CA License Exam Waivers, Fingerprinting

Getting the best information in a timely fashion is a key to success in almost any endeavor. When licensed by the government, this information is crucial to operating legally and can be a ‘good news – bad news’ situation when uncertain of the facts. I’ll share the ‘low’ down with a contractor seeking to keep his current number…

Q: Just a quick question as I am getting conflicting information. Our CEO who has been with the company 30+years needs to become the new Qualifier. The current Qualifier, although still active in the company, is semi-retired (we are trying to be proactive in order to keep our low license number).

Our attorney told us that since he is an officer of the company and is listed on the license with the CSLB we can fill out a form, pay a fee and have him become the license holder and Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) under our current number. My secretary then called the CSLB yesterday to inquire about the form and fees and was told that the above approach is no longer acceptable and he will need to take the exams in order to become the new RMO. Your input would be greatly appreciated.

A: You are the third person to recently email me about this issue. The ‘bad’ news is that effective September 1, 2003, the Registrar used his discretion regarding exam waivers pursuant to section 7065.1(a). This section of law previously permitted a waiver of the exam for applicants who had been listed on a license in good standing for five of the past seven years and were pursuing a NEW original contractor’s license. The ‘good’ news is that exam waivers under Contractors License Law section 7065.1(b) – the so-called “family waiver” — and 7065.1 (c) – the so-called “supervisory waiver” ARE still available. I know this for a fact since I was part of the industry group that met with the Registrar of Contractors and his staff in 2003 to discuss the overall topic of exam waivers. The situation you describe is covered under subsection (c) and allows for an officer or other supervisory employee to replace an existing RME or RMO with a waiver.

However, it’s not quite as simple as your attorney indicated since the applicant (i.e. new Qualifier) must: have someone certify his background; clear fingerprinting, and go through a few other steps to become the Qualifying individual. While the law allows for a waiver, IT IS NOT REQUIRED and is subject to review by CSLB staff. I have seen instances where the CSLB has refused to grant a waiver because the applicant had not made the proper written request; showed a Worker’s Compensation exemption on file while requesting a “supervisory employee” waiver or had various license suspensions that resulted in the applicant having less than 5 of 7 years credit as experienced. The best news is whether or not an exam is required the company’s license number will remain the same.

Q: We have sent in the application to change the Responsible Managing Employee (RME) on our license. The new RME “Jim” is listed on our other license that was issued in 2000. He received the fingerprinting kit for this application. Is there a way that the state can use the existing fingerprints they have on file?

A: Not possible. This license from 2000 was prior to the CSLB fingerprint program, which started in 2005. If they had fingerprints on file for “Jim” the computer would not have printed out new forms. Unless he can show proof of having had this done through the CSLB, he’ll need to get this taken care of to complete the current application process.