Thursday, October 15, 2015

Emergency License Information Regarding Out-of-State Contractors

As a result of the flooding across the State, many out-of-state builders and specialty contractors are seeking employment to perform repairs, construction work, or other services to residential structures.  Please be advised that when issuing building permits to any such builders or contractors applying to do work in this State, they must be appropriately licensed or registered by the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission (“Commission”).

The Commission anticipates issuing emergency licenses to qualified, out-of-state residential builders and residential specialty contractors in the classifications of electrician, plumber, and heating and air conditioner installer/repairer pursuant to S.C. Code Reg. 106-5.  A copy of this regulation is below for your review.  Under these emergency licenses, builders will be limited to a total valuation of $100,000.00 for any single project and electricians, plumbers, and heating and air conditioning installers/repairers will be limited to a total valuation of $35,000.00 for any single project. These emergency licenses are valid only for repairs/work related to heavy rain and flash flooding for which Governor Haley declared a State of Emergency on October 1, 2015, and will expire on April 1, 2016, such that any builder, plumber, electrician, or heating and air conditioner installer/repairer who plans to work in the affected counties beyond that time period is encouraged to apply for a regular license in the interim.
Residential builders licensed in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Utah qualify for reciprocity and have the option of applying for an emergency license or a regular residential builders license.

All other specialty contractors, including vinyl and aluminum siding installers, insulation installers, roofers, floor covering installers, masons, dry wall installers, carpenters, stucco installers, and painters/wall paperers, must apply to the Commission for a regular South Carolina residential specialty contractor registration before they can perform work in this State in excess of $200.  There are no emergency registrations for these specialty registrants. 
Attached are copies of the Emergency License Registration Application, and Residential Specialty Registration Application, which may be disseminated to any out-of-state builders or specialty contractors seeking licensure or registration in this State. 

The Commission intends to expedite and process the emergency applications as quickly as possible during this time of need.  For those applicants seeking a regular license that requires examination, the Commission is prepared to schedule additional testing times and sites. 

The emergency license is only for residential repairs.

106-5 Emergency License and Registration

A. In the instance of an event declared to be an emergency by the governor, the department, as defined by S.C. Code Ann. Section 40-59-20(2), is authorized to issue emergency licenses and registrations for out-of-state builders and specialty contractors.
B. To qualify for an emergency license or registration, an individual, at the time of application, must submit a verification letter issued by the state in which the applicant's principal place of business is located (home state) as proof that his or her license is in good standing. The emergency license or registration may be issued only to the individual shown on the home-state license. The home-state license must have been issued by examination; a "grandfathered" license or registration will not be accepted as proof of licensure.
C. In addition to proof of home state licensure, an applicant must also provide:
1. An emergency license application;
2. A national criminal background report current within fourteen (14) days of the date of application. A criminal background report showing misdemeanors listed for twenty-four (24) months or felonies listed for fifteen (15) years prior to the application date will not qualify for licensure;
3. A current bond for home builders of at least Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00) and current bond for specialty contractors of at least Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00); and,
4. A fee of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00).
D. An emergency license or registration will be:
1. Issued for one (1) specific event;
2. Limited to a total valuation of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) for any single project for home builders, and a total valuation of Thirty-five Thousand Dollars ($35,000.00) for any single project for specialty contractors;
3. Valid only for the scope of work permitted by the applicant's home-state license;
4. Valid only within the area of the declared emergency; and,
5. Valid only for the duration of the emergency declaration, or as extended at the board's discretion.
HISTORY: Added by State Register Volume 36, Issue No. 6, eff June 22, 2012.

Counties currently declared by FEMA to be in the disaster area due to the October SC flood event are: Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg.

If you are applying for an initial license with the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission, you may now apply online by clicking on the link below:
Thanks to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) for sending this important information out. For LLR's tips on how to prevent contractor scams, click here.

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