2001-S 489A
Enacted 07/13/2001

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Introduced By:  Senators Ruggerio, Alves, McCaffrey, Fogarty, Goodwin, et al. Date Introduced:  February 13, 2001

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Sections 5-65-1, 5-65-3, 5-65-4 and 5-65-19 of the General Laws in Chapter 5-65 entitled "Contractors' Registration" are hereby amended to read as follows:

5-65-1. Definitions. -- As used in this chapter:

(1) "Board" means the seven (7) member appointed contractors' registration board.

(2) (i) "Contractor" means a person who, in the pursuit of an independent business, undertakes or offers to undertake or submits a bid, or for compensation and with or without the intent to sell the structure arranges to construct, alter, repair, improve, move over public highways, roads or streets or demolish a structure or to perform any work in connection with the construction, alteration, repair, improvement, moving over public highways, roads or streets or demolition of a structure, and the appurtenances thereto. "Contractor" includes, but is not limited to, any person who purchases or owns property and constructs or for compensation arranges for the construction of one or more structures.

(ii) A certificate of registration is necessary for each "Business Entity" regardless of the fact that each entity may be owned by the same individual.

(3) "Dwelling Unit" means a single unit providing complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.

(4) "State" means the state of Rhode Island.

(5) "Structure" means a residence or commercial building, including a site-built home, a modular home constructed off-site, a condominium, a manufactured home, a mobile home, and duplex or multi-unit residential building, consisting of four (4) dwelling units or less. This definition includes and is pre-empted by the regulations promulgated by the state building commission rules and regulations for family dwellings and multi-family dwellings.

(6) "Staff" means the executive director for the contractors' registration board, and any other staff necessary to carry out the powers, functions and duties of the board including inspector(s), hearing officer(s) and other supportive staff.

(7) "Hearing officer" means a person designated by the executive director, with the approval of the director of administration to hear contested claims or cases, contested enforcement proceedings, and contested administrative fines, in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

5-65-3. Registration for work on a structure required of contractor -- Issuance of building permits to unregistered or unlicensed contractors prohibited -- Evidence of activity as a contractor -- Duties of contractors. -- (a) A person does not undertake, offer to undertake, or submit a bid to do work as a contractor on a structure or arrange to have work done unless that person has a current, valid certificate of registration for residential all construction work issued by the board. A partnership, corporation, or joint venture may do the work, offer to undertake the work, or submit a bid to do the work only if that partnership, corporation, or joint venture is registered for the work. In the case of registration by a corporation or partnership, an individual is designated to be responsible for the corporation's or partnership's work. The corporation or partnership and its designee are jointly and severally liable for; the payment of the registration fee, as requested herein, and for violations of any provisions of this chapter. Disciplinary action taken on a registration held by a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietor may affect other registrations held by the same corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship, and may preclude future registration by the principal of that business entity.

(b) A registered partnership or corporation notifies the board immediately upon any change in partners or corporate officers.

(c) A city, town, or the state does not issue a building permit to anyone required to be registered under this chapter who does not have a current, valid certificate of registration identification card or valid license which is presented at the time of issuance of a permit and becomes a condition of a valid permit. Each city, town, or the state which requires the issuance of a permit as a condition precedent to construction, alteration, improvement, demolition, movement or repair of any building or structure or the appurtenance to the structure also requires that each applicant for the permit file as a condition to issuing the permit a written statement, subscribed by the applicant, that the applicant is registered under the provisions of this chapter, giving the number of the registration and stating that the registration is in full force and effect, or, if the applicant is exempt from the provisions of this chapter, listing the basis for the exemption. The city, town, or the state lists the contractor's registration number on the permit obtained by that contractor, and if a homeowner is issued a permit, the building inspector or official must ascertain registration numbers of each contractor on premise and informs the registration board of any non-registered contractors performing work at the site.

(d) Every city and town which requires the issuance of a business license as a condition precedent to engaging, within the city or town in a business which is subject to regulation under this chapter, requires that each licensee and each applicant for issuance or renewal of the license file, or has on file, with the city or town a signed statement that the licensee or applicant is registered under the provisions of this chapter and stating that the registration is in full force and effect.

(e) It is prima facie evidence of doing business as a contractor when a person for that person's own use performs, employs others to perform, or for compensation and with the intent to sell the structure, arranges to have performed any work described in section 5-65-1(2) if within any one twelve (12) month period that person offers for sale one or more structures on which that work was performed.

(f) Registration under this chapter is prima facie evidence that the registrant conducts a separate, independent business.

(g) The provisions of this chapter are exclusive and no city or town requires or issues any registrations or licenses nor charges any fee for the regulatory registration of any contractor registered with the board. However, nothing in this subsection limits or abridges the authority of any city or town to license and levy and collect a general and nondiscriminatory license fee levied upon all businesses, or to levy a tax based upon business conducted by any firm within the city or town's jurisdiction, if permitted under the laws of the state.

(h) (1) Every contractor maintains a list which includes the following information about all subcontractors or other contractors performing work on a structure for that contractor:

(i) Names and addresses.

(ii) Registration numbers or other license numbers.

(iii) Contracts entered into must contain notice of right of rescission as stipulated in all pertinent Rhode Island consumer protection laws.

(iv) The contractor must stipulate whether or not all the proper insurances are in effect for each job contracted.

(2) The list referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection is delivered to the board within twenty-four (24) hours after a request made during reasonable working hours, or a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) may be imposed for each the offense.

(i) The following subcontractors who are not employees of a registered contractor must obtain a registration certificate prior to conducting any work;

(1) Carpenters, including finish carpenters and framers;

(2) Siding installers;

(3) Roofers;

(4) Foundation installers, including concrete installers and form installers;

(5) Drywall installers;

(6) Plasterers;

(7) Insulation installers;

(8) Ceramic tile installers;

(9) Floor covering installers;

(10) Swimming pool installers, both above ground and in ground;

(11) Masons, including chimney installers, fireplace installers, and general masonry erectors. This list is not all inclusive and not limited to the above referenced contractors. No subcontractor licensed by another state agency pursuant to section 5-65-2 is required to register.

(j) A contractor including, but not limited to, a general contractor, does not hire any subcontractor or other contractor to work on a residential structure unless the contractor is registered under this chapter or exempt from registration under the provisions of section 5-65-2.

(k) A summary of this chapter, prepared by the board and provided at cost to all registered contractors, is delivered by the contractor to the owner when the contractor begins work on a structure; failure to comply may result in a fine.

(l) The registration number of each contractor appears in any advertising by that contractor. Advertising in any form by an unregistered contractor is prohibited, including alphabetical or classified directory listings, vehicles, business cards, and all other forms of advertisements. The violations could result in a penalty being assessed by the board per administrative procedures established.

(m) The contractor must see that permits required by the state building code are secured on behalf of the owner prior to commencing the work involved. The contractor's registration number must be affixed to the permit as required by the state building code.

5-65-4. Registration required to obtain judicial or administrative remedy - Exception. -- (a) A contractor may not file a lien, file a claim with the board, or bring or maintain in any court of this state a suit or action for compensation for the performance of any work on a residential any structure or for the breach of any contract for work on a residential any structure which is subject to this chapter, unless the contractor was:

(1) Registered under this chapter at the time the contractor bid or entered into the contract for performance of the work unless the bid or contract predated July 1, 1990; and

(2) Registered continuously while performing the work for which compensation is sought.

(b) A court may choose not to apply this section if the court finds that to do so would result in a substantial injustice to the unregistered contractor.

5-65-19. Penalty for operating without a registration and failure to comply with a final order of the board. -- (a) Any person who violates a final order of the board, or fails to register as a contractor as stipulated, and upon proper written notification, is deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, is imprisoned for a term not exceeding one year, or fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each offense.

(b) A final order is considered delivered when served to defendant. pursuant to Rule 49 of the District Court Rules of Criminal Procedure. In addition to any sentence or fine imposed by the court under subsection (a) of this section, the court may order a defendant to comply with any outstanding final order of the board and/or to pay to the board any outstanding fine(s) previously imposed by the board pursuant to section 5-65-10(c) of this chapter.

SECTION 2. Chapter 5-65 of the General Laws entitled "Contractors' Registration" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

5-65-24. Limited applicability of chapter to non-residential contractors. -- (a) Notwithstanding anything set forth in this chapter 5-65 to the contrary, the provisions of the following sections of this chapter 5-65 shall not apply to any contractor who does not regularly in the course of his/her or its business as a contractor engage in construction activities as contemplated hereunder on residential structures:

(1) section 5-65-3(h)(iii);

(2) section 5-65-3(k);

(3) section 5-65-4;

(4) section 5-65-10(a)(6);

(5) section 5-65-11;

(6) section 5-65-12; and

(7) section 5-65-18.

(b) Notwithstanding anything set forth in this chapter 5-65 to the contrary, the provisions of the following sections of this chapter 5-65 shall have only the limited applicability set forth below respecting any contractor who does not regularly in the course of his/her or its business as a contractor engage in construction activities as contemplated hereunder on residential structures: (1) the provisions of section 5-65-3(a) concerning the joint and several liability of applicable corporations or partnerships and their respective designees for the payment of the registration fee as requested herein and for violations of any provisions of this chapter 5-65 shall not apply; and (2) the provisions of section 5-65-10(a)(4) concerning violation of a rule or order of the board shall only apply to the extent that any such rule or order does not relate to or is not derived from one (1) of the inapplicable provisions referenced in this section 5-65-24.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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