What is the RBQ?
No, it's not the league of Registered Bowlers of Quebec...
RBQ stands for Régie du Bâtiment du Québec. This translates to The Quebec Building Authority or The Quebec Construction Authority.
What is the purpose of the RBQ?
Great question, and I'm glad you asked. It gets me jazzed up to talk about my industry. I'm usually pretty level-headed, but imagine a twinkle in my eye as I write this. The main goal of the RBQ is to protect the public. They do this through regulating the standards of the construction industry and it's contractors.
Does every contractor need a license?
Yes! Well, at least in Quebec, Canada. Under provincial law, any person or company who carries out any work in the construction industry (builders, painters, renovators, etc.) MUST hold a valid Contractor's License. That is, if they are going to make money from it. So yes, getting your friends to paint your house for pizza and beer is still totally legit.
"Even for painting? Plastering too?
What about installing mouldings? Demolition? "
Yes, yes, yes and yes! A full list of the works that require a license can be found on the RBQ's official website.
Again, the end goal is to keep our city and it's citizens safe. Unfortunately, Montreal is all too familiar with the negative aspects of having incompetent, shoddy or sub-par quality workmanship. One doesn't need to think too far back to remember the sad reality of crumbling infrastructure and the tragedies it has caused in recent years.
The RBQ was created in 1992 to overhaul the construction industry standards (or lack thereof) and ensure the competency, financial solvency, professional qualification and integrity of any and every contractor in the province working in the construction industry.
By creating and applying rigorous standards (which are always being improved upon) and holding contractors accountable, they can ensure that our future is being built on a solid foundation.
So can anyone get a Contractor's License?
Can anyone be a surgeon or get a license to practice law? We're positive people, so we'd like to say: YES! You can do it! We believe in you :)
Awesome! Where do I begin?
To apply for a Contractor's License, you must first deposit a bond with the
RBQ. A bond of between $20,000 and $40,000 must be deposited to the RBQ. This bond acts as a security to guarantee the performance of your contractual obligations toward your clients. If the RBQ finds you guilty of non-conformity to the regulations, of fraud, criminal negligence or other infractions, your bond is seized.
Basically, to even submit your application form, you must put down a sizable sum of money as collateral to ensure that you will abide by the laws, codes and regulations set forth by the RBQ and it's federal cohorts.
Once your bond is in order, you can submit your application to be considered for professional qualification exams. The application costs roughly $1,500, depending on which license you're applying for and how many exams will be required.
Of course! The RBQ administers professional qualification exams to determine a Contractor's competency in specific domains.
The first exams are to evaluate your capabilities in Administration, Construction Project Management and Safety & Security. Once these core competencies are proven, further testing is required based on the specific sub-classes that the contractor needs.
There are many accredited institutions throughout Quebec offering intensive training courses to prepare you for the exams. The exams are the same whether you are an employee of an international, multi-billion dollar firm or a one-person operation. (Did we mention they're rigorous?)
Sounds easy enough...
Just remember, having an RBQ Contractor's License is a privileged circumstance, with less than 1% of the population having one. If you really know your stuff, are determined and have all the necessary pre-requisites, it's definitely an attainable goal! We wish you the best of luck!
"Actually, I'm too busy for all that."
No problem! Ask your family, friends, co-workers and professional contacts about reputable contractors. While you may receive a low-ball quote from unscrupulous, so-called "fly-by-night" contractors, if they don't have a valid license, you have no recourse.
If they provide sub-par work, or worse, commit an act of fraud (for example, taking a cash deposit and never actually completing the work), you are not protected. That is because a Contractor without a License is working illegally, and has no bond to protect the consumer. As the old saying goes, Buyer Beware!
We hope this never happens to you, and you can help avoid this issue by following these simple steps:
1) Always ensure the contractor holds a license;
2) Ensure the license is valid and active in the RBQ's Repertory;
3) Contact the RBQ to report dangerous or fraudulent work conditions.
Now, you have more information about a Contractor's License than most unlicensed contractor's have. Asking a few of these simple questions could save you time and money! On behalf of the team at Montreal Contractors, we wish you the best of luck with your project!
Montreal Contractors is a qualified company, holding an active bonded license as a General Contractor and Specialized Contractor with the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec (RBQ License: 5767-5480-01), ASP Health & Safety Certification and a $2M liability policy. Our employees have all passed background checks, are registered with CNESST and have their ASP Health and Safety certification.