California License Age Requirement

When I get feedback from a column “Q&A” we all benefit from knowing, whether it’s the exception or the rule. Truly, we are never too old to learn, or in some cases, too young to be licensed. Unfortunately, as another contractor teaches us, your livelihood can suffer if you allow a license to actually ‘die’. Our last inquiry gives one contractor no reason to ‘protest’ the answer…

Q: Regarding your response to the Landscape Contractor trying to license his 19-year-old son. You stated you had never seen someone so young get his or her license.

According to CSLB records my original license was issued in June 1973 and my date of birth is in October 1954. Using new math, I believe that made me 19 years old when I got my Contractors License. So now, you have heard of the CSLB granting a license to a 19 year old. Made my old brain think a little when I read your column, and that’s what makes this business enjoyable.

A: Thank you for the email and for showing me why writing this column is so enjoyable. Just when I think I’ve seen it all…. I started my company in 1982; however, I have heard stories that the Board was — shall I say — more accommodating to contractors back in the sixties and seventies. It appears they looked at the entirety of your background rather than just your age. Congratulations. It is quite an accomplishment to have been actively contracting for over 35 years.

Q: I have a question about a California Contractor’s license and was wondering if your company can assist me in this matter. I had a Class “B” General Contractors license that I let ‘expire’ in 2002. We moved out of the State in 2001 and I just let the license go. Now I may be moving back to California and will need an active license again. I have read the information provided by CSLB and it states that any expired license over 5 years will require a new application and passing the required exams. Since I have been out of State and have had no business in California since the expiration, is there any provision in California law that will allow me to ‘revive’ my old license without having to retake the exams or start this process from the beginning again.

A: Sorry, but you will be required to re-take the law and trade exams. Moving out of CA has no bearing on state law, which only allows a 5-year grace period. If your prior license was a sole proprietorship, you can request that your old number be reassigned. Otherwise, you are back to ‘square one.’

Q: We were just awarded a public job and were protested based on licensing. We hold a “C-20” HVAC and were under the impression, based on the CSLB Definitions, that a “C-20” could complete HVAC systems hot or cold. The company protesting claimed we needed to also have a “C-36” to do the chilled water that hooked into the chiller and fan coils.

I’m under the impression that complete HVAC means just that. Even so, wouldn’t the “incidental and supplemental” clause support whatever scope wasn’t covered? We’ve been in business for over thirty years and have never been confronted with this issue. Do you think I should be concerned?

A: A review of B&P Code 7059 should put your mind ‘at ease’. If the project is primarily HVAC then you should be able to properly perform all work, including the “incidental and supplemental” you describe. More important than my opinion or the protest, is the decision by the public awarding authority on what classification is proper for the job. If the public agency has determined this is the “C-20”, then there is your answer.