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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New C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor

C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair ContractorThe CSLB is proposing legislation to create a New C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor.

It’s about time!!

After years of forcing B General Contractor applicants to withdraw their applications because they couldn’t meet the unrealistic proof of experience requirements, the Contractors State License Board is actually doing something to help the industry! Shocker!!

Friday October 30th, the CSLB Licensing Committee will be holding a meeting to discuss the new C1 non structural remodel repair contractor classification.

It appears they realized that their creation of a list of critical classifications has actually been harming the consuming public, those who strive to become licensed contractors and business owners, the economy, and the construction industry as a whole. They even acknowledged, in writing, that their actions have created an “underground economy.” Can you believe it?!? The almighty, all knowing, all powerful Contractors State License Board admitted they screwed up and failed to fulfill their consumer protection mandate. These are historic times my friends!

C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor Details

This new C1 classification will allow the license holder to perform work that “provided that no load bearing portion of the existing structure is altered, added or moved; this includes footings, foundations, and weight bearing members.” Basically, it should allow the C1 contractor to bid, contract, and perform work that includes at least two unrelated trades that do not include framing.

Framing has been the nail in the coffin for many B General applicants. A very large percentage of B General applicants over the last 3 yrs have little to no framing experience, and many of those that did, did not have the paper documents to prove that experience. This new C1 classification will change all of that.

Here is the proposed language for the definition of a C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor:

832.01 Non-Structural Remodel/Repair Contractor A non-structural remodeling and repair contractor remodels and repairs existing structures of three (3) stories or less, built for support, shelter and enclosure of persons, animals, chattels or movable property of any kind; provided that no load bearing portion of the existing structure is altered, added or moved; this includes footings, foundations, and weight bearing members.

If you would like to read the entire committee agenda item, click here.

Looking forward, I see nothing that would stop this new C1 classification from becoming law. When it does become law, their will be a flood of new applicants who will have questions, and as always, I will be here to help them! I will also have C1 contractors exams study kits to prepare those who will be taking the exam.

Stay tuned, I’ll keep you updated on the new C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor as it unfolds.

 

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CSLB Streamlines License Experience Review Process

Industry Bulletin released today: CSLB Streamlines License Experience Review Process

CSLB streamlines application process“SACRAMENTO — The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the government agency that oversees California’s construction industry and protects consumers by ensuring that license applicants have the minimum qualifications required by law. An important part of this process is verifying and investigating the experience claimed by an applicant. CSLB has a legal mandate to investigate a minimum of 3 percent of applications received for the claimed experience.

Previously, applications and experience claims were reviewed and processed by CSLB’s Licensing division and the formal experience investigations were conducted by CSLB’s Enforcement division. In some cases, this divided process resulted in a duplication of efforts and longer processing times.

To streamline the process and provide more efficient services to license applicants, the experience investigation program now has been transferred to CSLB’s Licensing division.

The transfer will not change CSLB’s policy as it relates to the experience qualifications required of applicants. As mandated by law, CSLB will continue to require four years of journey-level experience within the last 10 years immediately preceding the submission of the application. In the case of experience verification and investigation, the applicant still must provide documentation to substantiate the experience claimed on his or her application.”

Where do I begin?

Why does the CSLB continue to stick with this 3% mandate nonsense. First they created their list of “critical classifications” (not approved by the legislature), then they claim that by REQUIRING those applicants to provide documentation, they are part of the minimum of 3% of all apps received?

Let’s get Real CSLB!

The 3% law is meant to be a sampling of all apps received. REQUIRING certain applicants to provide experience documentation is NOT a sampling. Your REQUIREMENT to have applicants that are applying for one of your illegal “critical classifications” is, in itself, ILLEGAL! 3% minimum and mandatory are two completely separate things.

No Need for the Law!

It’s more than obvious that the rule of law does not pertain to the CSLB! There is a legal process that they must go through if they are going to change what is already written into law. It just floors me that they think they can just make up the rules whenever it suits them!

Smoke and Mirrors? Or a Dog and Pony Show?

I’m not sure which one we’re dealing with here. Smoke and Mirrors? The bulletin could be meant as a smoke screen of… We ARE the CSLB, this is what WE do! Or it could be a Dog and Pony show because they have no clue what they’re doing and they want us to think they do. Either way… what they’re doing is illegal. Plain and simple!

What are the qualifications of the people reviewing the applications?

That’s what I want to know. I know for a fact that one of their “investigators” has a background in marketing. The other investigator? Who knows. Unless and until they bring in people who have ACTUAL construction experience, the applicants will be paying the price.

 Experience investigation program now has been transferred to CSLB’s Licensing division

How many apps have been “reviewed” by licensing, only to be transferred to Enforcement because the “investigator” had no clue what they were reviewing? Far too many!! Who is going to back them up now?

CSLB Streamlines License Experience Review Process?

I can tell you right now, that this decision will NOT streamline the process. They are going to generate such a backlog, it’s going to be mind boggling.

Darkest before the Dawn

It’s been said that it gets darkest before the dawn, well folks, we may be approaching dawn and I fear it’s going to be a very ugly day now that the fox is in charge of the hen house.

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Having trouble with the CSLB?

Are you having trouble with the CSLB? Join the fight by contacting your State Assembly Member’s office or your State Senator’s office.

Having trouble with the CSLBI have been suggesting to applicants that they get their State Representative involved for some time now and within the last few weeks I have heard from several people who have done just that. Who is your State Representative?

The benefit of this is: 1) The CSLB will respond to a political inquiry much faster than they will respond to you. Sad, but true. 2) Once you get the CSLB reply via the law maker, reply to the CSLB back through the law maker. Keep them involved. 3) The more pressure they get from law makers the more they might think about fixing the current mess in the licensing department. 4) The more the politicians hear about this, the more they may be inclined to look into what the CSLB is doing.

So don’t take no for answer!

My bet is the CSLB knows that what they are doing is illegal. They know that they created far too many underground regulations to go unnoticed. At some point, they’ll be called to the carpet and their jobs will be at stake. In the meantime, I think they’ll give the squeaky wheels the grease just to make you go away and to keep anyone from really looking into what they’re doing.

Remember, get everything from the CSLB in writing. If you are able to talk to a CSLB staff member on the phone and they ask you to provide something, tell them to send you the request in writing.

Make them provide the specific law or regulation that gives them the authority to do what they’re doing, or to ask for what they’re asking for. Just “because they say so” only works between a parent and child. They are a State agency that has to follow the rule of law. They don’t have the luxury of making up the rules as they go along, or changing the rules on a whim.

So if you’re having trouble with the CSLB, take a stand and fight back. We live in a democracy and you have every right as a citizen of this Country, and of this State, to contact your elected representatives if you feel the government is over-stepping its boundaries!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The Declaration of Independence

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CSLB Fun Facts

CSLB Fun Facts can be very entertaining, it not a treasure trove of deceit.

cslb agency of deceitHere is a Q&A in the CSLB Licensing section of their website that I find very entertaining. I’ll give my thoughts on the other side of each Q&A.

Q. I have been a property manager for four (4) years at an apartment complex. Does this experience count as journeyman?

A. This could be very difficult to prove as verifiable experience because you do not complete any one (1) trade on a regular basis for four (4) years. If you want to apply for a C-36 Plumbing license you must show that you performed plumbing every day for four (4) full years, for approximately eight (8) hours per day.

It’s saying that in order to qualify for a license, you must have worked at that trade for 8 hrs a day for 4 yrs. If this is true, how does anyone qualify for the B-General license? Since you have to have experience in at least two unrelated trades, and framing (maybe/maybe not), how can you perform all of those trades for 8 hrs a day each for 4 yrs? You can’t. It’s impossible!

Next CSLB Fun Fact ~

Q. What is journey-level experience?

A. Journey-level exeprience (I didn’t correct their typo) applies to a person who has completed an apprenticeship program or is an experienced worker, not a trainee, and is fully qualified and able to perform a specific trade without supervision. However, that person does not have a license and is not able to contract for jobs that are more than $500 in labor and materials.

So a journeyman is someone who can perform a specific trade without supervision. Again, how does someone qualify for the B-General classification? Assuming their definition of “specific trade” is a single specialty classification, i.e. C10, C27, C33 etc.

Next CSLB Fun Fact ~

Q. I worked for myself since I was 16 years old. I am now 21. Does that qualify for four (4) years of journeyman experience?

A. If you submit verifiable evidence that you worked full-time for the last four (4) years, you may qualify, depending on the trade. Verifiable evidence includes, but is not limited to, invoices, income tax reports, 1099s, and copies of contracts. If you were paid in cash and kept no records and filed no taxes, it will be difficult for you to prove you actually did any work.

An important aspect of being a journeyman who is ready to be a contractor is knowing how a business is run and demonstrating that knowledge whether you are licensed or not. Depending on the trade, you also need to prove one (1) to four (4) years of apprentice experience in addition to the four (4) years of journeyman time.

Let’s break this down… The first sentence states “verifiable evidence that you worked full-time…” So even though they say they’ll accept “self-employed” experience, that fun fact must not apply to 21 year olds. And why is it depending on the trade? There is nothing in the law that makes one trade different than the other in regards to how the application is processed. They also don’t mention here that if you are 23 or under, they label you a “young journeyman” and make you prove your experience no matter what classification you are applying for.

The second paragraph again states “depending on the trade, you also need to prove 1-4 yrs of apprenticeship experience.” That’s a new one. I’ve been up and down the contractors license law and have never seen any requirement to show apprenticeship training. Unless they’re referring to the electricians certification requirement. Either way, that language is not in the law.

That’s all the CSLB Fun Facts for today. I’ll have more soon so stay tuned.

It’s all here in black and white: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Journeymen/JourneymenFAQ.asp

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CSLB AIU Vortex

The CSLB AIU Vortex continues to spin. And it’s not a pretty sight!

I received an email from one of my readers today and wanted to share it with you. Our conversation went as follows.

cslb aiu vortexMy fiancé has been undergoing the investigation process with the AIU and it’s looking as though they are going to deny his application. His prior employer has cooperated fully with the investigator but they seem to only want w-2s, paycheck stubs, and so forth. I was wondering if you had any knowledge or experience with the appeal process. How long does it take and so forth? Also, can you recommend any lawyers that have experience with this process? If we plan to go that route.

I replied:

Yes, the joys of dealing with the CSLB and the AIU. Did they allow you to submit any other forms of experience verification?

In the last year, I haven’t heard of anyone going thru the appeal process. The CSLB says it can take 4-6 months. I don’t have a referral at the ready, but I can ask my contacts if they have an atty referral for the appeal process.

She replied:

Yes, they gave their basic cookie cutter letter stating that we could send in invoices and estimates and materials receipts and so forth. Once we sent that paperwork in, they contacted my fiancé’s prior employer and sent him a paper to fill out verifying work experience and pay. After all that, the investigator said that the information was not enough and that he needed verifiable documents such as w-2’s, pay check stubs, and time cards. I have reviewed the CSLB’s website and found proof that if the employer verifies then that should be enough but I’m not sure if they are just forcing these investigators only to ask for w-2’s. If it turns out that the application does get denied, we are definitely thinking of appealing. It has been a long process and it seems pointless to give up now. [Read more…]

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How to Get a California Contractors License Part 5

IN THIS SERIES OF POSTS, I’LL TELL YOU HOW TO GET A CALIFORNIA CONTRACTORS LICENSE. HERE IS PART 5.

Now lets discuss different titles or positions and business entities:

RME or RMO Contractors21) What is the difference between an RMO and RME?

RMO or Responsible Managing Officer is the qualifier for the license and may or may not hold any ownership in the company. An RME or Responsible Managing Employee is the qualifier for the license and may not hold any ownership in the company.

22) Can an RMO be a qualifier on more than one License?

Yes. An RMO can be the qualifier on up to 3 corporate licenses as long as he or she holds at least 20% ownership in each company. The CSLB has passed a new law giving them more enforcement power over qualifiers who qualify more than one license. Those qualifiers need to have an active role in all projects done under the licenses for which they qualify. If enforcement action is taken against a qualifier on any one license, it will have a negative effect on every other license that he or she qualifies.

23) Can an RME be a qualifier on more than one License?

No. An RME can only qualify one license at a time. He or she may have a Sole Owner license but it must be inactive while the person is acting as an RME. By law, an RME must work a minimum of 32 hours a week.

24) Can an individual have more than one license?

Yes. An individual can have as many as 10 Sole Ownership licenses.

25) Can a Sole Owner also be an RMO or Qualifier on another License?

Yes. An individual can be an RMO on another license as long as he or she holds at least 20% ownership or more of the company. As I stated in #22, if you are going to qualify three licenses at the same time, be careful not to spread yourself too thin as you will be required to have an active participation in all projects done under all licenses you qualify.

The finale, Part 6, coming soon!

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How to get a California Contractors License Part 3

In this series of posts, I’ll tell you how to get a California Contractors License. On to part 3.

How do I get a california contractors license12) What happens if I fail the exams?

The Law and Trade exams are scored separately, and you can take either exam as many times as necessary for 18 months (at $50 per retake). If you don’t pass within 18 months, you have to reapply. If you passed one of the exams it still counts for up to 5 years.

13) Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Required?

Yes. Unless the entity has no employees, then a certificate of exemption can be filed with the Board. *The law now requires that roofing contractors must have W/C whether or not you have employees.

14) What is the cost to apply for a license?

The application filing fee is $250, the Initial License Fee is $150. Both of these fees can be paid when the application is submitted. If the applicant chooses to remove his or her application after submittal, only the Initial License Fee will be refunded.

15) Can I apply for more than one classification at a time?

No. You need a license number before you can apply for an additional classification. So, for example, first you might get a B license as a general builder, and then later add an classification such as a C-10/Electrician.

16) Does the CSLB recognize licenses from other States?

Yes. The CSLB has reciprocity agreements with Utah, Nevada and Arizona. It is possible to get a CA license if you hold a license in one of these states by only having to take the CA Law & Business exam. The key is, you must have been licensed in the other State for a minimum of 5 out of the last 7 years.

Coming up… How to get a California Contractors License Part 4.

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CSLB Application Processing Part 2

Here we are again, CSLB application processing part 2, where I received a screen shot of an application timeline.

This poor guy is being bounced around like a golf ball in a blender. You can see in the image below that the application was submitted on 4/30/13. After being sent to the case management unit for a flag that was cleared on 7/17, almost three months later, the app was then sent to a licensing supervisor on 8/1. I’m assuming this was either a classification clarification or experience related. On 8/5 the supervisor returned the application to the technician with instructions to reject the app to the applicant for a correction. Then on 9/18, the application was sent back to the licensing supervisor for review again. I’m assuming to review the classification clarification or experience outline. The application was also sent to a “License Deputy” for review. Again, I’m assuming it’s for experience. On 10/1 the app is returned to the application technician with instructions to post the app and schedule him for the exams.

You would think that should be the end of it. It’s been to a supervisor twice and to a “licensing deputy.” But no… the app is referred to the Application Investigation Unit or AIU on the same day they schedule the exams. This is the part that really fries my shorts. Why do they insist on scheduling applicants for the exams AND send them to the AIU to verify their experience? If they are not qualified for the exams, and they require the applicant to prove his experience with the AIU, why send them to exams in the first place?

Moving on, the application is “out for investigation” on 10/7, but an “investigator” in the AIU will take at least a month before he/she contacts the applicant. On 10/22 the applicant passes both the law and business and trade exams.

Here we are, it’s January 15th, and the application is still “out for investigation.” Full disclosure… the applicant hasn’t told me yet what communication he’s had with the investigator, if any. So it could be that he’s submitted documents to be reviewed and is waiting for a determination to be made. Or, he may still be waiting to hear from the investigator.

Bottom line… anybody could look at the process this application has gone through and wonder if the Contractors State License Board is truly inept or just dysfunctional. Why did a “licensing deputy” review and apparently approve the application and then sent it to enforcement? Does the “licensing deputy” have the necessary training and experience to adequately review an application? The timeline below suggests, No.

If you find yourself in this situation, contact your State Assembly Member’s office and file a complaint with them. You can also file a complaint directly with the CSLB. Click on this link to download the pdf. CSLBClientServicesComplaintAndSuggestionForm I know that is kind of like asking the fox to look over the hen house, but at least the Registrar’s office is aware of what’s going on under his nose.

CSLB Application Processing Part 2

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CSLB Work Experience Seminar Part 2

CSLB work experience seminar part 2 includes pictures from the meeting and the video taken by the CSLB. I’m in the front row wearing the blue shirt.

I asked at one point if every critical classification applicant would be required to provide additional verification documents. Rick Villucci didn’t exactly answer the question. But I got the feeling that the answer is yes. If you are applying for a critical classification, you WILL be asked to provide that additional experience.

CSLB experience seminar

CSLB Work Experience Seminar Part 1

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