Senator BOB SMITH
District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)
Senator CHRISTOPHER "KIP" BATEMAN
District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)
Provides standards for home elevation contractors.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning home elevation contractors, supplementing P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.), and amending and supplementing P.L.2004, c.16.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. (New section) a. In addition to complying with the other requirements of the “Contractors’ Registration Act,” P.L.2004, c.16 (C.56:8-136 et seq.), no person shall offer to perform, or engage, or attempt to engage in the business of home elevation unless registered with the division as a home elevation contractor.
b. To register with the division as a home elevation contractor, a person must have at least two years of experience in the use of unified jacking machines through training and field experience under the guidance of an experienced operator.
c. Home elevation contractors shall be required to use a unified jacking machine for any home elevation.
d. Through the end of 2018, the division shall review the qualifications and performance records of all home elevation contractors, on at least an annual basis, to ensure compliance with the standards of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).
2. (New section) Contractors who perform home elevations shall be required to use a unified jacking machine, as defined under section 2 of P.L.2004, c.16 (C.56:8-137), for any home elevation.
3. Section 2 of P.L.2004, c.16 (C.56:8-137) is amended to read as follows:
2. As used in this act:
"Contractor" means a person engaged in the business of making or selling home improvements and includes a corporation, partnership, association and any other form of business organization or entity, and its officers, representatives, agents and employees.
"Director" means the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.
"Division" means the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.
“Home elevation” means any home improvement that involves raising an entire residential or non-commercial structure to a higher level above the ground in order to avoid flood damage.
“Home elevation contractor” means a contractor who engages in the practice of home elevation.
"Home improvement" means the remodeling, altering, renovating, repairing, restoring, modernizing, moving, demolishing, or otherwise improving or modifying of the whole or any part of any residential or non-commercial property. Home improvement shall also include insulation installation, and the conversion of existing commercial structures into residential or non-commercial property.
"Home improvement contract" means an oral or written agreement for the performance of a home improvement between a contractor and an owner, tenant or lessee, of a residential or noncommercial property, and includes all agreements under which the contractor is to perform labor or render services for home improvements, or furnish materials in connection therewith.
"Residential or non-commercial property" means any single or multi-unit structure used in whole or in part as a place of residence, and all structures appurtenant thereto, and any portion of the lot or site on which the structure is situated which is devoted to the residential use of the structure.
“Unified jacking machine” means a machine used to raise a structure that is capable of lifting each corner and the entire bulk of the structure in a synchronized manner.
(cf: P.L.2004, c.16, s.2)
4. Section 7 of P.L.2004, c.16 (C.56:8-142) is amended to read as follows:
7. a. On or after December 31, 2005, every registered contractor who is engaged in home improvements shall secure, maintain and file with the director proof of a certificate of commercial general liability insurance in a minimum amount of $500,000 per occurrence.
b. Every registered contractor engaged in home improvements whose commercial general liability insurance policy is cancelled or nonrenewed shall submit to the director a copy of the certificate of commercial general liability insurance for a new or replacement policy which meets the requirements of subsection a. of this section before the former policy is no longer effective.
c. All home elevation contractors engaged in home elevations shall secure, maintain, and file with the director proof of a certificate of commercial general liability insurance in a minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence; and shall additionally carry insurance in the minimum amount of $500,000 per occurrence to cover the contents of the premises for any peril not covered in the homeowner’s insurance policy that could result from elevating the house.
(cf: P.L.2004, c.155, s.3)
5. (New section) The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, pursuant to the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), and in consultation with the Division of Codes and Standards in the Department of Community Affairs, shall promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act.
6. This act shall take effect immediately, but, except for section 5, shall remain inoperative until the first day of the second month next following enactment.
Many homeowners in New Jersey are currently planning on elevating their homes in order to protect against future flooding events. The work involved in raising a house to a higher level above the ground is a specific type of construction that has never been conducted in New Jersey on a scale comparable to what will be seen through the next several years. As a result, in order to protect homeowners, it is imperative for this State to implement new standards for contractors working on home elevations to ensure that those contractors are qualified to perform this important work, that they carry insurance sufficient to protect against unforeseen peril, and that the elevation work is conducted with equipment capable of lifting homes without frequent accidents or mishaps.
This bill would require any contractor offering services to elevate homes to be registered with the Division of Consumer Affairs as a home elevation contractor. To obtain this registration status, the contractor would need to have at least two years of field experience under the guidance of another experienced home elevation contractor. This bill would also require all home elevation contractors to use a unified jacking machine to complete each project. Unified jacking machines are capable of lifting the entire bulk of the structure in a simultaneous, synchronized manner, and have proven to be the most reliable, least accident-prone means of elevating buildings. Home elevation contractors would also be required to carry commercial general liability insurance in a minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence. Finally, these contractors would be required to carry an additional $500,000 in insurance to cover the contents of the premises for any potential peril not covered in the homeowner’s insurance policy that could result from elevating the house. The Division of Consumer Affairs would be required to promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this legislation.