California Partnership License; General Engineering Contractor

I have been told ‘eyewitnesses’ don’t always report seeing the same thing. It’s a matter of perspective. When reading the regulations for licensed contractors your interpretation, or ‘vision’ needs to be accurate and complete. Individual viewpoints are often different and yours may not always mesh with what the Board actually requires. That different ‘viewpoint’ can give you an incomplete ‘look’ as our first unfortunate contractor will learn…

Q: Our qualifying partner sent the Contractors Board a form since he has left the license. As one of the general partners, I now want to take over so we can continue in business. We want to keep the same license number and understand we have 90-days to complete this. I checked the CSLB web site and the license shows “cancelled”. How do I correct this error?

A: If by “error” you mean the cancellation, this is not a mistake. When a partner leaves a partnership, the CSLB cancels the license as of the date of disassociation. Your company can request a continuance to complete work in progress and will need to apply for a new license (and new license number). Unfortunately you may not pursue new projects under the continuation.

Q: We’re starting a new California Corporation. I am the President and do not qualify for obtaining a contracting license; however, the Vice President of our new startup is currently licensed and designated as the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO). He also qualifies another corporation and is not giving up this first business. We understand he can be designated RMO with up to 3 companies.

We filed a new application (with him as the RMO) and sent in to CSLB. We have also applied for our surety bond.

My question is: are we legally able to begin working while utilizing his current license number or must we wait for a new license number from the State to begin?

A: It sounds like you’re proceeding in the right direction. You are correct that a RMO can qualify up to three licenses in a given one-year period. You may not however, use the current corporate license number for the new start-up company. You must wait for the new license number to be issued by the CSLB. Before a license is issued your application will need to be reviewed, the required bond and proof of Worker’s Compensation (or exemption) will need to be filed and all listed officers must meet the Board’s fingerprinting requirement.

Q: I’m a bit confused about what type of work an “A” contractor can do. I know from my experience and reading the CSLB definition, there are some obvious projects like roads, utilities, recreational facilities, earthwork, power plants, etc. Does this mean an “A” can take a contract for just a small portion of these types of jobs? I have read some of your prior columns and would appreciate some clarification.

A: According to a current, up-to-date CSLB Information Guide for Building Officials, “a General Engineering (A) contractor can contract to perform all or ANY PART (emphasis added) of a project that falls under the “A” classification”. This means for example, that since a general engineering contractor can (under Section 7056 of the B&P Code) build a highway or bridge or airport including pouring concrete or putting up fencing, they can take a portion of the job (such as concrete or fencing) as long as it was originally — or currently – part of this type of ‘fixed work’.