For Industry Professionals, Managers, Trades & Suppliers
17000 St. Clair Avenue . Cleveland, Ohio 44110-2535
Tel.: (216) 531-5310 . Fax: (888) 833-5860 . E-Mail:
In Florida . 6500 Midnight Pass Rd. #105 . Sarasota, FL 34242 . (941) 349-2061.

Vol. 2006-10 October, 2006

Contractor Liability for Permit Work

Construction contractors and subcontractors are charged with primary responsibility for the work performed under permits issued to them; they may not permit others to work under their permit, as a matter of law.

The Construction Industry Licensing Board ("CILB") governs the issuance and oversight of licensing and practices of the mechanical trades in Ohio. Section 4740.01 R.C. provides:

  1. "License" means a license the Ohio construction industry licensing board issues to an individual as a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning contractor, refrigeration contractor, electrical contractor, plumbing contractor, or hydronics contractor.

  2. "Contractor" means any individual or business entity that satisfies both of the following:

    1. For compensation, directs, supervises, or has responsibility for the means, method, and manner of construction, improvement, renovation, repair, testing, or maintenance on a construction project with respect to one or more trades and who offers, identifies, advertises, or otherwise holds out or represents that the individual or business entity is permitted or qualified to perform, direct, supervise, or have responsibility for the means, method, and manner of construction, improvement, renovation, repair, or maintenance with respect to one or more trades on a construction project;

    2. Performs or employs tradespersons who perform construction, improvement, renovation, repair, or maintenance on a construction project with respect to the contractor's trades."
The CILB is authorized, through the Attorney-General of Ohio, to seek court-ordered injunctions to prevent continuing violations of the statute. Violations may also be punishable under the law, including:
  1. "Impose a fine on the licensee, not exceeding one thousand dollars per violation per day;

  2. Direct the administrative section to suspend the licensee's license for a period of time the section establishes;

  3. Direct the administrative section to revoke the licensee's license;

  4. Require the licensee to complete additional continuing education course work."
The penalty for misrepresentation by a licensed contractor provides: "Whoever violates division (A) of section 4740.13 of the Revised Code is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on the first violation and a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on subsequent violations."

The threat of severe sanctions and potential criminal and civil actions by the CILB, available under applicable law, should deter any consideration of unlawful practices, or "ghost permit" trade activity.

It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.

Alfred Adler

AUTHOR / EDITOR: J. NORMAN STARK is an Attorney-at-Law, a Registered Architect, (AIA, NCARB) Registered Landscape Architect, Interior Designer, Planner and Senior Appraiser (ASA), admitted to practice law before the Bar of Ohio, the US District Courts, Ohio and Illinois (Central Dist.), the US Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He is a Mediator, Arbitrator and Litigator with experience in Business, Construction Law, and Public Works, and with additional experience in Real Estate, Construction Attorney (Legal Project and Crisis Management), and as an Expert Witness (Forensic Architect). His office is in Cleveland, Ohio.

home | consulting | public speaking | law letters | selected publications | background | contact