Specialty Work & General Rules

Walking a fine ‘line’ is one of the skills some contractors ‘utilize’ in taking on work that may be a little outside their specific license. The question of how many trades a General can take on is sometimes subject to debate when contract dollars are at stake. First, I suggest all those who qualify a license learn to protect themselves in this contractor’s question…

Q: I will be leaving my company at the end of the month. Must a company advise the California State Licensing Board in writing that they have dismissed their Responsible Managing Employee (RME)? I would assume they do, but would appreciate your advice.

A: The Company should notify the CSLB in writing within 90-days that the RME has left the license. I would suggest however, that as the Qualifier, you take it upon yourself to complete and file the required ‘Disassociation Notice’.

Q: According to CSLB…”A general building contractor may take a prime contract or a subcontract for a framing or carpentry project. However, a general building contractor shall not take a prime contract for any project involving trades other than framing or carpentry unless the prime contract requires at least two unrelated building trades or crafts other than framing or carpentry, or unless the general building contractor holds the appropriate license classification or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed specialty contractor to perform the work.”

If a “B” contractor is going to do a number of “different” jobs for the same homeowner including work in various trades like painting, masonry, and concrete then does that fall under the above definition or would the “B” contractor be going against the rules since the jobs are done separately? Thank you.

A: In my opinion, if a “B” intends on doing a number of different jobs over a period of time then he should hold the proper specialty class or “subcontract with an appropriately licensed specialty contractor to perform the work”. I believe these contracts for painting, masonry, concrete and any other trade would be considered separately and therefore the General would not be performing “at least two unrelated building trades or crafts” on each project.

Q: An issue may be arising regarding our “C-10” license. Our company has been working on a project involving a power generation facility. We hold the Electrical classification; however, someone has now told us we should hold the “A” instead. Some of our folks are beginning to worry and I was hoping you could shed some light on this issue.

A: Thank you for your email. Without knowing all the particulars, I cannot tell for certain if either the “C-10” or “A” or both classifications would be proper. However, a number of years ago, I was an expert witness involving a case where the main issue appears to be similar to yours.

In that dispute the primary question hinged on whether a “C-10” could install large overhead utility transmission lines and towers. One side said the “A” was absolutely required while the other party argued either class was proper. My expert position was that while the “A” can certainly perform work on “powerhouses, power plants and other utility plants and installations”, by definition, the “C-10” could legally “place, install, erect or connect any electrical wires, fixtures, ……which generate, transmit, transform or utilize electrical energy in any form or for any purpose” – including transmission lines and poles. Please call me if your folks are still worried.

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