Public Works Project Protests, RMO Qualifier Replacement

No matter how carefully the Legislature crafts the law that governs contractor licensing, someone can always get ‘buried’ in the bid process. Our first contractor has ‘dug up’ a problem in a recent public bid. As you might expect a protest followed. Does a college degree count as ‘work experience’ when applying for a contractor’s license? We also meet another member of your Contractor’s State License Board (CSLB)…

Q: Can a “C-12” subcontractor on a public project provide directional boring services to install PVC conduit?

This bid is under dispute because the second low bidder is claiming that the listed subcontractor is not allowed to perform any “tunneling” unless it’s incidental and not the main focus of the job.

I have reviewed the CSLB website but cannot find any reference to directional boring of PVC conduit for electrical projects. What is the correct license classification for this type of work? What would the CSLB find acceptable? Thanks for your helpful column!

A: Based on my recent discussion with a CSLB employee (and on the information provided), the second low bidder has a good point. It would appear a “C-12” (earthwork and paving) classification is NOT proper for this specific work (unless the boring were for the purpose of placing explosives or incidental to the main project). Depending on the contract, this work could be performed by a “C-7” if the project involves low voltage communications or a “C-10” since the project is electrical conduit. An “A” could also likely perform the work if it involves underground utilities.

This being said, as mentioned many times in this column, B&P Code Section 7059(b) gives public agencies the final say on which classification(s) they will accept regardless of whether these are also acceptable to the CSLB.

Q: I am the President of my corporation. We currently have a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) that wants to retire soon. I have been in this business for 3 _ years and have been involved with every aspect of our contracting. My prior experience was as a manager at an electronics engineering firm. I am looking at applying for my license. Am I considered qualified at 4 years and if so will I need to take the test?

A: If you have been running this company as President since the license was issued 3 _ years ago, I believe the CSLB would consider you qualified once you hit the 4-year mark. You will need to have one or more people who are familiar with your work background certify that you have the requisite experience. Once your application is accepted, you’ll be required to pass the law and trade exams. If you have a college degree in engineering, business, a related science, etc, you may request up to two years credit in lieu of experience (which means you likely could apply now).

You indicated that you’re “looking at applying for my license”. This is an option or you can simply apply to replace the present RMO who “wants to retire”.

Meet Your Contractor’s Board Members

Matthew (Matt) Kelly is one of the longest serving current CSLB members having joined the Board in April 2003. After his initial appointment by the Senate Rules Committee to fill a partial-term, he was re-appointed in October 2005 to a full 4-year term. Although Mr. Kelly serves as a public member, he has a strong construction background. His career began as a carpenter apprentice over 20 years ago and he has worked on a variety of commercial and residential projects including as a construction manager for a large general contractor. Mr. Kelly serves as the Executive Secretary Treasurer of the Sacramento-Sierras Building and Construction Trades Council and was Board Chair from 2006-2007.