Introduction: Construction Contractor Licensing in Massachusetts
For one and two-family houses of any size: A person with a MA construction supervisor license (CSL) is required to provide construction oversight, with few exceptions. For most work on existing one-to-four family owner-occupied dwellings, a contractor must also register with the Office of Consumer Affairs home improvement program.
For buildings less than 35,000 cu ft: A person with a MA construction supervisor license (CSL) is required to provide construction oversight including for manufactured buildings.
For other buildings greater than 35,000 cu ft: Construction of such larger buildings and structures, commercial and residential, must be done under the control of a registered engineer or architect or their designee and no contractor license is necessary per the building code. See Section 107.6 entitled “Construction Control” in the MA building code. A few municipalities may have other contractor licensing requirements.
Out of state contractors: Licensing is only required as described above. Out of state contractor licenses are not recognized in MA. A few larger municipalities have additional licensing requirements - contact the local building official. The building code applies uniformly to all municipalities in MA and is enforced by the local officials with few exceptions.
Renewing a Construction Supervisor License
- Complete the required continuing education credits. See: Continuing Education
Request a renewal application from DPS by email. See: Request for CSL Renewal Form (Check your spam or junk folders for a "Renewal Notice Enclosed" item from "EOPSS MA", after you send this request. Allow up to three days to receive this form.)
- Complete and mail in the renewal application. Attach payment and CEU certificates. Allow up to five weeks for processing.
- On Line Renewal.
Licenses must be renewed every two years for a fee of $100.00. There is a one year grace period to renew licenses after expiration. For an additional fee of $100.00, licenses can be renewed up to two years after expiration. Beyond that it’s necessary to take an exam and apply for a new license.
CSL Reinstatements for Family Medical or Military Leave Service
For a CSL that has expired beyond two years for either family medical reasons or military leave service please contact Lisa Barros. Also see Licensing of Military Personnel below.
Change Name, Address or Replace Lost License
- Print and complete the following form: Change Name, Address or Replace Lost License
- Mail form to DPS, with payment if required.
Applying for a New Construction Supervisor License
- Determine which type of license. See: CSL Types
- Verify work experience. See WORK EXPERIENCE below.
- Download and submit exam registration form. See the Candidate Information Bulletin file size 1MB.
- Call for exam date in 10-days. Number in Bulletin above.
- Prepare for and take exam. A Score Report is issued at exam location.
- Submit Score Report to BBRS for license by mail.
Exams are intended to test knowledge of the building code and general construction practices. Exams are administered by Prometric, a private contractor for the Department of Public Safety (DPS), at convenient locations across the State. After receiving a Score Report with a passing grade from Prometric at the exam location, the applicant shall complete the Score Report form and mail it with the license fee to DPS, which will issue the license in approximately 30 days.
Candidates must demonstrate 3 years of experience in building construction or design to be eligible for the exam. Work experience need not be continuous but must be full-time (40 hours per week) within the past ten years. Exceptions:
- Successful completion of a three- or four-year vocational high school or other vocational school program in the field of building construction shall be deemed as satisfying one year of work experience..
- Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university shall be deemed as satisfying one year of work experience.
- Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in architecture or science, engineering, or technology in a related field shall be deemed as satisfying two years work experience.
- Active construction related military experience may be considered full time experience.
Note, education can not account for more than two years of experience, and, union affiliation only is not acceptable as work experience.
DOCUMENTATION OF WORK EXPERIENCE
Provide either tax forms or a letter of attestation, but not both, as follows:
- Tax forms. W-2, or IRS Schedule C or 1099 forms are acceptable. Submit forms for the equivalent of three years full time experience. If education is used for experience then submit a copy of the diploma and/or degree that you acquired.
- Letter of Attestation. In lieu of tax records a notarized letter of attestation from an individual (e.g. engineer, architect, employer, military supervisor, licensed contractor, or other) stating that you have at least three years of construction and/or design experience.
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