The Oregon Construction Contractor Board (CCB) found 83 suspected violations of illegal construction resulting from visits to 380 job sites during a recent multistate enforcement action targeting the construction industry.
The Oregon "sweeps" of job sites occurred in early June, when CCB investigators showed up unannounced at job sites in the Bend area and along the state's northern border from Astoria to Pendleton.
Most alleged violations involved contractors who had employees but lacked workers' compensation insurance and people working without a license. CCB staff will now determine whether to issue penalties in the cases.
Nearly everyone who repairs, remodels or builds a home needs a CCB license, and contractors with employees must carry workers' compensation insurance to cover job-related injuries.
Oregon joined seven other states in the nationwide action coordinated by the National Association of State Contractor Licensing Agencies (NASCLA).
"This coordinated multistate enforcement effort is a great way for us to draw attention to the work our enforcement staff carry on throughout our state every day," Administrator James Denno said.
"We take enforcement very seriously. If you hire an unlicensed contractor, you put yourself and your property at risk. Licensed contractors carry bonds and insurance, important requirements that provide protection for the public," Denno added. "We also provide mediation services where we help to iron out disputes that sometimes arise between homeowners and contractors. If you hire an unlicensed contractor, you don't have access to this service."
Contractors must include their CCB license number on any advertising so consumers can easily verify their license. To do so:
- Visit www.oregon.gov/ccb.
- Enter the license number or name in the orange "Search" feature.
- Verify that the license is "active" and that the name and other information on the license matches the contractor in question.
- Call 503-378-4621 for help searching or understanding the results.
Contractors and consumers can report unlicensed contractors and other illegal activity on the CCB's website or by calling 503-934-2246.
In looking for contractors, the CCB advises consumers to get references from friends and neighbors, or others in the construction industry, such as supply stores. Contractors seeking work through online lists must include their CCB number in all advertising. Additionally, consumers should not rely on online references alone.
"Probably the biggest problems arise through lack of a written contract detailing the work to be done, including the exact products that will be installed, and failure to document change orders," Enforcement Manager Stan Jessup said. "Consumers and contractors should make sure they have a system in place for regularly communicating with one another."
The CCB has a variety of consumer tools on its website at www.oregon.gov/ccb. They include:
- A new consumer guide on how to hire and work with a contractor. Order a copy by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A short video on how to avoid construction scams.
- Information about filing a complaint against a contractor for shoddy work or breach of contract.
- A Buyer Beware list highlighting some of Oregon's most active predatory contractors.
Email alerts providing regular tips to consumers contemplating projects.
View details of the national operation at: http://www.nascla.org/blogpost/1535522/Press-Releases.