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Group issues voluntary 'licenses' for contractors Main Idaho Real Estate Insights
Building officials say Idaho rules for registration don't ensure that builders are qualified, but state officials disagree. from the Idaho Statesman.

BY BRAD TALBUTT - [email protected]

Edition Date: 07/10/08


 

Local government building officials in Idaho say a 3-year-old state law that requires building contractors to register does too little to assure the public that contractors are qualified. So they have set up a program to "license" contractors who meet experience or educational standards.

But the voluntary program is off to a slow start, with just eight applicants since it began March 1. And state officials say the builders group's ultimate aim - to get the Legislature to stiffen mandatory requirements for building contractors - is moot, because the registration program has proved it can help protect consumers by weeding out bad contractors.

The state officials say neither the mandatory registration program nor a tougher licensing program could be relied upon to screen out applicants like the Eagle builder who was recently accused of filing fraudulent and baseless liens, drawing money from construction loans for personal use and failing to pay subcontractors.

The Professional Building Contractor program was created by the Idaho Association of Building Officials, a private, nonprofit organization of local government officials.

The program issues "licenses" - actually certifications - at a first-year cost of $300. Contractors are not lining up to get them. Proponents say that's because contractors largely don't know about them yet.

"We're still working to build the program, and we plan to launch a marketing campaign in the fall," said association Executive Director Teri Ottens.

The association's Web site lists dozens of "licensed" contractors, but almost all of them are in Idaho Falls, which has had a municipal contractor licensing law for 25 years. The association's program automatically recognizes Idaho Falls licensees.

One of the few Treasure Valley contractors on the association's list is Mark Kreizenbeck of K2 Construction Inc. in Boise. And he didn't know about the association, nor that it had certified him, until reached by the Idaho Statesman. His company works in Idaho Falls and has licenses in several other states.

Kreizenbeck doesn't think licensing should be voluntary.

"A lot of operators come to Idaho because we don't have as much regulation as other states, where you at least have to know the law," he said. "Most good contractors wouldn't mind having a license."

The local building officials agree.

"If you can lift a hammer and pay for insurance, you can be a building contractor in Idaho," said Carol Alexander, Moscow city building official and president of Idaho Association of Building Officials.

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Posted by tlangford at 7/10/2008 12:58:00 PM
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Comments (2)
Re:Group issues voluntary 'licenses' for contractors
At first glance the Registered Master Builder program seems out perform this criteria.
Posted by on 7/10/2008 4:56 PM
Re:Group issues voluntary 'licenses' for contractors
Trey,

I would encourage anyone who is interested in this subject to visit the Idaho Association of Building Officials Professional Building Contractor Licensing Review Board website http://www.idahoclrb.org and review the qualifications for licensing.

Contractor can be licensed by satisfying one or more of the following provisions.

Certificate of Competency from a nationally-recognized testing institution.

Until one year after these regulations are adopted or one year after a municipality or county contracts with the CLRB to handle their contractor licensing, a license my be obtained upon verification that a person or a firm's designated representative (qualifying individual) has the required number of years of full-time experience in the building construction industry for that license.
Class A License - 15 years or more experience, General Contractor.
Class B License - 10 years or more experience, Building Contractor.
Class C License - 5 years or more experience, Residential Contractor.
Class D License - 5 years or more experience, Sub-Contractor

A Bachelor's Degree in engineering, architecture, or construction science from an accredited college or university.

Provisional License holders may obtain a regular license upon the completion of not less than 32 hours of codes-related education prior to the expiration of such provisional license.

The contractor has been licensed in other states or municipalities within or without the state of Idaho to obtain a contractor's license based upon such person's or firm's licensure in such other state or municipality.

The website argues that the current Idaho State contractors registration provides no assurance that they have any formal or industry training or experience with the work they may be offering to the public and states that by becoming a PBC, contractors provide assurance to consumers that they are qualified and reputable and stay up-to-date on the latest code updates and issues.

I certainly dont discount the importance of knowing and staying up-to-date on building codes, but in almost every jurisdiction in the State of Idaho where a building permit is required, the construction is inspected by building inspectors certified by the International Council of Building Officials (ICBO). If the consumer is using a lender to purchase of the home, the lender will require a Certificate of Occupancy issued by the building department with jurisdiction over the project before they will close the loan.

Since most builders use trade contractors to perform most if not all of the actual building, I question how this license will assure that the trade contractors and, more importantly, the guys and gals who are actually performing the work are qualified.

I believe an insured warranty like the 2-10 Builders Warranty provides consumers with more protection than simply using a PBC contractor.

I fail to see how having a bachelor's degree in engineering, architecture, or construction science from an accredited college or university or code-related education provides consumers with any assurance that the contractor is reputable or knows how to run a successful business. A bachelors degree in engineering, architecture, or construction science from an accredited college or university or code-related education does not assure that the licensee understands finance and accounting, estimating, scheduling, project management, or customer service.

The annual license fee for the PBC - $300 for new registrations and $200 for renewals includes 8 hours of free code related training. I believe that that money would be better spent on the courses for builders and trade contractors offered by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) University of Housing leading to one of the many professional designations offered by NAHB. These designations include the
Certified Graduate Builder (CGB)
Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR)
Certified Graduate Associate (CGA) for trade contractors and suppliers
Graduate Master Builder (GMB)
Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR)
Certified Green Building Professional (CGP)
Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS)

All of these designations require the completion of the Business Management for Building Professionals course as well as a number of other courses. All of the designations have a continuing education requirement.

These designations and their required courses provide builders and trade contractors with the knowledge and the tools they need to run a successful business.

Chuck Miller GMB CGB MIRM CMP MCSP CSP
President / Builder Chuck Miller Construction Inc.
(208) 229-2553
[email protected]
www.chuckmillerconstruction.com
Posted by on 7/10/2008 5:04 PM

 

Michelle Penick, Boise Idaho Real Estate Agent

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