Expired License, General Building and Qualifier’s Departure

Anyone can read the law. Knowing how it’s being applied, what interpretation is being followed and any exceptions is what makes you an expert, and our first contractor needs one. Another finds that his situation is not as bad as he might have first thought as we clarify contractor law to help remedy his problem…

Q: I currently have a “C-36” (Plumbing) and “C-20” (HVAC) license.  For the past 7-8 years I have also been doing smaller remodels/renovations and energy upgrades to residential homes and commercial buildings.  I recently applied to add the General Building (“B”) classification to my license in order to be covered for this type of work.  The CSLB rejected my application and requested that I provide proof in the form of permits or contracts that I have done Structural Framing and two additional unrelated trades on my General Building projects.


I don’t do new construction so structural framing is not required.  However I handle nearly every other aspect of the “B” classification such as finish carpentry, electrical, plumbing, drywall, painting, HVAC, etc.  The CSLB technician I spoke with said my application would not be accepted unless I can prove that I’ve done “Structural Framing.”  Is there somewhere in the ‘contractor law’ where it states that you specifically need Structural Framing experience in order to become a General Contractor?


A: The short answer to your question is NO!  There is no California Contractor License Law that specifies the need for Structural Framing experience in order to qualify for a General Building license.  The “requirement” for framing experience is strictly a CSLB internal policy.  Framing is certainly one of the trades covered under the General Building category, in the same way that building bridges is a component of the General Engineering classification.  However, the CSLB does not require that all “A” contractors provide proof that they’ve built a bridge.


This is an issue that contractors have struggled with for years and my suggestion would be, as the technician also suggested, provide further proof in the form of contracts or permits that document the many General Building trades you have handled and hope the CSLB reconsiders its ‘interpretation’ of the law in your case.


Q: Our Qualifying individual left the company and our license is set to expire at the end of the month. I called the CSLB and they informed me that they would not renew the license without the Qualifier’s signature on the renewal form.  Since he is no longer with the company he is refusing to sign.  Coincidently we also have a Joint Venture license with the same Qualifier that is due to expire at the end of next month.  We have work in progress and cannot afford to have these licenses lapse!  Will the CSLB grant us an extension?

A:  The CSLB will not grant an extension for an expired license. However, if you disassociate your Qualifying individual from the license you will have a 90-day window in which to replace him.  If you send in the renewal applications signed by an Officer listed on the license within that 90-day window, the CSLB will renew the licenses without the Qualifying individual’s signature.  This applies to the company license as well as the Joint Venture (JV) license.