April 6, 2016

CSLB Board Meeting Highlights 4/6/16

We hope that you enjoy the CSLB Board Meeting Highlights of the April 6, Board Meeting in Sacramento. For a downloadable copy in Adobe PDF please click here and save to your hard drive. Also, to download the approved CSLB Administrative and Procedures Manual, click here.

Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman


APRIL 6, 2016
Kenneth S. Grossbart
Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

The Contractors' State License Board held a Board Meeting in Sacramento on April 6, 2016.

Board Members Present:
Chair, Ed Lang; Vice Chair, Agustin "Augie" Beltran; Secretary, Linda Clifford; Kevin Albanese; David De La Torre; David Dias; Susan Granzella; Joan Hancock; Pastor Herrera Jr.; Robert Lamb; Marlo Richardson; Paul Schifino; and Frank Schetter.
Board Members Absent:
Johnny Simpson; and Nancy Springer.

There are no vacancies on the Board.

Although there were no public comments, Board member Joan Hancock took this time to congratulate Larry Parrott for his new position as Chief of Licensing since Karen Robinson has left the position.

The Board had a discussion about the process of creating a nomination/election committee and its members and to have it in place for the next session.
The June Board meeting will be in Garden Grove. June 23 will be a regular Board meeting. June 24 will be a joint meeting with the Nevada State Contractors' Board.
CSLB Staff review the Board Member Administrative and Procedures Manual annually to determine if any changes are needed. The current proposed additions/deletions that were discussed and approved. For a copy of the pages of the manual, click here.
The CSLB has added eight (8) new employees from other State agencies, seven (7) employees new to State service and two (2) student assistants. Three (3) employees transferred units, two (2) employees accepted Training and Development assignments and five (5) employees were promoted within CSLB.
The Personnel office is currently recruiting to fill the Personnel Manager position.
The State's new recruitment system, CalCareer allows candidates to apply online for exams and vacancies. The CSLB personnel staff has been assisting applicants to utilize this new recruitment system.
Personnel staff is also working with program managers to refine the application screening criteria - to facilitate the evaluation of applications and ensure that uniform standards are applied in the selection of candidates to interview.
Several examinations are offered throughout the year in for varies positions including the enforcement, information technology, licensing and testing divisions as well as general staff positions.
San Bernardino - Work will commence once the Department of General Services approves the project construction schedule. Project completion estimated in September, 2016.
Norwalk - The Norwalk facility has two leases, one for the Testing unit and one for the Enforcement unit which run through October, 2013. Construction work is scheduled to begin in April and should be done by August, 2016. .
San Diego - The current lease expires in January, 2018 and the lease renewal process has begun. New paint, carpet, lighting and minor modular modifications are to happen in the Enforcement and Testing units. The projected completion date in March, 2017.
Testing Field Offices - The CSLB Test Centers will be receiving security cameras to better monitor each test station and record any misconduct, if necessary; these recordings can be used for court proceedings. Currently, the Department of General Services is seeking competitive bids from camera contractors for this project and the projected completion date is December, 2016.
Sacramento Headquarters - The Department of General Services is working with CSLB staff to identify upgrades to be incorporated into the lease renewal. Numerous items are still in the negotiation phase with hopes that it will be completed by September, 2017.
Contracts And Procurement
Contracts in Process
  • Maintenance service contract for inserter mailing machine for Sacramento headquarters; and
  • Renewal of Survey Monkey contract for online surveys.
Procurements in Process
  • New batteries for UPS machine;
  • Modular furniture for the San Bernardino Investigation Center; and
  • Installation of 30amp dedicated electrical outlets in the Berkeley, Oxnard, San Bernardino, and Norwalk offices for new UPS machines.
Executed Contracts/Procurement
  • New copier for Enforcement division, including five year maintenance contract;
  • New copier for the Norwalk Intake office, including five year maintenance contract;
  • Contract for December 10, 2015, Board meeting in Brisbane; and
  • Rental maintenance agreement for mailing meter machine at Sacramento headquarters.
Fleet Management
During the 2014-15 fiscal year, the CSLB purchased and received four (4) Ford Fusions, one (1) Dodge Grand Caravan and one (1) Nissan Leaf. They are still awaiting the Dodge Ram Truck.
The 2015-16 Fleet acquisition Plan included a request for eleven replacement vehicles to include four (4) Ford Fusion Hybrids, six (5) Chevrolet Impalas and one (1) Dodge Ram.
SB 561, which became effective on January 1, 2016, authorized the CSLB to simplify the Home Improvement Salesperson registration process. SB 561 removed the requirement that a Home Improvement Sales Person register separately with the CSLB for each contractor he or she represents. Now, through a single registration, a Home Improvement Sales Person can work for multiple employers.
In 2015 Otech, the California Department of Technology, requested that all state agencies change their external IP addresses. The CSLB IT staff worked closely with Otech and this was accomplished. Since the CSLB was the first to migrate successfully, the CSLB helped Otech develop a template to assist other State agencies in the process.
Even though BreEZe Release One and Two are not in production at the Department of Consumer Affairs, the CSLB Business Consulting Unit staff continues to work with programs to document and map current as is business processes, conduct meetings with CSLB end-users to verify mapping and completing gap/fit analysis. Once Release Two is implemented, the Department of Consumer Affairs will perform a formal cost/benefit analysis to look at viable option for Release Three before moving forward.
IVR is an interactive, self-directed telephone system that provides valuable information to consumers, contractors and others. It allows callers to request forms or pamphlets that are faxed to them immediately. Callers can look up a license, and applicants can check the status of their exam application. The IVR provides consumers with information on how to file complaints, as well as how to become a licensed contractor. In addition, the IVR gives callers an option to speak to call center agents in Sacramento or Norwalk. From December 2015 through February 2016, CSLB's IVR handled a total of 103,713 calls, which is an average of 34,571 calls a month. The system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
CSLB IT staff maintains high security on the Board's information technology networks, systems, and applications. Using a multi-layered defense utilizing various security products, CSLB proactively blocks/denies unauthorized, attempts to breach its systems from all sources, including those emanating from foreign countries.
The CSLB spent $43.1 million through February 29, 2016 - this is about 66% of its budget.
The 2015-26 budget was revised with an increase of $1.2 million to include one-time adjustments. These adjustments include reconciling salaries and wages with projected operating expenditures, adjustments to employee retirement contribution rates and adjustments to employee compensation and health rates. The approved budget is now $65 million.
The Contractors' State License fund had a $24 million reserve (for approximately 4.5 months) at the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year. The projected reserve for 2015-16 will cover 3.4 months.

Existing law (Business & Professions Code section 7031):
  1. Authorizes a person who uses an unlicensed contractor to bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for recovery of compensation paid to the unlicensed contractor for performance of any act or contract.
  2. Authorizes a court to determine that a contractor has substantially complied with licensure requirements, under limited circumstances.
  3. Provides that the four criteria the court should consider to determine substantial compliance are that the contractor:
    • Had been duly licensed as a contractor in this state prior to the performance of the act or contract;
    • Acted reasonably and in good faith to maintain proper licensure;
    • Did not know or reasonably should not have known that he or she was not duly licensed at the time when performance of the act or contract commenced; and
    • Acted promptly and in good faith to reinstate his or her license upon learning it was invalid.
This bill:
  1. Revises the conditions a contractor must meet for a court to determine that a contractor is in substantial compliance with licensing requirements (as described in 3 above).
  2. Revises the last criteria to instead provide that the contractor acted promptly and in good faith to remedy the failure to comply with the licensure requirements upon learning of the failure.
  3. Requires (rather than permits) a court to determine that a contractor is in compliance with the licensing requirements, if all of the conditions are met.
There is no fiscal impact for the CSLB if this bill is made law. The staff currently recommends that the CSLB watch this bill but not take an official position.
This bill requires that the Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs:
  1. Study where occupational licensing requirements create an unnecessary barrier to labor market entry or mobility, particularly for dislocated workers, transitioning service members and military spouses.
  2. Submit a report to the Legislature by July 1, 2017.
The fiscal impact for the CSLB is still pending at this point. The staff currently recommends that the CSLB watch this bill at this point.
This bill requires that the Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs:
  1. Study where occupational licensing requirements create an unnecessary barrier to labor market entry or mobility, particularly for dislocated workers, transitioning service members and military spouses.
  2. Submit a report to the Legislature by July 1, 2017.
Based on the CSLB's authorized budget, without a fee increase, the Contractors' State License Fund will be in a deficit by the end of fiscal year 2017-18.
This bill contained the proposed fee increases previously approved by the Board so the CSLB sponsors and supports this bill.
This bill:
  1. Authorizes the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to add a feature to its current online license check function that allows a consumer to search for a licensed contractor by either zip code or location.
  2. Specifies that this may be done either when funds are available or during a scheduled update of CSLB's website.
The fiscal impact for the CSLB is pending. The staff currently recommends that the CSLB support this bill.
Existing law defines a solar energy system as either: (1) any solar collector or other solar energy device whose primary purpose is to provide for the collection, storage, and distribution of solar energy for space heating, space cooling, electric generation, or water heating; or (2) any structural design feature of a building, whose primary purpose is to provide for the collection, storage, and distribution of solar energy for electricity generation, space heating or cooling, or for water heating.
This bill:
  1. Requires that, prior to the completion of the sale or financing of a solar energy system, a solar company provide each customer with a solar energy disclosure document (document).
  2. Requires that the document include:
    • A list of current residential or business electric rates by kilowatt hour.
    • The payback calculation rate for the system.
    • A notification that electric rates are subject to future change, and that estimates of savings are based on today's electric rates.
    • A link to a page on the customer's electricity provider's webpage that provides information about the provider's filings regarding future rates.
    • A description of the solar company's contractor's license, and the name of the qualifier.
    • Valid certificates of insurance for the company's commercial general liability and workers' compensation insurance policies.
    • A description of the average level of electricity per month produced by the solar panels.
    • A notification that when renewable energy attributes are retained by a solar company, the customer is not buying solar power or renewable energy.
    • A notification that the balance of any financing or lease arrangement is payable to the solar company in the event of the death of the customer.
    • An estimate of the cost of removing and reinstalling panels if the roof needs to be replaced.
    • An explanation of the potential change in electricity production of a system if the panels become dirty or covered with debris, and instructions on how to maintain the system.
    • An explanation that if a system is financed by a loan that requires a super priority lien on the mortgage, the homeowner may be unable to refinance his or her mortgage.
    • A notification that customer bill credits are compensated by other customers of the electricity provider.
    • Requires that if the contract was primarily negotiated in Spanish, Chinese,Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean, these disclosures be provided in that language.
    • Requires the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to adopt a regulation with a DCA solar energy system disclosure document (DCA disclosure) informing customers of risks and rewards of a system, and that this be provided to consumers at the same time as the other disclosure required by this bill.
    • Requires that the DCA disclosure include information on all of the following:
      • Solar energy system malfunctions.
      • Installations not performed to code.
      • Roof intrusions and related structural concerns.
      • Bankruptcy, insolvency, default, takeover, or closure of a solar company with existing customers, especially with respect to companies with lease systems.
      • Loss of warranty on systems caused by bankruptcy, insolvency, default,takeover, or closure of a solar company or manufacturer.
      • States the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would require DCA to certify a solar company and establish an insurance pool for customers to access to obtain compensation for system claims, and that the funds be raised annually from all solar companies actively doing business in the State.
      • Authorizes a customer damaged by a willful violation of these requirements to bring a civil cause of action against a solar company for damages.
There is no fiscal impact to the CSLB as currently proposed. The staff recommends that the CSLB watch this bill.
Existing law authorizes all boards to establish an inactive license category.
This bill:
  1. Authorizes boards within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to establish,by regulation, a retired license category for persons who are not actively engaged in the practice of their profession.
  2. Provides that the regulations shall specify that a retired license holder shall not engage in any activity for which a license is required, unless the board, by regulation, specifies the criteria for a retired licensee to practice.
  3. Provides that an individual who holds a retired license shall not be required to renew the retired license.
  4. Specifies that to reinstate a retired license to an active license, the retired licensee must pay a fee; certify that he or she has not committed an act or crime constituting grounds for denial of a license; comply with any fingerprint requirement; and comply with any other requirements a board specifies by regulation.
  5. Authorizes a board to investigate the actions of any licensee, including a retired licensee.
The fiscal impact for the CSLB in currently pending. The staff also recommends that the CSLB support this bill because it does not impose a new requirement but creates a retired license category.
This bill:
  1. Requires a licensee of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), within 90 days, to report to the Registrar in writing the occurrence of any of the of the following events:
    • Conviction of any felony;
    • Conviction of any crime that is substantially related to the qualifications,functions, and duties of a licensed contractor;
    • A civil action settlement or administrative action resulting in a settlement, if the amount is $50,000 or greater, involving fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, breach or violation of a contract, negligence, incompetence, or recklessness by the licensee; or,
    • A binding arbitration award or administrative action resulting in a binding arbitration award, if the amount is $25,000 or greater, involving fraud, deceit,misrepresentation, breach or violation of a contract, negligence, incompetence,or recklessness by the licensee.
    • Provides that failure to report is grounds for disciplinary action.
    • Requires an insurer providing professional liability insurance to a licensee to report to the Registrar, within 30 days of payment of a civil action settlement or arbitration award against a licensee, the name of the licensee, the amount of the settlement or arbitration award, the amount paid, and the identity of the payee.
    • Requires a state or local government agency that self-insures to report to the Registrar, within 30 days of payment of a civil action settlement or arbitration award against a licensee, as described in paragraph (1) above, the name of the licensee, the amount of the settlement or arbitration award, the amount paid, and the identity of the payee.
    • Requires the Registrar to make available to the public all civil action settlements,binding arbitration awards, and administrative actions, if those settlements or arbitration awards have been referred for investigation, as specified.
    • Provides that all of these provisions shall only become operative if the Legislature appropriates money from the Contractors' State License Fund for the purposes of this section and grants sufficient hiring authority to CSLB.
The staff recommends that the CSLB watch SB 465 because it needs further amendments to narrow the reporting requirements, reporting of settlements and criminal convictions. The work called for in this bill could not be absorbed by the CSLB and would require two (2) full-time Enforcement Representatives.
Existing Law:
  1. Requires that every operator of a subsurface installation (except CalTrans)become a member of, participate in, and fund a regional notification center.
  2. Requires a person planning any excavation to contact the appropriate notification center before work begins.
  3. Provides that a willful or deliberate violation of the regional notification system requirements by a licensee of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB)constitutes a cause for disciplinary action by CSLB.
This Bill:
  1. Contains several findings and declarations of the Legislature regarding the need for increased communication between subsurface installation operators and excavators; states that exemptions allowing excavation without first calling a regional notification center should be permitted only if procedures exist so that the excavation occurs without compromising safety; and that the existing exemption that permits private property owners to dig on their own property without notification does not have a basis in safety.
  2. The findings further state that California should have an advisory committee,composed of excavation stakeholders, to perform the following three major tasks:
    • Coordinate the diverse education and outreach efforts undertaken by state and local agencies, operators, and excavators and issue grants for targeted efforts;
    • Study excavation questions and develop standards that clarify best practices;and
    • Investigate potential violations of the one-call law that inform both the standards it is to develop and potential enforcement actions.
  3. Makes various revisions to the Regional Notification Center System, including the definitions of relevant terms.
  4. Provides that an excavator who damages a subsurface installation because of inaccurate marking shall not be liable for damages.
  5. Limits the existing exemption for property owners to, instead, provide that exemption only when the work does not require a permit, the property has no easement or right of way, and the work involves only non-mechanized hand tools.
  6. Exempts from the definition of "excavation," until January 1, 2020, landscape maintenance activity performed with hand tools at a depth of no more than 12 inches, and plowing, cultivating, planting, harvesting, or similar operations in connection with agricultural activities, unless the activity disturbs the soil, to a depth of 16 inches or more.
  7. For an excavation within the approximate location of a subsurface installation,requires the excavator to determine the exact location of the installations within the tolerance zone using hand tools before using any power-driven excavation or boring equipment within the approximate location of the installations. Further requires the excavator to use reasonable care to prevent damage to subsurface installations.
  8. Requires the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to revise its regulations to clarify best practices by excavators.
  9. Creates the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Advisory Committee (Committee), under CSLB and assisted by CSLB's staff. The Committee would be tied to CSLB's sunset date and review process, but does not have a sunset date itself. Provides that the Committee only becomes operative upon appropriation by the Legislature.
  10. Provides that dig alert requirements can be enforced, following are commendation by the Committee, as follows:
    • CSLB, on contractors.
    • The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), on gas and electrical corporations.
    • The Office of the State Fire Marshal, on operators of hazardous liquid pipeline facilities.
  11. Requires the Committee to coordinate education and outreach activities that encourage safe excavation practice.
  12. Requires the Committee to develop standards relevant to safety practices in excavating around subsurface installations and procedures and guidance in encouraging those practices. Provides that the standards shall address all of the following:
    • Evidence necessary to demonstrate compliance with the law;
    • Guidance for recommended sanctions against excavators and operators for violations. Provides that guidance shall include the circumstances under which an investigation will be transmitted for formal disciplinary action, and may allow for a decision not to send complaint forward, if the investigation was triggered by a complaint, the parties have settled, and the Committee has determined no further action is needed. Further requires recommendations for sanctions to be graduated;
    • What constitutes reasonable care in conducting deep excavations within the tolerance zone; and
    • What constitutes reasonable care in grading activities on road shoulders and dirt roads, which may include standards for potholing.
  13. Requires the Committee to develop and recommend a standard or set of standards requiring all new non-pressurized sewer lines, non-pressurized storm drains, and other non-pressurized drains that connect from building structures to the public right-of-way to include the installation of tracer tape or wire to aid in detection and tracing of these subsurface installations, non-pressurized sewer lines, non-pressurized storm drains, and other non-pressurized drains or adoption by the California Building Standards Commission.
  14. On or before December 31, 2018, requires the Committee, in consultation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and after an agricultural stakeholder process, to make recommendations for long term treatment of agricultural activities.
  15. Beginning January 1, 2018, requires the Committee to investigate possible violations of the law, including complaints from affected parties and members of the public. Authorizes staff to use compliance audits, including field audits, and investigations of incidents and near-misses.
  16. Provides that the Authority shall have nine members, as follows:
    • Four appointed by the Governor, three of whom shall have knowledge of and experience in the operation of subsurface installations (including one with a municipal utility), and one with knowledge and expertise in subsurface installation location and marking.
    • Three members (one "A" licensee, one "B" licensee and one "C" licensee)appointed by CSLB, who shall have knowledge of and experience in contract excavation for employers who are not operators of subsurface installations.
    • One member appointed by the Assembly Speaker, who has knowledge and expertise in safety matters representing the workers employed by contract excavators.
    • One member appointed by the Senate Rules Committee, who has knowledge of and expertise in managing the underground installations on one's own property, and may be drawn from agricultural, commercial, residential, or other property sectors.
    • Authorizes the Committee to invite one director of operations of a regional notification center to be a nonvoting ex officio member.
  17. Provides for two-year terms for Committee members.
  18. States that the Committee may obtain funding for its operational expenses from:
    • The Safe Energy Infrastructure and Excavation Fund.
    • A federal or state grant.
    • A fee charged to members of the regional notification centers not to exceed the reasonable regulatory cost incident to enforcement of these requirements.
    • A filing or administrative fee to hear a complaint.
    • Any other source.
  19. Requires the Committee to annually convene a meeting with state and local agencies, California operators, regional notification centers, and trade associations that fund outreach programs that encourage safe excavation practices. Further provides that that meeting shall determine areas in which additional education and outreach efforts should be targeted.
  20. Upon completion of an investigation, requires the Committee to inform the following parties of the results, including any findings of possible violations:
    • The party or parties whose activities were the subject of the investigation.
    • The complainant, if the investigation was initiated as the result of a complaint.
    • Any excavator and operator whose activities or subsurface installations were involved in the incident.
  21. Provides that if the Committee finds a probable violation of the article, it shall transmit the investigation results and any recommended penalty to the state or local agency with jurisdiction over the activity or business undertaken in commission of the violation.
  22. For an investigation of a violation regarding the delineating and tolerance zone requirements, prohibits a complainant from seeking action in court for damages until the investigation is complete, or for at least 120 days after the investigation begins, whichever occurs first.
  23. If a complainant files an action or damages based upon these requirements, after the completion of an investigation in which the person was found to have not violated the requirements, the complainant shall also notify the Committee when the action is filed.
  24. Requires the Committee to annually report to the Legislature and Governor.
  25. By February 1, 2019, requires the PUC to report to the Legislature and the Committee an analysis of excavation damage to commission-regulated pipeline facilities.
  26. Until January 1, 2020, requires each gas corporation to report to the PUC and the Committee specific excavation damage data and analyses.
The staff has recommended that the CSLB watch this bill since it is likely to be significantly amended and address concerns. If passed there will be substantial fiscal impact for the CSLB.
Existing law:
  1. Allows licensees that were on active duty in the armed forces to reinstate their license without examination or penalty.
  2. Requires boards to waive the renewal fee and other renewal requirements for any licensee called to active duty in the armed forces.
  3. Requires boards to expedite a license application from an applicant who was honorably discharged and was on active duty with the armed forces.
This bill:
  1. Requires boards within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to create a fee waiver program for the issuance of a license to an honorably discharged veteran who serves as an active duty member of the California National Guard of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  2. Specifies the program shall be developed in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Military Department.
  3. Provides the fee waiver shall only apply to a license issued to an individual veteran and not to a license issued to a business or other entity.
  4. Limits the waiver to only the initial issuance of the license.
The staff recommends that the CSLB support this bill because it could make it easier for some veterans to enter the construction industry. It should not result in a significant fiscal impact on the CSLB.
Existing law requires CSLB to disclose to the public all complaints that have been referred for accusation or for investigation after a determination that a probable violation has occurred.
This bill provides that this required disclosure also appear on the license record of any other license that meets both the following criteria:
  1. The other license was issued, or associated with the license subject to the citation, on or after the date of the act or omission that led to the issuance of the citation.
  2. The other license includes a member of the personnel of record, who at the time of the action that led to the citation, was identified as a qualifier of the license subject to the citation.
This bill will further the CSLB's goal to disclose information to consumers regarding contractors that have been disciplined so the staff recommends that the CSLB should sponsor and support the bill. There fiscal impact to the CSLB is pending.
Existing Law:
  1. Requires boards within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to waive the renewal fees and other related renewal requirements for any licensee called to active military duty.
  2. Requires DCA boards to ask on all applications if the applicant is currently or has previously served in the military.
  3. Beginning July 1, 2016, requires boards to expedite the initial license process for applicants who previously served in the military and were actively discharged from service.
This bill requires DCA boards to modify their license application to advise veteran applicants about their ability to apply military experience and training towards licensure requirements.
The fiscal impact for the CSLB would be minor and absorbable. The staff recommends that the CSLB supports this bill.
The combined value of corrective work completed by contractors and restitution paid to homeowners for the calendar year 2015 was $10.5 million, which is up $3 million from the previous year. License complaints had a resolution rate of 61% and 43% of all licensee complaint were settled with restitution paid to the injured parties.
  • Elderly Homeowner Cools Down after HVAC System is Completed
  • Contractor Triples the Bill for Elderly Homeowner
  • Contractors Says "Thank You" for His Warning Letter
  • CSLB Intake Meets with PG&E about the "Call Before You Dig" Program
  • Revoked Contractor and His Unlicensed Brother Convicted
  • Update: All Parties Face Criminal Charges in Bay Area "RMO-for-Hire" Case
  • Homeowners Get Burned by Fire Restoration Contractor
  • Criminal Charges Filed Against Suspended Licensee for Fraudulent Public Works Contract
  • Repeat Offender Back on San Francisco Investigation Center's Radar
  • Bay Area Engineering Contractor Loses Complete Control of Church Remodel
  • Update: Previous Offender Extradited to California, Sentenced to One-Year in Jail and Fines
  • Costly Friendship for RMO
  • CSLB Meets with the Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Solar Panel Bait and Switch by Revoked Licensee: Referrals for Criminal Charges in Multiple Counties
  • Tree Down, Results in Criminal Referral
  • Law Enforcement Backup in "Right Place at Right Time" During CSLB Undercover Operation
  • New Website Thumbtack.com Operates Like a "Reverse" Craigslist
  • Multiple Unlicensed Contractors Caught in Two-Day Sting Operation in San Diego
  • Santa Barbara County Sting Operation Results in 21 Notices to Appear
  • Ex-Husband Brought to Justice for Fraudulent Use of Former Wife's License
  • Old Friends, New Relationships: Back Patrolling Marin County with Three New Operations
CSLB has established a Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) comprised of approximately 30 non-sworn Enforcement Representatives (ERs). SWIFT primarily enforces license and workers' compensation insurance requirements at active job sites and performs undercover sting operations, targeting unlicensed persons who have active warrants or who solicit construction contracts.
  • Southern Investigation Centers Attend Advanced Investigation Course
  • Southern SWIFT Attends Undercover Operations Training
  • CSLB Enforcement Division Wraps Up Employee Safety Training
  • Southern Swift Attends Criminal Prosecution Training
The manageable level of pending complaints for the current CSLB Enforcement staff is 2,970. March 2016, saw a pending case load of 3,797.
The optimal case load for Consumer Service Representatives is 1,150. March 2016, saw 1,668 complaints assigned to the Consumer Service Representatives. There are a large number of vacancies at the Intake Mediation Centers that attribute to the Consumer Service Representatives caseloads.
The optimal case load for Enforcement Representatives is 35 cases per Enforcement Representative. The CSLB has 52 Enforcement Representatives with a combined optimal capacity of 1,820 open complaints and as of March 2016, 2,129 cases were assigned to the Enforcement Representatives.
The investigative centers have seen financial settlement amounts of over $2.8 million in fiscal year 2015-16. The intake mediation centers save over $4.8 million in financial settlement amounts for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
Investigation of Consumer Complaints
The Board's goal of 10 complaint closures per month for Enforcement Representatives was met from July 2015 through February 2016. They are also currently managing an ongoing case load of approximately 35 cases per Enforcement Representative. Local prosecutors have been referred 27% of the 1,376 legal actions from July 2015 through February 2016. The goal if for each Enforcement Representative to carry between 30 and 40 pending cases. The statewide average was 37 cases as of February 2016.
January 1, 2013, started the Workers' Compensation Re-certification process. Now, an active contractor with a current exemption for workers' compensation insurance with the CSLB needs to provide a current and valid Certificate of Workers' Compensation Insurance or a Certificate of Self-Insurance at the time of license renewal.
At the September 2015, Board meeting, the Board recommended that the Enforcement Committee assume a lead role in establishing strategies to reduce the number of licensees with a fraudulent exemption from workers' compensation insurance requirements. The full Board will review, discuss and consider approving five workers; compensation compliance strategies.
Those strategies are:
  1. State Agency Partnering;
  2. Develop Educational / Warning Letter Regarding Workers' Compensation Compliance;
  3. Review Public Works Contractors Registered with the Department of Industrial Relations;
  4. Research Construction Monitor Database; and
  5. Review Consumer Filed Complaints for Workers' Compensation Compliance
Specific Classification Workers' Compensation Verification
The following are license classifications that are most likely to require Workers' Compensation because they are most likely to require employee labor:
  • A General Engineering;
  • C-8 Concrete;
  • C-10 Electrical;
  • C-10 HVAC;
  • C-36 Plumbing; and
  • C-46 Solar.
February 2016, saw the CSLB staff perform a random check of 229 licenses with an exemption from workers' compensation insurance on file and of those, 60 were subject to a consumer complain, with 201 total complaint and 52 have a website confirming labor.
Additional Workers' Compensation Strategies for Board Consideration
  1. Identify Three Egregious Offenders for each of the 37 district attorney's offices receiving grants from the California Department of Insurance Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud Grant Program;
  2. Expand Sting and Sweep Operations to Public Works Projects; and
  3. Perform Inspection of Construction Sites identified by the Construction Monitor Database.
Staff Recommendation
The staff also recommends that the Board approve the following strategies as well as the five (5) listed above:
  1. Pursue criminal convictions for three egregious offenders in the 27 workers compensation insurance grant funded counties;
  2. Expand sweep operations targeting workers' compensation violations at public works projects; and
  3. Inspect construction sites of exempt contractors identified via the Construction Monitor database.

The Public Affairs Office (PAO) is responsible for media, industry, licensee, and consumer relations and outreach.
The Public Affairs Office is staffed with six full-time positions and one part-time Student Assistant. The Information Officer II position is currently vacant.
CSLB Website
From March 2015, to March 2016, the CSLB website had almost million sessions of viewers on the website..
Live Webcasts
The CSLB has temporarily discontinued live webcasts because of the concerns that government agency live webcasts may need to include real-time closed-captioning. The Department of Consumer Affairs is currently working with the CSLB to determine if this is the case and to implement a plan to provide closed-captioning if that is the case.
Social Media
Facebook Growth
Instead of just having the "like" option, Facebook users can not use five new emotive icons called "reactions." The "reactions" are: Love; Haha; Wow; Sad; and Angry.
March 15, 2016, saw the CSLB with 2,519 "likes" which is an increase of 213 since the December 2015 Board meeting.
Twitter Growth
November 17, 2015, through March 21, 2016, saw the CSLB gain 90 followers with a total of 1,945.
Periscope Growth
The CSLB uses Periscope occasional to stream live videos during outreach events. The link is available within 24 hours of the event. Viewers can also send comments and questions during the broadcast.
YouTube Growth
February 15, 2016, through March 13, 2016, saw 7,245 views of the CSLB YouTube Channel, with an average of 258 visitors per day. This amounted to 35,016 minutes of video. There are 487 subscribers to the Board's YouTube Channel.
Flickr Growth
The CSLB is expanding its Flickr portfolio of photos. Public Affairs Office staff uploads and posts high-resolution photos. Professional media and industry followers can download photos of their choosing. As of March 15, 2016, there are 190 photos available on Flickr.
LinkedIn Growth
The CSLB is just beginning to utilize LinkedIn. Since the December 2015, Board meeting they have used it to advertise two vacant positions. One being a CSLB Graduate Student Assistant and the other a Test Validation and Development Specialist I/II.
Email Alert Feature
The Public Affairs Office continues to publicize a website feature launched in May of 2010 that allows people to subscribe to their choice of four types of CSLB email alerts:
  • California Licensed Contractor newsletters
  • News Releases / Consumer Alerts
  • Industry Bulletins
  • Public Meeting Notices / Agendas
There are a total of 25,216 subscriptions as well as the voluntary contract list of 78,374 for a combined email database of 103,590
Media Calls
There were 42 media inquiries between November 20, 2015, and March 18, 2016.
News Releases
News releases were aggressively distributed to the media, especially to publicize enforcement actions and undercover sting operations. Between January 29, 2016, and March 1, 2016, there were seven news releases distributed.
Industry Bulletins
The Public Affairs Office distributes industry bulletins to alert industry members to important and interesting news. Bulletins are sent via email on an as-needed basis to just over 6,000 individuals and groups, including those who have signed-up to receive the bulletins via CSLB's Email Alert system. Between December 3, 2015, and March 18, 2016, they distributed six industry bulletins.
  • 2016 Law & Reference Book;
  • New What Happens Now brochure (Spanish);
  • New Build a Rewarding Career: Protecting California Consumers brochure;
  • A Homeowner's Guide to Preventing Mechanics Liens brochures (English & Spanish);
  • A Consumer Guide to Filing Construction Complaints brochures (English & Spanish);
  • A Guide to Contractors License Bonds; and
  • Building Your Career as a Licensed Contractor.
In Production
  • Mandatory Settlement Conference Tips brochure;
  • New Consumer Guide;
  • Mandatory Arbitration Program Guide;
  • Voluntary Arbitration Program Guide; and
  • Asbestos: A Contractor's Guide and Open Book Exam.
In Development
  • New Contractors Guide;
  • 2015 Building Official Information Guide; and
  • New outreach pull-up banners.
Senior Scam Stopper Seminars
Thirty-Six Senior Scam Stopper seminars were conducted or scheduled to be conducted between the January 26, 2016, and the April 22, 2016.
Intranet (CSLBin)
November 2013, saw the launch of the new employee-only intranet site, CSLBin. It reorganized information used by employees on a daily basis and also functions as a resource center for employees.
The CSLB received an increase 2% more applications for fiscal year 2013-14 than prior years with a total of 23,977. Fiscal year 2014-15 saw 25,106 total applications. It appears that a reverse in the decline of applications due to the economic recession and housing downturn may finally be occurring.
The CSLB became authorized to issue licenses to LLC's effective January 1, 2012. LLC's require an additional bond (over the $12,500 contractor bond) of $100,000 for the benefit of workers relative to payment of wages and fringe benefits in order to protect those workers since there is no case law dealing with LLC's. LLC's are also required to have at least $1 million in liability insurance when there are five or fewer persons listed as personnel and another $100,000 required for each listed personnel over five, but not to exceed $5 million.
As of March 1, 2016, 3,070 original LLC applications have been received with 1,359 LLC licenses issued. Inconsistencies between the contractor's application and the records with the Secretary of State are the main reasons why the denied applications were rejected.
January 1, 2013, started the Workers' Compensation Re-certification process. Now, an active contractor with a current exemption for workers' compensation insurance with the CSLB needs to provide a current and valid Certificate of Workers' Compensation Insurance or a Certificate of Self-Insurance at the time of license renewal
The Criminal Background Unit has been conducting fingerprinting for all applicants for a CSLB license; this includes each officer, partner, owner and responsible managing employee as well as home improvement salespersons since January 1, 2005. Since inception, the fingerprint program has received 351,172 transmittals from the Department of Justice with approximately 61,300 of those containing criminal conviction records. As of March 1, 2016, 1,268 of those applications have been denied, 1,502 have been issued probationary licenses, and 635 of the denied applicants appealed their denials.
The CSLB is required by law to investigate a minimum of 3% of applications received to review applicants' claims of work experience. January of 2013 began the process of streamlining the application process as well as reducing the time and expense of formal investigations by combining the work experience verification process with the standard application review. In instances when the CSLB is not able to confirm the experience, three options are offered to the applicant:
  • Identify a new qualifier who possesses the required work experience;
  • Withdraw the application and reapply when the necessary work experience has been gained; or
  • Request a formal investigation.
Since implementation, the Experience Verification Unit has received 921 applications; 368 of those applications have been denied; 83 of those appealed and 443 verified for continued processing; 244 withdrawn. Currently there are 86 applications pending further review or additional supporting experience documentation.
Licensing Information Center Workload
The call center staff continues to exceed Board goals. There are approximately 14,605 calls answered per month. Call wait times are averaged on 4 minutes and 8 seconds with 98% of all incoming calls answered. The average call lasted 1 minute and 16 seconds.
Staffing Update
The Licensing Information Center has two vacancies. There are 13 full-time Program Technician II's and two Retired Annuitants.
Increased Training
The Licensing Information Center continues to strive to provide timely, efficient, and professional services to its customers. New employees have spent significant time in one-on-one training with seasoned staff and supervisors. LIC also meets bi-monthly with the CSLB Classification Deputy for updated classification changes, and keeps in constant contact with the other licensing units to ensure that the public receives the most current information.
Judgment Unit staff process all outstanding liabilities, judgments, and payment of claims reported to CSLB by licensees, consumers, attorneys, credit recovery firms, bonding companies, CSLB's Enforcement division, and other governmental agencies. In addition, the Judgment Unit processes all documentation and correspondence related to resolving issues such as, satisfactions, payment plans, bankruptcies, accords, motions to vacate, etc.
The Testing division's EAU administers CSLB's 46 examinations at eight computer-based test centers. Most test centers are allocated two full-time test monitor positions, with part-time proctors filling in as needed. Test monitors also respond to all interactive voice response (IVR) messages received by CSLB that are related to testing.
Test Center Status
There are test centers in Sacramento, Berkeley, San Jose, Fresno, Oxnard, Norwalk, San Bernardino and San Diego.

Examination Administration Unit Staffing
The Examination Administration Unit is currently fully staffed.
The Testing division's EDU ensures that CSLB's 46 examinations are written, maintained, and updated in accordance with testing standards, guidelines, and CSLB regulations.
Occupational Analysis and Examination Development Workload
There are two phases required to maintain a licensure examination. Occupational analysis, which determines what information is relevant to each contractor classification. Examination development involves reviewing and revising the existing test questions, writing new test questions, and determining the passing score for examinations from that point forward. These cycles must be completed every five to seven years for each examination.
One new examination was released in January 2016: the C-9 Drywall; one new examination in February 2016: the C-8 Concrete; and one new examination in March 2016: C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering.
Occupational analysis is currently in progress for C-7 Los Voltage Systems; C-16 Fire Protection; C-53 Swimming Pool; and C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile.
New examinations are in progress for the C-17 Glazing; C-27 Landscaping; C-31 Construction Zone Traffic Control; C-32 Parking and Highway Improvement; C-33 Painting and Decorating; C-39 Roofing; C-43 Sheet Metal; ASB Asbestos Certification; and Law and Business.
Examination Development Unit Staffing
Examination Development Unit has three vacancies: one Test Validation and Development Specialist II; one Personnel Selection Consultant II; and one Graduate Student Assistant.
Ongoing Consumer Satisfaction Survey
There is an ongoing survey of consumers whose complaint cases have been closed which is designed to assess overall satisfaction with the Enforcement Division's handling of complaints.
Civil Service Examinations
The Examination Development Unit also works on civil service classification examinations that are used at the CSLB.


June 23 - 24, 2015, Garden Grove, California

Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

provide this information as a service to its friends & clients and it does not establish an attorney-client relationship with the reader. This document is of a general nature and is not a substitute for legal advice. Since laws change frequently, contact an attorney before using this information.

Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

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