Interpretation of “B” Classification

While the rules and regulations guiding contractors licensing are written in black and white, there exist gray areas in the law. A sharp contractor has been ‘reading between the lines’ and discovered an ‘inconvenient truth’, with apologies to Al Gore, that may be of interest. Contractors can also benefit from learning about the new training available to help manage site runoff in the effort to reduce groundwater pollution from their jobs…

Q: We have recently seen an interpretation of the work a “B” License can undertake as a Prime Contractor based on Paragraph B of the CSLB definition. Several owners have allowed a “B” License to bid as a prime contractor on traditional “A” works as long as the “B” license “subcontracts with an “A” licensed or a “C-**” licensed ” contractor for the work. They’re saying that for a “B” contractor to be a prime requiring “2 additional trades in addition to framing” does not apply and is overruled by the second paragraph. This seems to allow general building contractors to bid on any job, regardless of trade, number of subcontractors, etc.

Is this interpretation correct regarding the “B” classification’s ability to perform work as a prime contractor? Thanks for your explanation.

A: You may have hit upon an unintended consequence resulting from a 2002 amendment to B&P Code Section 7057. In my review of the 2000 Contractors License Law and Reference Book, paragraph (b) states in part…. “shall not take a prime contract for any project involving trades other than framing or carpentry…or unless the general building contractor holds the appropriate SPECIALTY license or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed SPECIALTY contractor to perform the work” (emphasis added). In the 2004 Reference Book, the wording had changed to “…holds the appropriate classification or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed contractor to perform the work”. The word “specialty” has been removed.

Therefore, it would appear a loophole exists whereby a “B” general builder can properly be the prime contractor on a general engineering project if they use an appropriately licensed “A” or combination of appropriately licensed “C” contractors. This being said, I would not agree with the second part of your question that this “allows “B” contractors to bid on any job, regardless of trade, number of subcontractors, etc.” There are still some restrictions regarding the “B” acting as a subcontractor or handling work that would fall under the “C-16” (Fire Protection) or “C-57” (Well Drilling) trades. Further, in reference to your mention of “two additional trades, in addition to framing”, please note that section 7057 requires these two (or more) trades be “UNRELATED”.

The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of California recently announced a training program for contractors interested in developing a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). Regional Water Resources Control Boards have established this training for contractors to comply with Construction General Permit requirements.

These “SWPPP” typically contain a site map that shows: the construction site perimeter, existing and proposed buildings and roadways, storm water collection and discharge points and drainage patterns throughout the project. The Plan’s goal is to reduce and control the amount of pollutants entering the storm drain system from construction sites.

The upcoming training is on Friday, December 1st in West Sacramento. For more information, contact the AGC at 916-371-2442. You may also want to visit the State Water Resources Control Board’s “Storm Water Program” web site for general information on Construction Storm Water Programs, Construction General Permits and their nine Regional Boards throughout California.

Guidelines for Removing Lead-Based Paint

You’ve heard the old expression, get the lead out. Well today I lead you to guidelines for removing old, hazardous lead-based paints complete with a web link to the State of California. Do you have a sole proprietor license? Would you like to expand your opportunity by becoming a qualifier for a new company? If so, you should know the either-or limitations on your options before making a commitment

Q: I am currently a licensed contractor in CA. holding the C-10 and B classifications. I run my own sole prop business but also want to collaborate with another business using my C-10 license to qualify. I will be involved running operations and consulting on projects with this business. How will this affect my existing license? Would it be better to be a RME or a RMO? The other business is a corporation that recently lost their qualifier.

A: You can replace this company’s previous qualifier as a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) and maintain your present license if you own 20% or more of the corporation. If you own less than this amount, the CSLB will require you to inactivate your existing sole owner license. If you are hired as a Responsible Managing Employee (RME), you MUST inactivate your current license.

Q: What certification, if any, is required in California to perform lead abatement? Would this fall under the CSLB “HAZ” certification? If not, what agency regulates it and how would someone verify that a company is properly certified? Thanks for the valuable information.

A: The California Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch — in the State Department of Health Services (CDHS) — published guidelines that will go a long way towards answering your question. According to their web site “certification is now required for all those doing lead hazard evaluations, lead abatement plan preparation, lead abatement work and lead clearance inspections for residential and public buildings in California.”

Prior to these regulations being established, contractors involved in lead-related construction activities were in limbo. While the CSLB has long had certifications for Hazardous Substance and Asbestos removal, they had no specific jurisdiction over lead abatement and removal.

In general, CHDS has established several Certificate categories including Inspector/Assessor (I/A) and Project Monitor (PM). The I/A certificate is for those who plan to inspect buildings for lead and assess the type of lead hazards in those buildings. Project Monitors are those who plan to oversee lead-related construction work to ensure that specifications are followed.

The most relevant to contractors may be the Supervisor and Worker certifications. The Supervisor certificate is for those who plan to supervise daily work activities or perform lead abatement activities on a lead-related construction work site and/or prepare lead abatement plans. This certificate is also for those who plan to supervise repainting or general construction performed on lead-based paint surfaces. The Worker certificate is for anyone who plans to perform lead abatement activities — under the direction of a supervisor — including repainting or general construction on lead-based paint surfaces.

For detailed training and eligibility requirements and application forms, I suggest visiting the above referenced web site (also linked at ) and/or calling the CDHS Lead-Related Construction Information Line at 1-800-597-LEAD (1-800-597-5323).