A recent legislative amendment to the Washington Contractor Registration Act (the “CRA”) underscores  the need for residential property developers to assess whether the development activities they perform on their Washington projects constitute those of a “contractor” and thus require registration with the Department of Labor and Industries. On April 22, 2015, Washington Governor Jay Inslee approved House Bill 1749, amending the definition of “contractor” in RCW 18.27.010.  The new law becomes effective July 24, 2015.

Prior to this legislation, the statute’s broad language required any person or entity, other than a residential homeowner, involved in improving property, at any level and in essentially any capacity, to be registered as a “contractor,” which imposed an onerous, likely unintended burden on residential developers or “house flippers” to register as “contractors” and applied regardless of whether such persons or entities actually hired a registered contractor to perform the improvement work on their property.

The new contractor registration statute reorganizes the applicable legal definitions and amends the original language by specifically excluding from the definition of “contractor” anyone contracting directly with a general contractor and not superintending the work.

Read the Stoel Rives Construction Law Alert here.