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Contractors face new requirements

--- Courses may be necessary

Provided by Lakeland Builders Association

(Published Nov. 19, 2007, 3:00 p.m.)

The Wisconsin Department of Commerce has new requirements for contractors prior to their being able to obtain a building permit in 2008.

Some homebuilding contractors may need to take a 12-hour series of courses, then apply for a qualifier credential before being able to obtain a permit.

Lakeland Builders Association (LBA) is advising all homebuilders and remodelers to be aware of new rules affecting builders' eligibility to acquire building permits after Jan. 1, 2008. The new rules were enacted as part of state contractor education legislation in April 2006.

Obtaining permits is one of the duties a professional homebuilding contractor offers his client.

Town of Geneva Building Inspector Audrey Boss offers a few reasons why the contractor, and not a homeowner, should apply for permits:

1. A homeowner does not have the necessary documentation and information needed. Heat calculations, grading plans, wall details, and scaled plans-in triplicate-are just the beginning of what may be required and many people without construction backgrounds do not know how to put these things together for the permit applications. Contractors have more experience and can handle the applications thoroughly and efficiently.

2. If a homeowner is asked to obtain permits by the contractor, the homeowner might accidentally list the contractor along with his license number on the permit applications and then use an unlicensed contractor to actually do the work. The state of Wisconsin is adding hefty fines to the codes that deal with this and will not just charge the offender but also the contractor whose license number was used.  When the contractor obtains the permits it offers protection for both parties.

3. The contractor has built relationships with building inspectors. They discuss the project and get to know each other. This is very valuable in any construction project. Everyone working together on the same page is the best way to do business.

4. Time is always of the essence. The contractors submit all the necessary information in on time so a homeowner won't be waiting unnecessarily for weeks or longer to get the permit approved. And if a contractor gets a call that something is missing, they understand what is wanted for a quick resolution.

When professional homebuilding contractors do the permit application process, the entire construction job will be more professional, organized and timely.

Can my contractor obtain a permit? Yes, if they have a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier Credential from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2008, contractors and remodelers will need a qualifier credential issued by the Department of Commerce in order to obtain building permits in Wisconsin," said Chris Stebnitz, president of LBA.

Individuals who did not hold a state Dwelling Contractor Financial Responsibility Credential on April 11, 2006, will be required to take an initial 12 hours of course work in construction laws, codes and business practices."

After passing the course work, they can then apply to Commerce for the qualifier credential.

LBA holding licensing classes

LBA will be holding the Commerce-approved 12-hour course work titled "Contractor Licensing Series."

It will be in three sessions, Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and 14 from noon-4:30 at Community Bank Delavan's Community Room.

The first session covers construction business practices and it will be taught by Attorney Michael Cotter of the Walworth County Land Use and Resource Management Department and attorneys Kim Howarth, along with Mara Spring and Mike Frazier from the Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth Law Office.

The second session covers construction codes. Elkhorn Building Inspector Greg Klemko of BZA Consultants will teach it.

The third session covers construction law and the attorneys from session one will teach it along with senior staff from Southeastern Wisconsin Title Company.

All three sessions will include testing and reviews.

Contact the LBA office for the required registration, (262) 723-2908, or at their office in Fairways Edge Business Park in Elkhorn. Cost of the entire 12-hour series is $150 for members and $225 for non-members.

After taking the course work and passing the exam, the individual will fill out the qualifier credential application and return it to the Dept. of Commerce for processing with official proof of course completion. They will then receive the qualifier credential and be able to obtain permits.

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To register

What: Contractor licensing classes

Where: Community Bank Delavan's Community Room

When: Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and 14.

Info: Contact LBA office, (262) 723-2908

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