LAUREL, MS (August 30, 2022)- A new law will require more tradesmen in the state of Mississippi to acquire licensure through the Mississippi Board of Contractors. House Bill 1163 (which can be found at https://legiscan.com/MS/text/HB1163/2022) was sponsored by Republican Representative John Lamar (District 8) as “an act to amend sections 19-5-9 and 21-19-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that, regardless of whether a county or municipality has adopted certain construction codes, a county or municipality, as the case may be, shall require permitting as a condition to construction, and that such permits shall contain on their face the contractor’s material purchase certificate number to the extent furnished by the Department of Revenue and the contractor’s license or certificate of responsibility number as required by law” among other related provisions.
The new legislation means that every county and city is required by the state to issue building permits. While most municipalities, including the City of Laurel, have always done this, the new law will require county officials to require it as well.
It also means that in addition to contractors and builders, who have been required to be licensed with the state for several years, tradesmen working as plumbers, electricians, and HVAC/mechanical technicians will be required to be licensed with the State of Mississippi to work on any projects in any city or county in the state.
It is believed that these changes will help prevent “fly-by-night” operators from taking advantage of homeowners and performing substandard work that could prove dangerous.
What does this mean for The City of Laurel?
Not much is expected to change with the city. To operate in the city, tradesmen are already required to apply for permits and be licensed in their areas of expertise. (The City’s Ordinances about this topic can be found here: https://www.laurelms.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Buildings-and-Building-Regulations.pdf) However, once a tradesman comes to apply for a permit he will be required to provide proof that he is licensed with the state.
What does this mean for tradesmen?
Those wishing to complete work as plumbers, electricians, or HVAC/mechanical technicians will need to contact the Mississippi State Board of Contactors to become licensed with the state. The application packet can be downloaded and printed from www.msboc.us. However, since part of the application requires a document to be notarized, the application cannot be completed online. The packet materials must be downloaded, printed out, and filled in with blue or black ink and then mailed back to the MS State Board of Contractors at P.O. Box 320279, Jackson, MS.
An instructional video is available on the Mississippi State Board of Contractors website at https://www.msboc.us/contractors/licenses/ The instructional video is about 18 minutes long and is very informative.
When does this need to be done?
The sooner that tradesmen can complete this process, the better. The law went into effect on July 1, 2022. However, a grace period has been enacted that allows established tradesmen to have their state licensure “grandfathered” in meaning that the process will be more streamlined for them if they go ahead and work with the Mississippi State Board of Contractors between now and December 31 st , 2022. If they wait until after that deadline, they will be barred from completing any work until they have passed an appropriate exam and received state licensure.
What are my next steps?
Tradesmen would be well advised to visit the Mississippi State Board of Contractors website at msboc.us. Here, they can find additional information, watch a video to guide them through the application process, and download and print the application packet.
Changes to state laws now require that building and construction work receive a permit from the city or county where the work is being done. Professional tradesmen, particularly those who specialize in plumbing, electrical work, or HVAC/mechanical work are now required to become licensed through a process that is overseen by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors. All tradesmen who work in these fields are strongly advised to visit the Mississippi State Board of Contractors website at msboc.ms to find more information and to download and print the appropriate forms.
The City of Laurel did not participate in the creation of this legislation and does not oversee any part of the licensure process. However, representatives from our Inspections Department will be happy to help you with this process. They are located on the first floor of City Hall and can be reached at 601.428.6438 during normal business hours.