Construction Licenses

Contractors, Subcontractors, Laborers and Suppliers

A construction contractor, including a plumber, an electrician or general tradesman, must generally obtain a license for home improvement in each municipality that he performs work.

There is no uniform New York statewide requirement for licensing contractors. Instead, New York State allows local governments and municipalities to regulate contractors licenses on an individual basis. Therefore, a contractor must obtain a license from each county in which he performs construction work.

Stewart McMillan has experience at license nullification hearings, Article 78 Proceedings, mediations, arbitrations, trials and appeals.

Licensing is critical because most jurisdictions require a contractor to be licensed in order to make a claim for recovery on the contract. Another words, a contractor will have no right to lien a property or to file any kind of claim for recovery unless they are duly licensed. It is important to note that the same holds true, for sub-contractors, laborers and material man who work directly for the unlicensed contractor.

If a general contractor on a residential construction project is unlicensed, not only will he forfeit his right to collect money on the project, but a subcontractor, laborer or material man who has performed construction work for the general contractor may also forfeit his right to collect money and file a mechanic’s lien. The subcontractor will forfeit the right to file a mechanic’s lien even if he himself is duly licensed.

Construction managers are often not required to be licensed when they are performing work solely as construction managers and not performing construction on the project itself.

While New York State allows municipal governments to license contractors, individually, New York State requires New York Statewide licenses for all design professionals including architects, engineers, surveyors, and landscape architects.

Design Professionals

Design professionals, including architects, engineers, surveyors, and landscape architects are required under the New York State Education Law to be licensed in order to “practice” their trade in the State of New York. Licensing is over seen by the New York State Board of Regents.

Architects and engineers licensed in other states and foreign design professionals, may “solicit” business in New York State or perform “consulting” services for a New York licensed Architect or Engineer, but may not practice their trades in New York State or hold themselves out as licensed.

Design professionals like architects, engineers, surveyors, and landscape architects may also obtain licensing by Reciprocity in some cases. The requirements for Reciprocity differ but they usually require a period of years experience, as well as educational training.

A design professional may not form a business within New York State unless they are licensed and they may not do so (even if they are licenced) with other non licensed professionals.

Penalties for Practicing Without a License

New York State penalties are harsh for those who practice the construction trade or hold themselves out as design professionals without a license in the State of New York. Any person guilty of practicing without a license (either an architect or engineer, surveyor or landscape architect) is guilty of a felony in New York State.

In addition to his experience in the construction industry, Mr. McMillan also worked for five (5) years as a New York State Prosecutor. As such, he has experience in the prosecution and defense of contractors and/or design professional charged with crimes relating to licensing.

Penalties for Professional Misconduct in New York State

  1. Suspension/revocation of license.
  2. Censure.
  3. Limiting the period of registration of the professional.
  4. Fine (not to exceed $10,000.00 for each offense).
  5. Educational training requirements and/or public service (or community service requirements.)
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