Generals, DBA’s and Low Voltage

Innovation in the marketplace is one of the few benefits from a downturn. New technology, ‘green’ practices and new markets are being created in this recession. Many contractors are looking at new ways to work by adding to the utility of their existing licenses. Good news for our first electrical contractor starts us off…

Q: Our company has a California “C-10” electrical license. We also intend on handling low-voltage work and need to know if we need a “C-7” license? Specifically, we would like to install cabling and cameras for a security surveillance system.

A: I have been asked this question in the past and took the liberty of writing to the CSLB for a response. As indicated in the attached letter, since the “C-10” “covers both high and low voltage installations, maintenance and service” you do not need an additional “C-7” low voltage classification.

Q: I am a long time fan of your column. I have been the qualifier on two previous “A” licenses. I am in the process of licensing a new corporation. Our application has been posted by the CSLB and it looks like any day now we’ll be issued this new license.

My new company is involved with more than just construction contracting. We also do some trucking and sell various building materials. We would like to use a DBA (different name than our corporate name) to separate our construction contracting operation. As far as the CSLB is concerned, what would we need to file, if anything? We appreciate your input.

A: Thank you for reading the column. It’s nice to know that I have a loyal following and that the information is useful to you. Whether the CSLB would be involved depends on whether your new trucking entity wants to operate as a contractor. If not then I see no need for an additional license. However, if your trucking operation also intends on contracting, you’ll need to apply for another license by filing an Application For Original License (new bond, worker’s comp, etc. also would be required). This DBA could be part of your new corporation but would operate under a different name and number.

Q: Thank you for the information you provide on your website. I have an active “B” sole owner contractor’s license. Can I keep my license active and be the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) or Responsible Managing Employee (RME) for a construction company? Or, is the rule that only an RMO can keep an active license, and then only if I have at least 20% common ownership? Does it change if the company is a sole proprietor, partnership or incorporated? Thanks.

A: In order to be the RMO for a corporation, and keep your sole owner license active, you will need to own 20% or more of the company. If you are the RME for a second company, you have no option but to inactivate your current license. This would apply if the second entity were a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation.

Q: I am a General “A” (engineering) contractor. I will be bidding on a construction contract in a mine and would like to subcontract some of the work to a friend who holds a General “B” (building) contractor’s license. Can I compensate him as a subcontractor or must I make him an employee?

A: If your friend is licensed (and in good standing!) you do not need to make him an employee. However, the type of project you are looking at does not appear to be proper for a General builder. Work in a mine more closely fits an “A” or maybe “C-12” (earthwork and paving) contractor unless this “B” sub will be building a structure on site. By definition, a general builder’s principal contracting business “is in connection with any structure built…for the support, shelter and enclosure of persons…movable property…” involving at least two unrelated building trades.