‘Unwritten Rules’, Replacing a RME, “C-7” & Business Names

While the complex regulations governing contractors in California are largely written in law, some of the ‘rules’ guiding licensing remain ‘unwritten’. These are not actual statutes, but practices derived from CSLB interpreting the ‘black and white’ legislation. We ‘dial in’ a low voltage answer, and also as strange as it may sound, a Qualifier learns he has been promoted to replace himself…

Q:  You are currently helping me obtain my “C-6” (Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry) license in CA.  You stated that we could not use the ‘doing-businss-as’, or dba name “XYZ Construction” without adding a descriptive word before “Construction,” such as “Carpentry” or “Cabinet”.  Can you point me to the law that supports that restriction? Because I just located a name almost exactly like ours on the CSLB web and they also have a “C-6”.

A:  The Contractors Board has had a policy for the past dozen years, which states that only “A” or “B” and more recently “C-5” Framing contractors can use the word “construction” unless preceded by a descriptive name related to your specialty.  Since this is an administrative “policy” and not a statute/law I would not know where to direct you to see this in writing.

The contractor’s license you located on the CSLB web site was issued in 1995.  Typically when the Board makes these types of administrative changes, they ‘grandfather in’ businesses that were licensed prior to the policy being implemented.


Q: I am trying to find out if a license is required in CA to install coaxial, HDMI, Cat-5, and other low voltage communications equipment. If so, what license is it and where can I find details on the requirements for this license.  Also, how long until it needs to be renewed?


A: The work you describe requires a “C-7” contractors license in CA.  Below is the official description from the CSLB. On average, it should take about two months to secure this license.  It will need to be renewed every two years to remain active.


California’s code of regulations says, “A (“C-7”) communication and low voltage contractor installs, services and maintains all types of communication and low voltage systems which are energy limited and do not exceed 91 volts. These systems include, but are not limited to telephone systems, sound systems, cable television systems, closed-circuit video systems, satellite dish antennas, instrumentation and temperature controls, and low voltage landscape lighting. Low voltage fire alarm systems are specifically not included in this section.”


Q:  I am presently the RME (Responsible Managing Employee) on our company license. I was just appointed as the VP for Operations. Do I need to notify the Contractors Board?  Should we complete the Application to Report Current Officers?

A: Congratulations on your recent promotion.   I’m asked this questions on a regular basis; mainly from folks who have had their Application to Report Current Officers rejected.  Even though a ‘change of officers’ has occurred, you need to notify the CSLB by filing an ‘Application to Replace the Qualifying Individual’.  In effect, this means you’ll be replacing yourself, and thereby become the ‘new’ Qualifier as Responsible Managing Officer (RMO).