CSLB Spring 2015 Newsletter

The CSLB Spring 2015 Newsletter was sent out today.

Here are my highlights… or lowlights.

CSLBs Illegal Critical ClassificationsIn the Chair’s opening statement he said: “You can expect CSLB to continue its vigorous regulation of California’s construction industry, and to aggressively pursue unlicensed contractors and unscrupulous businesses through sting operations, construction site sweeps, and other strategies. We want to build more partnerships with licensees, industry groups, and government agencies to present a united front against individuals and businesses who try to hide from state laws or take advantage of consumers.”

Once again, they’re missing the bigger picture. Cause and effect, if you will. “…vigorous regulation of California’s construction industry, and to aggressively pursue unlicensed contractors…” The Contractors State License Board is playing a HUGE part in creating the large amount of unlicensed contractors with their “vigorous regulations.”

For over two years now they have been putting applicants through the wringer with their “profiling” of specific applications. They continue to quote the regulation that requires them to perform a secondary review of at least three percent of all apps received. What I’m hoping/praying will happen is that the State Legislature or an attorney will finally call the CSLB to the mat on this.

They are not randomly selecting applications as the law states, they specifically profiling and targeting these classifications. Last week I was told by a CSLB employee that they should no longer use the term “critical classifications.” I guess they realized that using this term was illegal. DUH!!! They can’t just decide on the whim of a single power hungry CSLB employee to profile specific individuals.

That’s all for now. More later.

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Whats New in California Contractors Licensing

Whats New in California Contractors Licensing?

Well, there doesn’t appear to be much new happening in the world of California contractors licensing. I haven’t heard from anyone new about their license application struggles.

Could everything be going smoothly at the CSLB? I highly doubt that. They haven’t been able to get their act together over the last 15 years.

Are you, or someone you know, in need of application advise? Do you need an application prepared or reviewed? Are you looking for high quality, low cost exam study materials? If so, please feel free to contact me. I reply to emails even after business hours, so don’t hesitate in dropping me a line.

 

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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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CSLB Applications must be notarized

I was told today that CSLB applications must be notarized if you are applying from out-of-state.

notary publicOr at least the work experience form must be notarized. The reason given: it’s the only way they can verify signatures of out-of-state applicants and/or certifiers.

This would suggest that they verify ALL signatures, wouldn’t it? And how would they do that? Call, send a letter, or an email? Perhaps they use smoke signals, or two cups and a string?

One thing we know for a fact… they certainly don’t verify all signatures in person of in-state applicants! Does the CSLB think that out-of-state applicants don’t have phones, mailing addresses, or email accounts?

This is a new low for the Contractors State License Board. And another example of they make up the rules as they go along. Seriously, the only way to verify signatures of out-of-state applicants?

What this really looks like is another off the cuff decision by a CSLB employee in some bizarre attempt to profile, harass, classify, sectionalize, and deter out-of-state applicants.

So not only have they trivialized the State mandated exams by making you prove your experience on paper, but now you have to get your certifier to notarize his signature.

Good luck finding this requirement in the application instructions or in any California law or regulation!

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CSLB Application Denials and the Appeals Process

Let’s take a minute to discuss CSLB Application Denials and the Appeals Process.

application denialIt’s a boring subject I know, but it’s good information to have if you find yourself stuck in the AIU vortex.

If your application is denied by the Application Investigation Unit, Section 485 kicks in.

§ 485. Procedure upon denial

Upon denial of an application for a license under this chapter or Section 496, the board shall do either of the following:

  • (a) File and serve a statement of issues in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
  • (b) Notify the applicant that the application is denied, stating (1) the reason for the denial, and (2) that the applicant has the right to a hearing under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code if written request for hearing is made within 60 days after service of the notice of denial. Unless written request for hearing is made within the 60-day period, the applicant’s right to a hearing is deemed waived. Service of the notice of denial may be made in the manner authorized for service of summons in civil actions, or by registered mail addressed to the applicant at the latest address filed by the applicant in writing with the board in his or her application or otherwise. Service by mail is complete on the date of mailing.

Added Stats 1972 ch 903 § 1. Amended Stats 1997 ch 758 §

The key here is that 60 day deadline to file your appeal request. I would suggest filing your appeal as soon as possible to get the appeal process started.

From here Section 487 applies and it outlines the Hearing process.

§ 487. Hearing; Time

If a hearing is requested by the applicant, the board shall conduct such hearing within 90 days from the date the hearing is requested unless the applicant shall request or agree in writing to a postponement or continuance of the hearing. Notwithstanding the above, the Office of Administrative Hearings may order, or on a showing of good cause, grant a request for, up to 45 additional days within which to conduct a hearing, except in cases involving alleged examination or licensing fraud, in which cases the period may be up to 180 days. In no case shall more than two such orders be made or requests be granted.

Added Stats 1972 ch 903 § 1. Amended Stats 1974 ch 1321 § 10; Stats 1986 ch 220 § 1, effective June 30, 1986.

The important part in this section is that the hearing shall be conducted within 90 days of the hearing being requested. Unless you, the applicant, request or agree to a continuance. I wouldn’t agree to a continuance because I wouldn’t want to give the board the ability to delay the process any further. If the OAH grants a request for extension, you’re stuck with it. The CSLB likes to say that the process can take 4-6 months, but I think this is a scare tactic. Section 487 suggests that a hearing could take place in as little as 3 months.

After a hearing request is submitted, Section 488 comes in to play.

§ 488. Hearing request

Except as otherwise provided by law, following a hearing requested by an applicant pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 485, the board may take any of the following actions:

  • (a) Grant the license effective upon completion of all licensing requirements by the applicant.
  • (b) Grant the license effective upon completion of all licensing requirements by the applicant, immediately revoke the license, stay the revocation, and impose probationary conditions on the license, which may include suspension.
  • (c) Deny the license.
  • (d) Take other action in relation to denying or granting the license as the board in its discretion may deem proper.

Added Stats 2000 ch 568 § 2 (AB 2888).

This one is interesting because of item (c). This suggests that the CSLB could deny the license… again. What’s curious is that it was a denial that led you down the appeal/hearing path in the first place.

So there you have it, some interesting facts about CSLB application denials and the appeals process.

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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 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 Contradicts Itself

How are we suppose to follow the rules when the CSLB contradicts itself?

I received the Contractors State License Board Winter newsletter today, and within 2 minutes I found a statement where the CSLB contradicts its own laws. If the people who are responsible for implementing the laws can’t provide accurate information to the public, how are we suppose to trust them?

cslb contradicts itself

I mean, they are the ones that expect perfection from every applicant. All those t’s must be crossed, and all those i’s must be dotted, or you can forget getting a license. Apparently they don’t hold themselves to the same standards!

Click here to view the cslb newsletter.

What I’m referring to specifically is the page titled “Angry about Unlicensed Competition? There’s a Form for That.” Within this article they state that “Those without a license can advertise as along as the ad states that they are not a state-licensed contractor, and the combined total of a project’s labor and materials costs is $500 and under.

Now here’s a section from the CSLB website: “It is illegal for an unlicensed person to perform contracting work on any project valued at $500 or more in labor and materials.” This can be found here: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/consumers/reportunlicensedactivity/WhatIsIllegalContractorActivity.asp

Can you see the discrepancy? Is it less than 500? Or is it 500 or more?

This reminds me about a CSLB app tech who told me a client needed an Individual Bond because he held 10% ownership. I had to “teach” the cslb tech that the law requires an Individual Bond when the qualifier owned LESS than 10%.

What have we learned today? Don’t believe everything the CSLB tells you because the CSLB contradicts itself!

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How to fill out the CSLB Work Experience Form

How to fill out the CSLB Work Experience Form. The first step toward receiving a California Contractors License.

2013 has been full of changes when it comes to the CSLB License Application. It used to be the experience outline could make or break your application. Now, it’s only a minor player for eight of the 43 license classifications.

Although, a properly formatted CSLB work experience form for all 43 classifications is important, preparing a proper experience outline for the eight critical classifications is just the first step.

How to fill out the cslb work experience form

[Read more…]

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Contractor Talk Post

Wow…. here’s a post/question/comment/complaint I received in the ContractorTalk Forum. I’m am so floored by how the CSLB is treating applicants, I’m beside myself. Read on…

Phil – I think you’re right about flagging Asian last names. As I explained to you in my private message, I’m being asked for all kinds of documentation for my Class B. And, I have an Asian last name. Go figure.

They didn’t take my business classes, algebra, advanced math or my CA real estate license and appraisal courses into consideration at all. First I was told that they can’t call my employer out of state, so they want 1099’s and check stubs. Fine. Sent them. The Licensee Deputy approves and then they send me to an Experience analyst. She tells me that the 1099’s are useless, because I, “could have earned the money doing anything”. So why did you ask me to hunt down an old, handicapped prior employer 3,000 miles away to get the darn things?

She tells me that my application shows c6 work and not Class B. She sends me a form asking if I want to withdraw my application. I emailed Andrea S. and asked her since when cantilevering decks, framing additions, siding and roof work is millwork. She said it was millwork and not general building! How ’bout that? She asks me to provide permits and contracts. I explain that as a journeyman employee I’m not required to have either, and that legally my contractor employer isn’t even required to keep those docs for more than 3 years. They then asked for client contacts, which I don’t have as an employee.

She says that I need to go back to the elderly, sick employer 3,000 miles away and get a notarized letter from him outlying my duties. I included hours worked, duties by year for the 10 years through apprenticeship (4yrs) and journeyman level (6 years). What else should he document in the letter?

I do think I’m being targeted. When I explained that I felt that shuffling me from department to department for 10 months now is excessive, and I don’t understand why they ask for documentation that they then tell me they can’t use (like the 1099’s and pay stubs), I’m told that I need permits and the notarized letter from my certifier. Wasn’t his certification enough? No, because he was a foreman and not a contractor. Again, I have no legal reason to have permits as a journeyman. I think they just don’t want to license me – possibly because I’m Asian.

I even included letters from people who can verify that I’ve done extensive work on my own homes. I offered to send in 200 material receipts to verify the work and was told that they weren’t needed. What else can I send in to help with this?

contractor talk post

My reply:

I may actually be speechless!!! Oh wait… no I’m not.

Your experience with the cslb just floors me!! How incompetent can one state agency be? Seriously?!? You give them what they ask for, what they have listed in their ridiculous list of acceptable items, then tell you they won’t accept them. I truly wonder (often) why the patients are running the asylum!

My advice is to contact your State Representative! Show the rep the letter the cslb gave you with the options. Show the rep what you provided, per their list, and show the rep the response you received from the cslb.

It has been pointed out to the Board, directly, that the licensing unit is asking for docs that most applicants aren’t required by law to need or obtain. Yet, they keep asking for them. Then they have the nerve to reject those docs.

I wish I had proof in hand that the cslb is profiling Asian applicants, but they are just smart enough not to have put anything in writing… as far as I’m aware. I was just told that the license techs were verbally told to pull apps with Asian last names. So suggesting to a State Rep that you’re being profiled would most likely be flat out rejected by the cslb. For me… I’d mention it anyway. Let the cslb hear the accusation so they know what they’re doing is out in the public.

Like I said… I was almost speechless.

If you feel you’ve received biased, unfair, ridiculous treatment from the CSLB, let them know about it. Submit this form. CSLB Client Services Complaint Form

via California Licensing – Page 70 – Contractor Licensing – Contractor Talk.

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