Replacing the RMO; California contractor licensing

Alphabet soup has fewer letters than the classifications for contractor licenses. While some of those ‘letters’ are fixed in purpose, others give a licensee some leeway in handing similar trade work. Another contractor gives us reason to review why public agencies can ignore the ‘alphabet’. Our final task is to help a corporate licensee figure out how to replace his current RMO…

Q: Can a Contractor with a “C-2” license legally perform suspended acoustical (t-bar) ceiling work in California? If so, what is the purpose of the “D-50” license? Thanks for your time.

A: This is a good question. Since the definition of a “C-2” includes “any insulating media and preformed architectural materials for the purpose of temperature and/or sound control”, my opinion is the “C-2” could properly perform this work. “C-61” classifications are generally for contractors who are interested in performing (or only qualified for) a limited trade or craft — sometimes one that is included in a broader classification. One example is the “C-61″/”D-50” (suspended ceilings) category. Several other examples of “D” categories follow.

The Board has a “C-33” Painting and Decoration class, yet they also license a “C-61″/”D-29” (paperhanging). The “C-6” is for all forms of Concrete yet there is a “D-06” for “concrete related services” (includes cutting, sawing and restoration). The Board licenses “C-28” (lock and security equipment) contractors and also issues a “D-28” that similarly covers ‘doors, locks and activating devices’. The “C-12” (earthwork and paving) and general “A” can perform all types of earthwork, but for those interested in trenching only, look to the “C-61″/”D-56”.

Q: I will be a prime bidder on a project, which involves hiring 3 to 4 subcontractors. It was my understanding that any contractor bidding on a public project in California involving 3 or more trades would be required by the CSLB to have an “A” or “B” contractor’s license. That being said, at your convenience please look at the attachment referencing the acceptable licensing arrangements for this project and let me know if this is acceptable to the Contractors Board.

A: I cannot say whether the required classifications are acceptable because the information you provided does not describe what the project involves. Regardless, in reviewing the attachment, the awarding authority is clear they want an “A” on the job. Keep in mind that according to B&P Code Section 7059b, public agencies have the final say on which classification(s) they will accept even though these may NOT be acceptable to the CSLB.

This being said, there is no requirement that public works bidders have an “A” or “B” if the job involves three or more trades.

Q: How does one go about changing the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO)? Does the new RMO have to pass a CSLB test, or is it just a matter of submitting an application to make the change? What is your opinion on securing a waiver for one of our officers?

A: Changing the RMO on a contractor’s license may involve testing or the new qualifier may be eligible for a waiver of the exams. Either way, the company will be required to file an Application For Replacing the Qualifying Individual. The “waiver” vs. “testing” is dependent on how long the company has been licensed; how many years the new qualifier has been employed with the company and the new RMO or RME’s experience qualifications. In your case, since your license is over 20 years old, a waiver for one of your three listed officers is likely.