paving
  • Plaster Lath
  • Vinyl Floors (not wood) and Carpeting

The Occupational Code has numerous licensing law exemptions. The follow are some common exemptions:

A property owner that has a reference to a structure on the property for an owner’s personal use and occupancy.

A rental owner property with reference to the alteration and maintenance of the rental property.

A subcontractor to a licensed builder, which is a person different than a salesperson who only engages within the business of performing services and work, under a contract, with a licensed residential maintenance & alteration contractor or a residential builder.

Someone who is working on one project or undertaking, with one or more contractors, the contract price that includes material, labor, and other necessities is less than $600.00. A license will be required if the construction type of work is part of a larger operation, of if the operation is made upof contractors less than $600.00, in order to evade this act.

To view the full list of exemptions, you can see them on the Builders website. The website is www.michigan.gov/builders, and it would be article 24, regarding the Occupational Code.

Licensed M&A Contractor and Licensed Residential Builder: How Much Plumbing and Electrical Can I Do?

By law, a license of a residential builder won’t allow you to do any type of mechanical work, plumbing, or electrical work. For more information, you will to contact the state of Michigan.

Flipping Houses: Do I Need a License?

MCL 339.2401 (b) – this requires someone who engages in a purchase, improvement, or substantial rehabilitation, as well as resale of residential structure, which that person will engage in the activity of the same structure more than two times in one calendar year. This person must have a M&A contractor license or a residential builder license, unless the work is for that person’s own personal use. In that case, they must hire a licensee to do the work.

Unlicensed Builder/Owner Selling Property: What is Required?

A property owner who is unlicensed, and who acts as his or her own general contractor will be required to stay inside the home until the issuance of the occupancy permit is completed. The owner/builder can’t sell or even transfer the ownership leading up to 365 days after living within the residential place. If the owner/builder can’t stay in the home due to circumstances that were unforeseen, the home can be sold. However, this exception can only be used once each year. View the Owner Built Residence Transfer Act, Public Act 6 or 2008 for more information.

OSHA 10 Hour and 30 Hour Classes: Who Needs to Take Them?

Each employer is responsible for providing a healthy and safe workplace for the employees who work under them. The courses will train those employees within the company to identify any potential hazards when in their work site, as well as ways to fix them, which will improve the health and occupation safety of the company. Each company will need to have a qualified and designated employee to attend this training.

Michigan Salesperson: Who Needs to Receive Licensure?

If you are someone who works for a Maintenance and Alteration M&A Contractor or a Residential Builder, and you collect money or sign contracts, you will need to pass a state exam that entails 50 questions, as well as need a Salesperson licensesure. 

Commercial Builders: Does Michigan Require a License?

Michigan doesn’t have a law that regulates commercial builders. Licensing will be required for residential type of work only, which includes commercial structures and residential, such as apartment buildings, homes, townhouses, and condominiums, etc. Be sure to check for more information regarding requirements for local municipality.

NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor: Is the License Accepted in Michigan?


Continuing Education: Does Michigan Require it for License Renewals?

Yes, they do. If you happened to have a license prior to January 1st, 2009, you only need a 3-hour Code/Law/Safety course every 3 licensing cycle years.

If you held a license as of January 1st, 2009, or even after, you will need to finish 21 hours of continuing competence within the first three years of having your license. In addition, you will need to complete 21 hours during the second 3 year cycle.

What happens after I complete my continuing education?

Completion of Continuing Education: Now What?

The state of Michigan will send a renewal notice that will arrive around March 31st. You will notice that on the renewal notice, there will be a box to place a check mark and a separate place to sign, which confirms have reached your completion of continuing competency. You won’t need to send the certificate to the state. The state of Michigan tends to audit 17% of the builders residing in the state. If you happen to be audited, you will be require to send a copy of your certification into the state.

Completion of Continuing Competency: How to Show the State of Michigan

The state of Michigan will send out a renewal notice. There will be a box to check, as well as a separate place to put your signature, which confirms that you completed the continuing competency that was required. You won’t need to send the certificate into the state unless you get audited. There are usually 17% of builders who get audited. If you are one of them, you will need to send in a copy of your certification to the state of Michigan. 

Michigan Code Official Continued Education: Can I Finish it Online?

Yes. The state of Michigan will allow six of the online courses when it comes to the Code Official requirements.

Code Official Continued Education Completion: Is it Reported to the State of Michigan?


State Level Continued Education: Who to Contact

You would need to contact the Bureau of Construction Codes:

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Bureau of Construction Codes
Website: https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-35299_10575—,00.html

Residential Builder Examination

In order to apply for licensure as a Residential Builder, you must pass both the Business and Law examination and the Practice/Trade examination and make application to the Department within one (1) year from the date a passing score is received on an examination. If you file an application for licensure and your examination, or a portion of the examination is more than one year old, you will be required to repeat the examination or the portion that has expired.

This examination must be passed by individuals applying for either the Residential Builder or the M&A Contractor license. The examination consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. The minimum passing score for this examination is 36. You will have 75 minutes to complete the Business and Law examination. The number of questions relating to each area on the examination is shown in parentheses. This examination is CLOSED BOOK, NO reference materials are allowed in the examination center.

1. Licensing process and requirements
2. Display (wall license and pocket card)
3. Changes to existing license (name, address, assumed name, etc.)
4. Branch office
5. Definitions/actions requiring license
6. Enforcement process (complaints, investigations, informal hearings, formal hearings, disciplinary action)
7. Independent arbitration
8. Permitting requirements (including certificates of occupancy)
9. Civil Rights (Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act)
10. “Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Persons with Disabilities Act” (sales, office facility, hiring and employee practices)
11. EPA regulations on hazardous materials (asbestos, lead, radon, etc.)
12. Salesperson for a Residential Builder or M&A Contractor
13. Home Solicitation Sales
14. Uniform Commercial Code, Article 2, Part 2, Form, Formation & Readjustment of Contracts

Regulations governing conduct and penalties

15. Physical location of business (business address)
16. Advertising
17. Purchase and sales agreements
18. Books and records
19. Financial statements
20. Account for money received from customer

1. Partnerships
2. Corporations
3. Sole proprietorship
4. Limited Liability Company (LLC)

(Quantity Take-Offs are on Builder’s Practice/Trade Exam)
1. General aspects

1. Terminology and definition
2. Types
3. Elements of a binding contract
4. Addenda, change orders, etc.
5. Warranties Construction financing
6. Construction loan
7. Mortgage financing
8. Direct payments from owner

1. Scheduling (chart/timeline, labor tables, etc.)
2. Subcontracts
3. Quality control
4. Resource management (inventory, purchasing controls, deliveries, personnel, etc.)
5. Cost management
6. Draws, progress payments, and retainage (hold backs)
7. Customer service

1. Balance sheet and income statement
2. Financial Ratios (Working Capital, Current Ratio, Quick Assets Ratio, Net Worth to Assets Ratio, Gross Profit to Sales Ratio, True Investment Yield, Margin of Profit, etc.)
3. Sales and accounts receivable
4. Costs and expenses (accounts payable)
5. Cash flow
6. Definitions and terminology

1. State Labor Laws (e.g., wages, overtime, minors)
2. Immigration Form I-9
3. Record keeping
4. Responsibility for MIOSHA record keeping, penalties
5. Employee benefits (health, retirement, vacation, etc.) ?
6. Workers’ Compensation Insurance (e.g., responsibilities for employees and subcontractors’ employees)

1. Insurance on company property
2. Liability insurance
3. Vehicle insurance
4. Builders’ risk
5. Business, accident, and life insurance
6. Bonds
7. Title insurance
8. Liens (Construction Lien Act)

1. Federal Income, State Income, FICA, Unemployment, etc.

The examination consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. The minimum passing score for this examination is 73. You will have 150 minutes to complete the Practice/Trades Examination. The number of questions relating to each area on the examination is shown in parentheses. This examination is CLOSED BOOK, NO reference materials are allowed in the examination center.

1. Surveying (reference points, monuments, flood plains, wetlands, benchmarks)
2. Soil testing (perk tests, compaction test, soil bearing)
3. Septic requirements
4. Well requirements
5. Plot plan (building lines, setbacks, easements, restrictions, utility source locations)
6. Elevations (transit level, topographical)

1. Permits/inspections based on permits
2. Types of plans (floor, framing, truss erection, foundations, etc.)
3. Symbols and legends
4. Scales and dimensions
5. Views, sections, and details
6. Material identification
7. Schedules (window, door, etc.)
8. Materials estimating (takeoffs, volumes, measurements, areas, board feet, etc.)
9. Cost and labor estimating

2. Erosion protection
3. Equipment
4. Clearing and grubbing
5. Grading (cut and fill, rough grading, finish grading, sloping)
6. Excavating and trenching
7. Backfilling
8. Compaction
9. Volume, shrinkage, and swell (expansion)
10. Dewatering
11. Retaining walls 

1. Footings (types, dimensions, specifications, etc.)
2. Concrete only as it pertains to foundation walls (strengths, dimensions, reinforcement, etc.)
3. Masonry only as it pertains to foundation walls
4. Insulating Concrete Form foundation walls (ICF)
5. Concrete slab on grade
6. Treated wood foundations
7. Pier and curtain wall foundations
8. Waterproofing and damp proofing
9. Drainage
10. Anchoring systems
11. Structural steel (columns, beams, and girders)
12. Other columns (wood, concrete, and masonry)

1. Characteristics/types/general
2. Testing (slump, strength)
3. Ingredients and aggregates
4. Admixtures (chloride, retarding agents)
5. Form work
6. Proportions
7. Flat work (driveway, sidewalk, floors)
8. Precast concrete panels, steps
9. Placing
10. Joints
11. Finishing (troweling, bull floating)
12. Curing
13. Reinforcement (wire mesh, re-bar, fiber)
14. Suspended concrete slabs and above-grade concrete

    1. Bracing, bridging, and hangers
    2. Span tables
    3. Fastening schedules
    4. Loads (live, dead, floor load schedule, roof load, wind load, etc.)
    5. Notching and boring
    6. Sill, sole, and top plates and band (rim) joists
    7. Beams (timber, planks, and boards) ?
    8. Floor framing (joists, truss joists)
    9. Floor decking/sub-flooring
    10. Wood framing for walls (exterior, sheathing, loadbearing, knee walls, wind bracing, partitions/interior, interior soffits)
    11. Metal framing (studs)
    12. Panel walls (open, closed)
    13. Fire blocking and draftstops
    14. Ceiling joists |
    15. Roof framing (rafters, decking, dormers, valleys, soffits, fascia, pitch, crickets, saddles)
    16. Roof Trusses
    17. Framing for openings (vents, windows, doors, skylights, fireplaces, chimneys, attic access, crawl space access, house fans, etc.)
    18. Post and beam framing
    19. Stairs (interior, exterior, landings, railings, balusters, rise, run, clearances, width, etc.)
    20. Decks (height, rails, materials, footings, etc.)
    21. Wood flooring
    22. Cabinetry
    23. Finish trim and molding G. MASONRY (7 QUESTIONS)
    1. Brick (walls, veneer, paver brick, firebrick, etc.)
    2. Concrete masonry units (walls, veneer, etc.)
    3. Stone (manufactured and natural)
    4. Glass blocks
    5. Fireplaces and chimneys
    6. Construction details (brick ledge, lintels, headers, pilasters and piers, sills, keystones, patterns and bonds, forms and arches)
    7. Mortar and grout
    8. Anchors, ties, and reinforcement
    9. Expansion/control joints
    10. Jointing
    11. Flashing
    12. Weep holes
    1. Rolled roofing
    2. Fastening procedures
    3. Ventilation systems (ridge, box, soffit, etc.)
    4. Flashing (wall, chimney, counterflashing, valley, step)
    5. Drip edges
    6. Water shield membranes (ice and rain guard)
    7. Diverters (see framing section for crickets and saddles)
    8. Valleys
    9. Re-roofing Types of roofs
    10. Shingles (asphalt or fiberglass)
    11. Wood shingles and shakes
    1. Blanket
    2. Batt (faced)
    3. Batt (unfaced)
    4. Blown-in (fiberglass, cellulose)
    5. Sprayed-on foam
    6. Fiberboard
    7. Foam board
    8. Foil-faced (reflective)
    9. R-values
    10. Vapor barriers
    1. Attic (gable vents, baffles)
    2. Foundation/crawl space K. WINDOWS, DOORS, AND SKYLIGHTS (2 QUESTIONS)
    1. Egress/escape requirements
    2. Safety glazing
    3. Size
    4. Types (storms and screens, pocket door, bi-fold door, sliding window, casement window, etc.) 5. Materials/parts
    6. Installation and flashing L. SIDING INSTALLATION (4 QUESTIONS)
    1. Associated elements (backer boards, flashing, vents, starter strips, fascia, soffits)
    2. Sheathing paper/house wrap
    3. Vinyl
    4. Wood
    5. Plywood
    6. Shingles and shakes
    7. Aluminum
    8. Steel
    1. Drywall
    2. Exterior painting and staining
    3. Suspended ceiling systems
    4. Tile and marble (ceramic, slate, granite, terra cotta, etc.)
    1. House wrecking and demolition
    2. Pool barriers
    3. Smoke detectors
    1. General safety requirements (first aid, fire safety, illumination, sanitation, emergency action plan, safety program, etc.)
    2. Personal protection equipment
    3. Excavation safety (shoring, benching, trench boxes, angle of repose, egress)
    4. Ladders and scaffolds
    5. Fall protection
    6. Hand and power tools, including electrical
    7. Roof, deck and ladder jacks
    8. Lifting and digging Equipment
    9. Hazardous materials, including MSDS
    10. Barricades and signs
    11. Demolition

Question: How do I register my construction company in Michigan? 

 Register your Michigan Business With:

Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth
PO Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909


(517) 241-6470


What forms do I need to register my new company in Michigan?

Register your Business in Michigan                  

Forms   Tax Forms  


Question: How do I look up a company in Michigan or see if a company name is available to register?  

Answer: Use this link to see if your company name is available in Michigan Entity Search


Where can I get the books?

AMAZON – Click on the book to order:

Contractor’s Guide To Quality Concrete Construction

Contractor's Guide To Quality Concrete Construction

Modern Masonry

Modern Masonry

Roofing Construction Estimating

Roofing Construction Estimating

Carpentry & Building Construction, Student Edition

Carpentry & Building Construction, Student Edition