Chapter 05 - Contractors
Chapter 05 - Contractors
When used in this chapter:
(a) “Administrator” means the Contractors’ License administrator.
(b) “Board” means the Contractors’ License Board of American Samoa.
(c) “Contractor” means any person, firm, copartnership, corporation, association, or other organization, or any combination of any thereof, who for a fixed sum, price fee, percentage or other compensation other than wages, undertakes with another for the construction, alteration, repair, addition to, or improvement of any building, highway, road, excavation, or other structure, project, development or improvement, other than personality, or any part thereof. The term includes anyone who builds more than 1 structure on his own property during any 1 year for the purpose of sale and also any subcontractor, but does not include anyone who merely furnished materials or supplies without making the same into that which is to be constructed or using the same in the performance of the work of the contractor. The term also includes any person who by advertising, or otherwise, holds himself out as a contractor, but does not include persons regularly engaged as maintenance personnel to do casual, isolated, or incidental repairs.
(a) There is established the Contractors’ License Board of American Samoa, consisting of a chairman and 4 members, each to be nominated by the Governor and confirmed by concurrent resolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
(b) The chairman and members shall serve for terms of 4 years, except that the Governor shall designate 2 members of the original Board who shall serve for 2 years.
(c) If a vacancy on the Board occurs while the Legislature is not in session, the Governor may appoint an interim chairman or member to serve only until the adjournment of the next regular or special session of the Legislature.
The Board has power, subject to the provisions of this chapter, to:
(1) promulgate any regulations necessary for the maintenance of professional competence and ethical standards among contractors;
(2) prescribe by regulation the qualifications, requirements and limitations for the classes of contractors provided for in this chapter;
(3) upon review of action by the Administrator, issue or renew, limit, modify, suspend or revoke any license provided for in this chapter;
(4) hold hearings, compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses, order the production of documents and other tangible evidence, administer oaths, and cite for contempt.
There is established the position of Contractors’ License Administrator. The Administrator shall be a staff member of the Department of Public Works and designated by the Governor.
The Administrator has power, subject to the provisions of this chapter, to:
(1) investigate the qualifications and business operations of applicants for licenses under this chapter or of any licensee, and use any examination designed to test the qualifications and com-petence of applicants or licensees;
(2) issue, renew, refuse to issue, or renew, limit, modify, suspend, or revoke any license provided for in this chapter;
(3) prescribe forms and examinations to be used in the administration of this chapter and establish fees for licenses provided for in this chapter;
(4) recommend regulations to the Board and make any other recommendations to the Board concerning the administration of this chapter.
No person, firm, copartnership, corporation, association, or combination thereof may engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor without having a contractor’s license issued by the Board or the Administrator. Any person who violates this section shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.
There shall be the following 3 classifications of contractors’ licenses:
(1) general engineering contractor’s license;
(2) general building contractor’s license;
(3) specialty contractor’s license.
A general engineering contractor’s license shall authorize the licensee to engage principally in the contracting business in connection with fixed works for irrigation, drainage, water power, water supply, flood control, inland waterways, harbors, railroads, highways, tunnels, airports, airways, sewers, and bridges.
A general building contractor’s license shall authorize the licensee to engage principally in the building or superintendence of the building of any structure for support, shelter, and enclosure of persons, animals, chattels, or movable property of any kind. A licensee shall be competent in at least 3 unrelated and generally recognized building trades, all of which shall be specified in the license.
A specialty contractor’s license may be issued authorizing the licensee to engage in contracting for one or more unrelated and generally recognized building trades for which he is competent, each of which shall be specified in the license. A specialty contractor’s license may also be issued authorizing the licensee to engage in contracting for the building of specific types of structures or fixtures for which he is competent, each of which shall be specified in the license.
(a) Applications for new licenses must be filed with the Administrator, who shall investigate the qualifications of the applicant.
(b) The applicant is required to show sufficient experience, financial responsibility, and a general knowledge of the building, safety, and health laws of American Samoa and of rudi-mentary principles of the contracting business. In addition, the applicant is required to show substantial compliance with any other relevant qualifications or requirements in this chapter or any regulations promulgated hereunder.
(c) Within 30 days after an application has been filed, the administrator shall issue the license applied for, issue a modified or limited license, or refuse to issue a license.
An applicant or licensee is entitled to the license or renewal applied for if the applicant or licensee substantially complies with the relevant qualifications and requirements in this chapter and any regulations promulgated under this chapter, and if the applicant or licensee has not engaged in any of the grounds for refusal, revocation, suspension, modification, or limitation of license in 31.0513.
(a) A license may be refused, revoked, suspended, modified, or limited for any 1 or combination of the following grounds:
(1) abandonment of any contract without legal excuse;
(2) diversion of funds or property received under agreement for the prosecution or completion of a specific contract, or for a specific purpose in the prosecution of completion of any contract, and the application or use thereof for any other contract, obligation, or purpose;
(3) fraudulent departure from or disregard of plans or specifications in any material respect without consent of the owner; or any fraudulent act which substantially injures another;
(4) willful and deliberate violation of any applicable building code requirement or safety law;
(5) failure to substantially comply with any qualification or requirement in this chapter or in any regulation promulgated under this chapter.
(b) On his own motion, or on the complaint of any person, the Administrator may, after investigation, modify, limit, suspend, or revoke any license issued under this chapter for any 1 or combination of the grounds in (a) of this section.
(a) All licenses issued under this chapter expire on 31 December of each year.
(b) When an application for renewal has been filed with the Administrator, he shall, within 30 days thereafter, either renew the license, with or without modification, or refuse to renew the license.
(c) If an application for renewal is filed prior to the expiration of a license, the license remains valid after expiration until it is finally renewed, modified, limited, or refused by the Administrator or, in case a hearing is requested, by the Board.
(d) If an application for renewal is not filed within 6 months after expiration of a license, the licensee is required to apply for a new license.
Any applicant or licensee whose license is refused, revoked, suspended, modified, or limited by the Administrator, or who is otherwise adversely affected by any action by the Administrator, is entitled to a written copy of the Administrator’s decision setting forth the facts and reasons on which the refusal, revocation, suspension, modification, limitation, or other adverse action is based. The decision must also advise the applicant or licensee of his right to a hearing before the Board as provided in this chapter.
(a) Any applicant or licensee adversely affected by an action by the Administrator is entitled to a hearing before the Board if he files a written request for a hearing within 10 days after receiving a copy of the Administrator’s decision.
(b) A request for a hearing must state which specific findings of fact and reasons of the Administrator are contested, and the hearing must be confined to the issues raised by the request.
(c) If no timely request is filed, the Administrator’s decision is final and effective and the case may not thereafter be heard by the Board or reviewed by the High Court.
(d) After a hearing has been held, the Board shall dispose of the case on the basis of the evidence adduced.
(a) Any applicant or licensee whose license is modified, limited, refused, suspended, or revoked by the Board, or who is otherwise adversely affected by any action by the Board, is entitled to a written copy of the Board’s decision setting forth the facts and reasons on which the modification, limitation, refusal, suspension, revocation, or other adverse action is based.
(b) The decision must also contain a summary of the evidence on which the Board’s findings of fact are based.
(c) The Board’s decision, together with the decision of the administrator and any application or other papers filed by the applicant or licensee, constitute the record of proceedings before the Board. The Board may, in its discretion, include in the record any other material properly received at the hearing.
(a) Any applicant or licensee aggrieved by a decision of the Board may petition the appellate division of the High Court of American Samoa to review the decision. A copy of the petition must be served on the Board.
(b) Within 30 days after service of the petition, the Board must file the record of proceedings with the court. The review by the court is confined to the record. Upon request by any party, the court must receive briefs and hear oral argument. On motion of any party, the court may, in its discretion, receive any evidence necessary to supplement the record.
(c) A petition for review may be filed not later than 10 days after a copy of the Board’s decision has been served on the applicant or licensee.
(d) The filing of a petition does not stay the action of the Board, but the Board may grant or the court may order a stay on appropriate terms.
(a) The Attorney General serves as legal counsel to the Administrator. In such capacity he may not counsel or advise the Board or any member of the Board.
(b) After the Board has reached a decision in a case, the Attorney General shall serve as counsel to the Board in any judicial review of that decision.
(a) The Administrator, the members of the Board, and employees and agents of the Adminis-trator or the Board, acting in good faith and without malice in the discharge of their duties under this chapter, may not be personally liable, and are relieved of all personal liability, for any damage which may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required by, or by reason of any act or omission in, the discharge of such duties.
(b) Any suit brought against a person relieved of liability under this section because of an act or omission from which he is relieved of liability under this section shall be defended by the Attorney General.
This chapter does not apply to:
(1) authorized representatives of the Government of the United States or the Government of American Samoa, or of any political subdivision or political or municipal corporation of either government;
(2) officers of a court acting in their official capacity;
(3) regulated public utilities performing construction work incidental to their business;
(4) persons building structures for their own use.