How do I renew my NC Irrigation Contractors’ License?
Each licensee has an account for their individual license, and if applicable, a separate account for their corporate license. In order to access these accounts you must log in from this website by using your license number as your username. The username for the corporate account must be entered in this format, C-xxx. A password was assigned to you in December 2016. If you do not have that email, click on Forgot Your Password. A temporary password will be emailed to you. If you do not receive the email, you will need to call the Board office to confirm the email address on record. It is suggested you first check your spam mailbox. Once you have your password and are logged in you may perform a number of actions. You will be able to change your password (you may want to have the same password for your individual account and your corporate account), update contact information, enter continuing education courses attended and renew your license(s).
One of the benefits to electronic renewal is that you may renew your license as soon as you have completed your Board approved continuing education. Part of the renewal process for the individual license is to report continuing education credits earned. As of January 1, 2017 the continuing education requirement is ten (10) credit hours. This is to include a minimum of six (6) irrigation credits and four (4) business credits. Once your course(s) are entered, just to the right will appear the words “upload document”. Although it is not a requirement of renewal to upload your proof of attendance, you may find it easier to go ahead and upload the documents while renewing, rather than waiting to see if you are chosen for the audit. If you are chosen for the audit you will be required to upload your proof of attendance(s).
There are no continuing education requirements for a corporate license. A corporate license must still be renewed electronically by December 31 each year. If paying for your individual and corporate license by check you may write one check.
How do I upload a document?
In order to upload a document, the document must be located on your computer. If you do not already have an electronic copy of the document, you may either scan the document with a scanner, or if you don’t have a scanner, take a picture of the document with your smart phone and download the photo to your computer. You may contact the continuing education provider to request an electronic copy. Once your document is on your computer, click “upload document”, click “choose file”, locate the document, select document and click “upload selected file”.
You are required to renew your license(s) each year by December 31 for the following year in order to avoid paying a late fee. You may pay by check or credit card (MasterCard or Visa only). Checks should be made out to NCICLB and postmarked by December 31 to avoid paying a late fee.
What happens if I don’t renew my license?
You will be in violation of the law if you contract for, install, repair or service an irrigation system unless the work is covered by one of the statutory exemptions (See item 12 for a description of all items whose costs are considered.). You will also be in violation of the law if you advertise using any title or description that implies that you are a licensed contractor. That includes continuation of any advertising that exists while your license is suspended (e.g. phone book listings, billboards, newspaper advertisements, etc.). If the lapsed license is reinstated during the following calendar year, both the license renewal fee and the late fee are required. For the individual license holder (the licensed contractor) if the license is allowed to lapse, the licensee has twelve (12) months to renew. Once the twelve (12) months pass, the only way the individual can be licensed is to apply to the Board for licensing through examination and to take and pass the Board examination.
Why do I need continuing education?
The purpose of continuing education is to protect the public by ensuring that the licensee has formal opportunities to upgrade and update his or her professional knowledge and skills. Trends, technology, laws and products are changing very rapidly and keeping well informed is of the utmost importance to protect the public and maintain professionalism.
Why are we required to get 10 credit hours of Continuing Education annually when other licensing boards require much less? What happens if I do not complete 10 credit hours of Continuing Education during the calendar year?
When the North Carolina Irrigation Contractors’ Licensing Bill was drafted, the writers of the legislation felt that contractors licensed by the bill needed to remain current in new technology. With that objective, they wrote into the law a requirement for 10 hours of Continuing Education annually. While the 10 hours annually may be greater than for some other professions, it is less than that for many other professions; some professions require up to 40 hours annually. Continuing Education has to be landscape and turf irrigation related except for the annual requirement of four (4) hours of business classes.
If a licensed contractor fails to complete the 10 hours of Continuing Education as required, Section 89G-9(b) states that the license is forfeited. As of October 1, 2013, the licensing statute regarding the completion of continuing education within the renewal year was amended. Section 5 of NC General Statute 89G-9(c) now allows an individual an additional 60 days to earn continuing education. The Board will suspend the individual license for failure to obtain continuing education units by the renewal deadline of December 31. Upon completion of the required continuing education, submittal of the renewal form, proof of attendance, and a $250 reinstatement fee, the Board shall reinstate the license. Failure by the individual licensee to meet the education requirements, to submit the renewal form and proof of attendance or to pay the reinstatement fee within the 60 day time period, shall result in the revocation of the license. Upon revocation, an individual shall be required to submit a new application and take the examination as provided in this Chapter.
What is a Surety or Compliance Bond?
A Surety Bond is a three-party instrument between surety, which is usually an insurance company, the contractor and the project owner. The agreement binds the contractor to comply with the terms and conditions of a contract. If the contractor is unable to successfully perform the contract, the surety assumes the contractor’s responsibilities and ensures that the project is completed. Instead of obtaining a Surety Bond, an Irrevocable Letter of Credit issued by an insured credit institution (bank, credit union, etc.) can be used. This Letter of Credit indicates that funds are held by the credit institution to cover the contractor’s responsibilities to ensure that projects are completed.
Who is required to obtain a Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit?
All licensed corporations, partnerships and LLC’s and all licensed persons in an individually owned business must obtain a Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit. The law does allow one Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit to meet the requirement for a corporation, partnership or LLC, and all licensed individuals employed by the corporation, partnership or LLC. The Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit must list the corporation, partnership or LLC and all licensed individuals covered by the Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit. An original of the Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit must be sent to the Board Administrative Office. Surety Bonds cover a period of one year and if not renewed the corporation, partnerships or LLC, and all individuals covered by the Surety Bond may have their licenses suspended, denied, restricted or revoked. If the license for an individual is revoked, the individual must apply to the Board for licensing through examination and take and pass the Board examination. While the license is revoked or suspended and possibly while the license is restricted, depending on the type of restriction, the individual, corporation, partnership or LLC cannot contract for, install, repair or service an irrigation system unless the work is covered by one of the statutory exemptions (See Item 12 for a description of all items whose costs are considered). The individual and the corporation, partnership or LLC will be in violation of the law if they use any title or description that implies that they are a licensed irrigation contractor. That includes continuation of any advertising that existed while the license was in good standing (e.g. phone book, billboard, newspaper advertisement, etc.).
I am employed by a licensed corporation, partnership or LLC. Do I need a Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit issued by an insured institution?
If you are a licensed contractor employed by a licensed corporation, partnership or LLC, you do not need a separate Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit for work done while being employed by the corporation, partnership or LLC, but your name must be listed on the Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit. If you are not licensed as an irrigation contractor you may not be listed on the Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit. If you perform any irrigation contracting work outside your employment for the corporation, partnership or LLC where the price of all contracts for labor, material, and other items for a given jobsite exceeds two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) or where you would not qualify for any of the other statutory exemptions (see Item 12 for a description of all items whose cost are considered) you must be licensed and must have a current Surety Bond or Irrevocable Letter of Credit.
What if I conduct irrigation contracting without being licensed?
If the Board receives a complaint, you will be sent a Notice of Complaint. The complaint will be forwarded to a Board Investigator. If the investigator finds evidence that you have contracted or constructed irrigation services where the price of all contracts for labor, material, and other items for a given jobsite exceeds two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) (See item 12 for a description of all items whose costs are considered.) your file will be referred to the Board’s Attorney, an employee of the North Carolina Department of Justice. Following review of the investigation you may receive a Notice of Violation and be asked to settle the matter by signing a formal settlement agreement. If you refuse to settle the violation, the case will then go to a hearing. NC General Statute §89G-11 allows the Board to assess a Civil Penalty of up to $2000 per violation.
Can I advertise irrigation services if I only service and maintain irrigation systems, and am not licensed?
Yes. However, pursuant to N.C. General Statute § 89G-2, no person shall advertise using any title or description that implies licensure as an irrigation contractor unless the person is licensed as an irrigation contractor as provided by this Chapter. Also, please be aware that the price of all contracts for labor, material, and other items for that given jobsite must be less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).
How will a license help me in my business?
By having a North Carolina Contractors’ License you will be seen as a professional and reliable business that adheres to high standards. People are more likely to do business with licensed professionals.
Why should I go through the trouble and expense to become licensed?
North Carolina General Statute § 89G 1-13 is a “Practice Act;” it addresses those calling themselves Irrigation Contractors and those performing the duties of an Irrigation Contractor. If you contract for irrigation services you are required to be licensed unless your work falls into a specific exemption. The North Carolina Irrigation Contractors’ Licensing Board has an on-line complaint form. The Board has investigators who investigate complaints. Complaints include advertising, unlicensed installers and both unlicensed installers and licensed contractors installing irrigation systems that do not meet Minimum Standards. When a complaint is received a Notice of Complaint is mailed to the entity on who the complaint is filed. If the investigation determines that a violation of the law has occurred, the Board attorney pursues the proper legal action to correct the violation.
Can I install an irrigation system if it runs under $2500?
Pursuant to N.C. General Statute § 89G-3(5), a person is exempt from licensure while doing any irrigation construction or contracting if the price of all contracts for labor, material, and other items for a given jobsite is less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). Chapter 89G of the N.C. General Statute defines irrigation construction or irrigation contracting as the act of providing services as an irrigation contractor for compensation or other consideration. The statute further defines irrigation contractor as any person who, for compensation or other consideration, constructs, installs, expands, services, or repairs irrigation systems. Lastly, the statute defines irrigation systems as all piping, fittings, sprinklers, drip tubing, valves, control wiring of 30 volts or less, and associated components installed for the delivery and application of water for the purpose of irrigation that are downstream of a well, pond or other surface water, potable water or groundwater source, or grey water source and downstream of a backflow prevention assembly. Surface water, potable water or groundwater sources, water taps, utility piping, water service lines, water meters, backflow prevention assemblies, stormwater systems that service only the interior of a structure, and sanitary drainage systems are not part of an irrigation system.
Is this just another way for the government to get involved in my business?
The Irrigation Contracting Licensing Bill was initially drafted by irrigation professionals, with assistance from the Carolinas Irrigation Association (CIA) and the Green Industry Council (GIC). It was a response to the droughts where municipalities were limiting irrigation due to water shortages. This was affecting the livelihood of irrigation contractors and all the other professionals involved in the green industry. The idea was that if the green industry was installing quality, water conserving irrigation systems that water purveyors would not impose more stringent water restrictions on irrigation or possibly reduce some of the restrictions. A well designed, installed, operated, maintained and managed irrigation system can maintain the landscape in good condition and not waste water. The drafters of the legislation included the requirement for annual continuing education (10 hours per year) so that contractors would remain current in new practices and products. Similarly the bill drafters required that the Board develop a set of Minimum Standards that licensed contractors must follow and develop a set of Best Management Practices that are suggestions that contractors follow.To ensure that the consumer is protected the bill drafters also require that licensed contractors maintain a $10,000 Surety Bond or an Irrevocable Letter of Credit that can be used in case of damages done by the contractor, failure to complete or failure to meet Minimum Standards in system installation. The bill drafters stated that members serving on the Board include five licensed irrigation contractors, one registered landscape contractor, one licensed landscape architect, one public member and one current or retired member from the University of North Carolina System who had irrigation experience. The Board members work hard to ensure that quality, water conserving irrigation systems that will assist in maintaining quality landscape are being installed. They give of their time to carry out the mandates of the licensing law. The Board is actively involved in enforcement of the law using part time investigators who investigate complaints concerning both unlicensed installers and licensed contractors. The Board has an attorney who is a staff attorney in the Office of the Attorney General of North Carolina to assist with appropriate legal action where required.
Is this just another way for the government to make money?
The North Carolina Irrigation Contractors’ Licensing Board is supported entirely by license applications, renewals and examination fees, and receives no tax revenue. The income received is used to: 1) employ an administrative firm that handles the Board’s day to day business; 2) pay the expenses of the part time Board investigators; 3) pay the fees charged for legal services by the N.C. Department of Justice; 4) pay the cost of administering the licensing examination; and 5) pay travel expenses and per diem for Board members to attend Board meetings.
The Board also has purchased an exhibit which is used for trade show exhibits, brochures for distribution at trade shows and posters and flyers which are distributed to suppliers, permitting departments and inspection departments.
Can Licensed Irrigation Contractors install a backflow device?
Yes, if the individual is properly licensed. The NC State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors has recently implemented the Restricted Limited Plumbing Contractor license which addresses the issue of back flow installation.
How was this law advertised?
For more information you should contact the State Board of Examiners directly.Several public service announcements were sent to irrigation equipment suppliers, to organizations such as the GIC and CIA and to member organizations of the GIC and CIA. Board members attended meetings at equipment suppliers. Licensing boards such as the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors, the North Carolina Landscape Contractors Registration Board, the North Carolina Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Carolinas Irrigation Association and the North Carolina Irrigation Society, Inc., sent announcements to their members. Faculty members at North Carolina State University’s Horticultural Science Department, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department sent out information on the Licensing Bill. The Board had a website in operation in March 2009. Because the Licensing Board did not have individual names of companies performing irrigation services, there was no way to personally contact individual companies. The irrigation equipment suppliers had notices posted in their places of business announcing the Licensing Bill.
Why am I required to have an individual license AND a corporate license?
The drafters of this legislation felt that both the corporation, partnership or LLC and an officer or full time employee of a corporation, partnership or LLC needed to possess a license to insure that the corporation, partnership or LLC has a competent individual supervising all of its irrigation contracting and construction. The only exception is an individually owned business where the individual has to be licensed. For a corporation, partnership or LLC to obtain a corporate license, a principal or full time employee must be licensed. If the sole licensed individual leaves employment of the corporation, partnership or LLC, the corporation, partnership or LLC can no longer be licensed.
If I turn someone in for a violation will my name be given out?
Yes. Complaints are a matter of public record so if an individual requests the name of the complainant, the Board must supply that information by law.
Why does the Board do annual audits of Continuing Education?
When a licensee submits CEUs for license renewal, the licensee is on the honor system. No proof of CEU credit is required at that time. However when a licensee is audited, the licensee must submit proof for the CEU credit submitted. All organizations that require continuing education have systems to verify that CEU credit claimed was actually obtained. The annual audit is random and the names of the individuals selected for audit are known only after the random license numbers are drawn.
Why do licensees have to follow minimum standards?
The minimum standards have been developed to protect the public and the environment. By following the minimum standards for irrigation design, installation and maintenance, irrigation system efficiency will greatly improve and as will the product to the customer.
Who must follow the minimum standards?
All licensed irrigation contractors. The Board has no purview over those individuals that are exempt from the law as seen in section §89G-3. When an unlicensed contractor is under investigation by the Board, minimum standard violations will be included in the investigator’s report along with all other findings.
Is a record drawing an as-built?
Yes and no. An as-built is a legal document, although the term has been used to describe the drawings irrigation contractors have produced after an installation. The correct term should be record drawing.
Can a record drawing be hand drawn or is a cad type document required?
A record drawing can be hand drawn as long as it can be scanned and saved.
Does a record drawing need to be to scale?
No. The minimum standards require measurements be shown on the record drawing between landmark features of the site and to most irrigation system components such as valve boxes, isolation valves, backflow preventers, wire splices, controllers, rain sensors, quick couplers, etc.
Is it required to give the customer a copy of the record drawing after the installation?
Yes. It is part of the owner’s manual package as described in NCGS 89G21 and NCAC 23 section .0511.
Where can I find information on water velocities in piping?
Most irrigation manufacturers provide this information in their catalogs. The Irrigation Association is also a good source.