by Margi Grein
When you are in need of medical care, are you more likely to seek out a licensed professional or casually seek help from someone operating out of their home?
What is it about a license that adds value to how we select professionals to hire? While a license does not guarantee a better service necessarily, there is a certain expectation that the individual has demonstrated a standard level of competence for the work they are performing, and accepts responsibility for such work by having proper remedies in place, such as insurance policies.
So why should our opinions about hiring contractors to perform repair or remodel work be any different? There are over 16,000 licensed construction companies in Nevada who employ thousands of workers to meet our state’s vast residential and commercial construction needs daily.
The Nevada State Contractors Board not only licenses entities to perform various types of construction work in the state, but also upholds the laws and regulations that guide construction practices in an effort to best protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare. The most noticed benefit of hiring a licensed Nevada contractor license is in the aftermath of licensure. Contractor’s licenses help to even the playing field within the construction industry by ensuring all contractors, regardless of the size or scope of the work they perform, are held to an equitable standard.
Licensed contractors acknowledge their responsibilities to uphold the laws of this state, including the provisions under Chapter 624 of the Nevada Revised Statutes and Nevada Administrative Code, building laws, labor laws, and lien laws, among others. They are committed to being held accountable to workmanship commensurate with industry standards, and understand the gravity of the consequences that can result from failure to uphold their contractual obligations.
Furthermore, hiring a licensed contractor affords greater public protection because of the enhanced recourse options made available by the Board in circumstances where construction-related concerns arise during the scope of a project. These include protections for owners, who can file complaints with the Board related to substandard workmanship, including abandonment of a project; as well as other licensed contractors or suppliers who may find themselves in money owing disputes with a licensed contractor.
It is the Board’s authority and responsibility to properly investigate every complaint filed with its office. For workmanship complaints, the Board’s investigators may review all documented evidence available, perform a jobsite visit to assess the substandard workmanship allegations first hand, and then provide the contractor with a “Notice to Correct” identifying all validated workmanship items that need to be repaired or replaced within a given timeframe.
This process is valuable for both parties because the owner is able to have their contract terms fulfilled with the assistance of the Board, while the licensed contractor is able to make good on the terms they agreed to without repercussion. In the majority of cases where issues are validated, licensed contractors are quick to make the necessary corrections, leaving all parties satisfied and the case is closed as resolved.
But even in the minority of instances where a licensed contractor fails to uphold their statutory and regulatory responsibilities, the Board maintains the ability to take disciplinary action against the license, depending on the frequency and severity of the violation(s) at hand.
The Contractors Board makes verifying a contractor’s license easily accessible on its website. Simply go to www.nscb.nv.gov, select the “License Searches” tab, and type in the 7-digit license number or company name. The website will provide a record of the licensed contractor, including the current status of the license (“Active” indicates the licensee is in good standing and able to perform work); bond information; company contact information; monetary limit; and a comprehensive record of any disciplinary actions that may have been taken against the licensee. You can also search for a specific license classification within your county, such as an electrician or plumber, and receive a list of all actively licensed contractors in your area.
This information is intended to help consumers and business owners make informed decisions before hiring a company to work on their homes or buildings. Because, at the end of the day, a contractor’s license provides the protection and oversight of accountability, standardized expectations, and enhanced avenues for recourse from the Nevada State Contractors Board. These are the values of licensure, and the expectations that separate the professional workforce from an unlicensed individual.
Margi Grein is an Executive Officer of the Nevada State Contractors Board. For more information, see nscb.nv.gov.