“C-61” Limited Specialty & Public Agency License Exemptions

How a business or government agency got to where they are today is often called ‘institutional memory’ based on the recall of those who were there when these decisions were made. A recent call from a contractor regarding ‘specialty license classes’ sent me to ‘history’ class in finding an answer. Knowing how and where to look for those answers is what makes Capitol Services the expert in contractor’s licensing…

Q: I have a question regarding licensing that no one seems to be able to answer. Sometime back the CSLB discontinued and then consolidated some “limited specialty licenses”.  Particularly “D-15” (Furnaces) was consolidated to either General “A” engineering or “C-20” (HVAC).  While logically I can see the “C-20” consolidation I cannot understand where the General “A” comes in.  Any idea?

A:  Over the years, the CSLB has eliminated or consolidated a number of “C-61” Limited Specialty categories.  For instance the “D-47” (Tennis court surfacing) category is now logically handled by the “C-12” (Earthwork and Paving) and, or the “A”.  Likewise, floating residential docks, the“D-58”and Propane Gas Plants, the“D-57” were also placed under the “A”.

I spoke to a former CSLB manager who was instrumental in making some of these “C-61” changes over 20 years ago.  The reason why, in his recollection, is the Board consolidated the “D-15” under the “C-20” AND “A” because it was being used for licensing larger industrial furnaces or kilns, in addition to smaller consumer residential equipment.

Your question prompted me to do some investigating and look at the history of the “C-61” (Limited Specialty) classification.  According to a 1951 License Law and Reference Book, it was the established policy of the CSLB to place all classifications not otherwise listed into the “Classified Specialists Classification” (as it was then known).  The Board was concerned that the construction industry had “untold specialized crafts requiring certain skills” and to establish all of these separately would have hampered and confused “the enforcement of restricting operations to a certain classification”.

For years, there apparently was only a loose accounting of these “classified specialists” and very little formal written documentation.  Basically there was a file with notes on the “C-61” categories that had been issued.  The Registrar in the 1980’s wanted to bring some rhyme and reason to the process as well as eliminate or “subsume” a number of the “D” listings that could be handled by more established classifications.  This ‘history’ ultimately resulted in what you see today.

There still is a “C-61”/”D-64” (Non-specialized) classification, which acts as a catchall for very limited crafts and new products that simply cannot fit anywhere else.  These are assigned on a case-by-case basis.

Q: I work for a Municipal Utility District that trains and utilizes its own employees for traffic control measures. Do you know if we’re exempt from the “C-31” licensing/certification?

A: Yes, as Shauna discovered, detailed in B&P Code Section 7040, public agencies are exempt from contractor’s licensing requirements including the “C-31” (Construction zone traffic control) classification if they are using their own employees within the scope of entity’s official capacity.