Revoked License, HIS, Solar & Public Agency Bids

Life is full of questions. The answers are often difficult to know without a resource to consult. For contractors these questions often make the difference in profit or loss, especially when interpretations may vary or seem illogical to most. Success is knowing for certain, and where this column begins…

Q: My client has a “B” license. Can they legally perform solar work even though this is one trade or would they be required to first apply for a “C-46” license?

A: The CSLB passed a regulation, which states that a solar energy system “constitutes use of more than two unrelated building trades or crafts within the meaning of Code Section 7057” (i.e. definition of a General Building contractor). Therefore, a “B” or “C-46” (solar) contractor should be able to perform this work.

Q. I am hoping you can clarify something for us. We recently came across a public works project in which the awarding authority is requiring a “C-12” (Earthwork and Paving) license. This is the only acceptable classification listed. It appears we cannot bid with our General Engineering license. Since the “A” license includes “C-12” trade work shouldn’t we be able to bid this job? Am I missing something?

A: A public agency can specify (logically or not) that only a “C-12” license can pursue this project; however, in my expert opinion, they should allow “A” contractors to also submit a bid. You’re correct, an “A” (General Engineering) contractor can properly perform ALL earthwork and paving within the “C-12” class. Unfortunately some government agencies look at CSLB classifications literally. For example, over the years, I’ve seen: where “C-10” (electrical) contractors were excluded from bidding a low voltage (“C-7”) job; an “A” was excluded from bidding on a “C-34” pipeline project; and where one local government designated that only a “C-61”/”D-06” (concrete related services) contractor could handle concrete restoration — to the exclusion of “C-8” (concrete) licensees. This does not compute, but it’s the law.

For your information, according to an attorney I spoke with last month, there was a recent court case where one side tried to contend that an “A” contractor could not legally perform “C-12” work and therefore was not duly licensed to pursue a court action. The Court rightly denied the motion saying that a General Engineering contractor could legally perform earthwork such as grading and trenching.

Q: My license was revoked several years ago. Do you think the Contractors Board will allow me to become a Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS)? Also, I see where the Board now requires applicants to be fingerprinted. What can you tell me about this new requirement?

A: I doubt the CSLB will allow you become a HIS at this time since your prior license was revoked. I would anticipate that the Board would require you to resolve whatever issues caused the revocation before they let you become listed on any contractor’s license. You can either contact the Board prior to filing an application or you can apply and the Board will pull your application for investigation.

Fingerprinting became mandatory in January 2005. All applicants must be fingerprinted prior to issuance of a new license or additional classification, replacement of a qualifying individual, or filing an application for a Home Improvement Salesperson. The California Department of Justice and the FBI will review all fingerprints and issue a report as to whether or not an applicant has a past criminal conviction. According to the CSLB, there have been more than 39,700 applicants with past criminal convictions out of more than 200,000 fingerprinted. Just over 1,000 applicants have been denied and about an equal number were issued probationary licenses.