Choosing The Right Contractor

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Choosing the Right Contractor


Contractors working on residential or commercial building must be licensed per the State of Michigan. Before you go any further make sure the person you hire has the right credentials. Secondarily, make sure their license is the correct one for the job you need. Below is a list of some of the different types of licenses offered by the state, and what they allow your contractor to do.

Feel free to ask us about our Residential Builder's License!

Residential Builder's License

Let's look first at the Residential Builder license. This license will let you work in these trades:

  • Basement waterproofing
  • Carpentry
  • Concrete
  • Excavation
  • Gutters, downspouts
  • House wrecking
  • Insulation
  • Masonry
  • Painting, decorating
  • Roofing
  • Siding
  • Storms, screens
  • Swimming pools
  • Tile, marble

This license doesn't let you do plumbing, electrical, or mechanical work. See below for information on those trades.

Maintenance and Alteration Contractor's License

Now let's look at the Maintenance and Alteration Contractor license. Like the Residential Builder license, you must pass the business and law part of the exam to apply for this license. However the Maintenance and Alteration Contractor license lets you work only in the trades you pass a trade exam in. You can be licensed in as many trades as you like but you must pass an exam for each one.

Here are the subjects on the trade exams:

  • Basement waterproofing
  • Carpentry
  • Concrete
  • Excavation
  • Gutters, downspouts
  • House wrecking
  • Insulation
  • Masonry
  • Painting, decorating
  • Roofing
  • Siding
  • Storms, screens
  • Swimming pools
  • Tile, marble

**Your contractor must pass each trade exam to be qualified, check to make sure yours did. This license also doesn't let you do plumbing, electrical, or mechanical work. See below for information on those trades.

Electrician's Licenses

To do electrical work in Michigan you need a license. Some communities license electrical contractors at the local level. To find out if your city or county licenses at the local level, check the Electrical Administrative Board's web site.

Master and Journeyman Licenses

You'll have to pass an exam to get a license. To qualify for the master exam you need:

  • six years of electrical work experience covering 12,000 hours
  • two years of work experience as a licensed journeyman electrician
  • proof that you are 22 years of age or older

If you're licensed in another state which has licensing requirements about the same as Michigan, you can qualify to take the exam. Also if you don't fulfill these requirements you can still present evidence of your experience to the Board and possibly get permission to take the exam.

The master exam covers knowledge required to plan and supervise electrical installation, read plans and drawings, and apply knowledge of relevant safety procedures and requirements. Here are the subjects on the exam:

  • Grounding and bonding
  • Overcurrent protection
  • Branch circuits, wire connections and devices
  • Raceways
  • Conductors
  • Special occupancies and equipment
  • General knowledge of electrical trade
  • Boxes, cabinets, panelboards, non-raceway enclosures
  • Motors and control of motors and equipment
  • Low voltage circuits and equipment
  • Services and feeders
  • Lighting and lamps
  • General use equipment
  • State laws, rules, code amendments

Sign Specialist License

You must be 18 years of age, show completion of a sign specialist training course and have 4,000 hours of related experience. Exam subjects are the same as the master and journeyman exams.

Electrical Contractor License

To qualify you must hold a master electrician's license or have at least one master electrician in your employ. The master electrician will be in charge of and responsible for code compliance of all installations of electrical wiring and equipment.

Contractor licenses are issued in 3-year cycles.

Mechanical Contractor's License

To do mechanical work in Michigan you need a mechanical contractor's license.

The Board issues contractor licenses in these classifications:

  • Hydronic heating, cooling, process piping
  • HVAC equipment
  • Ductwork
  • Refrigeration
  • Limited heating service
  • Unlimited heating service
  • Limited refrigeration, air conditioning service
  • Unlimited refrigeration, air conditioning service
  • Specialty

There are six types of specialty licenses: solar, solid fuel, LP tank and pipe, underground tank and pipe, gas piping, and gas piping and venting.

You will have to pass an exam to get a license. You need at least three years of experience or Board-approved equivalent in one or more of these classifications to qualify to take the exam. If you have Board-approved education you can apply up to one year of that education to the three-year work experience requirement.

The exams are based on the provisions of the state mechanical code, related laws, instructions, rules, general theories and practices.

Also if you want to take any of the unlimited service exams, you must first pass the limited service exam for that trade.

All of the exams use the Michigan Mechanical Code as a reference. This book is available for purchase. Check with the Board for price details.

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We have 2 locations to better serve Michigan: Livonia & Traverse City

our service area

We serve the following areas

Our Locations:

Foundation Systems of Michigan
32985 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
1-734-206-2421


Foundation Systems of Michigan
3805 Elmers Industrial Dr
Traverse City, MI 49685
1-231-480-4380