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Law changes effective in 2014

This is a summary of recent changes in law and rules that affect contractors. 

Continuing education requirements for residential contractors

All residential contractors except those listed below must take at least eight hours of classes during each two-year licensing period. Contractors licensed less than six years without a responsible managing individual with at least six years’ experience need an additional eight hours, for a total of 16 hours.  The following residential contractors  do not need to complete any continuing education:
  • Residential developers
  • Residential locksmith contractors
  • Home inspection contractors
  • Home services contractors
  • Home energy performance score contractors
  • Plumbing contractors and electrical contractors that have an active business license with Oregon Building Codes Division
  • Contractors that are owned by, or have an officer or manager who is a registered architect or a licensed professional engineer
Visit this page and insert your CCB number to see the number of hours and type of courses you need.

There are three types of classes:
  1. CCB-developed courses in laws, regulations and business practices. All contractors need three hours. These classes are only available from the CCB.
  2. Series A courses.  These are business management courses (marketing, accounting, bidding, etc.)  and code or safety classes. All contractors need five hours.
  3. Series B courses. These are specific to your trade or craft (roofing, excavation, etc.)  and include energy efficiency. Newer contractors who need additional eight hours of classes can take any combination of Series A and/or Series B classes to meet the requirement.
The CCB must now approve all continuing education providers and approve or register all courses. This means that if you cannot find a class in the CCB’s online course catalog, it does not count for credit.  Some courses offered by government agencies other than CCB may not count for credit.

The person taking the course must be an owner or employee of the contractor.

When you renew your license, you must prove you meet the continuing education requirements when you renew your license. In most cases, the course providers will report to CCB that you completed the course.  You should also receive a certificate of completion.

Residential contract content

Certain wording is no longer required. Contracts no longer need to:
  • Include a statement that you are licensed since the contract already has your license number.
  • List notices you must provide
You can find the current requirements for a residential contract in this CCB rule: OAR 812-012-0110. Contracts must contain:
1.    The contractor’s name, address, phone number and CCB license number.
2.    The customer’s name and address.
3.    The worksite address.
4.    A description of the work to be performed.
5.    Price and payment terms.
6.    If the contractor is for a new home:  
a.    An acknowledgement of a written offer of warranty and
b.    Whether the buyer accepts or rejects the offer
7.    An explanation of the property owner’s contract rights, including the right to file a claim with the CCB and the existence of any mediation or arbitration clause in the contract.

License Endorsements and Certification

The 2013 legislature created new license endorsements:
  • Residential locksmith services contractor
  • Home inspector services contractor
  • Home services contractor
  • Home energy performance services contractor (assigns home energy performance scores)
Contractors selecting one of the new, limited scope endorsements are not required to complete pre-license training, pass the pre-license test or complete continuing education.  Learn more about endorsements.

The 2013 legislature also created an individual certification for a home energy assessor.  These individuals must complete a training program authorized by the Department of Energy to obtain a certificate from CCB.  They must renew their certificates each year.

Workers’ compensation

Contractors using leased workers are now categorized as nonexempt contractors. A nonexempt commercial contractor does not need to have (personal election) workers’ compensation insurance for its owners or officers.  The leasing company provides workers’ compensation insurance for the workers.

Learn more here.  If you are currently using leased workers and listed as an exempt contractor, you need to contact CCB and change your status.

Handyman exemption

The threshold for performing certain work without a contractor license increased from $500 to $1,000. To qualify for the exemption, a contractor must perform work that is:
  • Casual, minor or inconsequential.  This means that the work cannot:
    • Be structural in nature;
    • Affect health or safety (this includes work on target housing built before 1978 or child-occupied facilities that may contain lead-based paint);
    • Include work performed as a subcontractor to a licensed contractor.

Other exemptions

Other exemptions were modified.
  • Real estate brokers and their employees may perform construction work on property managed under contract but only if the broker manages real estate. 
  • Banks may arrange for repair or remodeling only on structures in which the bank or a related company has a legal or security interest.

Unlicensed contractors cannot file counterclaims

Unlicensed contractors cannot file counterclaims against customers who sue them.

Public improvement projects

The law limits the amount of a contract payment that can be withheld by the owner or general contractor until the project is complete. For public improvement contracts entered into on or after Jan. 1, 2014, the maximum retainage amount is 5 percent.

Basis for new sanctions

CCB may sanction a contractor that supplies false information to avoid financial obligations.  This includes avoiding paying taxes, Social Security contributions, workers’ compensation premiums, minimum and prevailing wages, child support, alimony, judgments or garnishments. CCB may also sanction a contractor that fails to pay wages owed to its employees.  Sanctions may include civil penalties or license revocation or suspension.