(a) If an individual applicant proposes to engage in residential or general contracting in the individual's own name or a trade name where the individual is doing business as a sole proprietorship, the license shall be issued only to that individual. Where an applicant under this chapter is seeking issuance of a residential or general contractor license on behalf and for the benefit of a business organization seeking to engage in residential or general contracting as a business organization, the application for a license under this chapter must be submitted by and through an individual qualifying agent for such business organization or entity and expressly on behalf of such business organization or entity. In such case, the license shall be issued to the individual qualifying agent and to the affiliated business organization or entity on whose behalf the application was made. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or association to operate a business organization or entity engaged in the business of residential or general contracting without first obtaining a license from the appropriate division after the effective date of the licensing requirements as specified in subsection (a) of Code Section 43-41-17 . The appropriate division shall not issue a license to any business organization or entity to engage in residential or general contracting unless such business organization or entity employs at least one currently licensed individual residential or general contractor serving as its qualifying agent who is actually engaged by ownership or employment in the practice of residential or general contracting for such business organization or entity and provides adequate supervision and is responsible for the projects of such business organization or entity. A business organization may allow more than one person to act as a qualifying agent for such organization, subject to each such individual qualifying agent having successfully satisfied the requirements for issuance of a license under this chapter and having obtained issuance of such a license by the appropriate division. Each such business organization shall have at least one qualifying agent in order to be considered authorized to engage in such contracting business.
(b) The application for a license by a qualifying agent must include an affidavit on a form provided by the board attesting that the individual applicant has final approval authority for all construction work performed by the business organization or entity within the State of Georgia and that the individual applicant has final approval authority on all construction matters, including contracts and contract performance and financial affairs related to such construction matters, for each construction job for which his or her license was used to obtain the building permit.
(c) A joint venture is considered a separate and distinct organization for licensing purposes under this chapter and must be qualified and licensed in accordance with the appropriate division's rules and regulations either:
(1) In its own name as a separate business organization; or
(2) By each of the members of the joint venture doing business as a residential contractor or general contractor holding, as an individual or as a business organization acting through its qualifying agent, a valid and current residential or general contractor's license issued by the appropriate division.
Each such licensed individual or qualifying agent shall be considered a qualifying agent of such joint venture.
(d) If, during the period encompassed by a license issued to a qualifying agent acting for and on behalf of an affiliated business organization, there is a change in any information that is required to be stated on the application, the business organization shall, within 45 days after such change occurs, furnish the correct information to the appropriate division.
(e)(1) At least one qualifying agent shall be licensed under this chapter in order for the business organization to obtain a license as a residential or general contractor. If any qualifying agent ceases to be affiliated with such business organization, for any reason, he or she shall so inform the division having jurisdiction. In addition, if such qualifying agent is the only qualifying agent licensed hereunder affiliated with the business organization, the business organization shall promptly notify the appropriate division of the termination of the relationship with that qualifying agent and shall have 120 days from the termination of the qualifying agent's affiliation with the business organization to employ another qualifying agent and submit an application for licensure under the new qualifying agent. The submission of such application shall serve to maintain the licensed status of the business organization pending and subject to approval of such application by the appropriate division; provided that, should such application be denied by that division, then, after passage of the 120 day period, the business organization shall cease to be considered licensed as a residential or a general contractor unless and until a new application is submitted and approved by the appropriate division. In such circumstance, the affected business organization may not thereafter engage in residential or general contracting until a new qualifying agent is employed, unless the appropriate division has granted a temporary nonrenewable license to the financially responsible officer, the president or chief executive officer, a partner, or, in the case of a limited partnership, the general partner, who thereafter shall assume all responsibilities of a qualifying agent for the business organization or entity. This temporary license shall only allow the entity to proceed with incomplete contracts already in progress. For the purposes of this paragraph, an incomplete contract is one which has been awarded to, or entered into by, the business organization prior to the cessation of affiliation of the qualifying agent with the business organization or one on which the business organization was the low bidder and the contract is subsequently awarded, regardless of whether any actual work has commenced under the contract prior to the qualifying agent ceasing to be affiliated with the business organization.
(2) A person licensed under this chapter either as an individual doing business in his or her name or doing business in a trade name as a sole proprietor may serve as a qualifying agent for a business organization upon application and demonstration of satisfaction by such business organization of all financial and insurance requirements pursuant to Code Section 43-41-6 . A qualifying agent may serve in such capacity for more than one business organization, provided that he or she shall satisfy the criteria for serving in such capacity with regard to each such business organization. A qualifying agent shall inform the division having jurisdiction in writing when he or she proposes to engage in contracting in his or her own name or in affiliation as a qualifying agent with another business organization, and he or she or such new business organization shall supply the same information to the division as required of applicants under this chapter. Such person shall be deemed to be a licensed residential or general contractor for the original term of his or her license for the purpose of engaging in contracting as an individual in his or her own name, provided that he or she qualified for such license based on his or her own personal qualifications as to financial responsibility and insurance. Otherwise, such individual shall be required to submit a new application demonstrating satisfaction of such financial and insurance requirements in order to engage in the business of contracting under this chapter as an individual in his or her own name or doing business as an individual in a trade name as a sole proprietor or by the business organization he or she desires to qualify in order to obtain a license for such other business organization, but such person shall be entitled to continue engaging in the business of residential or general contracting in accordance with and under his or her previously issued license unless and until the appropriate division determines that the person seeking issuance of the license no longer meets these requirements.
(3) Upon a favorable determination by the division having jurisdiction, after investigation of the financial responsibility, if applicable, and insurance of the applicant, the division shall notify the applicant, whether the applicant was previously approved as an individual or a qualifying agent, that the applicant is approved, without an examination, for a new license.
(f) Disciplinary action and other sanctions provided in this chapter may be administered against a business organization operating under a license issued through its licensed qualifying agent or agents in the same manner and on the same grounds as disciplinary actions or sanctions against an individual or license holder acting as its qualifying agent under this chapter. The divisions or the board may deny the license to a qualifying agent for any business organization if the qualifying agent or business organization has been involved in past disciplinary actions or on any grounds for which individual licenses can be denied.
(g) Each qualifying agent shall pay the appropriate division an amount equal to the original fee for a license applied for on behalf of a new business organization. If the qualifying agent for a business organization desires to qualify additional business organizations, the division shall require him or her to present evidence of the financial responsibility, if applicable, and insurance of each such organization.
(h) All qualifying agents for a business organization are jointly and equally responsible for supervision of all construction related operations of the business organization, for all field work at all sites, and for financial matters within the State of Georgia for each construction job for which his or her license was used to obtain the building permit.
(i) Any change in the status of a qualifying agent is prospective only. A qualifying agent shall for purposes of application of this chapter and the enforcement and disciplinary mechanisms thereunder be and remain responsible for his or her actions or omissions as well as those of the business organization for which such person had acted as a qualifying agent occurring during his or her period of service as such qualifying agent as and to the extent set forth in this chapter. A qualifying agent is not responsible for his or her predecessor's actions, but is responsible, even after a change in status, for matters for which he or she was responsible while in a particular status. Further, nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as a basis for imposition of civil liability against an individual qualifying agent by any owner or other third party claimant beyond the liability that would otherwise exist legally or contractually apart from and independent of the individual's status as a qualifying agent.
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