2018 Georgia Code
Title 43 - Professions and Businesses
Chapter 41 - Residential and General Contractors
§ 43-41-5. Board meetings; power of board and its divisions; investigations; immunity from liability; failure to appear at hearing; voluntary surrender of license; application; subpoenas
(a) The board shall meet at least twice each year for the purpose of transacting such business as may properly come before it and of overseeing the operation of its divisions.
(b) The board and its divisions shall have the power to:
(1) Request from the various departments, agencies, and authorities of the state and its political subdivisions and their agencies and authorities such available information as they may require in their work; and all such departments, agencies, and authorities shall furnish such requested available information to the board and its divisions within a reasonable time;
(2) Provide by regulation for reciprocity with other states or territories of the United States in the licensing of residential and general contractors, provided that such other states have requirements substantially equal to the requirements in force in this state for registration, licensure, or certification and that any such contractor holding a current and valid license, certificate, or registration from another state or territory seeking licensure by way of reciprocity shall demonstrate that such applicant meets, in the discretion of the respective division, the qualifications, requirements, and criteria set forth in Code Section 43-41-6, other than the requirement to take and pass an examination as set forth in subsection (d) of Code Section 43-41-6, and that such applicant is otherwise in compliance with all requirements of the State of Georgia for transaction of such business within this state; provided, further, that a similar privilege is offered to residents of this state by the other state or territory;
(3) Establish and adjust fees as necessary within the limits set forth in Chapter 1 of this title;
(4) Adopt official seals for their use and change them at pleasure;
(5) Establish the policies and procedures for regulating the businesses of residential contracting and general contracting and provide interpretation and guidance regarding the implementation and application of such policies and procedures;
(6) Determine qualifications for licensure or certification, including such experience requirements as the board deems necessary;
(7) Promulgate and adopt rules and regulations necessary to carry out this chapter;
(8) Establish and define appropriate categories of general contractor licensure based upon financial criteria; and
(9) Allow for inactive status pursuant to Code Section 43-1-22.
(c) Regarding the powers and authorities conferred by this Code section relative to the residential-light commercial contractor subcategory of the residential contractor classification under this chapter, due to the characteristics of such subcategory, such powers and authorities shall be delegated to and conferred upon, in the first instance, a combined and overlapping subdivision comprising four members of both of the divisions, two of whom shall be the residential-light commercial qualified members of the residential contractor division and two of whom shall be the small volume qualified members of the general contractor division, with neither division having sole oversight and control of such powers and authorities. The chairperson of such combined subdivision shall be rotated annually between the chairperson of the residential contractor division and the chairperson of the general contractor division, with the residential contractor chairperson initially serving as chairperson. The combined subdivision shall meet at the call of such chairperson. However, regarding the actual issuance of licenses under this chapter for residential-light commercial contracting and any powers and authorities relative to administration, oversight, control, or disciplinary action of persons issued such licenses, pursuant to Code Sections 43-41-10, 43-41-11, 43-41-13, 43-41-15, and 43-41-16, the residential contractor division shall have full power and authority. Any determinations made or actions taken by this subdivision shall be subject to the ultimate review, oversight, control, power, and authority of the board.
(1) The division director is authorized to make, or cause to be made through employees or contract agents of the board, such investigations as he or she or the board may deem necessary or proper for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. Any person properly conducting an investigation on behalf of the board shall have access to and may examine any writing, document, or other material relating to the fitness of any licensee or applicant. The division director or his or her appointed representative may issue subpoenas to compel such access upon a determination that reasonable grounds exist for the belief that a violation of this chapter or any other law relating to the practice of residential or general contracting may have taken place.
(2) The results of all investigations initiated by the board shall be reported solely to the board, and the records of such investigations shall be kept for the board by the division director, with the board retaining the right to have access at any time to such records. No part of any such records shall be released, except to the board, for any purpose other than a hearing before the board, nor shall such records be subject to subpoena; provided, however, that the board shall be authorized to release such records to another enforcement agency or lawful licensing authority.
(3) The board shall have the authority to exclude all persons during its deliberations on disciplinary proceedings and to discuss any disciplinary matter in private with a licensee or applicant and the legal counsel of that licensee or applicant.
(e) A person, firm, corporation, association, authority, or other entity shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for reporting or investigating the acts or omissions of a licensee or applicant which violate the provisions of this chapter or any other provision of law relating to a licensee's or applicant's fitness to practice as a licensed residential or general contractor or for initiating or conducting proceedings against such licensee or applicant, if such report is made or action is taken in good faith, without fraud or malice.
(f) The denial of a license on grounds other than those enumerated in this chapter, the issuance of a private reprimand, the denial of a license by reciprocity, the denial of a request for reinstatement of a revoked license, or the refusal to issue a previously denied license shall not be considered to be a contested case within the meaning of Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act." Notice and hearing within the meaning of Chapter 13 of Title 50 shall not be required, but the applicant or licensee shall be allowed to appear before the appropriate division if he or she so requests.
(g) If any licensee or applicant fails to appear at any hearing after reasonable notice, the board may proceed to hear the evidence against such licensee or applicant and take action as if such licensee or applicant had been present. A notice of hearing, initial or recommended decision, or final decision of the board in a disciplinary proceeding shall be served upon the licensee or applicant by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, to the last known address of record with the board. If such material is returned marked "unclaimed" or "refused" or is otherwise undeliverable and if the licensee or applicant cannot, after diligent effort, be located, the division director shall be deemed to be the agent for service for such licensee or applicant for purposes of this Code section, and service upon the division director shall be deemed to be service upon the licensee or applicant.
(h) The voluntary surrender of a license shall have the same effect as a revocation of the license, subject to reinstatement in the discretion of the board.
(i) This Code section shall apply equally to all licensees or applicants whether individuals, partners, or members of any other incorporated or unincorporated associations, corporations, business organizations, or other associations of any kind whatsoever.
(j) All subpoenas issued pursuant to the authority granted in this chapter shall be subject to the general rules of law with respect to distance, tender of fees and expenses, and protective orders; and any motion made with respect thereto shall be made to and passed on by a judge of the superior court of the county of residence of the person to whom the subpoena is directed.