Hannah Sheridan & Cochran, LLP (HSC), is a top law firm in North Carolina that provides representation for contractors and subcontractors before licensing boards, including the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors and all licensed trades. Our construction lawyers are versed in the administrative law processes necessary to navigate complaints filed with licensing boards.
1. What is administrative law?
Administrative law encompasses laws and legal principles governing the administration and regulation of government agencies, both federal and state. Such agencies are delegated power by Congress or the NC Legislature, respectively, to act as agents for the government. Generally, administrative agencies such as the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors are created to protect a public interest rather than to vindicate private rights.
2. What is the standard of law applied to administrative rulings?
The legal constraints on government action do not depend solely on the particular agency at issue, but also on general principles of administrative law, such as what constitutes “arbitrary and capricious” agency action, when notice-and-comment rulemaking is required and what an agency must do to satisfy it.
3. Do I need a license prior to bidding on a construction project?
If the project costs $30,000 or more, you will need a license before submitting a bid (NCGS 87-1).
4. Can I build my own house without a license?
If the land is in your name and the home is solely to be occupied by you and your family for 12 months after completion, you may build your own home without a license (NCGS 87-1).
5. How does someone file charges against a general contractor?
Any person may prefer charges or file a complaint against a general contractor. Complaints must be properly completed on forms provided by the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors, signed and returned to the Board office. All complaints received by the Board office are reviewed and assigned to a field investigator for an investigation.
Once a complaint is received, written notice of the complaint and the charges are then forwarded to the licensee or general contractor for a response. Following a preliminary review of the complaint, the investigator may gather additional evidence by making an inspection of the construction project or the work in question. Field investigators also may interview the contractor, fact witnesses or other individuals who are familiar with the case. When an investigation is completed, the case is forwarded to the Board’s review committee, which then determines whether probable cause exists to recommend the case be presented to the full Board for a disciplinary hearing. The Board may impose discipline by revoking or suspending the contractor’s license, based on a finding of gross negligence, incompetence, misconduct or willful violations of the licensing laws. If the general contractor is not licensed to practice general contracting, the Board may only seek entry of a permanent injunction against the contractor in superior court. The Board’s disciplinary statutes, which describe these procedures, are found at North Carolina General Statutes 87-11(a), 87-13 and 87-13.1.
If you have a legal issue that may require the assistance of an attorney, please contact the lawyers at Hannah Sheridan & Cochran, LLP, at 919-859-6840.
North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts Fact Sheet