Article 16.

Professional Housemoving.

§ 20-356.  Definitions.

As used in this Article, the following terms mean:

(1)        Department. - The Department of Transportation.

(2)        House. - A dwelling, building, or other structure in excess of 15 feet in width. Mobile homes, manufactured homes, or modular homes, or portions thereof, are not within this definition when being transported from the manufacturer or from a licensed retail dealer location to the first set-up site.

(3)        Housemover. - A person licensed under this Article.

(4)        Person. - An individual, corporation, partnership, association, or any other business entity.

(5)        Secretary. - The Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

(6)        Unsafe practices. - Any act that is determined by a final agency decision of an enforcing agency or by a court of competent jurisdiction to create a hazard to the motoring public, or any citations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act that have become a final order within the last three years for willful serious violations or for failing to abate serious violations, as defined in G.S. 95-127.  (1977, c. 720, s. 1; 1979, c. 475, s. 2; 2001-424, s. 27.17(a); 2005-354, s. 1; 2008-89, s. 1.)


§ 20-357.  Housemovers to be licensed.

All persons who engage in the profession of housemoving on roads and highways on the State Highway System shall be licensed by the Department. (1977, c. 720, s. 2.)


§ 20-358.  Qualifications to become licensed.

The Department shall issue annual printed licenses to applicants meeting the following conditions:

(1)        The applicant must be at least 21 years of age; present acceptable evidence of good character and show sufficient housemoving experience on the application form furnished by the Department. Proof of creditable housemoving experience must be furnished at the time of application for those applicants not previously licensed by the Department. Creditable housemoving experience means extensive and responsible training gained by the applicant while engaged actively and directly on a full-time basis in the moving of houses and structures on public roads and highways with at least five years of experience. Examples of the capacity in which a person may work in gaining experience include the following in building moving operations:

a.         Moving superintendent,

b.         Moving foreman, and

c.         General mechanic and helper in the housemoving profession or trade.

To comply with the requirement of proof of creditable housemoving experience, each applicant not previously licensed under this Article shall submit to the Department an affidavit from a certified public accountant that the applicant has documented employment records for a period of five continuous years from a person or persons licensed by this State or another state for housemoving. Each applicant not previously licensed under this Article shall also submit to the Department affidavits from a person or persons licensed in this State or another state in housemoving, who have employed the applicant in housemoving, providing in detail the applicant's full-time experience, including any supervisory duties and experience, in housemoving.

(2)        Repealed by Session Laws 1981, c. 818, s. 3.

(3)        The applicant must furnish proof that all of the vehicles, excluding "beams and dollies" and "hauling units," to be used in the movement of buildings, structures, or other extraordinary objects wider than 15 feet have met the requirements of G.S. 20-183.2 pertaining to the equipment inspection of motor vehicles; provided that the "beams and dollies" and "hauling units" are excluded from inspection under G.S. 20-183.2 and, further, are not required to be equipped with brakes.

(4)        The applicant must exhibit his federal employer's identification number.

(5)        The applicant must pay an annual license fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00).  (1977, c. 720, s. 3; 1981, c. 818, s. 3; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 813, s. 2; 2005-354, s. 2; 2008-89, s. 2.)


§ 20-359.  Effective period of license.

A license issued hereunder shall be effective from date of issuance and expire on July 31 of each year and shall be renewable on an annual basis. (1977, c. 720, s. 4; 2005-354, s. 3.)


§ 20-359.1.  Insurance requirements.

(a)        No license shall be issued or renewed pursuant to this Article unless the applicant files with the Department a certificate or certificates of insurance, from an insurance company or companies authorized to do business in this State, providing:

(1)        Motor vehicle insurance for bodily injury to or death of one or more persons in any one accident and for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident with minimum coverage of three hundred fifty thousand dollars ($350,000) combined single limit of liability;

(2)        Comprehensive general liability insurance with a minimum coverage of three hundred fifty thousand dollars ($350,000) combined single limit of liability, including coverage of operations on North Carolina streets and highways that are not covered by motor vehicle insurance; and

(3)        Workers' compensation insurance that complies with Chapter 97 for all employees if the person is licensed as a professional housemover. The exemptions in G.S. 97-13 from the provisions of Chapter 97 shall not apply to licensed professional housemovers.

(b)        The certificate or certificates shall provide for continuous coverage during the effective period of the license issued pursuant to this Article. At the time the certificate is filed, the applicant shall also file with the Department a current list of all motor vehicles covered by the certificate. The applicant shall file amendments to the list within 15 days of any changes.

(c)        An insurance company issuing any insurance policy required by subsection (a) of this section shall notify the Department of any of the following events at least 30 days before its occurrence: (i) cancellation of the policy, (ii) nonrenewal of the policy, or (iii) any change in the policy.

(d)       In addition to all coverages required by this section, the applicant shall file with the Department a copy of either: (i) a bond or other acceptable surety providing coverage in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for the benefit of a person contracting with the housemover to move that person's structure for all claims for property damage arising from the movement of a structure pursuant to this Article, or (ii) a policy of cargo insurance in the amount of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). (1981, c. 818, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 813, s. 1.)


§ 20-360.  Requirements for permit.

(a)        Persons licensed as professional housemovers shall also be required to secure a permit from the Department for every move undertaken on the State Highway System of roads; that permit shall be issued by the Department after determining that the applicant is (i) properly licensed, (ii) furnished special surety bonds as required by the Department, and (iii) complying with such other regulations as required by the Department.

(b)        It shall be the duty of the applicant to see that the "beams and dollies" and "hauling units" used shall be constructed with proper material in a suitable manner and utilized so as to provide for the safety of the general public and the structure being relocated. Any violation of this duty may result in suspension or revocation of his license by the Department.

(c)        A license shall not be required for an individual owner of a towing vehicle moving their own buildings from or to property owned individually by those persons; however, a permit will be required for all moves.

(d)       Licensed housemovers shall furnish front and rear certified escort vehicles on all moves, one or both of which may be a marked police, sheriff or State Highway Patrol vehicle as determined by the issuing agent, or one or two properly equipped certified escort vehicles depending on the number of law-enforcement vehicles escorting the move; escort vehicles shall operate where possible at a distance of 300 feet from the structure being moved; that this interval will be closed in cities and other congested areas to protect other traffic from the swing of the load at corners and turns, and the certified escort vehicles shall comply with all restrictions as provided on the permit secured for movement of the structure. (1977, c. 720, s. 5; 1981, c. 818, s. 2; 2005-354, s. 4.)


§ 20-361.  Application for permit and permit fee.

Application for a permit to move a structure must be made to the division or district engineer having jurisdiction at least two days prior to the date of the move. For good cause shown, this time may be waived by the district or division engineer. A travel plan and a permit application fee of twenty dollars ($20.00) shall accompany the application. Division or district engineers are authorized to issue permits for individual moves of a structure or building whose width does not exceed 36 feet. The travel plan will show the proposed route, the time estimated for each segment of the move, a plan to handle traffic so that no one delay to other highway users shall exceed 20 minutes. The division or district engineers shall review the travel plan and if the route cannot accommodate the move due to roadway weight limits, bridge size or weight limits, or will cause undue interruption of traffic flow, the permit shall not be issued. The applicant may submit alternate plans if desired until an acceptable route is determined. If the width of the building or structure to be relocated is more than 36 feet, or if no acceptable travel plan has been filed, and the denial of the permit would cause a hardship, the application and travel plan may be submitted to the Department on appeal. After reviewing the route and travel plan, the Department may in its discretion issue the permit after considering the practical physical limitations of the route, the nature and purpose of the move, the size and weight of the structure, the distance the structure is to be moved, and the safety and convenience of the traveling public. A surety bond in an amount to cover the cost of any damage to the pavement, structures, bridges, roadway or other damages that may occur can be required if deemed necessary by the Department. (1977, c. 720, s. 6; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 813, s. 3.)


§ 20-362.  Liability of housemovers.

The permittee assumes all responsibility for injury to persons or damage to property of any kind and agrees to hold the Department harmless for any claims arising out of his conduct or actions. (1977, c. 720, s. 7.)


§ 20-363.  Removal and replacement of obstructions.

All obstructions, including mailboxes, traffic signals, signs, and utility lines will be removed immediately prior to and replaced immediately after the move at the expense of the mover. Any property, real or personal, to be removed, which is not located in the right-of-way, shall not be removed until the owner is notified and arrangements for and approval from the owner are obtained.  (1977, c. 720, s. 8; 2008-89, s. 3.)


§ 20-364.  Route changes.

Irrespective of the route shown on the permit, an alternate route will be followed:

(1)        If directed by a peace officer.

(2)        If directed by a uniformed officer assigned to a weigh station to follow a route to a weighing device.

(3)        If the specified route is officially detoured. Should a detour be encountered, the driver shall check with the office issuing permit on which he is traveling prior to proceeding. (1977, c. 720, s. 9; 2004-124, s. 18.3(d).)


§ 20-365.  Loading or parking on right-of-way.

The object to be transported will not be loaded, unloaded, nor parked, day or night, on highway right-of-way without specific permission from the district or division engineer. (1977, c. 720, s. 10.)


§ 20-366.  Effect of weather.

No move will be made when atmospheric conditions render visibility lower than safe for travel. Moves will not be made when highway is covered with snow or ice, or at any time travel conditions  are considered unsafe by the Department or Highway Patrol or other law-enforcement officers having jurisdiction. (1977, c. 720, s. 11.)


§ 20-367.  Obtaining license or permit by fraud.

The permit may be voided if any conditions of the permit are violated. Upon any violation, the permit must be surrendered and a new permit obtained before proceeding. Misrepresentation of information on application to obtain a license, fraudulently obtaining a permit, alteration of a permit, or unauthorized use of a permit will render the permit void. (1977, c. 720, s. 12.)


§ 20-368.  Municipal regulations.

All moves on streets on the municipal system of streets shall comply with local regulations. (1977, c. 720, s. 13.)


§ 20-369.  Out-of-state licenses and permits.

An out-of-state person, partnership, or corporation engaging in the structural moving business may apply to the Department for a license to engage in the housemoving profession in North Carolina, and obtain permits for moves by complying with the provisions of this Article and the regulations of the Department in the same manner as is required of North Carolina residents and by showing that the state in which the housemover operates his business extends similar privileges to housemovers licensed in North Carolina. (1977, c. 720, s. 14; 1979, c. 475, s. 1.)


§ 20-370.  Speed limits.

The speed of moves will be that which is reasonable and prudent for the load, considering weight and bulk, under conditions existing at the time. (1977, c. 720, s. 15.)


§ 20-371.  Penalties.

(a)        Any person violating the provisions of this Article or the regulations of the Department governing housemoving shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(b)        The Department is hereby authorized in the name of the State to apply for relief by injunction, in the established manner provided in cases of civil procedure, without bond, to enforce the provisions of this Article, or to restrain any violation thereof. In such proceedings, it shall not be necessary to allege or prove either that an adequate remedy at law does not exist, or that substantial or irreparable damage would result from the continued violation thereof.  (1977, c. 720, s. 16; 1993, c. 539, s. 392; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2008-89, s. 4.)


§ 20-372.  Invalid section; severability.

If any of the provisions of this Article, or if the application of such provisions to any person or circumstance shall be held invalid, the remainder of this Article and the application of such provision of this Article other than those as to which it is held valid, shall not be affected thereby. (1977, c. 720, s. 17.)


§ 20-373.  Reserved for future codification purposes.


§ 20-374.  Unsafe practices.

(a)        If the Department determines that a housemover has engaged in unsafe practices, all licenses, permits, and authorizations issued to the person pursuant to this Article shall be revoked for a period of six months.

(b)        Any person whose license, permit, or authorization issued under this Article is revoked pursuant to this section may request a hearing to be held before the Secretary or a person designated by the Secretary. The licensee shall be notified in writing no less than 10 days prior to the hearing of the time and place of the hearing. At the hearing, the parties shall be given an opportunity to present evidence on issues of fact, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and present arguments on issues of law. The decision of the Secretary or of the person designated by the Secretary shall be final. Any person aggrieved by the final decision may seek judicial review of the decision in accordance with the provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.  (2008-89, s. 5.)


§ 20-375.  Reserved for future codification purposes.