Electrical Certification, DAS, RMO/ RME & Contractor’s Licensing

I’m back to work with a ‘jolt’ of renewed energy! Good thing, as our first contractor has an electrical problem. For some contractors work has been scarce and many are looking at options for expanding their base. Some are exploring new specialty classes, starting new businesses, allying with other contractors and finding other means to make a dollar. Another contractor has offered an idea that makes good sense…


Q: My question is as follows:  being a licensed electrical contractor in the State of CA I know electrical work must be done by licensed/certified electricians.  Does a General contractor fall into that parameter if they self-perform the above- mentioned work?  Shouldn’t the licensing and registration be the same for the “C-10” and “B”? Is there any movement towards the state enforcing licensing certification? It seems that “anyone” who can say “electrical” can do the work then.


A: Only “C-10” contractors fall under the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) “licensed/certification” regulation.  It does not pertain to the “B” even if they self-perform the work.  The law clearly specifies that the certification process pertain only to “C-10” contractors.  The Board is enforcing this portion of the law — i.e. going after electrical contractors whose employees are not certified — but cannot do anything about other trades that perform electrical work (assuming they are properly licensed).  For instance, a “C-20” can do electrical work related to a HVAC system but cannot do other types of electrical projects simply to avoid the certification process.



Q: Is there a requirement that the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) for a corporation be an employee of that corporation?  Or, can a RMO be employed by, for example, a subsidiary of the corporation, but nevertheless serve as the qualifying individual for that company?


A: The CSLB would say that the qualifying individual — RME or RMO – should be employed by the entity for which he or she is the Qualifier.  This is not to say that the individual cannot also be employed by a subsidiary but in order to comply with the various CSLB rules and regulations, this individual should be on the corporation’s payroll.



Q:  I heard a suggestion for getting contractors back to work that sounded great.  I know you concentrate on licensing questions but I was curious about your opinion.  The idea was to take the many thousands of foreclosed homes in the State and hire contractors to fix them up then rent them out and use the rental income to pay for the construction work that was already done.  What do you think?


A:  While I do write a Q&A column each week primarily on contractor licensing, I also occasionally write about legislation, legal decisions, training,  enforcement, etc. as it relates to the construction industry.


Personally, I like the idea.  This type of a program would certainly be costly at first, but sounds like it could conceivably pay for itself over time and would certainly put a lot of contractors to work.  Of course the ‘devil is in the details’ and how to turn over tens of thousands of homes might be problematic.


An Internet search turned up several articles from 2009 that dealt with this topic although the homes in question were put up for sale rather than rented.  Contractors repairing foreclosed properties that the banks and other lenders want to include in foreclosure listings or sell through auctions are certainly one potential market that contractors can tap.   Depending on what if anything happens in Washington in the upcoming months, we hopefully will see programs that generate construction jobs.  These might be related to renovating public schools or fixing our State’s infrastructure or even repairing foreclosed homes. We can hope good sense prevails.


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