Pocket Licenses, Qualifiers and Renewal Scam Alert

Like Truman and MacArthur or Obama and McChrystal I will explain to an unhappy specialty contractor what a ‘General’ can and can’t do in California. Scammers have found a new way to ‘pick the pocket’ of contractors and you should be on alert. I start with a Responsible Managing Employee with a question many Qualifiers may have asked themselves…

Q: When will I get an RME license certificate or pocket license for my company? I passed my test a month ago and became our company’s new qualifying person but have not received anything from the Contractors Board.

A: The CSLB does not send a new pocket or wall certificate when there has been a replacement of the qualifier (RME or Responsible Managing Officer/RMO). They only do this when a new license is issued or when adding a classification to an existing license.

Q: I enjoy reading your column in our local Builder’s Exchange newsletter. I checked back issues to try and find an answer for this, but didn’t find anything that quite fit. I’d appreciate any light you could shed on this.

I had a “B” licensed contractor tell me they can self-perform all of the work required for a TI building contract. Is this true? The work includes framing, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical, etc. The plumbing portion includes the installation of a boiler, and the mechanical includes HHW piping. A “C-36” Plumbing Contractor cannot install a boiler unless they also possess a “C-4” license. So if a plumber can’t perform some related plumbing work without having additional specialty licensing, how can a “B”? Also, the test for a “B” license doesn’t address much in the way of plumbing, electrical, etc., so how can they be considered qualified in these fields?

A: This “B” contractor you spoke with was correct. A General building contractor may self perform all trades except fire sprinklers (“C-16”) or well drilling (“C-57”). This would include, but not be limited to boilers, plumbing, electrical, etc. While many specialty classifications do not allow for work in another trade, the “B” does allow for this as long as the project involves 2 or more unrelated trades (other than framing or carpentry). Regardless of whether the state exam addresses the many trades allowed under the “B” this no way invalidates the ability of the General to self-perform most all work if he or she chooses.

Thanks for reading the column; I hope this clarification helps. In the future, if you need more information, please visit my web site (www.cutredtape.com). It contains a keyword function to search by topic from my past 12 years of columns.

Contractor’s Alert! Beware of License Renewal Fraud According to The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) some states are experiencing incidents of license renewal fraud. Licensees have received notices in the mail that instruct the contractor to send their renewal fee to a name and address that is different from the regulating government agency. This is similar to a SCAM the CA Secretary of State reported on last year whereby companies were having corporations send their Statement of Information to a phony address along with an exorbitant fee.

Do not be fooled if you receive this type of notice. In California, renewals should be sent to: Registrar of Contractors, Contractor’s State License Board, P.O. Box 26999 Sacramento, CA 95826. Licenses are renewed every two years and the CSLB typically mails a renewal application to active licensees approximately 60 days before their expiration date. The application must be completed, signed, and returned to the CSLB with the appropriate fee. Inactive licenses are renewed every four years.

Anyone who believes he or she has been a victim of license renewal fraud should contact the CSLB immediately.