Information every Homeowner MUST ask for from a Contractor before hiring to PROTECT themselves from illegal operators.
VOSH enforcement officers report that unlicensed subs are a growing crime in the area! It is a Class I Misdemeanor to contract with an unlicensed Subcontractor. A violator is subject to $500 fine per day per unlicensed individual on the job site, if proof cannot be provided that an employee is on the payroll of a licensed contractor. Read the VA law here.
Owners who hire unlicensed contractors do not have the consumer protections afforded by the DPOR. If your Contractor and his Subs CAN produce each of the following requested documents, you may rest assured that every individual is properly licensed and insured; that you are not opening yourself to liability from injured workers; and that YOU, your General Contractor, and everyone he hires is following the law. If they cannot, they are operating illegally. Use these simple methods to ensure you aren’t contracting with criminals.
Educate Yourself to Protect Yourself.
1. Valid Virginia State Contractors License
Every Contractor represented on your job (both Sub and General) must possess a valid Virginia State Contractors License, and he/she must be able to give you their name and License numbers so you can investigate the authenticity on the DPOR website.
2. Recent Insurance Certificate
For each Contractors License represented on your job (e.g., General and Sub), you must see a recent Insurance Certificate (General Liability and Workers Comp.). It is very common practice for Subcontractors to buy insurance long enough to provide the General Contractor with an insurance certificate, only to cancel it immediately. Asking for a recent insurance certificate emailed to you directly from the Subcontractor’s insurance Agent makes hiding this practice impossible.
3. Payroll Paystubs and Photo ID
Each individual worker on your job must be able to produce a payroll paystub and photo ID reflecting a Licensed Contractor as the Payor (a redacted VEC quarterly filing would work too). Any worker who is not on payroll and without a W2, is by law an unlicensed subcontractor, and is breaking the law. It is common practice for illegal subcontractors to cash the checks paid them by General Contractors, they then pay all their workers cash, thereby escaping taxes and insurance. This practice defrauds our nation of tax revenue and endangers workers by not insuring them properly against job site injury. For more comprehensive information browse the The Department of Labor and Industries webpage dedicated to this problem here.
If you are concerned about crew safety and/or potential liability, make sure the crews on your property follow OSHA safety regulations! VOSH and OSHA require that roofers wear federally mandated fall protection devices. Every worker is required by law to wear a harness that is connected to a rope that is attached to an anchor at the peak of the roof. These devices are designed to arrest falls, and are proven to reduce the likelihood of injury in the event of an accidental slip and fall.
Help stop illegal operators, and protect workers! Call the local VOSH enforcement department at the Lynchburg Corporate Office 434-385-0806 and the Roanoke Office 540-562-3580 to report companies (and their subs) who cannot supply the requested Contractors License and Employee info or to report workers without fall protection.