7 Legal Issues Every Michigan Roofer Must Keep in Mind

Every employer needs to be familiar with a certain body of regulations if they run a company that engages in activities that could be considered dangerous. Or if those actions pose a risk to workers. Laws protecting employees’ health and safety are vital in roofing. 

In 2018, there were 488 licensed roofers and 180 businesses in Michigan, as reported by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs of Michigan. Both have steadily decreased since their 2009 highs of 758 people and 246 businesses.

Here are seven legal issues that every Michigan roofer must keep in mind.

Licensing Is a Must

Roofing contractors in Michigan must obtain Michigan roofers insurance before legally offering their services to the public. This protects employers and their businesses in case an accident occurs. Specifically, the state requires a ‘residential maintenance and alteration contractor’ license for roofing work. 

Fees and mandatory training requirements are specified, and the requisite profession is defined. According to the law, ‘incidental and additional’ work is exempt from licensing and has a total cost of less than $600 (including labor and supplies).

Certification by a Competent Roofer Scheme

There’s a good chance that building regulations apply to some of your projects. Joining the National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA) Competent Roofer scheme would allow you to certify your work as compliant with building regulations instead of having it examined.

The NRCA is widely recognized as the preeminent trade organization for roofers and the authoritative source of roofing-related news, events, products, and issues.

Rules for Construction

A building permit must be issued in writing to the relevant enforcement agency before any building or structure is constructed by the owner, agency, engineer, or architect. A permit is also necessary when the purpose or tenancy of a building or its grounds is altered.

There is a limit of two layers of roofing material per structure in Michigan. To ensure compliance with building codes, having your current roof torn down before replacing it with completely new, advanced materials is preferable.

Health and Safety Regulations

Laws enacted to ensure a safe working environment and prevent fires should be strictly followed. When a specific Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act standard calls for it, an employer must have a fire prevention strategy. All such safety plans must adhere to the standards outlined in these regulations.

A written fire safety strategy must be in place that is accessible to all workers. However, the plan can be explained verbally if the company has ten workers or fewer. Employers are responsible for preventing fire hazards by preventing the collection of materials that could catch fire.

Employment legislation

The Michigan employment legislation covers a wide area, including:

  • Prohibiting any kind of discrimination
  • It has provisions regarding working overtime, minimum wage, and child labor
  • Clearly states the employee’s pay, benefits, and statutory deductions
  • Employee’s entitlement to days off, sick leave, and other types of leaves 
  • Prohibition of certain behaviors like smoking at work
  • Terms of termination of employment

Policy guidelines

Roofing work, in general, is not likely to necessitate a building permit in most cases. Permission may be required, however, if the roof is to be elevated above the existing structure. 

Changing the type of material used on a historically significant building, or performing any other work on the roof that would alter the look or structural integrity of the building, would necessitate authorization. Securing approval typically falls on the building’s owner, but it can’t hurt to be familiar with the most important planning regulations.

Environmental Protection

Preventing pollution and properly discarding construction and demolition materials are covered under the Environmental Protection Act and its implementing rules. Some forms of garbage require special handling, such as asbestos sheets from decades ago or certain components of fiberglass flat roofing.


A roofer will need insurance coverage once their business is up and running. They have to contact insurance and outline their company’s operations. But to stay out of trouble with the law, Michigan roofers must be aware of the above mentioned legal matters.