CSLB Licensing Policies and Procedures

Is there such a thing as CSLB Licensing Policies and Procedures?

And does the licensing branch of the CSLB follow them?

From the outside looking in, the answer is no. From when I was an application technician on the inside looking out, the answer was still no.

I firmly believe that the CSLB does not have a written policy or procedure for their license application technicians to follow when they review applications.  It is self-evident they don’t because the correction letters sent to applicants by their technicians include wildly different requests for corrections.  Sure, every app is different, but there are many things within the app that are standard.  But even those standard items are treated differently.

Let’s take a look at this correction letter, click here.  To begin with, it shows Jerry Brown as the Governor.  Was this letter reviewed by a supervisor or manager before it was mailed to the applicant?  No, so therefore there was no oversight or review even at the lowest level.  This indicates that each application technician is acting as an independent contractor, so to speak, and reviewing applications and requesting corrections using their own set of standards.

CSLB Licensing Policies and Procedures

This was the case when I left the CSLB in 2005, and it was the case when a good friend and former coworker of mine retired from the CSLB last year.  He followed his own guidelines when processing applications and refused to follow many of the directions of management because he felt they were incorrect, inaccurate, or unnecessary. He was probably the best technician they had or will have.

I recently received an email from the CSLB licensing manager regarding how applications are processed and here is part of her response “The majority of the licensing division’s policies and procedures differ greatly from 15+ years ago.”  I assumed she was referring to when I left the CSLB, but it seems the minority of the changes to the policies and procedures that weren’t changed included how the applications are processed by the application technicians.

What about their Mission Statement?

Furthermore, how can the CSLB meet its mission statement if they consistently reject and deny applications without a published uniform set of application review guidelines?  The lack of a standardized procedure ultimately forces businesses into operating without a license.  In fact, the CSLB is the largest creator and has the biggest influence on the underground economy because of its lack of uniformity and transparency regarding their license application processes.

From what I can see, they are in violation of the first four bullet points of that mission statement!

They need to update the CSLB licensing policies and procedures again and create a publicly available, written procedural manual for every app tech to follow to ensure that every application is reviewed properly, correctly, and uniformly.

CSLB Mission Statement:

The Contractors State License Board protects consumers by regulating the construction industry through policies that promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the public in matters relating to construction.

The Board accomplishes this by:

  • Ensuring that construction is performed in a safe, competent, and professional manner;
  • Licensing contractors and enforcing licensing laws;
  • Requiring licensure for any person practicing or offering to practice construction contracting;
  • Enforcing the laws, regulations, and standards governing construction contracting in a fair and uniform manner;
  • Providing resolution to disputes that arise from construction activities; and
  • Educating consumers so they can make informed choices.
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Critical Classifications

Critical ClassificationsThe CSLB has seen the error of their ways and has done away with the list of Critical Classifications!

Yep, you heard me! The Contractors State License Board, under the direction of the new Registrar Cindi Christenson (she’s moved to the top of my Christmas List!), has seen the light.

They have done away with what has been dubbed the “Villucci Rule” or “Villucci Disaster” and have gone back to processing license applications in a manner that is consistent with the law.

No longer will they be REQUIRING applicants of the A, B, C10, C16, C20, C36, C38, and C57 classifications to provide written documentation to PROVE their experience.

It’s been a long 3+ years, but the day has finally come. To put it in the words of the Registrar herself at a recent Board meeting… the previous way of processing applications was “probably improper.” One of the Board members wanted to know why application submittals have gone up, but the number of licenses issued has gone down.. uh… Rick Villucci is why!! I wonder how Rick is doing in his newly demoted position?!?! LOL

This means that ALL applications will be processed according to the contractors license law. This is to say that a minimum of 3% of ALL applications received will be pulled for a secondary review… as the law allows!

Bottom line… your A, B, C10, etc app will most likely get through the initial review process without issue (unless it isn’t formatted properly… [I can help with this] and is rejected) and sent straight to the exams. This is good new people!!

I give the CSLB a lot of grief (having been a former CSLB employee I feel I’ve earned the right), but in this instance… I totally applaud the Registrar!!

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CSLB Employees of the Month

Today we are highlighting the outstanding efforts put forward by two CSLB employees who go above and beyond the call of stupidity.CSLB Employee of the Month

Employee #1 rejected an application because some of the experience provided went past the ten year limit. IF, the experience provided needed to include the time that went past the ten year limit, I could clearly see the need for the rejection.

But NO… the part of the experience submitted that did fall within the last ten years was sufficient to meet the CSLB’s 4 in 10 yr requirement. So why did this CSLB employee reject this application? Either this person is just flat out stupid, they are so completely anal that they can’t seem to get out of their own way, or they just prefer making more work for themselves. The jury is still out on that one.

Any way you slice it, total the amount of time the applicant provide that does fall within the ten year requirement and complete the processing of the application. Why put the applicant, who has been waiting many weeks for the CSLB to get through their ridiculous backlog only to have to wait more because the person reviewing his application is an imbecile.

Employee #2 rejected an LLC application because the LLC name (as filed with the Sect. of State) has the word “Construction” in it. Shocker, I know. A contractor wanting to use the word “Construction” in their business name! Call the cops… this person should be locked up! How dare they want to use the “C” word in their business name!

Here’s the catch… this company is applying for an A-Gen Engineering license. So the CSLB wants them to add Engineering to their business name. i.e. ABC Smith “Engineering” Construction LLC, instead of ABC Smith Construction LLC.

Am I the only one that finds this completely absurd?!?! Is the CSLB suggesting that A-Eng contractors (uh oh… another form of the “C” word) do not CONSTRUCT anything?!?!

And do they really think that any consumer with half a brain (which is more than some CSLB techs have) would be confused by this? They are making a lot of assumptions that are just not based in fact or reality.

Some things have changed for the good at the CSLB, but hiring/retaining stupid technicians is something that they’ll probably, most assuredly, never change.

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Do I have to submit an experience outline?

CSLB ExperienceI received an email today from a reader who was looking for an answer to this question:

Do I have to submit an experience outline with my application if I held the same classification over five years ago? The email stated:

Dear Mr. Cocciante:

Your Blog is a wonderful resource and I am happy I discovered it. I have a question I hope you can answer. Here is the scenario: Contractor fails to renew license, license expires, five years pass. Contractor must now apply for new a.k.a. Original License. Does Contractor need to complete and have Certification of Experience form signed? Per Bus. & Prof. Code 825(b) applicant “may compute experience without regard to the ten-year limitation.” So, essentially, Contractor may use the exact work experience used to obtain original license, and given that Contractor held license, clearly he has met the four-year minimum requirement … which leads me to the question of does Contractor need to include a Certification of Work Experience form?

I have read conflicting answers in another blog. One time they said the form was not required, another time they said it was. When I called the CSLB, a tech told me all Contractor needs to do is write “See License No. XXXX” on the Experience form; another tech had a different answer.

I’m hoping you have some insight for me. I very sincerely appreciate your time. Perhaps this topic may be a good one to blog about. I imagine I’m not the only one trying to figure this out. Plus, with the fires in Northern California, seems like a lot of guys are getting back into construction after having let their licenses expire.

Kind regards,
Jessica T.

My reply:

Hello Jessica,

Thank you for the kind words.

I can tell you as a former cslb application technician, and a service provider that deals with current application techs, that he would not need to submit his experience with a new application.

On the first page of the app it will ask him to provide any license he is/was associated with. The app tech will look up that license number to verify that he held the same classification previously that is being applied for now and will post the application to the exams.

Having said that, there is always a slim chance that they may ask for an experience outline and verifying documents (depending on the classification being applied for) for this type of application.

~End

Thank you Jessica for your email and allowing me to post it here. Questions from my readers are always welcomed.

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CSLB Application Processing Procedures & Stats

CSLB Application Processing Procedures were discussed at a recent meeting.

Below is part of a powerpoint presentation given at the 10/21/13 Licensing Committee Meeting where they discuss their “new” cslb application processing procedures. It seems to me that the more they try to explain away their decision to profile certain applicants and trades, the more it seems like they are failing at covering their backsides.

There are now 8 classifications that they have determined to be “critical.” Thus, triggering their new application processing procedures. They are: A-Gen Eng, B-Gen Building, C-10 Electrical, C-16 Fire Protection, C-20 HVAC, C-36 Plumbing, C-38 Refrigeration, and C-57 Water Well Drilling.

cslb application processing procedures

But Wait, there’s more!

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