Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Window closes December 31 for grandfathered licensing of Georgia contractors

December 31, 2006 is the last day that persons or businesses seeking a Georgia contractor's license without examination can apply for that license.

After that date, candidates for contractor licenses will be required to submit to a licensing examination--as will those seeking to serve as qualifying agents for business organizations applying for contractor licensing. The so-called grandfather provision (for licensing by residency and experience) was extended for six-months by the 2006 General Assembly; but it will not be further extended.

Beginning January 1, 2007, the Georgia State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors is authorized to establish reciprocal licensing (without examination) for out-of-state contractors. Those seeking to obtain licenses by reciprocity must necessarily have obtained their foreign-state license through an examination process that is substantially equivalent and rigorous to the one that will be administered to candidates for first-time Georgia licenses.

Licensure is essential because, beginning January 1, 2008, all Georgia residential and general contractors must be licensed in one of three categories: (a) residential basic; (b) residential light-commercial; and/or (c) general contractor. Candidates for each must demonstrate a degree of financial stability, insurability, etc. After that date, local and state governments are statutorily prohibited from issuing building permits to unlicensed contractors; and severe penalties will be imposed on persons who attempt to violate the license statute--or help others violate it. Only the most minimal types of repair and maintenance work are exempted from the statute.

Georgia's new licensing statute does not significantly change existing state licensing laws and regulations applicable to specialty and trade contractors. (This entry was published by David Roberts of Womble Carlyle's construction and real estate development group.)


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