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This question comes up often and the answer depends on the work you want to do in your income properties.


When is the owner of an income property exempt from holding a license?


  • The owner of an income building who carries out or has carried out work (in this building) included only in the 13 subclasses of Schedule 3 (lower-risk specialized work) of the list below does not have no need to have a license.

2.5 Excavation and earthworks
2.7 Site works
3.2 Small concrete structures
4.2 Non-structural masonry, marble and ceramic work
5.2 Metal structures
6.2 Wood and plastic work
7. Insulation, waterproofing, covers and exterior cladding
8. Doors and windows
9. Finishing work
11.2 Special equipment and products
12. Cabinets and machined counters
13.5 Special or prefabricated installations
17.2 Intercommunication, telephony and surveillance


  • On the other hand, if the owner of an income property entrusts the work to just one specialized contractor who owns all subclasses necessary for the execution of all the work . (annex 1, annex 2 and / or annex 3)



If the owner of an income property wants to have construction work carried out on a building that belongs to him and that he entrusts all of this work to a general contractor (who holds a license in due form), it does not need an owner-builder license.


Another example :

The owner of an income property decides to have renovation work carried out on all the ventilation and air conditioning systems in his building.

If he awards a contract for the work package to a contractor specializing in ventilation and refrigeration, he is exempt from holding the owner-builder license.


  • If you do housekeeping work that focuses on the cleanliness of a building, such as washing walls and waxing floors, you do not need to have a contractor’s license.


  • Repairs, maintenance and renovations under $20,000

The owner of an income property is not required to hold a license if the work he plans to carry out or have carried out relates solely to the renovation, repair or maintenance of his property and is estimated at less than $ 20,000 .

If the labor is voluntary or the materials are free, their dollar value must be estimated to apply this exemption.

Excluded from the exemption:

Modification work , such as moving walls, are not covered by the exemption.

This exemption does not apply to the owner of a building who wants to carry out construction work on a facility:

  • electric
  • intended to distribute gas
  • petroleum equipment.



The owner of an income building wants to redo the finishes, change the light fixtures without modifying the wiring and change the obsolete fire alarm bell. He will take the opportunity to replace a section of ventilation duct that is damaged and replace the air conditioner. The estimated amount of all the work is less than $ 20,000.

This owner will need to hire an electrical contractor ( 16 Electricity , appendix 2) for work relating to the electrical installation such as lighting and air conditioning connection.

The owner can carry out the work himself authorized by the subclasses of appendix 3 (gypsum, painting, finishing floors, etc.) and even some works of annex 2 such as replacing the air conditioner and a ventilation duct section.

He will not have to hold a license because the works only concern repair, maintenance and renovation without any modification, such as moving walls , and the estimated amount of all the work is less than $ 20,000 . This exemption is valid even if he awards more than one contract to specialized contractors from Annex 2.

If he chooses to have work done by a contractor, the contractor must hold the appropriate license.



When is a specialized owner-builder license required?

A specialized owner-builder’s license is required for any owner of an income property who wishes or to have carried out on this property, construction work included in one of the 36 subclasses of the following appendix 2


2.1 Drilled wells
2.2 Non-drilled water catchment structures
2.3 Groundwater pumping systems
2.4 On-site sanitation systems
2.6 Piles and special foundations
2.8 Jumping
3.1 Concrete structures
4.1 Masonry structures
5.1 Metal structures and precast concrete elements
6.1 Timber frames
10. Solid fuel localized heating systems
11.1 Industrial or institutional piping under pressure
13.1 Lightning protection
13.2 Fire alarm systems
13.3 Fire extinguishing systems
13.4 Localized fire extinguishing systems
14.1 Lifts and freight elevators
14.2 Lifts for disabled people
14.3 Other types of lifting devices
15.1 Forced air heating systems
15.1.1 Forced-air heating systems for certain types of work not reserved exclusively for master pipe-mechanics
15.2 Natural gas burner systems
15.2.1 Natural Gas Burner Systems Not Restricted to Master Pipe-Mechanics
15.3 Oil burner systems
15.3.1 Oil burner systems for certain work which is not reserved exclusively for master pipe-mechanics
15.4 Hydronic Heating Systems (Hot Water and Steam Heating)
15.4.1 Hydronic heating systems for certain work that is not reserved exclusively for master pipe-mechanics
15.5 Plumbing
15.5.1 Plumbing for certain work that is not reserved exclusively for master pipe-mechanics
15.6 Propane
15.7 Residential ventilation
15.8 Ventilation
15.9 Small refrigeration systems
15.10 Refrigeration
16 Electricity
17.1 Instrumentation, control and regulation


For a specialized owner-builder license, the exams to be taken are:

  • Safety management on construction sites 1h30
  • Execution of construction works 3h00


Our preparatory courses offered for the Specialized Owner-Builder license exams Annex 2


When is a general owner-builder license required?

A general builder-owner’s license is required for any owner of a revenue building whose main activity consists in organizing, coordinating, carrying out or having carried out, in whole or in part, construction work (on this building or on its land) included in one of the 9 subclasses of the following appendix 1


1.2 Small Building Contractor
1.3 Building contractor of all kinds
1.4 Roads and pipeline
1.5 Structures of civil engineering works
1.6 Submerged civil engineering structures
1.7 Telecommunications, transport, transformation and distribution of electrical energy
1.8 Installation of petroleum equipment
1.9 Building mechanics
1.10 Ski lifts



You want to build a new income property on your land that you will keep. The goal of the project is not the resale of the building.


For this license, the exams to pass are:

  • Safety management on construction sites 1h30
  • Project and site management 3 h00
  • Execution of construction works 3h00


Our training offered for the general owner-builder license



Recall :

The holder of a builder-owner’s license carries out or has carried out, on his property or properties, work to meet his own needs and not to derive a profit from the actual execution of the construction work. In simpler terms, the owner-builder does not perform construction work for clients.





Founded in 2000, Formation Construction is the largest provider of preparatory training for passing RBQ exams in Canada.

Thousands of entrepreneurs – from various industries – have taken a course at Formation Construction.

Our 100% online courses are designed by leading specialists in the construction industry.

Throughout your study, the trainers are available to help you, answer your questions and monitor your progress 24/7.

We help you to put together your compliant file, which should be sent to the RBQ.

At each stage of your project, you get advice from expert professionals to help you ask yourself the right questions and provide you with the essential tools to ensure a profitable business launch.

You are oriented on the insurance and mandatory guarantees related to your entrepreneur’s license and have access to a panel of services essential to your business launch.


Contact us: 1 866 626-8055

22 August 2023


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