California General Building & Engineering Licenses

Funny how one question leads to another, but I will respond with more on the “A” vs “B” from a previous column. It is this back and forth of discussion that often leads to many contractors learning more about these issues critical to getting the most from your own license. With only so much space to illustrate a point or explain these very complex rules and regulations, my readers are always welcome to follow up, e-mail, write or give me a call when one question leads to another…

Q: I always read your column in the North Coast Builders Exchange News. I was looking at the question about general contractors and how the “B” class restricts this license to carpentry, unless there are two or more trades involved. I hold a “B” license, and have come across this situation where I was not able to bid on some projects because of not having the proper specialty license.

Regarding your answer on the “A”, you stated there is nothing in the Board statutes that specifies a given number of trades like the “B” (I also hold an A license). It appears from reading your article, reading the business and professions code, and my own interpretation that an “A” licensee could bid on any project and that license would allow any classification of work to be done (except maybe fire sprinklers).

Also does this mean as an “A” license, I can bid on a project that was primarily welding? I have fabricated and welded all types of structures in the past 20 years. I would really appreciate if you could tell me your views and if this is acceptable. Thank you very much in advance.

A: My prior response was not meant to imply that an “A” could do any trade or bid on any project. I was simply drawing a distinction between the “B” and “A” definitions. The “A” General Engineering class does not specify a given number of trades like the “B” General Building so you could for instance pour concrete for a culvert, install underground electrical for a railroad crossing signal or handle earthwork or asphalt paving on a street project (all three only involve one trade). On the other hand, an “A” cannot pour a foundation on a home or run wiring in an office building. With the “A” (General engineering) the project to be performed is the key.

I cannot make a blanket statement regarding where it would be appropriate to perform welding (“C-60”) work using the “A”. I once helped a contractor who only performed “butt welding” on railroad tracks and the CSLB determined they were required to hold an “A”. The fact that you have welded “all kinds of structures” may be proper; however, as I stated, the project to be performed is key. I hope this clarification helps. Thanks for reading the column.

Q: Can you tell me why it is so difficult to get a contractor’s license in Arizona? Are they trying to keep businesses out of their State? I sent in my application but it was returned. The problem: When asked on the application to “list all owners of 25% or more of stock in the corporation” I answered NONE. They want it to say “No one”. Your thoughts?

A: Your problem with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors is all too common. Unfortunately, I have seen them reject a number of applications for seemingly unexplainable reasons. I happen to know that a contractor had their application rejected last year for leaving that same question blank. The contractor was told to respond with “none” or ‘n/a’. I find it difficult to believe that Arizona is actively trying to keep businesses out of the State, but they do sometimes make it difficult for contractors to get a license.