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Departments » Building Inspection » License Law Summary
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License Law Summary

SUMMARY OF SOUTH CAROLINA LICENSING LAWS


DEFINITIONS *

  • "Residential builder" means one who constructs, superintends, or offers to construct or superintend the construction, repair, improvement, or reimprovement of a residential building or structure…when the cost of the undertaking exceeds $5,000.
     

  • "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 $200. 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 (includes poured concrete work)
(i) dry wall installers;
(j) carpenters;
(k) stucco installers;
(l) painters/wall paperers."

  •  “Commercial mechanical construction" means the installation, replacement, or repair of plumbing, heating, air conditioning, process piping, refrigeration, lightning protection equipment, or electrical components, fixtures, or devices of any kind, excluding burglar alarm work.
     

  •  “Commercial general contractor" means a person or business which performs or supervises general construction.
     


Residential BUILDER WORK LIMITATIONS

  • A Residential Builder's license alone is an inadequate qualification for performing mechanical, electrical, or plumbing (MEP) work. Any contractor performing any MEP work which requires a license (> $200 in value) is required to have a current license appropriate for the trade issued by exam from the State of South Carolina. Residential Builders without additional licenses appropriate for the trade are prohibited from performing MEP work valued at greater than $200.00


 

Residential Work Requiring a SC License or Registration *

For general residential work exceeding $200 but less than $5000, one of the following State of South Carolina certifications or licenses is required:

  • SC Registered Residential Specialty Contractor

  • SC Residential Builder License

  • SC General Contractor License

Plus

  • a Town of Clover Business License

Note: General Contractors may use unlicensed sub-contractors in residential construction with the exception of electricians, plumbers, HVAC contractors, specialty glazing, and specialty roofing.
 

For general residential construction over $5000, one of the following State of South Carolina certifications or licenses is required:

  • SC Residential Builders License

  • SC General Contractors License

  • or a Residential Specialty Registration that includes a bond with the Residential Builders Commission as the bond holder.

Plus

  •  a Town of Clover Business License

Note: General Contractors may use unlicensed sub-contractors in residential construction with the exception of electricians, plumbers, HVAC contractors, specialty glazing, and specialty roofing.

SC State Law for Residential Construction
 

STATE laws Regarding Specialty Contractors *

  • They are authorized to do RESIDENTIAL work only (no commercial!).
  • Specialty Contractors may not Sub-contract.
  • They can do work valued at > $5,000, but must have a bond on file with the State.
  • Plumbers, electricians, and HVAC contractors are required to take a written exam (for a license).
  • Other Specialty Contractors are required to pay the registration fee, pass a background check, and prove US citizenship. License/registration is good for 2 years. (Current fee is $50/year. Approval process takes 2 – 3 weeks by mail.)
  • They can have up to three classifications under one license (for example, one person could be a carpenter, insulator, and floor installer).

SC State Law for Residential Construction
 


Commercial Work Requiring a License or Registration *

  • Any company or individual practicing as a general contractor or mechanical contractor for which the total cost of construction is greater than $5,000.

Note: Commercial jobs whose total value is < $5,000 are not regulated at all.

SC State Law for Commercial Contractors
 

EXEMPTION FROM STATE LICENSING LAWS

  • An exemption from the State licensing requirements may be granted to the property owner who does the work himself, with his own employees, or with licensed or registered contractors, and;
    • The structure is intended for the owner's sole occupancy or occupancy by the owner's family and are not intended for sale or rent; and
    • The general public does not have access to this structure, and;
    • The owner will not sell the property within two years, and;
    • The appropriate form is completed; and
    • The appropriate form is filed with the York County Register of Deeds.
       

LANDLORDS

  • Note that the SC law requires a State license for many activities but contains an exception for homeowners who use the house for their sole occupancy or occupancy by the owner's family. That State law eliminates the ability of landlords to do work requiring a permit on their homes they own unless they hold a license appropriate for the trade.
     

License Lookup

 

3rd Party websites

A helpful resource

 

* A paraphrase of State Law and is not meant to supersede State Law. Where any conflict may exist, State Law applies.





           
 
 
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