Contractor sting nets 15 in Hayward

April 20th, 2010

Contractor sting nets 15 in Hayward

Suspected violators found through online and print ads

Posted: 04/17/2010 12:00:00 AM PDT

Updated: 04/19/2010 06:54:49 AM PDT

HAYWARD — An undercover operation targeting illegal contractors netted 15 people who allegedly offered to do painting and concrete work without a license.

The sting operation was a joint effort between the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and the Contractors State License Board. Investigators posed as homeowners looking for someone to do concrete and painting work at a home near the Cal State East Bay campus.

Suspected violators were found through online and print ads, or were identified by the district attorney.

Most of them came from Alameda County. They each were issued notices to appear in court for arraignment next month.

“This operation should serve as a warning for consumers who might be taken in by promises of cheaper work performed by someone who isn’t licensed,” said Steve Sands of the contractor’s board, in a statement.

Sands added that work done by a licensed contractor also removes liability for the homeowner and “is not cheating the state’s taxpayers and legitimate licensees.”

By law, improvement projects that will cost more than $500 must be performed by a licensed contractor.

The sting followed a statewide operation last month that netted more than 150 suspected violators.

For more information, visit the license board Web site at

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Unlicensed Contractors Caught in Sting Due in Court

April 17th, 2010

CSLB Press Release – 03/03/10

Unlicensed Contractors Caught in Sting Due in Court

Operators caught making illegal bids to undercover investigators
SACRAMENTO —The lure of easy money led seven unlicensed operators to submit illegal bids to members of the Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) during an undercover sting operation in Live Oak (Sutter County) on February 17, 2010.

During the one-day operation, the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office supported SWIFT investigators, who posed as homeowners to solicit bids on projects that included landscaping, roofing, painting, and masonry services. Suspects who offered bids greater than $500 were given a Notice to Appear (NTA) in court for contracting without a license. California Business & Professions Code (B&P) requires a state contractor license for home improvement jobs valued at $500 or more for labor and materials.

Homeowners may not realize the risks of hiring unlicensed contractors. Phony contractors rarely have workers’ compensation or contractor license bonds that protect consumers. A worker who is hurt on the job could seek medical reimbursement or other damages from the homeowner. Homeowners also have little recourse for poor quality workmanship or financial damages when they use a person who is operating outside of the law.

“Some unlicensed operators deliberately target trusting and vulnerable people,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “They can take your money and be gone before you realize what has happened.”

CSLB provides many helpful consumer publications that can be downloaded or ordered from the Web site: or, or by calling, toll-free: 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

CSLB urges consumers to remember the following tips when hiring a contractor:

  • Be especially hesitant when approached by someone offering home improvement services door-to-door.
  • Verify the contractor’s license by checking online at, or via CSLB’s automated phone system at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752), and ask to see a photo identification to make sure you’re dealing with the correct person.
  • Don’t pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less. There is an exception to this for about two dozen contractors who have special bonds for consumer protection that are noted on the CSLB Web site.
  • Don’t pay in cash, and don’t let the payments get ahead of the work.
  • Check references, and get at least 3 bids and a written contract before your project begins.
  • Contact CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor.

The following individuals received NTAs and are scheduled to appear in Sutter County Court at 446 Second Street, Yuba City, on March 29, 2009:

Ruben Gonzalez Lopez
Yuba City
Landscaping Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Lorenzo Magdaleno Baldomero
Masonry Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Florencio Diaz Garcia
Masonry Contracting without a license
Modrigal Zapeda Cuauthemoc
Roofing Contracting without a license
Eugenio Valadez
Yuba City
Landscaping Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Arturo Perez Esparzo
Painting Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Gustavo Olivares Orozco
Masonry Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information about hiring contractors is available on the CSLB Web site or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). CSLB licenses and regulates California’s 310,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2008-09, CSLB helped recover nearly $36 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

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161 Nabbed In State Wide Undercover Operation

April 17th, 2010

CSLB Press Release – 03/25/10

Contractors State License Board Stings 161 in Largest-Ever Statewide Undercover Operation

Criminal backgrounds underscore huge risk consumers take when hiring phony contractors
SACRAMENTO —Investigators have wrapped up the largest undercover sting operation in the Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) 81-year history. On Tuesday and Wednesday, March 23 and 24, 2010, nearly three dozen CSLB investigators, including members of CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), partnered with 15 law enforcement agencies to conduct simultaneous sting operations in 11 cities around California.

The “California Blitz” targeted unlicensed contractors, with a particular emphasis on repeat offenders and those who don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Over the two-day period, 161 people were arrested. Most were issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) in court and will face misdemeanor charges of contracting without a license and, in many cases, illegal advertising.

Four suspects were taken to jail on felony charges; three of them had arrest warrants, including one suspect who had five different warrants for charges including obstruction of justice, possession of a controlled substance, and two DUIs. Another had a warrant for embezzlement and diversion of construction funds. One of the misdemeanor suspects had previously been convicted of burglary, child abuse and domestic violence. Another had his CSLB license revoked in 2005 and is a registered sex offender. A third was previously convicted of armed robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon.

A total of eight repeat offenders were caught, including one suspect who was convicted by a jury last month in Orange County for contracting without a license. There were more than three dozen no-shows at the various sting locations and, in other instances, suspects fled when they thought they were about to be stung. This indicates that the true number of repeat offenders might have higher, had they been caught.

The sting operations were conducted in Sonoma, Santa Clara, Sacramento, El Dorado, Madera, Kern, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Joining CSLB were local law enforcement agencies and district attorney offices, as well as the California Department of Insurance and the Department of Toxic Substances.

At all the undercover locations, CSLB investigators posed as homeowners and invited suspected unlicensed operators to bid on various construction jobs ranging from landscaping, tree trimming, and roofing to masonry, concrete, tile and painting. By law, all contractors who perform work that totals $500 or more for labor and materials must be licensed by CSLB. Since 2005, those applying for a new license or to change their license have been required to submit fingerprints for a criminal background check.

“Homeowners need to be aware of the risk they take when they hire someone who is not licensed to do work in their home,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “What seems like a good deal almost always ends up costing a lot more. Many of these phony contractors are people you really don’t want inside your house or around your children.”

Because unlicensed operators don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, they often submit lower bids. But, if one of their workers is injured on the job, the homeowner could be liable. Plus, if there is a disagreement or something goes wrong with the project, the homeowner may have few options for recovering their money from an unlicensed contractor.

The goal of the “California Blitz” is to draw attention to the dangers to consumers who hire these phony contractors, to educate unlicensed workers about California laws, and to encourage those who qualify to get their contractor license. The misdemeanor charges carry a maximum of six months in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000 for the first offense. A second violation carries a mandatory 90-day jail sentence as well as a possible fine up to $5,000.

“Unlicensed activity is a threat to all Californians,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Director Brian Stiger. “It threatens the safety of consumers, it robs our communities of resources, and it puts reputable, licensed professionals at a disadvantage. The efforts of the Contractors State License Board are crucial in helping to protect consumers from physical and financial peril and ensuring that our economy is not imperiled by unlicensed individuals.”

“When consumers hire unlicensed contractors, the contractors’ work is unverified and is often times unsafe and unfinished. This leaves an even greater burden on their victims, who are already vulnerable and in need of help,” stated Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “These types of cases protect consumers and put unlicensed contractors on notice that they will be prosecuted.”

The following are highlights from the enforcement operations:

Location Agencies Participating Highlights
Santa Rosa
Sonoma County
Contractors State License Board
Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office
One-Day Operation (3/24/10)
9 Notices to Appear
El Dorado Hills
El Dorado County
El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office
Department of Insurance
Two-Day Operation (3/23-24/10)
12 Notices to Appear
Morgan Hill
Santa Clara County
Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office One-Day Operation (3/23/10)
8 Notices to Appear
1 Taken to Jail
Rancho Cordova
Sacramento County
Rancho Cordova Police Department
Rancho Cordova Code Enforcement
Two-Day Operation (3/23-24/10)
24 Notices to Appear
23 Citations for no business license
2 Repeat Offenders
Madera County
Madera County Sheriff’s Department Two-Day Operation (3/23-24/10)
10 Notices to Appear
Kern County
Kern County District Attorney’s Office
Kern County Code Compliance
Department of Insurance
One-Day Operation (3/23/10)
6 Notices to Appear
DA issued 3 Notices to Appear (No Workers’ Compensation Insurance)
Kern County
Kern County District Attorney’s Office
Kern County Code Compliance
Department of Insurance
One-Day Operation (3/24/10)
13 Notices to Appear
2 Repeat Offenders
Santa Maria
Santa Barbara County
Santa Maria Police Department Two-Day Operation (3/23-24/10)
15 Notices to Appear
DA issued 8 Citations (No Workers’ Compensation Insurance)
1 Suspect’s CSLB License was Revoked in 2005 – Registered Sex Offender
Los Angeles County
Department of Toxic Substances Control Two-Day Operation (3/23-24/10)
22 Notices to Appear
1 suspect driving with suspended license
1 suspect had no driver license
1 suspect brought 6-year-old daughter
Orange County
Orange Police Department
Orange Code Enforcement
Orange County District Attorney’s Office
Two-Day Operation (3/23-24/10)
18 Notices to Appear
1 Taken to Jail – Burglary, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence
4 Repeat Offenders – Two of them were caught in sting last October in San Clemente. One was convicted by jury last month. Another asked why he was called again since he’d been caught before
1 Registered Sex Offender
Chino Hills
San Bernardino County
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
Department of Insurance
Two-Day Operation (3/23-24/10)
24 Notices to Appear
2 Taken to Jail – One had five arrest warrants; the other had an unpaid $1,000.00 administrative citation that resulted from a complaint to CSLB. He also had an arrest warrant out of Riverside County for embezzlement and diversion of construction funds. He could also face additional charges in San Bernardino County because narcotics were found in his vehicle.
1 Freebie: Uninvited tree trimmer showed up at front door with a flyer and asked undercover investigator if they had any tree trimming or landscaping they needed done. He submitted a bid for $2,000.
1 72-year-old suspect said he’d “Had it with California and is moving to Florida”

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information about hiring contractors is available on the CSLB Web site ( or or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). CSLB licenses and regulates California’s 310,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2008-09, CSLB helped recover nearly $36 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

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Lead Certification Requirements

April 11th, 2010


2010 Mandatory Lead-Safety Training and Certification Impacts Home Renovation and Repair Industry

(Article reprinted)

Does your business involve the renovation, repair or painting of structures built before 1978?  If so, there are new federal regulations that must be followed in order to protect children from lead-based paint hazards that can result from this type of work.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (RRP) last April.  The rule requires firms and individuals involved in interior and exterior renovation, repair and painting to be certified by April 2010 and those they follow specific lead-safe work practices to minimize exposure to lead-based paint dust.  As a contractor, you play an important role in protecting public health by helping prevent lead exposure.  Ordinary renovation and maintenance activities in older structures can create dust that contains lead—even small amounts of lead can harm children and adults.

EPA’s RRP rule impacts many construction trades, including general contractors and special trade contractors, painters, plumbers, carpenters and electricians.  Activities performed by all of these trades can disturb lead-based paint and have the potential to create hazardous lead dust.  Research has shown that the most common source of lead  exposure for children today is deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing and contaminated lead-based paint dust.  Renovation and repair activities can create additional significant risks to children when lead-based paint in pre-1978 structures is disturbed.  Because children’s developing bodies and nervous systems are particularly susceptible to poisoning from lead-based paint, it is especially important that renovation, repair and painting work be performed in a way that minimizes exposure to lead-based paint dust.

Under the rule, beginning in April, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.  For most individuals, eight hours of training is required.  However, individuals who have successfully completed renovation courses accredited by EPA or an authorized State or Tribal program, can become certified renovators by taking a four hour EPA-accredited renovator refresher training.

Even before the April 2010 requirements take effect, contractors should strive to work lead-safe.  Three simple procedures should be followed:

  1. Contain the work area. Take steps to seal off the work area so that dust and debris do not escape.  Warning signs should be put up and heavy-duty plastic and take should be used to cover the floors and furniture and seal off doors and heating and cooling system vents.
  2. Minimize dust. Use work practices that minimize the dust generated during renovation and repair by using water to mist areas before sanding or scraping; scoring paint before separating components; and praying and pulling apart components instead of breaking them.  Dangerous practices such as open flame burning or torching and using power tools without HEPA vacuum attachments are prohibited by the rule because they generate large amounts of lead-contaminated dust.
  3. Clean up thoroughly.  Work diligently every day to keep the work area as clean as possible.  When all the work is done, the area should be cleaned up using special cleaning methods including the use of a HEPA vacuum and wet-mopping.

Although the rule will not be fully implemented until April of 2010, certain elements are required now, and others require attention well before April 2010.

  • Effective now—contractors that disturb paint in homes, residential buildings, schools and child care facilities built prior to 1978 must provide lead hazard information prior to the start of the job to building owners, occupants, and to the families of children using the facilities by distributing EPA’s new Renovate Right brochure.  (Renovate Right is available at:
  • April 2009—Trainers can begin to apply to EPA or an EPA-approved state for accreditation, and, once approved, contractors and construction trade workers can begin to take the training to become certified.
  • October 2009—Firms can apply for EPA or state certification.
  • April 2010—All businesses engaged in renovation, repair or painting activities in homes, residential buildings, schools and child-care facilities built prior to 1978 must be certified, use certified workers, and follow specific lead-safe work practices to prevent lead contamination.

EPA encourages all businesses affected by the rule to begin preparing to become trained and certified as lead-safe firms as soon as possible.  Not only will you be doing your part to protect our country’s children, but you will be providing your customers with an improved service.  Noncompliance can result in significant monetary penalties.  A firm may also be exposed to legal liability if a child comes into contact with lead-based paint dust or suffers lead poisoning as a result of a firm not following lead-safe work practices.  EPA has prepared a compliance guide for contractors and construction trade workers which details all of the requirements of this new rule.  The guide is available at:

If you have questions about the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule’s requirements or lead poisoning prevention in general, please visit EPA’s web site at or contact the Nation Lead Information Center (NLIC) at 1(800) 424-LEAD(5323).

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What Kind of Contractor Do You Need

April 10th, 2010

What Kind of Contractor Do You Need?

This step helps you get started determining what type of contractor you need, and making sure they are qualified and properly licensed.

Here are some guidelines to use when you begin searching for licensed contractors. By using them, and the other steps that follow, you could save yourself from financial risk and other future problems with unlicensed contractors.

Determine what type of contractor you need.

In California, anyone who contracts to perform work on a project that is valued at $500 or more for labor and materials must hold a current, valid license from the CSLB. You can verify the license on-line or call 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

Alert symbolALERT Be advised that unlicensed individuals pose a risk to you and your family’s financial security. They expose you to significant financial harm in the event that a worker is injured while on your property, if your property is damaged, if the work is incomplete and/or faulty. Few, if any, unlicensed individual has bonding or workers’ compensation insurance. The quality of their work usually doesn’t compare to that of a licensed contractor. Don’t take the chance in order to save a few dollars. You’ll probably end up paying more in the long run.

The CSLB licenses contractors in 43 different classifications. This ranges from general contractors to swimming pool contractors, landscapers, painters, electricians, plumbers and many more. It will be easier to decide the right type of contractor if you carefully plan your project in advance and clearly define what you want done to your property.

Understanding the difference between a general and specialty contractor.

General building contractors usually oversee projects and coordinate the specific licensed subcontractors for a job. Specialty or subcontractors are usually hired to perform a single job. For example, if you want only roofing or plumbing work, you may want to hire a contractor licensed in that particular specialty.

A general building contractor may also contract for specialty work, but must hold a specialty license for that work or actually have a specialty contractor do the work. The only exception is if the job requires more than two types of work on a building. Then it is appropriate for a licensed general building contractor to contract for and oversee the entire project. For example, if your kitchen remodeling will involve plumbing, electrical and carpentry work under one contract, you should hire a licensed general building contractor. Under these circumstances, a general building contractor may perform all of the work on a building, or subcontract parts of the job to contractors with specialty licenses.

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Hire A Licensed Contractor

April 10th, 2010

Hire a Licensed Contractor

The sections listed below will help you select the right licensed contractor for your home improvement needs.  The Resources on the right give you more information on the risks you might face along the way.  You can also download or order CSLB publications and videos and connect with other agencies that may be of assistance to you.

Check a License or Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS) Registration

Look-up a Licensed Contractor or a Salesperson’s Registration to verify information and find out about any complaints disclosed.

What kind of contractor do I need?

This step helps you get started determining what type of contractor you need, and making sure they are qualified and properly licensed.

How do I find the right licensed contractor?

This step highlights some of the different things you can do to help you find the right licensed contractor.

What should I look for in contract and binding agreements?

This step helps you understand contract and binding agreements with your contractor.

Do I need a building permit for my project?

This step guides you to your local building department.  There are numerous building departments in California.

Swimming Pool Construction

This section briefly describes how to hire a swimming pool contractor, how to manage the project and other issues that may surface before during and after construction.

Learn About Home Improvement Contracts

It explains what is required in a contract and what you as a consumer should look for before signing any kind of legal paperwork with a contractor.

What Seniors Should Know

This section provides information to protect Seniors when hiring contractors.

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Building Official Information Guide

April 10th, 2010

Building Official Information Guide

CALBO/CSLB Guidelines

Get information about how all Building Department personnel can help identify and resolve problems created by licensed and unlicensed contractors.

Building Department Referral Form

Use this form to notify the CSLB about unlicensed activity, contractors working without workers’ compensation insurance and building code violations.

General Engineering (“A”) Contractor

(B&P 7056)

Can a general engineering (“A”) contractor contract to perform the work of a single trade (specialty work) if that specialty work is an integral part of the scope of work for a general engineering contractor? For example, a general engineering contractor can build a freeway, which can include pouring concrete and putting up fences. Can the “A” contractor take a contract for concrete work only or to build a fence only?

An “A” contractor can contract to perform all or any part of a project that falls under the “A” classification. California Code of Regulations section 834(a) states “…a general engineering contractor shall operate only within those areas defined in Section 7056 of the [B&P] Code.” Therefore an “A” contractor could take a contract to build a fence or pour concrete if the work was originally or currently part of the type of projects listed in B&P Code section 7056 (airports, roads and similar “fixed works”).

General Building (“B”) Contractor

(B&P 7057)

How is a general building (“B”) contractor defined in Contractors License Law?

Section 7057(a) broadly defines general building contractor as a contractor whose principal business is in connection with any structure built, being built, or to be built, requiring in its construction the use of at least two unrelated building trades or crafts; however, framing or carpentry projects may be performed without limitation. In some instances, a general building contractor may take a contract for projects involving one trade only if the general contractor holds the appropriate specialty license or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed specialty contractor to perform the work.

Subsections (b) & (c) of section 7057 specifically define the situations in which a “B” contractor may take a prime contract or subcontract.

The last part of the first paragraph of section 7057 states “…or to do or superintend the whole or any part thereof.” What does this mean?

Any projects, or portions thereof, that are identified under section 7057 as appropriate for the “B” General Building classification may be completed by a “B” contractor through the licensee’s own forces, and/or by overseeing (superintending) the work of properly licensed subcontractors.

How does the CSLB differentiate between a prime contract and a subcontract?

A prime contract is a contractual relationship made between the owner of the property and the contractor. A subcontract is when the contractor does not have a direct contractual relationship with the owner of the property. For example, the subcontractor contracts with the prime contractor.

What prime contracts or subcontracts can a “B” contractor take?

A “B” contractor can take a prime contract or subcontract for:

  1. framing or carpentry projects; or
  2. projects that require at least two unrelated building trades other than framing or carpentry (cannot count framing or carpentry as one of the two unrelated trades); or
  3. any specialty projects (even if less than two unrelated trades) for which the “B” contractor also holds the required specialty class.
Can a “B” contractor take a “prime contract” for a single specialty trade?

A “B” contractor may take a prime contract for any specialty project (even if less than two trades); if the “B” contractor holds the specialty classification or subcontracts the work to an appropriately licensed specialty contractor.

Can a general building (“B”) Contractor take a “subcontract” for work involving a single trade if he plans to sub the work out?

As provided in B&P section 7057(b), a “B” contractor cannot take any subcontract (a subcontract is when the “B” does not have a direct contractual relation with the owner of property) for any single trade project (excluding framing or carpentry), unless he/she holds the required specialty license classification. For example, a “B” contractor may take a prime contract (contract directly with the owner of the property) to roof a home, then subcontract the work to a licensed roofing contractor. However, a “B” may not take a subcontract to roof a home, then subcontract the work out.

Can a “B” contractor take a contract for fire protection or well drilling work?

Section 7057 (c) prohibits a “B” contractor from taking a contract for any project that includes work covered under a C-16 (Fire Protection) or C-57 (Well Drilling) classification, unless the “B” contractor either holds the C-16 or C-57 class or subcontracts the work to a properly licensed specialty contractor.

Can a “B” contractor obtain a roofing permit when the work involves replacing facia board, painting eaves and applying a new roof cover?

If the work is part of an overall general building project, then yes, the “B” contractor could obtain a roofing permit and perform or subcontract the work.

The first paragraph of B&P section 7057 refers to “chattels.” What are chattels?

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines chattels as: “an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate, freehold, and things (as buildings) connected with real property.” Example: A tool or equipment shed is a structure that is designed to house “chattels.”

C-27 Landscaping Contractor

(CCR 832.27)

Can a landscaping (C-27) contractor pull permits and perform work involving gas lines and/or electrical circuits?

This is sometimes the case when yard lighting or a pre-manufactured spa or an outdoor barbecue is part of the landscaping contract.

A C-27 contractor may obtain permits and contract for such work, provided the work is part of or incidental to an overall landscaping project.

Can a landscaping contractor contract and pull permits for patio covers or outdoor decks?

A C-27 contractor may contract and pull permits for “nonwatertight” patio covers or outdoor decks.

If a patio cover is attached to the house, what classification(s) can build it?

Patios with lattice type covers can be built by either a general building (“B”) contractor, a carpentry contractor (C-5), or a landscaping contractor.

Are there any restrictions on the size, height, or type of deck that a landscaping contractor can contract or pull permits for?

Generally, there are no restrictions on the size, height, or type of deck that a landscaping contractor can contract or pull permits for. However, certain structural work may be precluded. A review will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Can a landscaping contractor build a perimeter wall?

Only if the perimeter wall is part of a total landscaping project.

Can a landscaping contractor do a single trade, i.e. concrete, masonry, carpentry?
A landscaping contractor may undertake any single trade contract, provided such work is a part of:

“…landscape systems and facilities…which are designed to aesthetically, architecturally, horticulturally, or functionally improve the grounds within or surrounding a structure or a tract or plot of land…” (Board Rule 832.27)

If an outdoor wall is built simply for its aesthetic value, what classification is required?

A landscaping contractor, general building contractor, or carpentry contractor would be appropriate if carpentry skills are required. A masonry wall would require either a landscaping or masonry contractor.

C-36 Plumbing Contractor

(CCR 832.36)

Can a C-36 Plumbing Contractor contract and pull permits for the installation of a seepage pit or other components of a septic system?

A C-36 Plumbing Contractor may contract and pull permits for installation of a seepage pit or other components of a septic system. An “A” General Engineering or C-42 Sanitation System Contractor may also perform this work. All three licenses are appropriate to install or repair all septic systems.

What license classifications are allowed to install or repair building sewers?

“A” General Engineering, C-36 Plumbing, C-42 Sanitation System, and C-34 Pipeline Contractors may install and/or repair building sewers. A “B” General Building Contractor may perform this work if it falls within the scope of work of a general building contractor as defined in B&P section 7057.

What license or certification is appropriate for removal of underground storage tanks?

Removal of underground storage tanks requires the Hazardous Substance Certification in addition to the appropriate license classification.

An “A” General Engineering Contractor is appropriate to install and/or remove underground storage tanks for any purpose whatsoever at any location.

A C-36 Plumbing Contractor is appropriate to install and/or remove any underground storage tank that provides a service to a building. This includes storage tanks for service stations.

A C-61/D-40 Limited Specialty Service Station Equipment Contractor is appropriate to install and/or remove underground fuel storage tanks with a capacity of up to 20,000 gallons at service stations or any other site.

A “B” General Building Contractor is appropriate to install and/or remove an underground storage tank only if such work is performed within the meaning of B&P section 7057, the definition of a general building contractor.

C-8 Concrete Contractor

(CCR 832.08)

Can a C-8 Concrete Contractor contract and pull permits for a lattice patio cover?

No. A C-8 contractor can only work with wood when it is part of a formwork for concrete.

C-53 Swimming Pool Contractor

(CCR 832.53)

Can a C-53 Swimming Pool Contractor contract and pull permits for a patio cover?
No. A C-53 contractor cannot contract or pull permits for a patio cover.
Assembly Bill 2697 (regarding swimming pool safety) was signed by the Governor in 1998. Among other things, the bill requires all dryniche and wet-niche light fixtures operating at more than 15 volts to be protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Who can perform the installation and inspection of this work?

The installation and inspection of electrical work in public swimming pools (required by Senate Bill 873) may be done by either an engineering (“A” ) contractor, electrical (C-10) contractor, swimming pool (C-53) contractor, or a pool & supply maintenance (C-61/D-35) contractor.

C-39 Roofing Contractor

(CCR 832.39)

Can a roofing (C-39) contractor pull a repitch/reroof permit including the framing and structural work that is involved?

Generally, structural changes are inappropriate for the C-39 contractor on a reroof/repitch. However, certain projects may require special consideration and a determination will be made on a case-by-case basis.

C-16 Fire Protection

(CCR 832.16)

What is the proper license to install fire protection systems?

B&P section 7026.12 is very specific. It states:
“The installation of a fire protection system, excluding an electrical alarm system, shall be performed only by a contractor holding a fire protection contractor classification…” as defined in the California Code of Regulations section 832.16 Fire Protection Contractor “…or by an owner-builder of an owner-occupied, single-family dwelling, if not more than two single-family dwellings on the same parcel are constructed within one year…”.

Sign Installation

What classification of license is appropriate for installation of signs?

If the installation of a sign falls under the definition of contracting (B&P 7026), the following licenses would be appropriate:

  • C-10 Electrical or C-45 Electrical Sign would be required for electrical signs;
  • C-45 Electrical Sign or C-61/D-42 Limited Specialty would be required for nonelectrical signs.

(Note: Installation of any sign that comes under the purview of the Outdoor Advertising Act [California Administrative Code, Title 4, Chapter 6] does not require a contractor’s license. Billboards are the most common and these types of installations require registration with the Department of Transportation.)

Minor Work Exemption

(B&P 7048)

Is it true a contractor’s license is not required if the work to be performed is under $500?

Yes, B&P section 7048 (Small Operations) provides an exemption from licensure for minor work if the aggregate contract price, including labor, materials, etc. is less than $500. This exemption does not apply if the “minor work” is part of a larger project. Example: A homeowner is having a kitchen remodeled at a total cost of $6,000 and decides to sublet the flooring work which is only $300. The person doing the flooring would not be exempt from licensure because the overall cost of the project was over $500. In addition, jobs cannot be broken down into hourly fees in order to sidestep the $500 threshold.

Agriculture Exemption

(B&P 7049)

What is agriculture exemption?

B&P section 7049 provides an exemption from licensure for any “construction or operation incidental to the construction and repair of irrigation and drainage ditches of regularly constituted irrigation districts, reclamation districts, or to farming, dairying, agriculture, viticulture, horticulture, or stock or poultry raising, or clearing or other work upon the land in rural districts for fire prevention purposes”. However, if a licensed contractor performs work included in the agriculture exemption, CSLB has jurisdiction over complaints. (B&P 7049)

Owner/builder Exemption

(B&P 7044)

Who is considered an owner/builder?

Any individual, or group of individuals, who own the property on which they plan to construct, alter, repair, improve, or remodel a building or structure. Also, a tenant may be considered an owner/builder (case-by-case).

Is an owner/builder required to have a license?

An owner/builder is exempt from licensure, but there are limitations. A license is not required if:

  1. The owner/builder does the work himself or herself or through his or her own employees with wages as their sole compensation and the structure(s) is/are not intended for sale.
  2. The owner/builder contracts with properly licensed subcontractor(s). This exemption applies to the construction of a single-family residential structure and limits the number of structures intended or offered for sale to four or fewer in a calendar year.
  3. Number of structures is unlimited if the owner/builder contracts with a general building (“B” ) contractor.
Is a homeowner required to obtain a license if he/she wants to improve his/her home?

A homeowner improving his or her principal place of residence is exempt from licensure if all of the following exist:

  1. The work is performed prior to sale;
  2. The homeowner resides in the residence for the 12 months prior to completion of the work; and,
  3. The homeowner has not taken advantage of this exemption on more than two structures during any three-year period.
Are there any trades that property owners are prohibited from performing themselves?

Property owners are prohibited from performing well-drilling work covered under the C-57 Well Drilling classification.

Does the owner/builder exemption apply to an individual who builds homes for resale (spec homes) and are there any limitations?

Yes. The owner/builder exemption would apply to an individual who builds homes for resale under any of the following conditions:

  1. Licensed tradesmen are hired to perform all work on the project (provided no more than four structures per calendar year are intended for resale).
  2. A licensed general contractor is hired to perform and/or subcontract the completion of all work on the project. (No restriction on the number of structures completed per calendar year.)
  3. The owner/builder performs the work, all or in part, and resides in the completed structure for one year prior to resale. (Applies to not more than two structures in a three-year period.)

Multiple Classes for a Project

Is it possible that more than one classification could be appropriate for a single project?

Yes–for example, grading and paving a road can be performed by either a general engineering (“A” ) contractor or an earthwork & paving (C-12) contractor.

Structural Pest Control Operator

Is a licensed Structural Pest Control Operator required to have a contractor’s license when making structural repairs caused by wooddestroying pests or organisms?

Structural Pest Control Operators are not required to hold a contractor’s license when operating within the scope of their license. Only a Branch 3 Licensed Structural Pest Control Operator may contract and pull permits for the repair or replacement of wood damaged by wood-destroying pests or organisms.

(Structural Pest Control Act, Chapter 14, Article 1 Section 7505 and Article 4 Section 8560). The key is replacement of damaged members.

Alarm Company Operator

(B&P 7054)

Is an alarm company operator required to be licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) and the Contractors State License Board?

Individuals who install, maintain, monitor, sell, alter or service burglar alarm systems are exempt from licensure under the Contractors License Law (B&P section 7054) provided they are licensed by BSIS. Fire alarm work is subject to Contractors License Law and requires a C-10 Electrical license.


Are licensed contractors required to include their license numbers in advertisements?

Any time licensed contractors advertise their services, whether on paper, over the air waves or on the Internet, a license number must appear. This includes but is not limited to letterhead, business cards, any type of directory listing, airwave transmissions, newspaper ads, vehicle lettering, or any form of advertising.

Is it against the law for an unlicensed individual to advertise construction services?

No, as long as the advertisement includes a statement that the individual does not hold a contractor’s license (B&P 7027.2).

Workers’ Compensation Verification

Are local jurisdictions required by state law to verify workers’ compensation insurance prior to issuing a permit?

Under Labor Code Section 3800 subsection (a) city and county building departments “…shall require that each applicant for the permit sign a declaration under penalty of perjury verifying workers’ compensation coverage or exemption from coverage as required by Section 19825 of the Health and Safety Code.”

Does the Board maintain a record of workers’ compensation coverage for licensed contractors?

The CSLB is required to maintain a record of workers’ compensation coverage or exemption. This information is available on the Board’s web site,, and by calling the Board’s toll-free automated assistance number, 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

Contractors License Verification

Are local jurisdictions required by state law to verify a contractors license prior to the issuance of a permit?

Any city or county which requires the issuance of a permit shall also require a written and signed statement from a licensed contractor stating that he or she is licensed, the number of the license and that it is in full force and effect. Contractors are required by law to provide this information. (B&P section 7031.5)

Is there a similar requirement for unlicensed individuals who want to pull a permit?

If the individual pulling the permit is exempt from licensure under the Contractors License Law then he or she must provide a written and signed statement giving the basis for the alleged exemption.

Amount of Down Payment

Is the amount of a down payment fixed by law?

B&P section 7159(d) states that a down payment for any home improvement contract may not exceed $1,000 or ten percent of the contract price (excluding finance charges), whichever is less. The down payment for a swimming pool may not exceed $1,000 or ten percent of the contract price (excluding finance charges), whichever is less.

Contractor Fired–New One Hired

What happens when a contractor is fired and a new contractor is hired?

If there are no violations of the Contractors License Law, the Contractors State License Board has no jurisdiction over the firing or hiring of a contractor.

General Complaint Information

How can a homeowner obtain information on how to file a complaint?

Consumers can contact any CSLB office and request a copy of the pamphlet Consumer Guide to Filing Complaints, which explains the complaint process. Information can also be found on the Board’s web site,, and by calling the Board’s toll-free automated assistance number, 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

Will the Board investigate if a complainant wishes to remain anonymous?

There is a “confidential” box on the complaint form for individuals who wish to remain anonymous. However, this limits the type of complaints investigated since the Board cannot mediate a workmanship complaint with a licensed contractor unless the contractor is informed of the details of the job (site, homeowner, complainant issues).

How long does a person have to file a complaint?

The Board has jurisdiction over licensed contractors for up to four years from the date of an illegal act for patent defects and up to 10 years for latent “structural” defects [B&P 7091(a)(b)]. Jurisdiction for unlicensed contractors is up to four years from the date of the illegal act. [B&P 7028(d)].

How does the Board define “structural defect”?

Based on California Code of Regulations (CCR), the three elements below are required for a defect to be considered a “structural” defect as referenced in B&P 7091:

  1. There is a failure or probable failure in the load-bearing portions of a structure;
  2. The failed portions were not constructed in compliance with the code (this requires a violation notice from the building official); and
  3. The failure or condition results in the inability to use the affected portion of the structure for the purpose for which it was intended.
What if there is a warranty extending past four or ten years?

A legal action regarding an alleged breach of an express written warranty must be filed within the duration of that warranty.

What kinds of complaints can be forwarded to the CSLB for investigation?

Complaints within the Board’s jurisdiction involve failure of a licensed contractor to fulfill the terms of an agreement, including poor workmanship; the requirement of a down payment in excess of the amount allowed by law; job abandonment; failure to pay subcontractors or material suppliers; building code violations; use of false, misleading or deceptive advertising; violations of the Home Improvement Act; and violations of the Swimming Pool Act.

What about fraud reported by consumers?

Fraud is a cause for disciplinary action (B&P Code, Section 7116).

What is the minimum documentation required by CSLB to pursue a complaint on a licensed contractor for performing construction work?

There is no minimum documentation required to pursue a complaint. However, the contractor must be identifiable and there must be an alleged violation of the Contractors License Law. All complaints are reviewed to determine whether they are within the jurisdiction of the Contractors State License Board.

How Building Officials File Complaints with the Contractors State License Board

Does the CSLB accept complaints filed by building officials?

In 1992, meetings between CSLB staff and building official representatives resulted in the development of procedures for filing of complaints by building officials and for handling of those complaints by CSLB.

Is there a special complaint form to be used by building officials?

The standard complaint form can be used. However, the form should be copied onto yellow or green paper so that CSLB staff may quickly identify complaints filed by building officials.

How do I fill out the CSLB complaint form?

You need only fill out the front page of the complaint form. List the building department as the complainant and name a contact person. The form must contain the name of the contractor, the project address and the items of complaint.

Are other documents helpful?

Yes. Filing the following documents at the time of the complaint may shorten the investigation time considerably:

  • Certified copies of permits and applications for permits.
  • Certified copies of correction notices.
  • Certified copies of letters of citation to respondent.

Will I have to appear as a witness?

Very rarely, a building official will need to testify during the hearing process.

What happens to the complaint when it reaches CSLB?

CSLB Intake and Mediation Center supervisors have been instructed to review complaints from building officials upon receipt and assign the appropriate priority based on the seriousness of the complaint. As with all complaints, those involving serious health and safety matters are given highest priority.

Who should I contact if I have questions about a complaint?

Contact the CSLB office nearest you for general complaint information.

How To Contact CSLB

Street Address 9821 Business Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95827-1703
Mailing Address P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento, CA 95826-0026
Internet Address
Toll-Free Automated Assistance (800) 321-CSLB (2752)
Disaster Hotline (800) 962-1125
Executive Fax (916) 364-0130
Licensing & Classification Information
Licensing & Classification Licensing Fax (916) 366-9130
Information Licensing E-mail Currently Unavailable
Northern California
General Complaint Information (800) 321-CSLB
For complaints on work performed in California counties NOT mentioned below, mail complaint forms to P.O. Box 269116, Sacramento, CA 95826-9116
Legal Action Disclosure (916) 255-4041
Report Unlicensed Activity (SWIFT)* (916) 255-2924
Northern SWIFT Fax (916) 369-7265
Southern California
General Complaint Information (800) 235-6393
For complaints on work performed in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, mail complaint forms to: P.O. Box 1007, Norwalk, CA 90651-1007
Legal Action Disclosure (562) 345-7656
Report Unlicensed Activity (SWIFT)* (562) 466-6017
Southern SWIFT Fax (562) 466-6065

*Through its Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), CSLB works to eliminate the number of unlicensed contractors working in California.

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