General and Mechanical Contractors

General Information

General and mechanical contractors are able to perform commercial, industrial, and residential work. If you wish to perform only residential work, you must contact the Residential Builders Commission at 803-896-4696.

Please see the list below detailing work which may not require a license. Although no specific license is required to perform the work below, portions of the work that are regulated by this board may require a general contractor or mechanical contractor license with the appropriate classification(s) pursuant to SC Code ann. §40-11-410 when the total cost of construction for the regulated work is greater than $5000.

No Specific License Required 

Determine if a License if Required and What Type: 

Classification Abbreviations

Classification Definitions - See Section 40-11-410

Please read the following information to determine if a contractor's license is required by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

*General and Mechanical Contractors License *

A General or Mechanical Contractors license is required for anyone performing "commercial” construction over $5000 in the regulated classifications listed in Title 40, Chapter 11, Section 40-11-410, An Act to Regulate the Practice of General and Mechanical Contracting in S.C.

To be eligible to obtain the license, you must pass a technical exam (when required), a business management/law exam and be able to document 2 years of experience within the last 5 years for the classification(s) of work in which you are applying.

Please see How to Apply for a License for additional documentation needed for licensure.

*South Carolina Residential Builders Commission*

For single and two family residences and apartment buildings up to 16 units and three stories in height, licenses and registrations are required for certain trades.

 All residential licenses require passing an examination and include:
* Building;
* Plumbing;
* Electrical; and,
* HVAC.

Registrations do not require passing an examination and include.
* Painting;
* Vinyl / Aluminum Siding;
* Insulation;
* Roofing;
* Floor Covering;
* Masonry / Concrete;
* Drywall;
* Carpentry; and,
* Wallpaper.

For further information concerning residential licenses and registrations, call 803 896 4696 or go to: https://llr.sc.gov/res.

*Municipal Association of South Carolina*

The Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) is a trade certification program - not a licensing agency of the State. MASC offers various trade certifications in the construction industry. The MASC trade certification cards do not serve as a license to perform any type of construction for residential work over $200 or for commercial work over $5000. Contact (803) 799-9574 for information.

If you passed the Master Plumber or Master Electrician exam after 01/01/1990, or the Master Mechanical/HARV exam after 09/06/2013, you will not be required to take a technical exam. However, you must take the S.C. Business Management and Law exam to obtain a license. For more information, see Exam Requirements Prior to Application Submission.

Please also refer to An Act to Regulate the Practice of General and Mechanical Contracting in S.C., Section 40-11-410, to determine what type of work requires licensure.

Applications for General and Mechanical Contractors

For more detailed information regarding these documents, view the information below, as well as the other appropriate links on this page.

The information and forms above and below will allow you to complete an initial or reinstatement application, request a dual qualifying party, add, change, or remove qualifying parties, classifications, and contact information, and register a construction manager.

Initial Application By Exam:

 After the qualifying party or primary qualifying party has passed the required exam(s), the licensure applicant   may submit the following items to the SC Contractor’s Licensing Board:

  • Initial Application: Doc #165
  • PSI exam score sheet(s)
  • Financial Statement or Surety Bond (See Financial Statement/Surety Bond Requirements)
  • License Fee
  • If you have registered your corporation, partnership, or LLC with the SC Secretary of State’s office, attach a copy of the certificate (optional)

Initial Application By Reciprocity:

After the qualifying party or primary qualifying party has passed the Business Management & Law exam for Commercial Contractors for South Carolina, the licensure applicant may submit the following items to the SC Contractor’s Licensing Board:*

  • Initial Application: Doc #165
  • PSI score sheet
  • Financial Statement or Surety Bond (See Financial Statement/Surety Bond Requirements)
  • License Fee

If you have registered your corporation, partnership, or LLC with the SC Secretary of State’s office, attach a copy of the certificate (optional)

Letter of Verification from your state licensing board listed below. You will request this letter from that board, and it must include licensee name, license number, license issue date, license expiration date, name and social security number of exam qualifier, name of exam passed, and date exam passed.

SC Exam Waiver Form – This only waives the technical exam.

*A technical examination must have been passed with one of the participating states listed below. The applicant must not have any outstanding complaints with any other licensing agency and all applicants must be currently licensed in good standing.

Waiver Agreements with Other States

ALABAMA: Electrical

GEORGIAUnrestricted Electrical = SC Electrical; Unrestricted Conditioned Air (if exam passed after 6/30/1980) = SC Air Conditioning and Heating

LOUISIANA: Statewide Mechanical = SC Air Conditioning & Heating. Building Construction = SC Building. Earthwork/Drainage/Levees (3 exams) = SC Grading. Concrete/Steel/Wood Bridges (3 exams) = SC Bridges. Asphalt Hot & Cold Plant Mix/Asphalt Surface Treatment (2 exams) = SC Asphalt Paving. Paved Highways/Concrete & Soil Treatment (2 exams) = SC Concrete Paving. Transmission Pipeline = SC Pipelines. Tunnels = SC Boring & Tunneling. Sewer/Storm Drains & Waterlines (2 exams) = SC Water & Sewer Lines. Filter Plants & Water Purification = SC Water & Sewer Plants. Industrial Piping = SC Pressure & Process Piping

MISSISSIPPI: BuildingElectrical

NORTH CAROLINALimited, Intermediate or Unlimited Electrical = SC Electrical. Roofing = SC Specialty Roofing. BuildingWater & Sewer LinesWater & Sewer PlantsGradingHighway (if exam passed prior to 4/1/1999) 

OHIO: Electrical. Plumbing. HVAC = SC Packaged Equipment

PENNSYLVANIA (Reading, PA ONLY): Mechanical/Electrical = SC Electrical

TENNESSEE: BC-b, BC-C = SC Limited Building. BC, BC-B, BC-BC = SC Unlimited Building. CMC/Mechanical = SC Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Plumbing. CMC-A = SC Plumbing. CMC-C = SC Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. CE = SC Electrical  

TEXAS: Class A Air Conditioning/Refrigeration or Class A Air Conditioning = SC Air Conditioning and Heating. Class B Air Conditioning/Refrigeration or Class B Air Conditioning = SC Packaged Equipment. Class A Refrigeration = SC Refrigeration. Master Electrician = SC Electrical 

UTAH: HVAC = SC Air Conditioning. Residential/Small Commercial = SC Limited Building (Groups 1-3). General Building = SC Unlimited Building (Groups 1-5). Master Electrician = Electrical. Excavation & Grading = SC Grading. Warm Air Heating = SC Heating. Refrigerated Air Conditioning = SC Packaged Equipment. Steel Erector = Structural Framing. Sewer & Waste Water Pipeline = SC Water & Sewer Lines. ConcreteGlass & GlazingGeneral RoofingRefrigerationSwimming Pools.        

MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH CAROLINA (MASC)Master Electrical, or Master Plumber, if exams passed after 1/1/1990. Master Mechanical, if exam passed after 9/6/2013, = SC Air Conditioning, Heating, Packaged Equipment, and Refrigeration.

Reinstatement Applications:

If your license has been expired for more than 90 days, you must complete Doc #165 and submit it to the SC Contractor’s Licensing Board.

Additional General & Mechanical Forms:

Classification Abbreviations

Classification Definitions - See Section 40-11-410

Additional forms for initial licensing, changes to an existing license, and other licensure:

Doc #173 - Dual Qualifying Party Request to Qualify Two Separate Entities

A change of an entity's name, organizational status, or federal employer identification number must be reported to the department within fifteen days.  Failure to do so results in license cancellation fifteen days from the date of change and requires the new entity to submit an initial application and meet all requirements for licensure.

Each licensee must notify the department within fifteen days of any changes in the current mailing address, home address, home and/ or office telephone number. 

Doc #180 – Revision Application for existing license to:

  • Upgrade license contract limitation (Group)
  • Add a new qualifier(s) to license
  • Delete a qualifier
  • Add a new classification(s) to license
  • Change licensed name (must remain same “style of business”, with same SSN or Fed ID No.)
  • Change address

To make changes to an existing license, complete a Revision Application, Document 180 and follow the instructions for the type of revision you are requesting. There is no fee for revisions. The following is a list of changes that require a Revision Application with additional information below:

  • To upgrade dollar limitation per contract
  • To add or transfer a qualifier to your license
  • To delete a qualifier from your license
  • To add new/additional classifications to your license
  • To change your business name (see conditions below)
  • To change corporate officers
  • Address and/or telephone number changes
  • Request to make a license number inactive

To Upgrade License Group:

Submit the Revision Application along with the correct type of financial statement or surety bond. The type of financial statement required to initially upgrade a license is not the same as what is required with renewals. See the type of financial statement that is required for each upgrade here in the Financial Statement or Surety Bond Requirements section below.

To add a qualifier or add a classification:

The qualifier must take and pass a technical exam (if required). The qualifier must also take and pass the SC Code of Laws Take Home exam (Document 170). Follow the instructions on the application to add a new qualifier.

If the qualifier (1) has already taken and passed the technical exam, (2) transferring from another license, or (3) a waiver applicant, complete the Revision Application, Document 180 and following the instructions on adding a qualifier or adding a classification.

To delete a qualifying party: 
Submit the Revision Application, Document 180 listing the qualifying party's name, social security number and the date he/she left the company. An owner/president /partner/authorized representative must sign this notification. You may fax the notification to (803) 896-4814 or mail it to our address.

To change licensed name:
A change in name for an LLC or a corporation requires an amended charter from the Secretary of State. The amended charter must be included with the Revision Application, Document 180. (Not required of a sole proprietorship)

If the federal identification number has changed or the "style of business” has changed (i.e. from a sole proprietorship to a corporation), you cannot use the Revision Application. You must complete a New Application, Document 165. The new application must be accompanied by a financial statement on the new entity, and the license fee for the new license.

Doc #181 - Revision Application to add previous Qualifying Party back to license

Affidavit of Eligibility Form

Exam Requirements Prior to Application Submission

Qualifying Party - an individual who has been issued a certificate to qualify an entity for a license.

Primary Qualifying Party - a qualifying party who has been designated by a licensed entity as the principal individual responsible for directing or reviewing work performed by the licensed entity in a particular license classification or subclassification.

All entities applying for licensure must designate a primary qualifying party who is employed full-time with the applicant in a responsible management position.  The primary qualifying party must pass any required technical examination and be able to document 2 years of experience within the last 5 years for the classification(s) or subclassification(s) of work in which you are applying.

Prior to application submission:

The qualifying party or primary qualifying party must take the required exam(s) for the license they wish to obtain. Some classifications may not require a technical exam, however, all must take the Business Management & Law for Commercial Contractor’s exam prior to application submission.

The easiest way to register to take an exam is through PSI's website, psionline.com and look for South Carolina information.

If an applicant experiences difficulty in reaching PSI on the telephone due to a large amount of applicants calling at the same time, the best time to call is between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. eastern time.

All study materials are provided by the testing provider, PSI, on page three (3) the PSI Candidate Information Bulletin. Contact PSI at (800) 733-9267 or visit the website: www.psionline.com.

The following classifications require passing both a technical exam and the SC Business Management & Law exam for Commercial Contractors.**

General Classifications:

Limited Building

Unlimited Building

Asphalt Paving

Concrete Paving

Boiler Installation *

Concrete

General Roofing

Specialty Roofing

Glass & Glazing

Grading

Marine

Pipelines

Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings

Public Utility Electrical

Structural Framing

Swimming Pools

Water & Sewer Lines

Water  Sewer Plants

Wood Frame Structures

*The Boiler Installation classification can also be obtained without a technical exam if the qualifier of the company holds the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) “S” stamp, or holds the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBPVI) “R” stamp. A copy of the stamp must be submitted with your application.

Mechanical Classifications:

Air Conditioning

Electrical

Heating

Lightning Protection

Packaged Equipment

Plumbing

Process Piping

Refrigeration

The following classifications require passing only the SC Business Management & Law exam for Commercial Contractors.

General Classification:

Boring & Tunneling

Highway Incidental

Railroad

Interior Renovation

Masonry

Structural Shapes

*The Boiler Installation classification can also be obtained without a technical exam if the qualifier of the company holds the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) “S” stamp, or holds the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBPVI) “R” stamp. A copy of the stamp must be submitted with your application.

**Some technical classification exams may be waived by reciprocity, and some only require two (2) years of experience. See Reciprocity.

Additionally, please review both the Code of Laws and the Regulations regarding contractor licensing.

Financial Statement or Surety Bond Requirements

The licensing applicant must choose between the submission of a financial statement or a surety bond.

SECTION 40-11-260. Financial statements

  • Owner-prepared Financial Statement, Doc #172

SECTION 40-11-262. Surety bonds in lieu of providing financial statements

A FINANCIAL STATEMENT OR SURETY BOND MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH EACH OF THE FOLLOWING:

Financial statements must be dated no more than twelve months prior to the date of licensure renewal. Personal financial statements of an entity's principals for an entity with less than two year's operating experience are acceptable for the initial application only. A financial statement from a parent company may be accepted if it’s noted in the financial statement “notes” or accompanied by a letter from the parent company stating the entity is a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Financial statement requirements for initial applications and renewal applications are different. See License Renewal and Reinstatement Requirements for additional information.

FINANCIAL STATEMENT OR SURETY BOND REQUIREMENTS FOR: INITIAL APPLICATIONS AND UPGRADES:

Groups 1 and 2 - Owner Prepared financial statement with an affidavit of accuracy, Document #172; or a Surety Bond Form for General Contractors / Surety Bond Form for Mechanical Contractors

Groups 3 and 4 - Financial statement compiled by a licensed CPA or a licensed PA in accordance with GAAP, including all disclosures required by GAAP or a Surety Bond Form for General Contractors / Surety Bond Form for Mechanical Contractors

Group 5 - Financial statement audited by a licensed certified public accountant or a licensed public accountant in accordance with GAAP, including all disclosures required by GAAP; or a Surety Bond Form for General Contractors / Surety Bond Form for Mechanical Contractors

FINANCIAL STATEMENT OR SURETY BOND REQUIREMENTS FOR: RENEWALS:

Groups 1 and 2 - Owner Prepared financial statement with an affidavit of accuracy, Document #172 or a Surety Bond Form for General Contractors / Surety Bond Form for Mechanical Contractors

Groups 3 and 4 - Owner Prepared financial statement, Document #172 financial statement compiled by a licensed CPA or a licensed PA in accordance with GAAP, including all disclosures required by GAAP or a Surety Bond Form for General Contractors / Surety Bond Form for Mechanical Contractors

Group 5 - Reviewed financial statement from a licensed CPA or PA, prepared in accordance with GAAP principles, including all disclosures required by GAAP (cannot be on an “income-tax basis”); or submit a Surety Bond Form for General Contractors / Surety Bond Form for Mechanical Contractors

GENERAL CONTRACTORS

Group Number $ Limit Per
Job
Net Worth
Requirement
Surety Bond
Requirement
Group # 1

$50,000

$10,000

$20,000

Group # 2

$200,000

$40,000

$80,000

Group # 3

$500,000

$100,000

$200,000

Group # 4

$1,500,000

$175,000

$350,000

Group # 5

$Unlimited

$250,000

$500,000



MECHANICAL CONTRACTORS

Group Number $ Limit Per
Job
Net Worth
Requirement
Surety Bond
Requirement
Group # 1

$17,000

$3,500

$7,000

Group # 2

$50,000

$10,000

$20,000

Group # 3

$100,000

$20,000

$40,000

Group # 4

$200,000

$40,000

$80,000

Group # 5

$Unlimited

$200,000

$400,000



Surety Bond

SECTION 40-11-262. Surety bonds in lieu of providing financial statements.

SURETY BONDS CAN BE SUBMITTED WITH EACH OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • Initial Application, Doc #165
  • Reinstatement Application, Doc #165
  • Revision Application to Upgrade License, Doc #180

Surety Bond Form for General Contractors

Surety Bond Form for Mechanical Contractors

Surety Bond Claim Form

What Other Licenses Do You Need?

Once you obtain your Contractor's Licensing Board license, please be aware that cities and/or counties in which you plan to work may require additional licensing and/or permitting.

Each city/county has its own rules, regulations, and fees.

The Contractor's Licensing Board offers the following tips to assist you:

  1. Determine the city/county you will be operating in within South Carolina.
  2. If the location you will be operating is within a city, click on this link, www.masc.sc/municipalities/directory/Pages/default.aspx to search the city and obtain a phone number.  When you call, ask to speak with the Business License or Building Permit department
  3. If the location is not in a city limit, but rather in a county, click on this link, www.sccounties.org/sc-counties to search the county and obtain a phone number. When you call, ask to speak with the Business License or Building Permit department.
  4. If you are not sure if a location is in the city or county, call the local city/county to confirm which permit and/or license you may need.
Construction Manager Registration

Doc #120 – Construction Manager Registration Application

Financial documents to submit with your application:

Construction Management Procedure:

A construction manager is an entity, which may be an organization, team of organizations, or individual, with the expertise and resources to provide construction management services. This entity is working for a fee for the project owner. The manager's duties are to supervise and coordinate the work of design professionals and multiple prime contractors while allowing the design professionals and contractors to control individual operations and the manner of design and construction. Construction management is the process of professional management applied to a construction project from the project inception to completion for the purpose of controlling time, cost, scope, and quality. All contracts for design or any construction services are directly with the owner and not with the construction manager. The construction manager provides professional services to the owner by organizing the effort, develops the management plan, monitors the participants' progress against the plan, and identifies actions to be taken in the event of deviance from the plan.

In order to be a construction manager, you must be licensed as a South Carolina general or mechanical contractor, architect, or engineer. The applicant seeking to be listed as a construction manager must designate one of the aforementioned licenses to qualify for the practice as a construction manager. An architect or engineer licensed in South Carolina who is monitoring the execution of design plans or who is performing as an on-site representative for construction quality assurance, or both, for a project owner is not considered a construction manager as defined in the Chapter 11. Architects and engineers may not lawfully assume the role of a general or mechanical contractor as defined in the Code unless properly licensed pursuant to the Code. Construction managers must not perform design work themselves unless properly licensed as an architect or engineer. Construction managers may hire or terminate the various design professionals and prime contractors with the direction and approval of the owner.

Entities performing construction and construction management work on the same project must be treated as general or mechanical contractors rather than construction managers and must be licensed as general and/or mechanical contractors.

Any entity currently licensed with the State of South Carolina that has a general, mechanical, architect, or engineer's license and performs construction management work in this state must submit to the board a letter of intent to be a construction manager. The entity must also submit a financial statement to meet the financial requirements as set forth in Section 40-11-260.

In conclusion, construction managers apply and integrate comprehensive project controls to manage the critical issues of time, cost, scope, and quality. They are employed to meet the owner's specific needs and interests in the project.

If you want to be listed as a construction manager and can meet the financial requirements above, download the application from this link, Construction Manager Registration Application, Document #120, or call the Contractor's Licensing Board at (803) 896-4406 or (803) 896-4686 and ask for the Construction Manager Application, or you may fax your request to (803) 896-4814.