CSLB Industry Expert, Painting & RMO Program

I always appreciate feedback from our ‘Q&A’ so we will share more ‘industry expert’ information for all the contractors who checked in. Another contractor discovers that painting a building won’t ‘insulate’ him from the need for another license class…

Q: In your most recent column, you responded to a question about the Contractor Board’s Industry Expert Program. Could you tell me more about this and would I be paid?

A: The Industry Expert (IE) Program was first initiated in 1985 after the CSLB had experienced a large complaint backlog. The backlog was in part related to a consumer’s inability to promptly secure the services of an expert witness (i.e. someone to render an opinion regarding the workmanship involved in a construction project).

According to the CSLB, the ‘Industry Expert’ provides: 1) an inspection and unbiased opinion on specific complaint items; 2) a detailed report that must be well written and includes job site photography and 3) testimony in a court of law if necessary.

I met with one of the CSLB staff in charge of this program and she said that Industry Experts are paid for their time and related expenses. How much is dependent on the type of case you are assigned. For instance, in arbitration cases, if called to testify, you’ll be paid a witness fee of $50.00 per hour (with a minimum payment of 4 hours). There is a handbook that goes over the expectations, guidelines and requirements of the IE Program. This should answer most basic questions a new ‘industry expert’ would have. This handbook is currently in the middle of being revised so some of the information and compensation may change in the near future.

Q: I intend on applying for a new corporate contractor’s license and hold the “C-33” (painting) trade. I called the CSLB to make sure my business name was acceptable and they said there should be “no problem”. When I spoke with your office this morning, your staff said there would likely be an issue using the word “insulation” in our business name. Could you give me your personal opinion in writing?

A: Since I was not part of the conversation you had with the CSLB, I cannot address why they told you this was “no problem”. You could apply using your corporate name, and hope whomever you spoke with is correct.

My personal opinion however, is that the Board will not allow this name since painting for licensing purposes is not an insulating medium. In other words, using the word “insulation” in most instances would require that you hold a “C-2” (Insulation and Acoustical) classification. If the Board does not accept your name as is, you have the option of amending it with the Secretary of State or adding a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) or DBA.

Q: I have a corporation and want to add a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) contractor. What form do I need to file with the CSLB? Does he need to take a test?

A: If you’re interested in applying for a corporation license for the first time, use the Application for Original Contractor’s License. If you have an existing license and intend on adding a new trade, use the Application for Additional Classification. An exam may be required depending on whether this RMO is already qualified in the trade you want “to add”.