March 9, 2009Client Alert

Wisconsin Contractors Required to Register by July 1, 2009

The Wisconsin Department of Commerce recently finalized a new contractor registration process. As a result, the Safety and Buildings Division of the Department of Commerce, which will be administering the registration program, passed an emergency rule requiring all building contracting businesses active in the State of Wisconsin to register by July 1, 2009.

Registration will be primarily done on the Internet via the following link: Registration costs $100 and will be effective for four years. If you prefer to register by mail or in person, an additional $15 processing fee will be assessed. There are no exams or other education prerequisites for the registration.

The registration is required for any businesses whose work is regulated under any of the Department of Commerce codes, such as general contractors, finish carpentry contractors, public swimming pools and water attractions contractors, roofing contractors, siding contractors, framing carpentry contractors, and many more. However, contractors that were previously required to register with the Department of Commerce, such as residential dwelling contractors, electric contractors and HVAC contractors, do not need the new registration. A comprehensive list of the businesses that are required to register is provided at the above link.

Once registered, contractors are required to put their contractor registration number on all bid forms and on any contracts they sign. In addition, contractors are required to ensure that all subcontractors retained by the contractor are also properly registered.

According to the Safety and Buildings Division, the registration requirement has two primary benefits: (1) it will enhance the Department of Commerce’s ability to communicate with and educate contractors throughout the state about building code and rule changes that will limit safety and health risks for the citizens of Wisconsin; and (2) it will enhance the ability of the Department of Commerce to cooperate and coordinate with the Department of Workforce Development relative to their administration of unemployment insurance and workers compensation insurance programs and the Department of Revenue to ensure that all workers in the construction trades are properly classified as businesses or employees.

For more information, please contact Angela Black at 608.283.2264, or, or Jonathan J. Strasburg at 414.270.2710, or

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