Lafayette County to require permits for all construction work

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, July 7, 2022

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance requiring permitting as a condition for construction within unincorporated areas of Lafayette County as required by Mississippi House Bill 1163. The ordinance will create a county-wide residential building permit.

Read Mississippi House Bill 1163

Passed during the state’s legislative session MS HB 1163 requires every county and every municipality in the state to issue permits for construction work. The bill was one of several laws that went into effect on July 1.

Commercial and residential contractors and roofers are now required to be licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors.

The bill also amended law requiring a state-issued license for construction managers and residential solar contractors as well as subcontractors performing HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing and/or Mechanical work on any residential construction or residential improvement project.

“They are your typical trades you would see in residential construction,” said Joel Hollowell, Director of Development Services. “These licenses are not like the remodelers’ license or the contractors’ license that are required for the individuals doing the overall contracting.”

While the state requires a license for improvements to an existing residence over $10,000 and new residential

construction over $50,000, HB 1163 requires a license for any construction work.

Homeowners “building their own dwelling” can only pull one permit a year, instead of two, as a self-contractor. The current exemption allowing relatives to perform work for relatives of direct relation will only be permitted if the property is not for sale, rent, public use or public assembly.

All sub-contractors for homeowners will have to be state-licensed. The bill clarifies unlicensed contractors are allowed to receive payment only for actual expenses incurred, but no profit. Actual expenses must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.

Business must be conducted under the name shown on the certificate of licensure or it is considered done under unlicensed contracting and would subject the individual to penalties.

“They’re going through a program to help these individuals get licensed but in order to track these individuals, they’re requiring each county and each municipality to issue permits,” Hollowell said. 

Lafayette County will keep track of licensed contractors and sub-contractors. 

“The county will definitely incur a cost for writing these permits,” Hollowell. “There is certain information we’re required to track, keep up with and put on these permits that the state requires, so we will incur that cost.

Hollowell proposed, to the board, a fee of $25 for the individual trades and $50 for general construction outside of subdivisions. Fees are required in Section IV of HB 1163. In addition to those fees, he also proposed a fee structure for trade permits inside subdivisions.

The county already charges building fees for construction inside subdivisions.

The Mississippi State Board of Contractors processes applications on a weekly basis. For more information or to obtain an application, visit www.msboc.us.