California General Building Contractor

The law is ‘alive’. By that, I mean the rules and regulations contractors must follow change and evolve as time goes by. As our contractors learn today, some of those laws change often, some not so much. However, as any fisherman knows from experience, ‘living’ things can be slippery and hard to hold onto…

Q: One of your recent columns was very helpful to our company. I was hoping to get some clarification regarding general contractors being able to bid on projects for specialty work. Does this mean that contractors with a “B” license are able to bid on projects for specialty work (plumbing, electrical, concrete, etc.) as long as the contractor lists the specific subcontractor for that work? Thank you for your assistance with this question.

A: Yes, Code Section 7057 allows “B” contractors to take a contract or subcontract for a specialty trade if they hold the appropriate license classification (“C-36”, “C-10”, “C-8”, etc) or “subcontract with an appropriately licensed contractor to perform the work”.

Q: I am a member of my local Builder’s Exchange. I have a question about my “B” license. I want to subcontract to a General Contractor for the framing of a project. I know I can do this as a sub. But I also want to bid on the foundation (concrete) for the project. Can I give the Prime Contractor a bid for both the framing and the concrete with my “B” license? I thought I could but now I am worried that maybe something has changed.

A: Nothing has changed recently; however, substantial changes have been made to the general building contractor definition (B&P Section 7057) within the past decade. As a “B” you can certainly take a prime or subcontract for framing; however, to include concrete as a second trade would not be proper (unless you hold the “C-8” or list a subcontractor who is appropriately licensed). Any subcontract or bid should include TWO (2) or more unrelated trades OTHER than framing or carpentry. Please call me personally if you would like further information or clarification.

Q: I have been a corporate officer for an electrical contractor for 5 years. Can I apply for an examination waiver and if so what do I need to do? Under “Blueprint for Becoming a Licensed Contractor 2005 Edition” Item 27 says only immediate family members qualify for a waiver.

A: As of September 2003, being an officer of a corporation no longer allows you to apply for your own license with an exam waiver. B&P Section 7065.1(c) does however, allow — under strict circumstances — for corporate officers to apply to replace an existing qualifying individual with a waiver of the law and trade exams. You must be able to document continuous full time employment – in a supervisory capacity — for 5 of the prior 7 years; the license must have been active and in good standing for this time period; and the corporation may not have requested this waiver within the past 5 years.

Section (b) of this same Code section allows for an exam waiver by immediate family members to “continue the existing family business in the event of the absence or death of the licensee”. Again, other strict licensing requirements apply.