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.

A client recently asked me to confirm when a joint venture must be licensed to bid and perform construction work. I explained that the answer depends on the name of the joint venture, where the work will be performed, and – depending on the state in which work is to be performed – the stage of construction.

Both Washington and Oregon generally require contractors to be registered or licensed to perform construction work in their respective states. RCW 18.27.020 requires every contractor to be registered with Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries to advertise, offer, bid, or perform any construction services in Washington. Similarly, ORS 701.021 requires every contractor to be licensed with Oregon’s Construction Contractor’s Board to offer, bid, or perform any construction services in Oregon.

In Washington, RCW 18.27.065 further provides: Continue Reading Joint Ventures and Contractor Licensing Requirements in Oregon and Washington

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

Construction lien law is critical to understand, because it impacts a contractor’s ability to secure payment and it differs from state to state.  Contractors, however, can avoid many of these issues by being informed and prepared. Some of the most common issues in Oregon involve licensing, lienability, notice and documentation.

Licensing

First, a contractor has to be licensed.  Although it may seem straightforward, a contractor’s ability to get paid depends on valid licensing. Contractors must be validly licensed by the Construction Contractors Board (“CCB”) in order to bring a construction lien claim, file a complaint with the CCB, or commence any other action for compensation for work performed. ORS 701.131(1).

Continue Reading Lien Rights at Risk: An Oregon Guide