Nevada State Contractors Board sheds light on resources for contractors and homeowners
The number of people applying for construction licenses in Nevada is increasing but not as much as expected, according to a representative of the Nevada State Contractors Board.
“We are on the way back up but it is just not spiking the way that we had anticipated,” Jennifer Lewis, public information officer for the Nevada State Contractors Board, said.
Many workers in the construction industry left Nevada or moved into a different sector of the economy due to the lack of construction jobs during the recession. Now that the economy has rebounded, there are more jobs but not enough workers to fill them.
“Because of the shortage, the smaller jobs may not be taken, people are going for the larger jobs,” Lewis said.
With the lack of qualified workforce, Lewis expressed the importance of making sure that the contractors that are hired are licensed contractors.
The Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) is a public entity that issues contractors licenses in the State of Nevada and conducts investigations against licensee complaints. The organization has offices in Reno and Henderson.
“Ultimately our goal is to protect the public’s safety and welfare,” Lewis said.
According to Lewis, they average around 1,500 to 2,000 compliance complaints a year for licensed contractors and around 1,200 to 1,500 for unlicensed contractors.
When an individual files a complaint against a licensed contractor, an investigator visits the site with the contractor and they issues a notice to correct if a problem is found. The contractor has a certain time frame to make the correction and Lewis explained that most of the time the licensed contractor makes the correction. But in cases where this does not happen, homeowners may be eligible for NSCB’s Residential Recovery Fund which provides homeowners up to $35,000 in financial recovery.
“It basically provides a resource for homeowners who are damaged in the course of their work with licensed contractors,” she said.
Individuals have four years to file a complaint about a licensed contractor while they only have two years to file a complaint with an unlicensed contractor. However, individuals who hire unlicensed contractors are not eligible to receive money from the Residential Recovery Fund and need to go through civil litigation to receive compensation.
“We just want to caution everybody on the use of the unlicensed contractor mainly because the homeowner just loses their protection,” she said.
According to Lewis, homeowners can protect themselves by getting multiple bids for a project, putting terms in writing and verifying that the contractor is licensed. She also encouraged businesses within the construction industry to reach out to the board ahead of time if they have questions to avoid later issues.
Many people are not aware of our resources “until they have a problem, and our goal is to try to be more proactive instead of reactive,” Lewis said. “We really want to make sure that everyone understands how the board can serve them in the various roles in the community.”
The public can use the NSCB website, app or call their office to verify that a contractor is in good standing and is licensed. The website also has resources for contractors and business in the construction industry.
As for the Nevada construction industry in general, Lewis was optimistic heading into 2017.
“I think that we will see growth in the industry,” Lewis said. “While the workforce is still going to be an issue, it is not going to be something that is remedied overnight, the jobs are coming back.”
“In addition to that, I think that everyone is just watching the (legislative) session to see what changes will be made and how they need to adapt as a result of that,” she added.
For more information about the Nevada State Contractors Board, visit http://www.nscb.nv.gov or call their northern Nevada office at 775-688-1141.