California General Contractors

Readers know that space limitations sometimes reduce how much specific information can be provided for any inquiry. I welcome any questions or need for additional input at any time on the ‘Q&A’ you read here. Hearing from readers is one of the best parts of writing this column. I answer a reader’s request and add to a recent inquiry on “B” licenses¦

Q: I was reading your Q & A for contractor’s column, posted on our local Builder’s Exchange. On the question of whether a “B” license could do electrical work (on a public contract), you stated that he could self-perform the work if the project involved electrical and at least one or more additional unrelated trades. You failed to mention that this work must be done by a certified electrician regardless of who is handling it. So yes, they can do the work but they still need to be certified with the State.

A: Thank you for your email. I appreciate this opportunity to clarify my response from a recent column.

The ‘Certification’ you’re referring to is required if the licensed contractor holds a “C-10” classification. If the “B” were self-performing the work, then his employees would not need to be certified with the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS). However, it the contractor lists a “C-10” sub, then that contractor’s employees must hold the state issued certification.

Q: I know we must register our corporation with the Secretary of State but what about the partnership we just formed? An attorney told us it would be a good idea to also register this company. Is this required?

A: First, I would defer to your attorney on all matters related to filing legal documents with the Secretary of State (SOS). While I deal extensively with the SOS, I am not an attorney and therefore, do not dispense legal advice.

You did not mention whether this is a limited or general partnership, which is important since they’re potentially treated differently.

It is my understanding that all Limited Partnerships (LP) must register with the SOS whereas, according to the CA Secretary of State’s web site, “All general partnership statements filed with the Secretary of State’s Office …. are permissive and not mandatory, at this time.”

Let’s update legislation previously covered in this column and a proposal being discussed by the CSLB.

The Governor signed SB 354 (Margett) last month. This new law authorizes the Registrar of Contractors to order a licensee to pay an injured party if it’s determined that the licensed contractor has aided an unlicensed person in evading CSLB law or has allowed an unlicensed person to use his or her license.

The Health and Safety Code specifies a format for owner-builder permits. The CSLB has been discussing possible legislation aimed at notifying owner-builders of the risks and responsibilities associated with undertaking these “Owner-as-Contractor” building projects.

It is a frequent practice of unlicensed persons to have the property owner obtain an “owner-builder” building permit which erroneously implies that the property owner is providing his or her own labor. To strengthen the current language, it has been suggested that a written warning be given that — among other things would inform the owner that he or she may be held liable and — subject to serious financial risk — for any injuries sustained by an unlicensed person and his/her employees while working on the homeowner’s property.