There are basically three different main types of General Contractor License available in South Carolina and each has a different method of application, requirements and exam. We are going to look at the most basic of these first, the SC Residential Contractor License.
The license is issued by the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission Dept. of Labor Licensing and Regulation. Anyone performing work on residential units that does not exceed three stories in height or sixteen units in an apartment building and whose cost exceeds $5,000 must be licensed as a Residential Builder. For a Residential Builder License you must submit an application to the Board and be approved prior to scheduling your exam with the Testing Center. Applications typically take 7-14 days to process. It is important to fill out your application correctly and completely to avoid delays in processing. Incomplete applications are returned to you and must be completed and re-submitted. Once approved you will receive an “Eligibility Letter.” The Eligibility Letter allows you to take both the SC Residential Builders Exam and the SC Business Management and Law for Residential Builders Exam. This eligibility is valid for one year. You are allowed 3 attempts within the one year period to both exams. If you fail either exam 3 times you will be required to wait 12 months from the date of your last examination attempt, before being allowed to re-apply for and re-take the exams.
The exams are both open books exams. They can be scheduled and taken the same day or at different times. You do not have to take them in any particular order. The Residential Builder Exam consists of 6 books; the Business Management and Law exam is based on 1 book. These books were used to prepare the questions you will most likely see on the exam. However, it is important to note, that exams may also contain questions based on trade knowledge and general industry practices.
The six SC Residential Builder Books are as follows: The International Residential Code for One and Two Family Dwellings published by the International Code Council, Carpentry and Building Construction by John L. Feirer & Mark D. Feirer, The Contractor’s Guide to Quality Concrete by the American Concrete Institute, Modern Masonry – Brick, Block and Stone by Kicklighter, BCSI – Guide to Good Practice for Handling, Installing, Restraining, and Bracing of Metal Plate Connected Wood Trusses by SBCA, and The Gypsum Construction Handbook by USG. The Law exam book is the South Carolina Residential Builders Guide to Business Law and Project Management by NASCLA. This book is also commonly referred to as the SC NASCLA Residential Builder book. All books are allowed in the exam center and they are allowed to be highlighted, tabbed and indexed, but not written in. All tabs must be permanent and tear the page if removed.
The Builder exam is 80 questions and you have four hours to take the exam. The Law exam is 50 questions and you have two hours to take that exam.
It is common misconception that because the exam is open book that little to no preparation in necessary. Many contractors think they can go in the exam center and what they do not know from experience they can find in the books. This is WRONG. First of all the exam is books based, so even contractors with years of experience have trouble with this test. Secondly, there are over 3,000 pages in the reference books and if you do not know where to find the information YOU WILL run out of time. Lastly, you will find that there are also trick questions that will try to confuse you with wordy scenarios.
It is important to consider a SC Residential Builder Seminar so that you do not waste your time, effort or money. We offer three different programs to help you pass your contractor exam, all catering to how you prefer to learn. You can attend a live seminar for classroom type instruction, purchase an at-home study course to prepare on your own time at your own pace, or sign up for a Deluxe package which incorporates both. We also offer all the SC Residential Builder Books permitted in the exam center. You can purchase these individually or in conveniently packaged sets. We are South Carolina’s leading Contractor Exam Prep Program, call us today at 704-663-5880.
Next time we will take a detailed look at the SC Limited Building Contractor License and Exam.