With the new year comes new changes to the construction industry. Knowing how electing Donald Trump will affect the industry is undoubtedly atop this list, but there are also some changes to pay attention to on the state level. For one, many states legalized the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana. That means understanding how construction and marijuana might work together is a growing issue. Not even two weeks ago, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed a new bill into law making it easier for small construction businesses to obtain surety bonds and secure government projects. Further, those surety bonds on public projects may even get cheaper going forward. This is all to say that, generally, there have recently been many positive developments in the construction law landscape. Let’s add one more to the list- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed a bill making it easier to obtain a Michigan construction license.
Skilled Trades Regulation Act
Public Act No. 407, or the Skilled Trades Regulation Act, was signed on January 3, 2017. The act will go into effect after 90 days have passed after the date of signing, on April 3, 2017.
The goal of this legislation was to streamline what has become a jumbled, piecemeal collection of legislation that governs licensure for Michigan construction workers. Ultimately, the passage of the Skilled Trades Regulation Act will improve efficiency and eliminate many inconsistencies that were created by having five different acts governing licensure across different trades. While there wasn’t substantive change regarding licensure requirements and costs, that workers in these different trades can look to one piece of legislation rather than track down the laws for each specific trade should be a bit of relief. Further, the language of the new act reduced ambiguous and outdated language featured in the old, separate acts.
The bill repeals the following acts and integrates their provisions into separate articles of the new Skilled Trades Regulation Act:
- The Electrical Administrative Act
- Replaced by Article 7
- The Forbes Mechanical Contractors Act
- Replaced by Article 8
- The Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act
- Replaced by Article 10
- The State Plumbing Act
- Replaced by Article 11
- The Boiler Act
- Replaced by Article 9
Michigan’s Construction Lien Act
In Michigan, a contractor, sub, or supplier must be licensed with the state in order to file a lien on a residential project. Because the Construction Lien Act references the old acts under which licensure was granted, the Construction Lien Act is amended to reflect the new Skilled Trades Regulation Act. Otherwise, Michigan lien law should remain largely unaffected by the change. However, it should be noted that both any individual working on a project and any entity that is contracted must be properly licensed for the work contracted.
For more on Michigan lien law, head over to our Michigan Construction Payment Resources.
The ultimate goal of this Act is to make the construction industry more appealing in Michigan. By streamlining the process to obtain a Michigan construction license and making the process more navigable for current workers, Governor Snyder hopes to encourage growth in Michigan’s construction workforce. As he has recently discussed, Michigan needs more skilled workers. This problem is not unique to Michigan, unfortunately. While there has been growth in the construction sector as a whole, this growth is limited- there are only so many workers to fill job sites across the country. For this reason, it’s time to look at the legislative options to boost the construction workforce.