Dept. of Commerce: Building contractors required to register with Commerce

Contact: Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608/267-9661

MADISON– Building contractors are required to register with the Department of Commerce (Commerce) as a result of an administrative rule change in Ch. Comm 5, Wis. Adm. Code, and finalized March 2, 2009. The final rule goes into effect Oct. 1, 2009. The rule applies to businesses, including one person shops, that act as building contractors or subcontractors that are involved in the construction or modification of public buildings, places of employment and one- and 2- family dwellings and are not already credentialed by Commerce.

“Contractor registration enables consumers to check an on-line registry when they consider hiring a contractor for a construction project,” said Commerce Secretary Richard J. Leinenkugel. “It also enhances the department’s ability to identify, communicate with and educate contractors and subcontractors of consumer protection issues, best practices, and changes in codes and regulations.”

Building or remodeling a structure is a major expense for both businesses and consumers. Both will find it helpful to check whether a contractor has registered with the department.

Commerce has been directed to begin the rulemaking process that will provide the agency with forfeiture authority if businesses do not obtain contractor registration. That rule will go into effect on Jan 1, 2010.

Commerce has posted the registry on the internet, where it is available to consumers available to the Wisconsin Departments of Workforce Development and Revenue. These agencies can use the registry to help them minimize the misclassification of employees as contractors and maximize contractor participation in both the unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation programs.

A contractor registration will cost $100 for a 4-year term if applied for electronically and $115 if applied for via paper. Contractors can register at Consumers can check the registry at