“C-36”, “C-46” & CSLB February Meeting

While you work daily to build and repair the world I’m often ‘sitting in’ for you at those long government meetings. Hard plastic chairs aside, we’ll catch up on the latest quarterly CSLB get together. First though, these contractors need solutions…

Q: Can the installation of radiant floor heating systems, small hydronic piping systems for fan coils, and hydronic boilers/water heaters smaller then 400k BTUs be performed by a “C-36” plumbing contractor?

A: According to my research, the “C-36” can do this hydronic and radiant floor heating. Board rule 832.36 is very broad and Plumbing Contractors have traditionally done this type of work.

Q: We have a “B” license but and would like to know if we can advertise for solar work. What about if we want to change our business name to reflect this specialty?

A: Since a “B” can perform all types of solar, you should be able to advertise this fact. However, to my knowledge, the CSLB would not allow you to use “Solar” in your business name since you do not hold the “C-46” classification.

The Contractors State License Board held its quarterly meeting on February 1st in San Francisco. Except for two excused absences, all members were present when Board Chair Lisa Miller-Strunk gaveled the meeting to order.

After several public comments related to items not on the agenda, the various standing Committee reports were delivered. Each report presented was tempered by the grim State Budget and continued hiring freeze. As I’ve indicated in several past columns, the CSLB is a “special fund” agency, fully supported by contractors through their application and renewal fees. NO General Fund money is used, yet the Board is forced to leave positions unfilled thereby harming contractors and consumers alike.

For example, the Licensing Committee reported that the Licensing Information Center (i.e. phone unit) has seven vacancies. While other personnel can fill in occasionally, caller wait time, to reach a live person, has been increasing. As someone who has been dealing with the Contractors Board since 1982, I have seen – and heard about – different levels of service over nearly 30 years. When the Board has a full contingent of 15 personnel, wait time was generally a minute or less. The Board knows that as an initial contact, to answer a question or determine the status of an application, it is important that calls be responded to promptly and when possible by a live person. They are hoping to receive an exemption to fill these ongoing vacancies.

At the end of the Public Affairs report, it was announced that the coordinator of the Senior Scam Stoppers would be retiring at the end of March. There are currently 4 different seminars on tap through March; however, no new events are being scheduled beyond this date. Again, the inability to fill a position – from funding paid entirely by contractors — will likely halt a very valuable program — one that informs and educates seniors on how to protect themselves from unlicensed and unscrupulous individuals.

The Enforcement Committee Report highlighted how retirements will impact their efforts to go after the “bad actors” among the “good contractors”. While a contractor facing a consumer complaint may applaud less enforcement, keep in mind that one of their prime tasks is to go after unlicensed individuals, thereby leveling the playing field for those who play by the rules. Again, the Board has formally requested an exemption to the hiring freeze to fill many of their 17 vacancies.