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News: Blaine

Posted on: November 17, 2021

Building Inspectors Corner: How to Choose a Licensed Contractor

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The City of Blaine recommends hiring a contractor licensed by the State of Minnesota. A license ensures the company has met requirements that include having a principal of the company pass an exam, having liability and property damage insurance, and completing continuing education classes each year.

Hiring a licensed contractor provides another very important benefit: access to the Contractor Recovery Fund. That fund reimburses consumers who suffer financial losses because of a licensed contractor’s misconduct.

Minnesota law exempts some contractors from the license requirement. This includes contractors who earn less than $15,000 per year, specialty contractors who provide only one skill, and homeowners working on their own home. Although these contractors are operating legally without a license, if an unlicensed contractor is hired and a loss is suffered, access to the Contractor Recovery Fund will not be available.

The Construction Codes and Licensing Division at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry administers a Contractor Registration Program that helps enforce state laws related to the classification of workers in the construction industry. Registration is separate from licensing as it provides no level of consumer protection and is primarily required for subcontractors, not general contractors.

Registered contractors are issued a registration number that begins with the letters IR. A contractor who gives you a license number that begins with the letters IR is not a licensed contractor and should be reported to the state if they are offering to contract with homeowners to provide services for which a license is required.

Verify the status of a contractor’s license at BlaineMN.gov/VerifyStateContractorLicense or by calling 651-284-5069 or 1-800-657-3944. You can check if the contractor has a license and also if there are any actions or sanctions on record. For the names of local licensed builders, call your local chapter of the Builders Association of Minnesota.

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