Washington L&I Proposes Updates to Contractor Registration Rules

Washington L&I Proposes Updates to Contractor Registration Rules

The rule change addresses definitions, penalty and bond amounts, and fees for general and specialty contractors.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is set to amend its Contractor Registration rules to enhance consumer protection in the construction industry and support the program's operating expenses. The proposed changes, driven by legislative mandates, aim to tighten regulations surrounding general and specialty contractors.

The amendments are a response to the Second Substitute House Bill 1534 (2SHB 1534) and Senate Bill 5795 (SB 5795), which seek to boost consumer safeguards by increasing fines, penalties and bond requirements for contractors. Notably, 2SHB 1534, effective from July 1, 2024, enhances the accountability of contractors. Meanwhile, SB 5795—in effect since July 28, 2019—addresses bond requirements, allowing L&I to demand up to triple the standard bond amount following certain judgments.

Key proposals under the new rulemaking include a 6.40 percent fee increase to align with fiscal growth, adjustments in surety bond and savings account requirements, and heightened penalties for infractions under chapter 18.27 RCW. 

Additionally, the amendments aim to introduce clarity and consistency with existing statutes, such as defining "due diligence" for entity succession and refining the criteria for bond increases related to judgments involving residential single-family dwellings.

L&I has scheduled a public hearing for March 26, 2024, to gather feedback on the proposed changes, with the same deadline set for written comments. The department anticipates adopting the revised rules by April 30, 2024.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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