South Carolina Contractor Licenses

To do residential building over $200 and commercial building over $5,000 in South Carolina you must be licensed.

Contractor License Lookup in South Carolina

Where do you go when you want to lookup the license of a contractor in South Carolina? To find out if a contractor is licensed, go to and look under “contractors” and “residential home builders”. You may also call (803) 896-4696 for residential. To find out if a general or mechanical contractor (commercial) is licensed in South Carolina call (803) 896-4686. To find out if someone is licensed to do asbestos abatement work call (803) 734-4517.

To get an application for a residential builder’s license, contact:

South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
Residential Builders Commission
Synergy Business Park, Kingtree Building
110 Centerview Dr., Suite 102
Columbia, SC 29210
(803) 896-4696
Fax: 803-896-4404

You will have to pass an exam to get your license and you must have one year of work experience under the supervision of a licensed residential builder to take the exam. The exam is on plans, regulations, contracts, and standards.

Exams are given by PSI Examination Services. Contact them at:

PSI Examination Services 
(800) 733-9267
Fax: (818) 247-3853

Builder’s license fees: It will cost you $135 to file the application and $100 to take the exam. After you pass the exam, you’ll need to pay a $110 license fee and submit a surety bond for $15,000. The license expires July each year regardless of date issued.

If you have a license from another state whose requirements are comparable to South Carolina’s, the Commission may grant you a license without taking the exam. Check with the Commission on this.

In addition to licensing residential builders, the Commission also registers specialty contractors in the following 12 classifications at a cost of $50 and upon credit approval:

A residential specialty contractor is an independent contractor, who is not a licensed residential builder. The specialty contractor contracts with a licensed residential builder, general contractor, or individual property owner to do construction work, repairs, improvements, or re-improvements requiring special skills and involving the use of specialized construction trades or craft, when the undertakings exceed $200. If a specialty contractor performs work exceeding $5,000, the specialty contractor must obtain a surety bond in the amount of $5,000.

Recommended Reading for the Residential Builder’s LicenseInternational Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings, International Code Council Inc., Contact ICBO (800) 284-4406 or BOCA (800) 214-4231, or SBCCI (205) 591-1853

Carpentry and Building Construction,John L. Feirer et al., Glencoe Order Services, Mc Graw-Hill Publishing, Inc., PO Box 545, Blacklick, OH 43004-0545

The Contractor’s Guide to Quality Concrete Construction, American Concrete Institute, 38800 International Way/Country Club Drive, PO Box 9094, Farmington Hills, MI 48333

Modern Masonry, Kicklighter, Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc., 18604 W. Creek Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477-6243

Gypsum Construction Handbook, United States Gypsum Company, 125 South Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60680-4124,

HVAC Contractor 

For information on the HVAC license, contact:

South Carolina Residential Builders Commission
Residential Heating & Air Conditioning License
South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing
PO Box 11329
Columbia, S.C. 29211
Phone (803) 896-4696

The exam is given by:

PSI Examination Services 
(800) 733-9267
Fax: (818) 247-3853

HVAC license fees: It will cost $100 for the application processing fee. The exam fee is $100 and the license is $100. All licenses are renewable July 1st of each year.

You must also furnish an original surety bond in the amount of $10,000 with the license fee after passing the exam.

General or Mechanical Contractor

To do commercial, mechanical or general contracting work in South Carolina over $5,000 you must get a license from the South Carolina Contractors’ Licensing Board. You must be able to prove 2 years of “commercial” experience within the last 5 years.

South Carolina Contractors’ Licensing Board
PO Box 11329
Columbia, S.C. 29211
Phone (803) 896-4686

The Board issues these types of general contracting licenses:

General Classifications:

building contractor (limited)
general contractor (unlimited)

asphalt paving
concrete paving

Public utilities
water & sewer lines
water & sewer plants

boring & tunneling
interior renovation
structural framing
structural shapes
roofing, general
roofing, specialty
wood frame structures
metal buildings
swimming pools
public utility, electrical
boiler installation
glass & glazing

Mechanical Classifications:
lighting protection systems
air conditioning
pressure and process piping
packaged equipment

General or mechanical license fees: All licenses are effective from the date of issue to October 31st of that licensing period. It will cost $360 for a general contractor license and $175 for a mechanical contractor license.

You will have to pass a technical and a business management and law exam. To get an application for a license, contact PSI Exams at:

PSI Examination Services 
(800) 733-9267
Fax: (818) 247-3853

Check with the board for reciprocity with Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and Texas.

If you have a Building license in North Carolina you may be able to get your South Carolina license without taking the exam. Check with the Board on this.


To work on any asbestos or asbestos abatement project in South Carolina you must be licensed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). To get an application for a license contact:

Bureau of Air Quality
Department of Health and Environmental Control
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 898-4123
Fax: (803) 898-4117

The application is available online at

Here’s a table of the licenses DHEC issues and the cost of each:

 License Fee
Contractor $100
Supervisor $50
Worker $10
Consultant $100
Consultant/Project designer $100
Consultant/Building inspector $100
ConsultantManagement planner $100

All licenses except the contractor license require you to successfully complete Department-approved asbestos training courses. To get a contractor license you must certify that you employ a licensed supervisor. If you have a license and/or training from another state, the Department may accept it. Check with them about this. All licenses are good for one year.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

To bid on any South Carolina Department of Transportation construction project, you must be prequalified by the Department. You must also have a General Contractor and Bidder license from the South Carolina Contractor’s Licensing Board to win a contract with the Department. To get the Prime Contractor Prequalification Questionnaire, contact:

Contract Administrator
South Carolina Department of Transportation
955 Park Street
P. O. Box 191
Columbia, SC 29201-0191
(803) 737-2314

The Transportation Department will ask you for these items:

  • financial statement
  • which types of work you want to be prequalified for
  • disadvantaged business status of your firm
  • equal employment opportunity affidavit
  • your current and past work projects as a prime contractor
  • what equipment your firm owns or leases

You’ll also be asked which of the following types of work you want to be
prequalified in:

Paving Hydraulic embankments
Grading Jetties or groins
Bituminous surfacing Electrical work
Bridges Signs
Seeding and grassing General

The Department will use this information to give your company a prequalification rating based on your verified experience, net liquid assets, responsibility record, and available equipment for the types of work you select.

Out-of-State Corporations

Corporations doing business in South Carolina should register with the South Carolina Secretary of State to do business in the state. For information contact:

Corporation Department
Office of the Secretary of State
P. O. Box 11350
Columbia, SC 29211
(803) 734-2170
Fax (803) 734-2164

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