General Building Experience

General Building Experience

General Building ExperienceAre you having trouble with your general building experience outline (or any trade outline)? Has the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) rejected your B general building application because your outline was not formatted properly?

An improperly formatted general building experience outline is a very common issue, and probably the number one reason why applications get rejected. The application requirements state that you must show experience in framing and at least two unrelated trades, i.e. HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing, Concrete, Painting, Drywall, etc. when applying for the B-General Building license.

What the CSLB does not want to see are administrative duties such as, pulling permits, signing contracts, hiring subs, reading blue prints, etc. They also don’t want to see specific projects. The experience outline should be a broad overview of what you do (either install or supervise) on the job site on a daily basis.

I was contacted by an applicant whose application was rejected because their experience was not properly formatted. I reviewed the outline, and although it did contain the necessary framing and two unrelated trades, the outline began with a detailed description of solar installations. While solar can be one of the two unrelated trades, beginning the outline with that suggests to the tech reviewing the app that that is the main focus of the experience. It also suggests that the CSLB tech is incapable of thinking out of the box. Either way, a properly formatted experience outline would include framing in the beginning.

I help a lot of people every week with their general building experience outlines. If you are having trouble with yours, or the CSLB has rejected your app, I do offer an application review service that will save you time, frustration, and cut through some red tape. Click here if you would like to have me review your application and/or experience outline, then email your application, work experience page, and/or the CSLB rejection letter to me and I’ll look it over.

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Email from a Client

Contractors License Customer SatisfactionI received an email from a client who I have been helping since August of last year.

As with many applications there are twists and turns, and special circumstances. All of which need to be dealt with in a certain way and handled in a particular timeline. This client had been registered on a license as a Salesperson. I gave him advice on how he needed to explain his salesperson registration so that his license experience would be accepted.

He also had questions regarding workers comp, when he needed it, when he should buy it, etc. I am a licensed insurance broker and I answered his questions but suggested he contact my broker, Shilo, for more detail. She is an expert in workers comp for contractors and felt he would be best served by speaking with her.

Here is his email….

“I had spoke to Shilo right before I got your email, she answered every question I had and then some. Man you guys got this system down, I really wish more people could be so easy to work with. I’m a very honest person and I always expect people to treat me the same way but that rarely happens.

If someone told me how easy the test would be if I used your materials I wouldn’t believe them but it was easy and you’ve been spot on since the first time we spoke in August.

The technician at CSLB was very impressed with my application and he told me it saved him a lot of time because I disclosed the info about my HIS Lic and also sending in proof of employment with a B Lic for 4 years (sent in w-2’s/ last pay sub) and I used my brothers to sign for my experience. (Also send print out of criminal background even if it’s only traffic related, it cost $1)

I think the best thing was to be completely honest with them and send in as much info as I could without going overboard with it. The CSLB phone operator told me “do not send in your proof of employment or we will return your application” LOL !  I trusted you and sent it in anyway.

The only thing that happened to me was that owed $300 for a citation that I had inherited from my parents company and by the time the CSLB found the records (because it was from 2005) my technician went on vacation for 3 weeks so my Lic just sat there in his desk waiting for him to return!

I sent in my app on Sept 10th and they approved it over the phone and set up my test date on December 30th.

So basically without your advice I would have still been in application phase.

This has seriously made a huge impact on my family’s life & this is why I’ve been thankful for everything that you’ve done.

Next time you hear from me is when I hit my million$ mark lol. I do the best work on this side of the Mississippi so I’m sure you’ll hear about me again.

THANKS FROM THE SCOTT FAMILY 2016″

I shared this email with Shilo and this was her response….

“Phil,

Thank you for sharing that! It made my day.

I really appreciate working with you too. I have many guys call & tell me that you were amazing & if you recommended me that I had to be pretty awesome too. So the Kudos really go to you!”

Talk about making someone’s day! They both did!!

If you would like to discuss your specific license application circumstances, please feel free to contact me anytime.


(c) Can Stock Photo

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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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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 Newsletter Summer 2014 Part 1

The CSLB Summer Newsletter 2014 was released today.

cslb newsletter foot in mouthI almost feel like I should thank the CSLB for publishing these newsletters because of the amount of blog posts they can generate. These newsletters give the CSLB the opportunity to continually stick their foot in their mouth in a widely publicized format, and me the opportunity to point it out.

A new Board Chair was elected, David Dias. Mr. Dias decided to make his first public written statement about his personal issues. Being a former HVAC guy, he’s decided to spend the Boards resources going after unlicensed HVAC contractors. Really? Shouldn’t he be focused on the construction industry as a whole? Or is he taking his position of power to tackle something that bothers him personally?

Here is his statement:

“After several extremely tough years for California’s construction industry, it appears that the worst is finally behind most of us, and the prospects for the remainder of this year look brighter for our colleagues. I am pleased to have been elected as CSLB’s Board Chair in this positive atmosphere, and look forward to more work – and jobs – for contractors as the state’s economy continues to recover.

I’m proud of the professionalism demonstrated by the vast majority of CSLB’s almost 300,000 licensees through good times and bad – those who maintained high standards and refrained from cheating, even under the strain of a crushing recession.

Unfortunately, there are always a few whose actions tarnish the reputation of our profession. In particular, I am troubled by the increasing number of complaints CSLB is receiving about predatory C-20 Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) contractors who are targeting vulnerable consumers after being called out for simple repairs or routine maintenance. This really hits home since I’ve spent much of my career working in the HVAC field, and I find it disappointing that my honest, hard-working colleagues suffer from association with the industry’s bad apples.

CSLB is taking steps to warn and weed out this element. We hosted a conference in San Jose in May that brought together industry officials, regulators, and C-20 contractors to discuss HVAC installation. The event also introduced CSLB’s new “Ambassador Program,” an education and enforcement campaign. A similar town hall meeting for HVAC contractors was held in early July in San Leandro.

CSLB plans to continue its campaign of educational HVAC workshops to remind contractors about California’s service and repair contract laws and requirements, including a customer’s three-day right to rescind a home improvement contract.

CSLB is partnering with local district attorneys, the Better Business Bureau, and industry leaders on these efforts. I also encourage HVAC business owners to join us in identifying those who are victimizing consumers and damaging the industry’s reputation.

CSLB’s Enforcement division will be reinforcing its HVAC scam zero-tolerance policy through targeted undercover sting operations. You can help in this effort by offering your residential or commercial properties to use for sting operations. An article in this newsletter explains how you can help.”

This is my favorite part of his statement:

“look forward to more work – and jobs – for contractors as the state’s economy continues to recover” He’s not new to the Board, but it seems he hasn’t been paying attention at the meetings. The CSLB licensing division still has its underground and illegal regulations in place that make it extremely difficult to obtain a license. I’m shocked that they haven’t put out some stats that show how many B contractors obtained a license in 2013 compared to any previous year. Ok, no I’m not really shocked, because I’d bet that a lot fewer B contractors were licensed in 2013. So… “more work and jobs for contractors”?? Reality is… they’re creating more underground contractors.

My second favorite part of his statement:

“CSLB is partnering with local district attorneys, the Better Business Bureau…” First, haven’t they always been working with DA’s? They were when I worked there from 2000 – 2005. Has something changed? Next… the BBB. The CSLB is “partnering” with the BBB? Apparently the CSLB is unaware that the BBB is a paid membership business whose business model is to turn a profit, not protect consumers. And does the CSLB think that the BBB is receiving complaints from consumers that they aren’t receiving? “Partnering” with the BBB is just their way of blowing smoke up … to make it sound like they are actually doing something.

Stay tuned for CSLB Newsletter Summer 2014 Part 2 in the coming days where I’ll discuss the CSLB getting tough on RMOs.

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CSLB Racially Profiling

Is the CSLB Racially Profiling Asian Applicants?

cslb racially profilingA source inside the CSLB told me that they (license application technicians) have been instructed to “racially profile” applications submitted by persons with Asian last names. They’ve been told to give additional scrutiny to these applications and to request additional verification of their work experience.

It seems they (CSLB management) believe that Asian applicants tend to “lie” more often than other nationalities when submitting contractor experience. That is what my source was told during a meeting recently. Let’s put this under the category of… “You’ve got to be kidding me!!”

This is in addition to changing their process earlier this year to request additional proof of experience of all B-General Building, A-General Engineering, C-10 Electrician, and C-36 Plumbing contractors.

Why, or how, is it possible for a California State agency to get away with such blatant disregard for the law? They (the CSLB, specifically managers in the Licensing Department) believe that they can act with immunity and do whatever they want, all under the veil of their interpretation of California Law. In some cases, they do have the law behind them, but in this case… “profiling”… there is no law they can cite that would justify this outrageous act.

What I do agree with

I do agree that they have the legal right to pull a minimum of 3% of all applications received for a secondary review. But they’ve decided to request additional proof from all A, B, C-10, C36 apps and others. I and others do not feel as though this type of targeting is within the law.

Now they’re profiling specific ethnic groups! They’ve gone off the deep end and someone needs to pull in on the reigns before it really gets ugly.

Whistleblower Hotline

I asked my source why someone doesn’t call the State’s whistleblower hotline. I was told they are afraid they’d lose their jobs. Even though it’s supposed to be anonymous, they don’t feel safe enough.

Maybe a call to the local TV station or newspaper? Maybe a call to this area’s State Assemblyman? There must be some way to stop the racial profiling!

whistleblower hotline

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Is the CSLB creating a new Underground Economy?

With the recent changes to the Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) application processes, they may be inadvertently creating a new underground economy.

underground economy

Earlier this year they began asking nearly all applicants, if not all, for the A-General Engineering, B-General Building, C-10 Electrician, and C-36 Plumber classifications for additional proof of their experience. They have been requesting w-2’s, pay stubs, copies of contracts and permits, and/or tax returns.

The dilemma is when a “self-employed” applicant is required to submit these documents, they can’t. That’s because the law does not require them to have contracts if the jobs they are doing are under the $500 labor and materials limit. Nor do these jobs require permits.

 

underground economy

The CSLB has said they will not penalize an applicant if they have been doing work over the $500 limit. But what if the applicant has only done a few, several or handful of jobs over the $500 limit but still doesn’t have enough experience to qualify for the exams? His app is denied.

What is the applicant supposed to do then? He can’t stop working. So he continues work, but now he’s documenting every job with a contract. And since he was told by the CSLB that they won’t penalize him (during the application process) for submitting experience over the $500 limit, he now starts doing projects that legally require a license.

Isn’t that counter-intuitive to what the CSLB is trying to accomplish in the first place? Stop people from illegally contracting without a license?

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the exams to the “litmus” test? If the applicant doesn’t have the field experience (according to the CSLB), but can pass their exams, why wouldn’t the applicant be qualified to be licensed?

 

underground economyIt almost suggests that the CSLB feels the exams are useless or unnecessary when it comes to validating an applicant’s experience. Creating false documents is always a possibility. What assurance does the CSLB have that the documents being submitted are valid? But… what are the chances that the applicant will pass the State exams if he’s falsified his experience and doesn’t have the necessary field experience? I would think slim to none. Unless, that is, if the exams have been so dumbed down, like the DMV driving test, that anybody could pass. We’ll file that under the category of “Things that make you go… Hmmmm.”

The CSLB does have the legal right to request additional experience proof from a minimum of 3% of all applications received, but perhaps if they narrowed down the scope of who they ask the documents from, they won’t be forcing so many more people into an underground economy, or inadvertently creating more “unlicensed contractors.”

My next post will be about creating a “Handyman License” and what benefits it would have to the construction industry as a whole.

 

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