General California License

People often seek a second opinion when they don’t like the answer they get. When it comes to applying the law to contractor’s licensing, the CSLB usually has the final say. However, it seems there is some ‘exception’ to the law. Another contractor learns too long ago is also too late when trying to ‘revive’ an expired license…

Q: Can a “B” Contractor serve as the prime contractor on a major construction project, i.e., dam modifications, bridge construction, major utility construction projects, etc. Or, is the intent that the “B” license be restricted to projects such as small buildings and residential properties?

A: While exceptions could exist, the types of projects you list (dams, bridges, etc.) are specifically included in the “A” (General Engineering) definition. “B” (General Building) contractors generally construct, remodel or renovate residential and commercial property – without any size restrictions.

Q: I have been trying to transfer my father’s expired General contracting license into my name. Last week I was contacted by the CSLB and was told that I was not eligible for this transfer because the expiration had been too long ago. Yet, I was assured by the CSLB multiple times over the phone that I would receive my father’s license number. Based on the information I provided you, what is your opinion? Do you think I can get his old license number?

A: Because the license expired nine years ago, the CSLB will only reissue this to the original owner (i.e. your father). I have never seen them reissue a license – to someone else — that had been expired this many years (even if you were told the contrary on the phone). While Section 7075.1 allows for re-issuance to a family member, this is for the purpose of “continuing a family contracting business”. It’s hard to argue there is a need to “continue” an existing business for a license that expired nearly a decade ago.

Q. I own a plumbing company and have taken and passed the exams; however, I had trouble proving my experience so I didn’t receive my license. I have a friend who holds a current California “C-36” (plumbing) contractor’s license. If I sign him onto my corporation how long before I qualify for my own “C-36” without him as a qualifier? Also, what responsibility does he bear if the corporation gets into trouble with the courts or a government agency?

A. Once your friend becomes the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO), it will take 4 years for you to qualify this license on your own. If you end up proving some of your past experience, this time period could be reduced. During the time your friend is the RMO, it is possible he could be held responsible for civil judgments and/or government debts owed by the corporation.

Based upon my experience, civil judgments are one of the biggest problems any officer faces from a licensing standpoint. For instance, if the company does not pay a judgment the qualifier and all other officers could ultimately be held responsible for this debt.

Q: The “C-10” license allows us to perform installations of Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) systems. We have noticed a requirement in several recent public bid solicitations for the bidder to have the “C-46” Solar Specialty License (which we do not yet have). This puts a local requirement in opposition to State Licensing regulations. Is this more stringent requirement enforceable?

A: The “C-10” can perform a solar project using photovoltaic cells. This being said local governments can in effect overrule the CSLB and require the “C-46”. As I have mentioned before in this column, public agencies have (within reason) the final authority to determine the “proper” classification for a given project within their jurisdiction. This is a major ‘legal’ exception to CSLB policy.