How To Become a Residential Building Contractor (RBC) in Virginia

Getting properly licensed to work as a contractor is far from simple in Virginia. For starters, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR)’s Board for Contractors issues three different main license types: Class A, B, and C. Beyond figuring out which class is right for you, you also need to add the right specialty or specialties for the type of work you plan to do. All told, it can mean multiple exams.

Fortunately, with the proper preparations, all of the exams are extremely passable. It’s just a matter of making sure you’re taking the proper steps to get the class and specialty you need. 

To help, we’ve built this guide to getting your residential building contractor (RBC) specialty added to your contractor’s license. Here’s what you need to know to lock down your residential building contractor licensure. 

Step one: get your contractor license

The RBC designation is something you add onto your contractor license. So the whole process starts with you getting a Class A, Class B, or Class C license. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Class A: No monetary restrictions
  • Class B: Restricted to projects of less than $120,000, annual project total of $750,000 or less
  • Class C: Restricted to projects of less than $10,000, annual project total of $150,000 or less 

For more help determining which Virginia contractor license class is right for you, check out our guide on the subject

Once you know the license type, you have a whole bunch of to-dos. Class A and Class B licenses require you to take and pass an exam, for example. 

For a full rundown of what you need to do to get your license, scroll down to the “How do I get a contractors license in Virginia?” heading on our pre-license page

Step two: prepare for your exam

The RBC specialty requires the qualified individual (QI) associated with the contractor’s license to pass an exam. Like all other Virginia contractor exams, the DPOR hires out to PSI to proctor the exam

Before you can sit for the exam, you need to get pre-approved by the DPOR for it. That should happen as part of your contractor license application process. When you filled out the application, you should have designated that you wanted to add a RBC specialty to your license and named yourself as the QI. As long as you also included the Experience Verification Form showing that you have the required experience, you should have no trouble getting the DPOR approval you need.

Then, it’s just a matter of making sure you know what’s necessary to pass the exam. The Virginia RBC exam is 160 minutes long (and costs $85). There are 80 questions, and you only need to get 70% right to pass. 

The best news is that the exam is open-book. Review this PSI bulletin to get an idea of what you’re allowed to bring (and what you aren’t).  

To help you pass the exam, we offer an RBC prep course with 17 quizzes and a randomized practice exam you can take as many times as you want. We’ll also ship you the 2015 International Residential Code Book (IRC) and the 2010 Glencoe Carpentry & Building Construction to use as reference materials during your exam. 

Step three: pass your exam

With the right prep and the right materials to use during your exam, you shouldn’t have any trouble passing your exam and adding your RBC specialty to your Virginia contractor license.