General, Specialty & Application Fee Number

Have you ever been frustrated by an online resource that was less than ‘user friendly’? While having access to information on the web is convenient, computers still can’t perform some tasks as quickly or as well as people. Having to access important information you need as a contractor should never be ‘detoured’ by a problematic website error. We begin by ‘demolishing’ some misconceptions about when a General can tear down a house?…

Q: I have followed and enjoyed your Q & A column for years. Could you please answer this question? I am a California “A” licensed contractor interested in bidding a project for demolition work. The scope of work involves tearing down a few old vacant homes as well as breaking up the nearby sidewalks. Can I bid as a subcontractor with just my “A” license or would I also need a “C-21”?

On a separate note, what if someone asked me to bid as a sub for demo-type work inside of an inhabited building. For instance, tearing out a school classroom or demolishing the inside of an existing small office building. Would I need a “C-21” or would my “A” license be satisfactory?

A: Thank you for reading my column. I am glad you’ve enjoyed it during these many years.

To handle either of the demolition projects you describe in CA would require a “C-21” license. However, an “A” could likely handle Scenario #1 if the main project is related to General engineering and where the home demolition is incidental and supplemental to completing the project.

For instance, lets say you contract to perform site grading and installation of underground utilities for a new home subdivision. To complete the project you may be required to level the existing homes. Since this is incidental to the primary work, and would likely be a relatively small portion of the project, an “A” should be able to perform this.

Regarding your second scenario, tearing out the inside of a building, a “C-21” would definitely be needed to handle this type of demolition project.

Q: I have a “B” license. Is this enough to build a gas station or do I need another classification?

A: A “B” contractor can build most any structure that involves 2 or more unrelated trades (other than framing or carpentry). This would include a gas station.

Q: We recently submitted our application to the Contractors Board to replace our Responsible Managing Employee (RME). I was told that the Board would not accept the required Bond for the new Qualifier without an “Application Fee Number”. Okay, how do I get this number? Every time I go to their web site, it tells me “we are unable to process your request at this time.” After this happens a dozen times, I throw up my hands and “try again” later with the same result. Any suggestions?

A: The Board has made it very simple and fast for a consumer or contractor to look up an existing license number on line (as witnessed by their “Check The License First” media campaign). Unfortunately, this is not the case for looking up the application fee number. I have spoken with numerous folks who have experienced the same problem, so if it’s any consolation, you’re not alone.

Your options are: a) wait until the Board sends you a letter with this number (and a PIN); b) call the Board and see if you can through to someone who can give you the number over the phone; or c) try to look the number up at 10:52pm when the computer system is not being overloaded (I just tried “c’ twice but received the same error message).

I have spoken with and written to the Board about this problem and will let my readers know if and when the situation changes. In the meantime be aware of this ‘glitch’.