Media Center

Municipalities May Not Impose on Dwelling Contractors Education or Financial Responsibility Requirements that are Greater than Those Required for Certification in State Law


MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a formal opinion today stating that state statutory financial responsibility requirements and state statutory continuing education requirements for one and two family dwelling construction contractors preclude municipalities from imposing greater financial responsibility, education, or examination requirements upon such contractors.


In response to a request from Juneau County Corporation Counsel MarkB.Hazelbaker, Van Hollen's opinion first notes that the Dwelling Code's primary purpose is to promote statewide uniformity. The opinion states that the Dwelling Code expressly creates state requirements relating to the financial responsibility and education of dwelling contractors.


Van Hollen also noted that the contractor certification council created by the Legislature under section 15.157(5) of the Wisconsin Statutes is required by section 101.625 of the Wisconsin Statutes to make recommendations and provide advice to the Department of Commerce concerning (1) rules for certifying the financial responsibility of such contractors; (2) suitable courses for such contractors; and (3) the development of course examinations for such contractors.


Van Hollen emphasized that municipalities' jurisdiction over the construction and inspection of dwellings must meet the requirements of the state Dwelling Code, which specifically impose requirements relating to education and financial responsibility. Thus, the opinion concludes that “ordinances requiring local licensure are preempted if they impose on persons seeking a building permit for one- or 2-family dwellings greater financial responsibility, education, or examination requirements than required by state law.”


A copy of the formal opinion and request from Juneau County Corporation Counsel Mark Hazelbaker are available at


2010 file: