Modifications to Residential Home Builders Act (H3606)

Bill H3606, ratified and signed by the Governor, has resulted in some modifications to the South Carolina Residential Home Builders Act, effective May 16, 2022. First, it adds a statute, S.C. Code Ann. § 40-59-265, which exempts certain improvements to residential property from building permit and licensure requirements when the work is performed by an owner of such property. Subsection (A) provides a list of the exempted improvements to include categories for building, electrical, gas, mechanical, and plumbing. When making the exempted improvements to one's residential property, an owner is not required to obtain a building permit or have a builder or specialty contractor license to perform the work. As a result, a homeowner performing these exempted improvements is not required to sign a disclosure statement pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 40-59-260.

Second, the definition of "residential specialty contractor" in S.C. Code Ann. § 40-59-20(7) was modified in several respects:

  • The phrase "who is not a licensed residential builder" was removed to allow a person to hold both a residential builder license and any of the residential specialty contractor registrations or licenses at the same time. This is also specifically stated in the last paragraph of the modified definition.
  • The undertaking amount which requires registration or licensure was increased from two hundred dollars to five hundred dollars.
  • "Solar panel installers" was added as an area of contracting consistent with the Commission's regulations.
  • It specifies that the mechanical trades are issued specialty contractor licenses that require an examination while the other trades are issued specialty contractor registrations.
  • It adds a statement that a residential specialty contractor cannot subcontract or hire or employ others to perform work that is outside the scope of their license or registration.
  • It clarifies that a residential builder can perform work in any of the areas of contracting identified in the definition of "residential specialty contractor" without separately obtaining a residential specialty contractor license or registration in that trade. This includes the mechanical trades except where the builder has "RBW" shown on the license, indicating that a reciprocal license was issued without testing in the mechanical trades.