Regulating General Contractors In Oklahoma May Be Long Way Away

Monday, January 3rd 2011, 12:02 am
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Proposed legislation that would force home builders to be licensed has repeatedly failed in Oklahoma, and many want to know if a regulating law will ever be passed.

A  News On 6 viewer, who is a plumber and must be licensed, wanted to know if regulation will ever happen for general contractors.

Oklahoma is one of about a dozen states that does not license construction contractors.

"We have actually been part of an effort to get licensing in Oklahoma," said Paul Kane, Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa CEO.

Kane said his colleagues have pushed for licensing for five years now.

"We think it's good for the public, it's good for the industry. It's just a good idea. We have been unsuccessful in those attempts to get licensing," Kane said.

Kane said with the current political climate and the TEA party movement for less government and less regulation, licensing is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

In 2009, Oklahoma lawmakers did pass a law requiring builders to show proof of insurance when requesting a building permit. Kane said that law was a step in the right direction.

"Because that would be a major component of any licensing structure and so, just the fact that we were able to get that part of the bill passed was very encouraging," Kane said.

The Home Builders Association has specific requirements for its members and those requirements are similar to what state licensing would be. The requirements include General Liability Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance and banking and customer references.

Kane said the association will keep pushing to hopefully make all contractors in the state play by the same rules.

There are some special requirements for contractors who don't live in Oklahoma, including the contractor must post a bond equal to three times the tax liability of any contract they get in the state and have an employer identification number from the Oklahoma Tax Commission.