Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) has introduced Senate Bill 20-26, a legislative measure that would require all construction firms in the CNMI to obtain a license to do business in the Commonwealth.
Manglona said his bill is a “public protection against the incompetent, inexperienced, unlawful, and unfair practices of contractors with whom they may contract.”
He said SB 20-26, if it becomes a law, would add one new member to the Board of Professional Licensing that would represent the contractors and would appoint a Department of Public Work’s Building and Safety Code Division officer as a non-voting member.
“The member representing the contractors must be actively engaged in the contracting business in the Commonwealth for a period of not less than five years preceding the date of their appointment,” added Manglona.
BPL has the authority to regulate and license contractors in the CNMI. It also licenses and regulates architects, engineers, land surveyors, landscape architects, contractors, and real property appraisers.
SB 20-26 defines contractors as persons who engage in bidding for projects in construction, alteration, repair, moving, or demolition of buildings, highways, roads, railroads or any type of fixed structure.
This includes excavation sites, development and erection of scaffolding, and general contractors.
The term contractor includes subcontractors and any person connected in general engineering, building, or specialty contractors that perform the activities listed above.
SB 20-26 also classifies contracting businesses as those involved in general engineering contracting, general building contracting, and specialty contracting.
The board will oversee the applications for licensure and shall be signed and sworn to under penalty of perjury by the applicant. The board shall also provide the licensing fees.
“The board shall provide by rules and regulations the qualifications and requirements for licensure for each type of contractor branch. In the case of a partnership, joint venture, or corporation, any partner, member, or officer thereof may sign the application and verify the same on behalf of the applicant,” said Manglona.