Administrative Law

Federal, state and local agencies are granted their powers through Constitution or statutes. These agencies promulgate complex rules and regulations to execute this delegated authority.  Administrative rules and regulations are created to protect a public interest rather than to vindicate private rights. Within the administrative and regulatory area of law, the attorneys of HSLC can assist individuals and entities in understanding and complying with these legal requirements, and under more limited circumstances, our practice includes assisting clients in challenging a government action. Our attorneys have experience with many different agencies, not limited to, but including the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, North Carolina Department of Justice, North Carolina Industrial Commission, licensing boards such as the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors, North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors, North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, North Carolina Department of Insurance, and county, city and municipal planning departments. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is Administrative Law?

Administrative law encompasses laws and legal principles governing the administration and regulation of government agencies, both federal and state. Such agencies are delegated power by Congress or the NC Legislature, respectively, to act as agents for the government. Generally, administrative agencies are created to protect a public interest rather than to vindicate private rights.

2.  What is the standard of law applied to administrative rulings?

The legal constraints on government action do not depend solely on the particular agency at issue, but also on general principles of administrative law, such as what constitutes “arbitrary and capricious” agency action, when notice and comment rulemaking is required and what an agency must do to satisfy it.

3.  Do I need a license prior to bidding on a construction project?

If the project costs $30,000 or more, you will need a license before submitting a bid (NCGS 87-1).

 4.  Can I build my own house without a license?

If the land is in your name and the home is solely to be occupied by you and your family for 12 months after completion, you may build your own home without a license. (NCGS 87-1)

 5.  How does someone file charges against a general contractor?

Any person may prefer charges or file a complaint against a general contractor. Complaints must be properly completed on forms provided by the Board, signed and returned to the Board office. All complaints received by the Board office are reviewed and assigned to a field investigator for an investigation.

Once a complaint is received, written notice of the complaint and the charges are then forwarded to the licensee or general contractor for a response. Following a preliminary review of the complaint the investigator may gather additional evidence by making an inspection of the construction project or the work in question. Field investigators also may interview the contractor, fact witnesses or other individuals who are familiar with the case. When an investigation is completed the case is forwarded to the Board’s Review Committee, which then determines whether probable cause exists to recommend that the case be presented to the full Board for a disciplinary hearing. The Board may impose discipline by revoking or suspending the license of the general contractor based on a finding of gross negligence, incompetence, misconduct, or willful violations of the licensing laws. If the general contractor is not licensed to practice general contracting, the Board may only seek entry of a permanent injunction against the contractor in Superior Court. The Board’s disciplinary statutes, which describe these procedures, are found at North Carolina General Statutes 87-11(a), 87-13 and 87-13.1.