A proposal to license builders in Columbia County will be studied by a committee of county officials and builders before it will go to county commissioners for approval.
Members of the Columbia County Construction Advisory Board voted Wednesday to form the study committee.
"We have not had ample opportunity to study this," said Oliver Owens, vice-president and of the Metro Augusta Homebuilders Association.
The proposed ordinance splits contractors into three categories - commercial contractors, residential builders and specialty contractors. To be licensed, commercial and residential builders would have to pass an exam or have a specified amount of experience - two years for commercial builders and one year for residential builders. Specialty contractors do not have to pass a test.
However, all three classifications must be bonded and present proof of workers compensation insurance.
Columbia County Commission Chairman-election Ron Cross - a commercial builder by trade - said he doesn't want licensing to become another role for the county.
"To me, it is a conflict for the Board of Commissioners to issue a license and govern something that is in the private sector," he said.
County Building Official Richard Harmon - who's pushed the licensing system - said the county's Construction Advisory Board could easily serve as the regulating board.
"It needs to be a board of builders' peers," he said. "They do it for doctors and they do it for lawyers."
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