Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 65
Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-65-3

§ 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 shall not undertake, offer to undertake, or submit a bid to do work as a contractor on a structure unless that person has a current, valid certificate of registration for all construction work issued by the board. A partnership, corporation, limited liability company, 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, limited liability company, or joint venture is registered for the work and in the case of registration by a corporation, limited liability company, joint venture, or partnership, an individual shall be designated to be responsible for the corporation’s, company’s, joint venture’s, or partnership’s work. The corporation, limited liability company, joint venture, or partnership and its individual designee shall be jointly and severally liable and responsible for the payment of the registration fee, as required in this chapter, and for compliance with all requirements and violations of any provisions of this chapter and the regulations promulgated thereunder. Disciplinary action taken on a registration held by a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, joint venture, individual, or sole proprietor may affect other registrations held by the same corporation, partnership, limited liability company, joint venture, individual, or sole proprietorship, and shall also be grounds for the board or office to deny and preclude future registration by any corporation, partnership, limited liability company, joint venture, individual, or sole proprietorship where the disciplined registrant and the applicant for registration have an individual principal and/or responsible designee in common.

(b) A registered partnership, limited liability company, or corporation shall notify the board in writing immediately upon any change in partners or corporate officers.

(c) A city, town, or the state shall not issue a building permit to anyone required to be registered under this chapter who does not have a current, valid registration or valid license. Each city, town, or the state that 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 shall also require that each applicant for the permit as a condition to issuing the permit, 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 shall list 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 the premises and shall inform the registration board of any non-registered contractors performing work at the site.

(d) Every city and town that requires the issuance of a business license as a condition precedent to engaging, within the city or town, in a business that is subject to regulation under this chapter, shall require 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 shall be 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 the definition for “contract for construction”, § 5-65-1(6), if within any one twelve-month (12) period that person offers for sale one or more structures on which that work was performed.

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

(g) The provisions of this chapter shall be exclusive and no city or town shall require or shall issue any registrations or licenses nor charge any fee for the regulatory registration of any contractor registered with the board. Nothing in this subsection shall limit or abridge 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 shall maintain a list that shall include the following information about all subcontractors or other contractors performing work on a structure for that contractor:

(i) Names and addresses; and

(ii) Registration numbers or other license numbers.

(2) The list referred to in subsection (h)(1) of this section shall be delivered to the board within twenty-four (24) hours after a request is made during reasonable working hours, or a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) may be imposed for each 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; (12) Hardscape installers; (13) Power washers who perform work on structures; and (14) Painters. This list is not all inclusive and shall not be limited to the above-referenced contractors. No subcontractor licensed by another in-state agency pursuant to § 5-65-2 shall be required to register, provided that said work is performed under the purview of that license.

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

(k) A summary of this chapter, prepared by the board and provided at cost to all registered contractors, shall be 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 shall appear in any advertising by that contractor. Advertising in any form by an unregistered contractor shall be prohibited, including alphabetical or classified directory listings, vehicles, business cards, and all other forms of advertisements. The violations may result in a penalty being assessed by the board per administrative procedures established.

(i) The board may publish, revoke, or suspend registrations and the date the registration was suspended or revoked on a quarterly basis.

(ii) Use of the word “license” in any form of advertising when only registered may subject the registrant or those required to be registered to a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense at the discretion of the board.

(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.

(n) [Deleted by P.L. 2022, ch. 251, § 1 and P.L. 2022, ch. 252, § 1.]

(o) All work performed, including labor and materials, in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000) shall be accompanied by a contract in writing. Contracts required pursuant to this subsection shall include consumer disclosures and information required pursuant to regulations promulgated by the board and the following notice by the contractor to the homeowner:

    To: Insert name of owner, lessee, or tenant, or owner of less  
  than the fee simple.  
    The undersigned is about to perform work and/or furnish  
  materials for the construction, erection, alterations, or repair upon the land at (INSERT ADDRESS) under contract with you. This is a notice that the undersigned and any other persons who provide labor and materials for the improvement under contract with the undersigned may file a mechanic’s lien upon the land in the event of nonpayment to them. It is your responsibility to assure yourself that those other persons under contract with the undersigned receive payment for their work performed and materials furnished for the construction, erection, alteration, or repair upon the land.  

Failure to adhere to the provisions of this subsection may result in a one-thousand-dollar fine ($1,000) against the contractor and shall not affect the right of any other person performing work or furnishing materials of claiming a lien pursuant to chapter 28 of title 34. However, the person failing to provide the notice shall indemnify and hold harmless any owner, lessee, or tenant, or owner of less than the fee simple, from any payment or costs incurred on account of any lien claims by those not in privity with them, unless the owner, lessee, or tenant, or owner of less than the fee simple, shall not have paid such person.

(p) Contracts entered into must contain notice of right of rescission as stipulated in all pertinent Rhode Island consumer protection laws and/or § 5-65-27, if applicable.

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

A notice of possible mechanic’s lien given in accordance with the requirements of § 34-28-4.1 shall satisfy the notice of possible mechanic’s lien required pursuant to subsection (o) of this section.

(q) In addition to the requirements of this chapter, contractors engaged in well-drilling activities shall also be subject to regulations pertaining to licensing and registration promulgated by the contractors’ registration and licensing board pursuant to chapter 65.2 of this title and § 46-13.2-4.

History of Section.
P.L. 1989, ch. 222, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 381, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 350, § 2; P.L. 1996, ch. 322, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 349, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 322, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 648, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 32, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 228, § 2; P.L. 2007, ch. 324, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 364, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 241, art. 17, § 4; P.L. 2017, ch. 398, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 425, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 346, § 17; P.L. 2019, ch. 88, art. 4, § 1; P.L. 2022, ch. 251, § 1, effective June 28, 2022; P.L. 2022, ch. 252, § 1, effective June 28, 2022; P.L. 2023, ch. 395, art. 2, § 2, effective June 27, 2023.