Water Remediation Licensing…

If a company cleans up after a flood is it ‘construction’ requiring a license? An excellent question to get the answers started. Do you know what limits exist for general contractors who want to use their license for specialty work? Another contractor is ‘fed’ up with confusion over a public works bid…

Q: What is the correct license for “Water Damage Remediation” work? Essentially when you have a flood in your home we come in and clean up the mess. We remove damaged carpet, baseboards and other finish carpentry, ceramic tile etc. Often we need to remove drywall including the damaged insulation. We do not alter the “structure” of the home or office building. We are not involved in the reconstruction of the home only the clean up. Large companies that are involved in our business have a general class “B” license. We do not have framing experience and are not in the construction business so we really don’t need a class “B”. We have found a few companies that use the “C-21” license. Would we be able to operate under a “C-21” license?

A: The “C-21”, (Building Moving and Demolition) classification would be proper for the work you describe. A “B” license could handle this, however, you would likely have difficulty qualifying to sit for the general contractor exam. I am not aware of any other classification(s) that would allow you to handle this work unless you held several specialties (such as drywall, tile, flooring, etc.)

Q: On a public works project, can a “B” licensed general contractor perform his own electrical work without a “C-10”?

A: Yes, the work can be self-performed if the project involves electrical and at least one or more additional unrelated trades (other than carpentry). If the project were ONLY electrical, then it would not be proper for the “B” to handle this. If a general is bidding a public works project and does not intend on self-performing the work, the company should list a qualified sub-contractor.

Q: We have a bid next month and have formed a new corporation. We think we need a new contractor’s license; however, the public works project contains some federal funding? Our questions: Do we even need a license? If so, do we need it at the time our bid is submitted?

A: Yes, you’ll need a contractor’s license unless the project is 100% federally funded and fully on federal property. B&P Code 7028.15 addresses your second question. In most cases it is a misdemeanor to submit a bid to a public agency unless you’re a properly licensed contractor. However, there are a few exceptions including one circumstance that references Section 20103.5 of the Public Contract Code.

This states in part, “In all contracts where federal funds are involved, no bid submitted shall be invalidated by the failure of the bidder to be licensed in accordance with the laws of this state.” This section goes on to say, “however, at the time the contract is awarded, the contractor shall be properly licensed (and) the first payment for work or material under any contract shall not be made unless and until the Registrar of Contractors verifies to the agency that the records of the Contractors’ State License Board indicate that the contractor was properly licensed at the time the contract was awarded.

Failure of the bidder to obtain proper and adequate licensing for an award of a contract shall constitute a failure to execute the contract and shall result in the forfeiture of the security of the bidder.” To my readers if you have a doubt about whether a project includes federal funding, contact the awarding authority to clear up any question.