Friday, November 02, 2007

The Home Improvement Contractor License and the Construction Supervisor License

Both contractors and homeowners alike often do not realize that there is more than one type of licensing for contractors in Massachusetts. From the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (OCABR) website:

A Home Improvement Registration certificate and a Construction Supervisor License are different.

The Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) Registration Program is primarily a business registration program designed to protect consumers. The registration process identifies the responsible party for the contracting business, who is responsible for the company’s business practices. A registration does not certify that a contractor has a set of construction skills.

A Construction Supervisor's License, however, does fulfill that function. If a contractor is going to be supervising certain structural work, then that person will need to have a license, which presently requires that the contractor has at least 3 years of construction or design experience and has passed a written examination on the State Building Code. Exams are intended to test the literacy of Building Code requirements and general construction practices.

The Department of Public Safety’s Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) requires an individual who supervises building construction for certain building types to be licensed as a Construction Supervisor.

Here's the confusing part: all contractors who do home improvement work must register for their HIC license unless they fall within certain exceptions. Contractors frequently believe that if they have their CS licence, they do not need the HIC license. However, this is not true.

Homeowners should make sure they hire only contractors who have their HIC license, or they will not be able to avail themselves of the benefits of the Home Improvement Contractor Arbitration Program or the Guaranty Fund.

Depending on the kind of work they do, contractors may need to have both licenses. They can check with the Board of Building Regulation and Standards to make sure that they are complyng with the law.

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