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Planning, Development & Building ConstructionTown Registration & Contractor State Licensing Requirements

Contractor Registration

General, Mechanical, Residential Homebuilder and Residential Specialty contractors doing business in the Town are encouraged to register with the Community Development Department. Registration dates coincide with renewal dates for State licensing and registration. Contractors should renew their Town registrations within 30 days of renewal of their state licenses/registrations. A contractor registration form and a copy of your state registration card are required for registration. General Contractors and Residential Homebuilders need to fill out the Homebuilders General Contractor Registration form pdf icon and Mechanical Contractors will use the Mechanical Contractor Registration form pdf icon.

State Contractor Licensing

The South Carolina Department of Labor and Licensing is responsible for regulating more than 139 occupations and professions in the state.

There are two state entities within the department that regulate contractor licensing. The Residential Builders Commission regulates residential contractors and the Contractors' Licensing Board regulates general contractors.

Residential Builders Commission

Residential licenses and registrations are limited to work in residential structures that are no more than 3 stories and no more than 16 units under one roof.

A license or registration from the Residential Builders Commission is issued to the individual. In order to contract for business in a company name, the licensee must own at least 51% of the company. When the licensee does not own at least 51% of the company, the company may apply to the state for a Certificate of Authorization which will allow it to contract for residential business as a company. A COA requires that an individual licensee be employed by the company as the "resident builder in charge" and be responsible for overseeing work in the field.

The Residential Builders Commission issues 3 types of license/registrations.

  1. A Residential Specialty registration allows an individual to select 3 trades in which to contract work. The specialty contractor can not contract for or supervise outside the scope of his registered trade(s).  The forms for this registration are available at the Community Development Department at Town Hall. A bond is required for work that exceeds $5,000.

    An applicant for a state registration must provide their social security number on the application.

  2. A Residential Builder's license allows the builder to contract for work that involves all of the residential building trades. This license requires that you take a test and fill out financial forms. You must also have a bond for at least $15,000.

  3. A Residential Mechanical license allows an individual to contract and perform residential mechanical work- plumbing, electrical and hvac. This license requires a test and a bond.

Contractors' Licensing Board

General and mechanical contractor licenses are valid for both commercial and residential work.  A general contractor license is required when the total value of construction exceeds $5,000 for commercial work or work in structures that are over 3 stories or have more than 16 units under one roof.  The Town requires a mechanical license for commercial mechanical work regardless of the dollar amount.

The Contractor Licensing Board issues general and mechanical licenses to a company.  The company is required to conduct business in the name that is listed on the license.

The company must have a "qualifier" on their payroll to oversee work in the field. Each qualifier must have passed a test in the classification for which the license is issued.

General Contractor Classifications

The following are classifications for general contractors:

  • Building
  • Highway (AP, CP, BR, GD, & HI)*
  • Asphalt Paving
  • Concrete Paving
  • Bridges
  • Glass & Glazing
  • Grading
  • Highway Incidental
  • Public Utility Electrical
  • Pipelines
  • Water & Sewer Lines
  • Water & Sewer Plants
  • Boiler Installation
  • Concrete
  • Boring & Tunneling
  • Marine
  • Masonry
  • Pre-engineered Metal Buildings
  • Interior Renovation
  • Railroad
  • Specialty Roofing
  • General Roofing
  • Structural Framing
  • Structural Shapes
  • Swimming Pools
  • Wood Frame Structures

* The Highway classification "HY" is given to licensees who have passed all of the following exams: AP, CP, BR, GD and HI.

Mechanical Contractor Classifications

The following are classifications for mechanical contractors:

Air Conditioning AC
Electrical EL
Heating HT
Lightning Protection LP
Packaged Equipment PK
Plumbing PB
Process Piping 1P or 2P***
Refrigeration RG

*** Process Piping is designated as 1P prior to 4/1/99. Those licensed in Process Piping after 4/1/99 is designated as 2P and may not engage in boiler work.

General Contractors- Building

A General Contractors-Building license includes all work under the subclassifications of Wood Frame Structures-Class II, Interior Renovation, Masonry, Pre-engineered Metal Buildings, General Roofing and Structural Shapes. The licensee may perform ancillary work, including grading, if the work is associated with the building or structure under construction.

Mechanical work, Swimming Pools, Bridges, Boring and Tunneling, Water and Sewer Lines, Pipe Lines, Railroad Lines, Specialty Roofing, Marine, Water and Sewer Plants and Asphalt Paving are not covered under General Contractors'- Building licenses.  Work in these areas requires a separate license for the subclassification.

Groups

Licenses issued by the Contractors' Licensing Board have Financial Group Limitations.  The group number limits the dollar amount of the work that can be contracted.  The total cost of construction is used to determine the group limitations. There are five groups for general contractors and five groups for mechanical contractors.  The following group limitations apply:

General Contractors

  • $30,000
  • $100,000
  • $350,000
  • $750,000
  • Unlimited

Mechanical Contractors

  • $17,500
  • $30,000
  • $50,000
  • $125,000
  • Unlimited

A licensee is confined to the limitations of the licensee group and classifications or subclassifications.  Licensees may utilize the services of unlicensed subcontractor only within the limitations of the licensee's group and classification or subclassification.  The licensee must provide supervision and is fully responsible for any violations.

For further information you can log on to the South Carolina Department of Labor and Licensing at www.llr.state.sc.usexternal link icon or call their licensing information line at (803)896-4686

Town Licensing

The Town of Hilton Head Island requires a Trade Certificate for Irrigation Installers. Trade Certificates are issued for one year periods.  The fee is initially $25.00 and $10.00 for renewals received by December 31st of each year - $20.00 fee for late renewals.

Anyone doing business within the Town is required to have a Town of Hilton Head Island Business License.