Atlanta Building News - June 2008 - (Page 18)

LEGAL CORNER Discipline by the State Licensing Board As of July 1, 2008, builders must have a license from the general contractor or residential contractor division (Division) of the Georgia State Licensing Board of General and Residential Contractors (Board). Lurking closely behind that license is a substantial and sometimes unnerving set of laws, rules, regulations and procedures addressing contractor discipline by the Board or Division. I’m confident the Board and Divisions will make every effort to apply those laws in a fair and wise manner. But, since your livelihood can be at stake, it’s critical that you understand some of the basics of those laws. This article can’t address all of their details, and I strongly encourage you to involve legal counsel in any disciplinary matter. WHICH OFFENSES CAN LEAD TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION? There are a lot! Here is a sample: a. fraud, including in obtaining a license b. intentional misconduct in contracting c. willful or material failure to comply with the licensing law or a rule, regulation, consent decree or Board or Division order d. failure to comply with any other state or federal law, rule or regulation relating to contracting when the contractor should have known that the act or omission was a violation e. negligence that is gross, repeated, persistent or a significant danger to life or property f. repeated or persistent incompetence g. contracting without a qualifying agent h. being convicted or pleading guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or crime of moral turpitude directly relating to contracting i. assisting another in prohibited unlicensed contracting if the contractor should have been aware that the person was unlicensed j. allowing the contractor’s license to be used by an unlicensed person with the intent to evade the licensing law k. abandoning a project l. signing a false statement that work is bonded m. signing a statement, known to be false, that labor and material costs have been paid if the statement is issued to, reasonably relied upon and actually causes financial harm to the owner n. falsely stating that workers’ compensation or general liability insurance has been obtained o. starting a job without required permits and inspections p. failing, within a reasonable time, to satisfy a civil judgment relating to contracting q. failing to demonstrate qualifications or standards for a contractor license r. having had another professional license revoked, suspended, annulled or, in a disciplinary proceeding, denied or declined renewal by another licensing board s. having engaged, whether in contracting or otherwise, in any unprofessional, immoral, unethical, deceptive or deleterious conduct indicative of bad moral character or untrustworthiness that is harmful to the public and materially affects the contractor’s fitness to practice contracting or is likely to jeopardize the public interest t. failure to abide by the minimal reasonable contractor standards u. having been adjudged mentally incompetent v. having displayed an inability to contract with reasonable skill and safety, whether or not caused by illness, alcohol, drugs or narcotics By Frank O. Brown, Jr. w. having failed to comply with a child support order x. being in default on a student loan without a repayment agreement y. wearing pink socks (OK, I made up this one to see if you were still reading.) WHICH PENALTIES MAY BE IMPOSED FOR AN OFFENSE? Penalties vary depending on the nature and extent of the offense(s). Potential penalties include: a. public or private reprimand b. probation c. license suspension d. license revocation e. license restrictions f. license conditions g. denial of license renewal h. financial restitution to home owner i. administrative fines up to $5,000 per violation j. additional continuing education k. assessment of investigation and prosecution costs l. other disciplinary measures The licensing law says that in imposing penalties, the Board and Division must follow the “penalty guidelines” established by them. As of press time, those guidelines have not yet been established. If faced with a disciplinary matter, a contractor can and usually should discuss the matter with the Board or Division and, if appropriate, try to reach a voluntary agreement on the penalty. WHAT ARE THE DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES? • Investigation: First, the Board or Division must become aware of a 18 JUNE 2008 | ATLANTA BUILDING NEWS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Atlanta Building News - June 2008

Atlanta Building News - June 2008
From the President
Classes and Events Calendar
Builder Licensing Update
Trends in Lighting
Legal Corner
The Housing Institute
Earthcraft House
Homeaid Atlanta
Member News
Member Services
Atlanta 50+ Housing Council
Sales and Marketing Council
New Members
Index to Advertisers

Atlanta Building News - June 2008