After more than 25 years assisting contractors, some questions still come up time and again. That’s primarily a result of several factors; including rumor, misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the law. The rules and regulations written are complex, and the way they are interpreted by the CSLB always a factor. As experts working daily with these regulations we know that what’s written doesn’t always mean the same thing to different people reading it…
Q: I think I’ve read about this in a past column, although it may have been some time ago. I’ve been reading the Capitol Connection for a number of years and for the first time I have a question.
We presently have about a dozen jobs going at one time throughout Northern California. Since the economy has bounced back we’ve been pretty busy. I was told by my attorney that in order to remain legal, I must, as the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) physically be on each and every job site – no exceptions. I’m trying to efficiently run my company, so have project managers or superintendents assigned to oversee each project. Plus while I occasionally visit some job locations, how the heck could I possibly be in twelve places at once? Am I running afoul of the law as my attorney told me or is it acceptable to “oversee” each job while primarily working in my office? For your information, I personally meet with all my supervisory employees on a regular basis.
A: Thank you for being a long-time reader. Plus, nice to hear that you’re keeping busy. While we cannot give you any legal advice, I think your attorney has likely reviewed B&P Code section 7068.1 which, in part states, “The person qualifying…shall be responsible for exercising that direct supervision and control of his or her employer’s or principal’s construction operations to secure compliance with…the rules and regulations of the board.”
He likely also reviewed CA Code of Regulations #823 (b) which for purposes of 7068.1, defines “direct supervision and control” as including “any one or combination of the following activities: supervising construction, managing construction activities by making technical and administrative decisions, checking on jobs for proper workmanship, or direct supervision on construction sites.”
Nowhere in any statute or regulation does it state or even imply that as the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) you must “physically be on each and every job site.” It would be acceptable to supervise construction activities through your supervisory employees plus I assume you’re managing construction activities by making technical administrative decisions. I do not believe the CSLB expects an RMO to do the impossible and be on a dozen job sites at once. The key is that your company is complying with the rules and regulations of the board and the fact that you regularly meet with your project managers should be adequate. (Records of these meetings might also be helpful in the future.)
This all being said, your attorney may be worried that a Judge may ignore the above and determine that the only way to comply with 7068.1 is to physically be on each and every job site. If this in fact were to ever become “the law” it would throw the biggest “monkey wrench” you’ve ever seen in to California’s multi-billion dollar construction industry and could grind thousands of construction projects to an immediate halt.