Impact of NC House Bill 488

Effective October 1, 2023 Amendments to Chapter 87 of the General Statutes related to General Contractor licensure requirements have increased the amount triggering the requirement for a license from $30,000 to $40,000.

The General Statute for North Carolina now defines a general contractor as any person, firm, or corporation who for a fixed price, commission, fee, or wage, undertakes to bid upon or to construct, or who undertakes to superintend or manage, on his own behalf or for any person, firm, or corporation that is not licensed as a general contractor pursuant to this article (87-1 (a)), the construction of any building, highway, public utilities, grading, or any improvement or structure where the cost of the undertaking is $40,000 or more.

The General Statute also amends the building permit exclusion for certain nonstructural activities found in General Statute 143-138(b5).  The minimum cost of work requiring building permits for any construction, installation, repair, replacement, or alterations performed on a single-family residence, farm building, or commercial building has been increased from $20,000 or less, to $40,000 or less.

General Statute 160D-1110(d) has a new subsection that states that a local government shall not require more than one building permit for simultaneous projects at the time of the permit application located at the same address and subject to the North Carolina Residential Code.  While this subsection will close a loophole that unlicensed individuals have been using to perform several projects (for example a kitchen remodel, and a bath remodel) at the same address at the same, it can potentially cause problems when several different contractors are working at the same address (for example a building contractor performing a build or remodel, with a separate contractor performing a pool installation).  Contractors are advised to read their contracts carefully and to consult an attorney to ensure work delay clauses, delayed completion clauses, etc. limit their liability and protect them adequately in these circumstances.

Lastly, of important note, the General Statute 143-138 has been amended to include a new subsection that prohibits requirement of exterior sheathing inspections for structures or dwellings covered by the NC Building Code or NC Residential Building Code located in a region where the ultimate wind speed is less than 140 mph, and that local governments may not adopt or enforce a local ordinance or resolution, or any other policies that require exterior sheathing inspections in these circumstances.