CA General Licenses & Incidental Trade Work

As I have advocated for many years in the end piece for this contractor’s Q&A, ‘knowledge is power’. I share with you the benefit of knowing your license, and the laws that apply to using it. We also visit that place between the ‘rock’ of private contracting law and the ‘hard place’ of public works rules that are not quite the same…

An open letter to Kalb’s Capitol Connection:

Dear Mr. Kalb,

I hold several classifications including a “B” and “C-39” (Roofing). I was low bidder on a public works project and the second lowest bidder filed a protest. He stated that since the project included a small amount of glazing (“C-17”) and other minor trades, I should not be awarded the contract since I failed to list the required subcontractors.

I have been reading your column for years and went to your website to see if I could locate some information on this topic. I just wanted you to know that I utilized your back columns to put together my response to the protest. Thanks to your information, I was able to get the protest thrown out and was just awarded the contract by the city. Thank you.

Q: I just participated in a pre-bid conference in which the awarding authority ruled that either a “B” or “C-39” contractor could bid on the project. Since the job involves more than just roofing, shouldn’t a General builder be the only classification allowed? If the “C-39” is allowed to bid, do they need to list subs for the other trades? By the way I always enjoy reading your column in our local builder exchange newsletter, which is how I knew to call you.

A: As we discussed, since a large percentage of the project is roofing, the “C-39” would likely be the best classification to perform the work. Since the project includes other trades, a “B” should be allowed to bid as well. B&P Code Section 7059(a) addresses your main question in that a Specialty contractor is NOT prohibited from taking and executing a contract involving the use of two or more crafts or trades, if the performance of the work is INCIDENTAL AND SUPPLEMENTAL to the primary job.

As it relates to public works contracts, 7059(b) allows the awarding authority to “determine the license classification necessary to bid and perform the project”. Further, in no case “shall the awarding authority award a prime contract to a Specialty contractor whose classification constitutes less than a majority of the project.”

If a Specialty contractor is authorized to bid a project, all work outside of his or her license specialty, except work deemed ‘INCIDENTAL AND SUPPLEMENTAL, “shall be performed by a licensed subcontractor.”

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is urging all licensees to provide updated contact information as quickly as possible when a personal or business address or telephone number has changed. Because much of the documentation sent to licensees is time-sensitive, including license renewals, an outdated address can delay the CSLB’s ability to send licensees this important information.

By law, contractors are required to notify the CSLB in writing within 90 days of any change to a business address. Failure to notify the Board of an address change within the 90-day period is grounds for disciplinary action (Business and Professions Code Section 7083).

According to CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “It’s important to remember that the CSLB is not informed when you submit a mail forwarding request to the U.S. Postal Service, so it’s the responsibility of the licensee to contact CSLB with their new information.”