Becoming a Building Contractor

Becoming a Building Contractor

The City of Sioux Falls requires a Residential Building Contractor's License of all contractors doing work on residential 1- & 2-family dwellings and townhomes within the city limits. Any construction work done on residential homes that would require a building permit, would require the contractor obtain this license. This work includes, but is not limited to: building of sheds and decks, shingles, sheetrock replacement, replacing of exterior doors or windows, basement finishing, new construction, etc. Homeowners are not required to obtain a license, but must acquire building permits and any applicable homeowners permits and would be responsible for building code compliance and obtaining required inspections.

In order to acquire this license, the contractor must first take and pass the Construction Supervisor Examination. This examination is a timed, open book test based on the City of Sioux Falls Residential Code Handbook, which you will receive upon application for exam (This book is also available for purchase for $10.00). There is a $75.00 examination fee due upon application. This exam is offered once per month. Please review the examination application (2B25015 link on right) for more information as well as the exam schedule.

Once the "Construction Supervisor" has taken and passed the exam, he or she can then apply for the Residential Building Contractor’s License. Upon application the Construction Supervisor must submit a $20,000 Compliance Bond, a minimum of $300,000 general liability insurance and the appropriate license fees within 90 days of examination. Please review the license application (2B25001 link on right) and information sheet (2B25023 link on right) for more information.

Also available to individuals who have taken and passed exam is the Inactive Construction Supervisor License (2B25003 link on right). This license does not allow you to do work as a contractor, but does allow you to hold a current license with the city, allowing you to reinstate your Residential Building Contractor’s license without being required to re-test.

Construction Supervisors must provide at least one hour of continuing education during each license cycle. When attending a course for the continuing education requirement, the course instructor must sign the Continuing Education Certificate (2W25016 link on the right) and this certificate must be submitted for approval.

The City of Sioux Falls does not require a license for a general contractor doing work on commercial projects, but does require each individual project go through the plan review process and acquire the proper permits. Apartment buildings, although residential in nature, are considered "commercial" in regard to construction purposes. See Commercial Plan Review or contact 605-367-8248 for more information regarding plan review and building permits.

For more information, you may contact Building Services at:

  • Licensing: 605-367-8672 or
  • Plans Examiners: 605-367-8248
  • Building Inspectors: 605-367-8251

Building Contractors FAQs

The main objective is to protect the residents and properties in the City of Sioux Falls. Life safety is the number one goal! General knowledge of construction work is needed to pass examination. Licensure requires bonding and insurance for liability protection of the contractor, the homeowner and the city.
No, the city of Sioux Falls does not reciprocate any licenses. You will still need to take and pass examination before applying for the license.
No, you probably have a South Dakota Contractor’s Excise Tax License. This license is for your excise tax. You do still need a Residential Building Contractor license if working in Sioux Falls.
No, the questions on the test are difficult code questions and require that you are familiar with the Residential Code Handbook. We recommend that you study and familiarize yourself with the information in the handbook. Although most of our testers pass the exam, every month some testers fail the exam.
You must get 80% or higher to pass the test, therefore a maximum of 10 of the 50 questions may be incorrect
The questions on the construction supervisor exam are multiple-choice based on the information in the residential handbook.
You will receive your residential code book when you apply for examination.
No, the city does not offer licenses for specific jobs only (siding, shingling, window replacement, decks, etc). The Residential Building Contractor’s license is required for any and all types of general construction on residential structures.

Yes, any construction work done on residential homes that would require a building permit, would require the contractor obtain this license. This work includes, but is not limited to: building of sheds and decks, shingles, sheetrock replacement, replacement of exterior doors or windows, basement finishing, new construction, etc.

If you are doing work that would not require a building permit (floor coverings like tile or carpet, or painting, cabinets, etc), you would not be required to obtain this license. If you have any questions regarding whether a particular job would require a permit or license, please feel free to contact us using this information listed below.

Separate licenses are required for each field (building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical). There are examinations required for each field. Electrical and plumbing also require state licenses before applying for examination with the city.

Under no circumstances is a Residential Building Contractor allowed to do any electrical, plumbing or mechanical work unless they also hold the appropriate, additionally required, licenses.
Most insurance agents can issue a bond or certificate of liability insurance.
You will need a new bond made specifically to the City of Sioux Falls. Also your current insurance will need to submit a certificate of liability insurance with the City of Sioux Falls listed as a certificate holder. See the information sheet (2B25023 link on right) for detailed information.
No, but you must have these documents when applying for the license. It is recommended that you check with your agent regarding the process to acquire the bond and insurance, but we suggest waiting until you receive notification that you have passed the exam before acquiring them. When submitting the bond, you must submit the original and if you receive the bond too far in advance there is a chance of misplacement.
Yes, you can take the exam every 30 days, there is no required waiting period between available exam dates. The examination fee must paid with each test.
You must retest if you do not apply for a license within 90 days of exam. It is recommended that you apply for Inactive Construction Supervisor before the 90 day deadline to avoid retesting, if not immediately applying for Residential Building Contractor.
No, licenses must remain active by providing current bond, insurance and continuing education. Licenses also must be renewed every 3 years. If a license expires, it cannot be renewed after 12 months from expiration without re-examination, unless the Construction Supervisor has applied for and kept current his Inactive license.