Qualifying Agent Requirements for Construction Companies...its not just pulling permits!
Georgia law requires that each business organization which practices residential or general contracting have a “Qualifying Agent.” The Qualifying Agent (an individual with a residential light commercial license or general contractor’s license) must be actually engaged by ownership or employment in the practice of residential or general contracting for such business organization or entity and provides adequate supervision and is responsible for the projects of such business organization or entity. See O.C.G.A. § 43-41-9(a).
In JR Construction/Electric, LLC v. Ordner Constrution Co., 294 Ga. App. 453 (2008) an out of state electrical contracting company was hired to install electrical systems in three stores. In order to comply with Georgia law, that the subcontractor be regularly connected with a Georgia-licensed electrician, the out of state company entered into a joint venture with a Georgia electrical contractor. However, the electrician only presented his electrical contracting license when pulling permits for the jobs in question and did not inspect others’ electrical work or make sure that work complied with applicable codes. The court held that the out of state contractor had not complied with Georgia law regarding licensing and was barred from asserting any claim it had on the job. See also Ussery v. Goodrich Restoration, Inc., 341 Ga. 390 (2017) (failure to of contractor to hold appropriate license bars contractor from asserting any claim for work done on job for which license was required).
Having a licensed individual contractor who pulls permits for a job but does not supervise the job and who is not regularly on the job to monitor the construction is equivalent to building without the appropriate license and could result in your company’s inability to enforce any claim it has arising from its work on the job. As a proactive measure, if you do employ a Qualifying Agent on your jobs, you need to have a way to prove that person supervised the job and was regularly on site to monitor the progress of the construction work. That could be by the preparation and maintenance of construction daily reports by the qualifying agent.