Proposed South Carolina Legislation Might Limit Residential Specialty Contractors

The South Carolina legislature is considering legislation that will affect residential builders and specialty contractors.

The text with proposed changes below

SECTION    2.    Section 40-59-20(7) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

“(7)    ‘Residential specialty contractor’ means an independent contractor who is not a licensed residential builder, who contracts with a licensed residential builder, general contractor, or individual property owner to do construction work, repairs, improvement, or reimprovement which requires special skills and involves the use of specialized construction trades or craft, when the undertakings exceed two hundred dollars and are not regulated by the provisions of Chapter 11. A residential specialty contractor is not authorized to construct additions to residential buildings or structures without supervision by a residential builder or other appropriately licensed person or entity. Residential specialty contracting includes the following areas of contracting and other areas as the commission may recognize by regulation:

(a)    plumbers;

(b)    electricians;

(c)    heating and air conditioning installers and repairers;

(d)    vinyl and aluminum siding installers;

(e)    insulation installers;

(f)    roofers;

(g)    floor covering installers;

(h)    masons;

(i)        dry wall installers;

(j)        carpenters;

(k)    stucco installers;

(l)    painters/and wall paperers.

Plumbers, electricians, and heating and air conditioning installers and repairers must be issued licenses after passing the required examination. Vinyl and aluminum siding installers, insulation installers, roofers, floor covering installers, masons, dry wall installers, carpenters, stucco installers, and painters and wall paperers must be issued registrations.

A residential specialty contractor is prohibited from undertaking work outside the scope of his license or registration, including employing, hiring, and contracting or subcontracting with others to perform such work on his behalf.

The provisions of this chapter do not preclude a licensed residential builder from also obtaining licensure or registration as a residential specialty contractor in an area of contracting identified in statute or recognized by the commission. In addition, a residential builder, who is licensed by examination in this State, is authorized to perform work in any of the areas of residential specialty contracting without separately obtaining a residential specialty contractor license or registration.

Notice of Furnishing and Remote Claimants

A “remote” claimant can be defined as one contributing labor or materials to a construction project who does not have a direct contract with the general contractor.   This is typically a sub of a sub or a material supplier who sells to a subcontractor.   The key is the provider must not be in privvity with the GC or owner.   

In order to protect remote rights, a provider should “raise its hand” by sending notice to the general contractor by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested (see S.C. Code Ann. § 29-5-20). This should be done at the beginning of the project and on subsequent occasions assuming more materials or services are provided.   

Formal requirements are found in the statute.