Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

Musings: Moving or Going into a New Service Area, There is More to It Than Just…

sls-logo-header1For this week’s Guest Post Friday here at Construction Law Musings, we would like to welcome back (again) Sean Lintow Sr. (@The_HTRC) Sean has over 20 years in the construction and project management fields. As many know he pulled up stakes and moved to the State of Illinois almost a year ago where he still focuses on the “green” / energy efficiency markets by helping builders & trade professionals to improve their methods not only locally but nationally. Currently he is RESNET Rater, AEE CEA (Certified Energy Auditor), ENERGY STAR partner & verifier, EPA Indoor airPLUS verifier, Level 2 Infrared Thermographer, Volunteer Energy Rater for Habitat for Humanity, and Builders Challenge Partner & Verifier.

I would like to thank Chris for inviting me back as a guest poster. One item that struck a bell with me lately was his recent post for contractors considering work in another state is to check that states contractor licensing laws. Part of me was just saying – ahh if it were just that simple… With that in mind, here are some additional thoughts of mine along with advice picked up and given to others considering a move to greener pastures in another state, another town or maybe even taking that sweet little project outside of your current area that seems too good to pass up.


Yep this is a no-brainer – but unfortunately, as I pointed out in a 2012 piece it isn’t always that simple as in some cases the state may not require licensing and instead leave it to the towns which can be real fun to figure out. How long will it take to obtain? Ahh, but what about other licenses that a township may require? Working on a pre-78 house – is the state a self-managed one or is your current EPA certificate and training good enough? (Living in a self-managed state but working on an Indian Reservation? Well you will need to be EPA certified) Does the area require a specialty Storm Water Certificate or???

Codes & other Regulations:

While many states do adopt codes on a statewide basis, many allow the local jurisdictions to modify them or adopt tougher provisions. I would recommend calling the AHJ or Authority Having Jurisdiction to find out not only what code they are using but if there are any special amendments to be aware of. Don’t forget to ask about the cost, any special filing requirements, and what inspections are required / how to order. The ICC has a good list that they continuously update available – here.

One of the other big issues that I have seen throw many for a loop is someone deciding to take on a vacation home near a coast, river or other area and them running into additional requirements dealing with drainage, impervious surface area, geotechnical measures, &/or storm water management. Not only does this add to engineering costs, lengthy review processes but also additional site measures needing to be taken. Heh on the flip side, do you think those stories on dealing with hysterical err historical commissions are overblown – well in some cases they are, others…

Climate Zone & other Environmental Factors:

Some of the biggest issues I have seen are caused by great contractors who simply assumed that what works great where they are will work everywhere. From increased humidity and moisture concerns to wind and snow loads issues can change dramatically in the space of just a few miles. In many cases the Building Department will be a good guide or even sites like mine.


Some states like Arizona require you to collect taxes on the entire project while other localities may have a local tax license you must buy. If you happen to work (or have moved to) in a different state be prepared to keep two sets of books and possibly creating a new company. For this I recommend you talk to not only your accountant but also a lawyer.

For those that maybe staying in a motel for a project, don’t forget to find out what the full price is as some towns have special taxes which can really add up. For those that are moving, make sure you consider checking into what property & auto taxes are.


I got to say one of the biggest issues I have had in the past is finding new trade partners (aka sub-contractors.) Be forewarned this can take time & it would be worth checking in with some of the local associations – whether it is NARI, NAHB, AGC, etc… You may also wish to talk with their government / regulatory liaison and others as they can help you with many of the items above. One last group to consider – the local Chamber of Commerce.

With that I would like to once again thank Chris for the opportunity to post once again. If you are reading this because you wish to pull up stakes or simply expand your area, I wish you the best of luck.

As always, Sean and I welcome your comments below. Please subscribe to keep up with this and other Guest Post Fridays at Construction Law Musings.

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4 Responses to Musings: Moving or Going into a New Service Area, There is More to It Than Just…

  1. […] One of the best things about doing guest posts is it allows one to write about something that they might not cover normally. No more so is this true when one is asked to write a musing on Christopher’s Hill site Construction Law Musings. This marks my fifth musing and revolves around what does it take to successfully move or expand ones business into a new area. So with no further ado besides a big thanks to Chris for another opportunity: Musings: Moving or Going into a New Service Area, There is More to It Than Just… […]

  2. Great article on an important topic. You guys probably know what my comment is going to be about here. :). Lien laws!

    Would be a bummer to get everything right in the new service area and then not get paid, right? And then when you go to get paid, realize too late that there are different lien and bond claim requirements.

    We wrote about this topic here:
    Challenges of Business Expansion & Where Mechanics Liens Fits In

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