Buying A Contracting Business, “C-13” General Building and Waivers

‘Caveat emptor’, or buyer beware often requires expert advice when weighing the ‘pro’ or ‘con’ for making a major investment. In other words, looking before you leap is always recommended, so we help an aspiring contractor ‘buy in’ to the business.  That same experience in how rules have been interpreted over the decades we’ve assisted contractors won’t satisfy our last inquiry, but it’s our best advice based on ‘expertise’…

Q:  I’m in the process of purchasing a Contracting business.  I’m going to use the same company name but will be forming a new corporation and applying for a new license.  I have a Business degree and many years of experience in the construction industry but it’s been upper level management and I’ve never swung a hammer or supervised laborers out in the field. So I’m worried that I will not qualify to be a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) on the new license.  The RMO for the company I’m purchasing has agreed to Qualify the new license.  How long do I need to keep him on the license before I can Qualify to replace him?


A:  As you may know, in order to be an RMO or an RME you are required to show at least four years of full time work experience in the trade you are applying for, with one of those years being practical experience.  Your Business degree will give you some credit towards those four years, but how much will depend on what classes you took.  You also need to take and pass the law and trade exams.  However, once you have been listed as an Officer on a license for over five years, you can apply to replace your Qualifier and request a Waiver of the exams.  Therefore, how long you keep your Qualifier before replacing him will depend on whether you want to wait for an opportunity to Waive the exams.  Good luck in your new venture!

Q:  I have been reading your articles from the Builder Exchange’s bulletin and they are really helpful. I am a Sole Proprietor and have a “B” (General Building) and “C-8” (Concrete) license in California. Recently, I read an article about obtaining a Waiver when applying for additional classifications. I have been in the construction business for over 54 years. I do public works mostly school projects. I have done fence and concrete works, however, I don’t have a Fencing license. How can I obtain a “C-13” (Fencing) license without taking an exam?

A:  You are correct that under B&P code section 7065.3 the CSLB will allow for a Waiver of certain additional classifications if you can show that the classification you are adding is a significant component, and closely related, to the work you have done over the years. But in our experience at Capitol Services over the years, I believe CSLB is likely to determine that the “C-13” is not a significant portion of work you’ve done with your current licensing.  For instance, with your “B” and “C-8” classifications you can build a structure from the ground up, and you mentioned school projects, which means you can build the entire structure from ground-up including framing, drywall, roofing, painting, etc. (“B” work) as well as all foundations, concrete floors, footings, walkways, curbs (“C-8“work).  The fence around the structure, in my opinion, would be a small portion of the project that would likely not warrant a Waiver of this exam.