Roofing, Qualifier Replacement Timing and Business Names

Yes, you can’t have it both ways. Or can you? A contractor is having some ‘separation’ anxiety with his RME, while another’s hopeful ambition to ‘raise the roof’ falls flat…

Q:  We are an out of State contractor who specializes in Boiler installations.  We are applying for a “C-4” (Boiler, Hot Water Heating and Steam Fitting) license.  We are having trouble with our business name.  The CSLB has indicated it’s too “vague” and also “not compatible with our classification”.  Our Head of Marketing wants a name that accommodates both doing work on ethanol plants (boilers, no electricity generation) and photovoltaic plants (electricity generation, no boilers).  Our intention is to get both the “C-4” and the “C-46” (Solar) licenses.  So, the name is our first issue, but our second question is, can one license accommodate for both classifications, or would the “C-46” necessarily mean a separate license application?

A: Business names have been a hot topic with regards to contractors lately.  The CSLB has really been enforcing B&P Code 7059.1 which addresses business names being compatible with the trade they are applying for.  Therefore, “vague” business names, or names that imply you are doing something you aren’t licensed for yet (Solar) will cause them to reject it.  My recommendation would be to come up with a ‘doing business as’ (dba) that is compatible with the initial “C-4” license you are obtaining. Then once issued you apply to add the “C-46” classification and then you can amend the ‘dba’ name to accommodate both classifications.

Because you’ve never been qualified for a Contractor’s license in CA, each classification will require a separate application.  So, you’ll need to wait for the “C-4” license to be issued, and then apply to add the “C-46”.

Q:  Our Qualifying Individual is going to be leaving the company soon.  I understand that the license belongs to the company, not the Qualifier.  Does that mean we automatically retain the license when the Responsible Managing Employee (RME) leaves?  If we do need to put someone in his place, does that person have to take the exam, or does the fact that the company has the license waive that requirement?

A:  You are correct, the license does belong to the company, so yes, the license does stay with the company if your RME leaves.  However, you have 90 days to replace the Qualifier on the license.  If the individual replacing your current Qualifier has never been licensed before, then yes, he/she would be required to take the exams.  In certain circumstances, a Waiver of the exams may be an option.  Please contact me if you’d like further information on this option.

Q:  We are a tile roof supplier and we often have customers who offer to allow us to take their old roof tiles to re-sell them as used if we remove them.  My boss has frequently done this over the years, but someone recently told him he would need a contractor’s license to do this.  The only relevant license I can find is a demo license.  Would this be the appropriate classification of license?

A:  No.  A demolition contractor is designated for contractors who are performing “hard” demolition. Removing roof tiles would be considered “soft” demolition.  Roof removal/tear off companies are required to hold a “C-39” (Roofing) classification license. The catch is your Qualifier (which I would assume would be your boss) needs to document at least four years of experience doing roofing work, which would include roof installations.  He unfortunately would not likely qualify if he’s only done the removal.

Qualifying Individuals & Testing, Replacing Qualifiers and Qualifier Titles

I take a ‘shine’ to our first contractor question. A lesson on adding too much to your ‘official’ title description, and another inquiry holds a reminder on the contractor exam process…

Q:  My company has a “B” license which we use to do Solar contracting.  My employee holds the license, but I want to replace him on the license.  I can’t qualify for a “B” license because I don’t really have General Building experience, only Solar.  How would I go about replacing him but with the “C-46” (Solar) license?

A:  You would be required to add the “C-46” to the license so your company would initially have both classifications.  Once the “C-46” is added, if you want to remove your Qualifier, you would file a Disassociation notice.  At that point, the CSLB will give you 90 days to replace the ‘B’ qualifier, and if no action is taken, the “B” classification will be removed from the license.

Q:  We are going to be applying for a new license and we’ve designated a Qualifying Individual who has his own personal license.  He wants to keep his license (Active) so we understand we need to give him an Officer title and 20% ownership of the new company.  We are in the process of “creating” an Officer title within our company.  We are thinking of something like “Supervisor of Construction Activity”.  Do you see any issue with that?

A:  Yes, in my experience the CSLB does not accept anything but “official” officer titles, which don’t worry, there are many!  Even though “Vice President” is an acceptable title, we’ve seen applications rejected if you add descriptive words to it such as “Vice President of Construction”.  Some examples of acceptable official Officer titles are of course President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, or Director.  Then there is also Assistant Secretary, Assistant Treasurer, etc.

Q:  Your company is going to be helping us with our new license but before we get started, our Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) who lives in Texas had a few questions for you.  Does the person who takes the test have to be the “Qualifying Individual”, or can it be someone else?  Is the test a proctored test at a particular test facility? Is there an online option for the test?  Lastly, if the test must be taken at a qualified test facility, are there any such facilities outside of California, or will he have to fly in for the test?

A:  The person taking the test must be the Qualifying Individual.  The test is a proctored test given at certain facilities and there is no online option.  He/she will need to fly to California to take the test.  The examination sites are located in San Diego, San Bernardino, Norwalk, Oxnard, Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, and Fresno. CSLB testing staff use Zip Codes to assign applicants to the testing center nearest their business address. Coming from Texas, your Qualifier will likely be scheduled in Norwalk, however that can always be changed if a different location is more convenient. Fingerprinting is also required so plan to get that done while in CA. 

Reciprocity, Oil Fields and RME

We ‘double down’ with our first contractor who has more than one concern. A ‘slick’ answer for an industrial inquiry, with a ‘big easy’ response for a future Californian…

Q:  We currently have a “C-6” (Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry) license.  We need to add the “C-5” (Framing and Rough Carpentry) classification because one of our clients will be giving us a contract for the erection of a wooden frame.  However, my boss, who is the current “C-6” license holder, doesn’t have four years of experience doing that type of work.  We do have an employee who has done drywall framing for 10 years, who has only been with us for a few years.  What type of role does the employee take on if we were to use him to Qualify the license?  And would this put the license at risk if this employee left in 2 months?

A:  If you use one of your employees who has the experience, you can list them as RME (Responsible Managing Employee).  That would be his role.  RME’s are required to work at least 32 hours a week, or 80% of the company’s operating time.  They are also required to be actively involved in the everyday running of the business.

If he leaves the company, the license has 90 days to replace him.

Q:  I need to know if a Contractor’s license is required for a company that we frequently hire.  We work in the oil field industry and we have a company who comes out and separates hazardous material from the water in the storage tanks and disposes of it. They don’t have a Contractor License do they need one?

A: Yes, a “C-61”/”D09” (Drilling, Blasting, and Oil Field) would be the most appropriate classification for the work that you are describing.

Q:  I am a licensed Contractor in Louisiana and I am planning on retiring and moving to California (I know, most people move out of California when they retire!).  One of my fellow contractor buddies was telling me that Louisiana is “reciprocal” with California and I shouldn’t have to take the exams.  If that’s true, I’m all for getting a license to have just in case small jobs come up.  However, I’m more hesitant if I will have to take the exams because I’m older and haven’t taken a test in years.

A:  Your buddy is correct.  Very recently, California and Louisiana agreed to reciprocity for the “B” (General Building) classification only.  Reciprocity allows you to apply for a waiver of the Trade, however the Law portion of the exam is still required.  The Law portion of the exam tests your knowledge of how to run a business, so if you’ve been running your Contracting business for years (and if you study), you probably won’t have too much difficulty passing the exam.  Good luck and let us know if you would like our help with the process!