A, B, C Licenses

You can’t always believe what someone ‘knows’ to be true when it comes to contractor’s licensing. A large part of those rules and regulations are complex, depend on exact wording and how they’ve been interpreted and applied by the Board over time. I share a quick way to research what is fact and what is ‘rumor’. But first we begin with “A”, “B”, “C”…

Q: My company belongs to three builder’s exchanges and it is sometimes difficult to stay up with all that is going on. I read your recent ‘Q’ and ‘A’ and have a question of my own. My firm has an “A” and “B” license. There have been local opportunities for me to be a prime on projects requiring installation of irrigation lines, planting of trees, bushes and sod, etc. Do my licenses allow me to do this work as a prime? Do I need to have a landscape specialty license? Thank you in advance for your response.

A: Based on the information you’ve provided, I would say you need the landscaping (“C-27”) classification. I’m basing this on an assumption that you’re looking at smaller residential and commercial work.

By definition the “A” covers larger irrigation projects in connection with “fixed works requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill”. This could include golf courses, parks, playgrounds and other recreational facilities. The “B” would cover this work if it were part of an overall general building project. For instance, if you’re building a new home, you could also handle all the landscaping. The definition of a “B” contractor allows you to take a job of this nature as a prime if you sub-contract the work to a licensed “C-27”.

Q: I would like to take over my grandfather’s license. I understand I may be able to do this with a waiver of the exams. Is this possible?

A: As we discussed, while the CSLB will allow immediate family members (such as a grandson) to apply for a license to continue the family business, you unfortunately are not eligible for a waiver. Your grandfather’s license has been INACTIVE for much of the past 10 years. Section 7065.1 only allows for a waiver if the individual’s license “was active and in good standing for five of the seven years immediately preceding the application (for a new license).” In addition, you would need to have been actively engaged in your grandfather’s business for 5 of the past 7 years. While you have been employed in the construction trades for 6 years, my understanding is that your grandfather has never employed you.

My recommendation is to apply for a new license; take a few weeks to study; pass the required law and trade exams; and start your business with a new license number.

I often advise people to confirm ‘rumor’ or an ‘understanding’ like that of our previous questioner by calling the CSLB staff or visiting their website. Or, you can also quickly check up on a wide variety of topics including family waivers at www.cutredtape.com. Readers can search nearly a decade of prior ‘Capitol Connection’ columns by KEYWORD. This column has always been about helping the contractor. Now it is even more user friendly.