Construction Contractors Board

On April 3, 2018, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law HB 4144, which eases licensing requirements for construction contractors, especially those in rural areas. Under the new Construction Contractors Board rules, an individual with at least eight years of experience in the construction industry may apply for a new residential contractor’s license without having to complete the previously required training. Applicants under the new rules must still pass the CCB licensing exam, and must also form a sole proprietorship through the Oregon Secretary of State. The CCB will waive the initial license fee for certain application types.

So, why the change? As is often the case when the State and the construction industry mix, the answer lies in the economy. According to the CCB, the Governer requested HB 4144 “to help turn wage earners into job creators/employers.” According to Governor Brown, the demand for rural jobs and affordable housing also warranted the changes. With increasing construction demand in rural areas, the state decided to loosen the requirements for new license holders to spur business ownership.

Notably, important changes to the rules are actually designed to encourage contractors to own their own companies. Under the new rules, an existing fund at Business Oregon (Oregon’s economic development agency) will be used to help first-time applicants with up-front costs such as insurance, bonding, and equipment purchases. The funds will be available only for use by contractors working on affordable, low, and moderate-income housing in rural Oregon. HB 4144 also directs the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission to give grant funding to new, small contractors so as to recruit and hire Oregonians new to the construction workforce.

With the new rules going into effect January 1, 2019, contractors have time to consult with attorneys to discuss licensing and business formation issues. As always, and in light of the fact that contractor training requirements are being reduced, project owners should do their homework before hiring a contractor. A contractor’s license, bond, insurance, and complaint history can be accessed 24 hours a day through the CCB’s website: http://www.oregon.gov/CCB.

Last week, the Oregon Supreme Court held in Goodwin v. Kingsmen Plastering (June 16, 2016), that a property owner must sue a contractor for negligent construction, if at all, within two years of when the property owner “knew or should have known of the injuries or damage that form the basis of their claims” under ORS 12.110(1). The ruling highlights the issue of “discovery,” and appears to be at odds with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Rice v. Rabb, 354 Or 721 (2014), which held that a claim for conversion or replevin must be brought within six years of the time “plaintiff knows or reasonably should know of the elements of such claims[.]” What does it take for a property owner to “discover” its claim?

Historically, the Supreme Court has written that claims accrue only after the potential plaintiff discovers “harm (i.e., injury), causation, and tortious conduct.” Gaston v. Parsons, 318 Or 247, 255-256 (1994). The Oregon Supreme Court has held that such language requires not only knowledge of “injury” in a vacuum, but also knowledge of tortious conduct and causation for that damage. Gaston. Continue Reading The Focus is on “Discovery” of Claims after Goodwin v. Kingsmen Plastering, Inc.

The Bulletin in Bend, Oregon, reports on the benefits and limitations of the Construction Contractors Board’s dispute resolution process in the article, “More construction disputes could go to court.  State no longer resolves complaints through arbitration” by  Joseph Ditzler / The Bulletin, published June 27, 2014.  Read it online at the Bend Bulletin here.

 

Since Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden, people have been lashing wood together for shelter. As any watcher of numerous survivor shows will tell you, a shelter is only as good as its ability to keep out the water. And, when a shelter gets wet, it needs to be dried out or mold will grow. For contractors in the Pacific Northwest, this is nothing new.

Enter the father and son team of Andrew R. and Robert A. Weisenberger. In October 2013, the U.S. Patent Office granted the Weisenbergers Patent No. 8,567,688 entitledMoisture Reduction and Mold and Moisture Preventative System and Method in Construction.” The Weisenbergers’ patented the process of drying out a home that appears as obvious as boiling a pot of water to cook pasta. The Weisenbergers’ patent consists of the following steps: Continue Reading You Patented What? A Troll on Your Job Site

Are you one of the lucky ones who just purchased a new Oregon home or perhaps you’ve just completed a remodel?  Are you looking for that automatic one-year warranty everyone told you about?  Here’s the shocker: it doesn’t exist.  There is no such thing as a legally-required one year warranty in Oregon, despite the ubiquitous popularity of this myth. 

However, as with all great myths, it stems from a nugget of truth.  If you hire a contractor who fails to deliver, you can file a lawsuit anytime up to six years after the completion date (maximum ten years for negligence discovered later).  In that sense, you actually have a much longer warranty.  However, you might have a hard time recovering money from the contractor many years later, especially if he is no longer in business.  Continue Reading WHERE IS MY ONE-YEAR WARRANTY?