Did You Know? Our Blog

AGRLAW ANNOUNCEMENT: - Milene C. Apanian has earned the honor of being named partner

Posted 3:1:15

NORTH HOLLYWOOD: - Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman is proud to announce that Milene C. Apanian has earned the honor of being named partner. Milene is a valued member of the firm. Her dedication and attention to our clients is unparalleled. Milene will continue to service the legal needs of our owner, general contractor, subcontractor, material supplier, and surety clients.

Congratulations Milene!


Download Milene's full CV/bio here

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN: - Industry Expert Contractors Needed In Central Valley

Posted 2:27:15

SACRAMENTO - The Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) Industry Expert Program (IEP) is recruiting licensed contractors in several Central Valley regions to provide a variety of essential services that assist CSLB’s Enforcement division with consumer complaint investigations. Industry Experts (IEs) are being sought from Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, and Tulare counties.

IEP is comprised of a statewide pool of licensed tradespeople who serve as independent consultants and are compensated by the board for their time. IEs have a unique opportunity to help ensure that construction safety and industry standards are being met. An IE inspects projects and prepares reports that provide unbiased professional opinions to help protect the public from unscrupulous licensed and unlicensed contractors. An IE also may be called upon to testify in arbitration and/or administrative hearings.

IEs must be licensed and in good standing with five (5) years of experience as the license qualifier, and have no legal actions against them within the past seven (7) years to qualify for the program.

"C” Specialty license classification IEs that are needed include:

·C-2 Insulation and Acoustical

·C-6 Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry

·C-12 Earthwork and Paving

·C-13 Fencing

·C-16 Fire Protection

·C-17 Glazing

·C-21 Building Moving/Demolition

·C-33 Painting and Decorating

·C-35 Lathing & Plastering

·C-38 Refrigeration

·C-39 Roofing

·C-46 Solar

·C-47 General Manufactured Housing

·C-50 Reinforcing Steel

·C-51 Structural Steel

·C-55 Water Conditioning

·C-57 Well Drilling

·All C 61’s or "D” Limited Specialty licensees


To participate as an IE or for additional information, review CSLB’s Industry Expert publication, or contact Mary Miller at 916-255-4090 or mary.miller@cslb.ca.gov.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN: - State Agency Appealing To Licensed Contractors To Help Fill Statewide Job Openings
Department of Housing and Community Development looking for candidates with construction experience

Posted 2:7:15

SACRAMENTO - The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is alerting California’s construction industry about a job recruitment effort underway by another state agency, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Licensed contractors may find they meet the minimum qualifications for these jobs, and may want to consider the challenges and benefits these opportunities offer.

HCD is recruiting for Housing Inspectors to work under the state job classification of District Representative (DR) I or II in locations around California. The department is responsible for the preservation and expansion of safe and affordable housing, as well as ensuring an adequate supply of housing opportunities for Californians.

Some duties of the DR I and DR II include:

  • Reviewing and approving plans for building alterations and structures;
  • Conducting complaint investigations to ensure compliance with state and federal health and safety code regulations;
  • Providing technical code interpretations and other professional assistance; and
  • Conducting field inspections within mobile home and RV parks.

Benefits include working from home; use of a state vehicle, flexible schedule, as well as medical, dental, vision, retirement plans, sick leave and vacation. The salary for the DR II ranges from $60,000 to $74,532/year. The DR I range is from $54,660 to $67,824/year.

Note: Candidates will need to take an online examination before applying for a position. More information is available on HCD’sHousing Inspector Recruitment Flyer.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN: - CSLB Issues 1,000,000th Contractors License

Posted 1:13:15

SACRAMENTO - The nation’s largest industry* reached a milestone in California over the weekend as the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) issued its one-millionth contractor license. License 1,000,000 was issued on Saturday, January 10, 2015, to a tree service company in Norwalk (Los Angeles County).

"This milestone says a lot about the resiliency of the construction industry,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson. "Despite ups and downs in the marketplace, this industry is a major reason the state has thrived, especially during the past century, and why California is the envy of many other states and countries. Construction has helped our state though a depression, economic downturns, wars, natural disasters, and many other challenges.”

CSLB was created on August 14, 1929, with the support of the state’s construction industry, so the public would be protected from irresponsible contractors. CSLB began as the Contractors’ License Bureau under the Department of Professional and Vocational Standards. The Department had complete control over Bureau operations.

The Bureau changed into its current Board format on September 15, 1935, enabling appointed industry representatives to have a say in the state’s construction industry regulations. Today, CSLB is a semi-autonomous board within the state Department of Consumer Affairs.

The law that created the Board also defined three contractor categories that remain in effect today. They are "A” General Engineering, "B” General Building, and "C” Specialty contractors. In 1939, those categories evolved into the original license "classifications” and CSLB also began to examine applicants on their trade qualifications.

Beyond building homes and major infrastructure and transportation systems, California’s construction industry was especially robust in the mid-1940’s after the end of World War II, and produced remarkable and iconic structures during the 20th century that include the California aqueduct; dozens of bridges, among them the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges; multiple dams; and countless low, mid-, and high-rise commercial and residential buildings.

Detailed below are the years when each 100,000 license milestone was reached. There currently are about 284,000 licensed contractors in California, in more than 40 different licensing classifications.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN: - CSLB Registrar Of Contractors Announces Upcoming Retirement
Steve Sands to step down at year's end after leading board since 2001

Posted 4:29:14

SACRAMENTO - Steve Sands, who’s been at the helm of the Contractors State License Board(CSLB) since January 1, 2001, has announced his plan to retire at the end of the year. Mr. Sands made the announcement at CSLB’s quarterly Board meeting, held yesterday, April 24, in San Diego.

As Registrar of Contractors, Mr. Sands serves as the CSLB executive officer and oversees a $60 million budget and more than 400 employees at CSLB headquarters in Sacramento and 10 other offices around the state.

Under Mr. Sands’ leadership, CSLB has been recognized as a leader in proactive enforcement programs and partnerships with state and local agencies that help curb the underground economy. CSLB's Licensing, Examination, Enforcement, and Public Affairs programs have been used as models for the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) and other agencies within the Department of Consumer Affairs.

"Steve has done a remarkable job, expertly guiding the Board through tumultuous budget times, including deep staff cuts,” said Board Chair Joan Hancock. "He’s always made consumer protection his top priority, while also working to protect the integrity of the state’s construction industry. He’s going to leave some very big shoes to fill.”

Prior to coming to CSLB, Mr. Sands was Executive Officer of the California Architects Board from 1986-2000. From 1978-1986, he worked in the Department of Consumer Affairs Executive and Legislative Offices.

The process of selecting the next Registrar of Contractors will begin immediately.

CSLB Newsletter Spring 2014

Posted 4:8:14

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN: - Compliance Dates Delayed For Some Energy-Related Regulations in CA Building Standards Code
Energy provisions effective July 1, 2014, instead of January 1, 2014

Posted 2:10:14

SACRAMENTO - California contractors whose operations are affected by residential and non-residential energy regulations or CALGreen energy provisions are being alerted to the change in the effective date of the 2013 California Energy Code, 2013 California Administrative Code - Chapter 10, and certain energy provisions in the 2013 California Green Building Code (CALGreen).

The original effective date of January 1, 2014, for specific sections of the 2013 triennial edition of the California Building Standards Code, Title 24, has been changed to July 1, 2014.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) experienced unanticipated delays in developing complete performance compliance software for 2013 Public Domain Residential and Nonresidential California Building Energy Code Compliance guidelines, necessitating the CEC action to change the effective date of energy related provisions. The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) approved the CEC action and issued Information Bulletin 13-07 on December 18, 2013, announcing the delayed effective date.

Contractors are encouraged to contact their local building enforcement agencies for assistance and/or clarification concerning the following summary of changes:

2013 CALIFORNIA ENERGY CODE, PART 6 – Effective July 1, 2014

• The 2013 California Energy Code, Part 6, Title 24, California Code of Regulations, now goes into effect on July 1, 2014. Until July 1, 2014, the 2010 California Energy Code, Part 6 is the effective code. The 2010 California Energy Code will remain in effect until July 1, 2014.

2013 CALIFORNIA ADMINISTRATIVE CODE, CHAPTER 10, Part 1 – Effective July 1, 2014

• The 2013 California Administrative Code, Chapter 10, Part 1, Title 24, California Code of Regulations now goes into effect on July 1, 2014. Until July 1, 2014, the2010 California Administrative Code, Chapter 10, Part 1, continues to be the effective code. The 2010 California Administrative Code, Chapter 10, Part 1, will remain in effect until July 1, 2014.

• Questions about the change of the effective date of the 2013 energy provisions contained in Part 1, Chapter 10, and Part 6, California Administrative Code and California Energy Code, respectively, should be directed to the Energy Standards Hotline at (800) 772-3300 or via email at Title24@energy.ca.gov.

2013 CALGreen, PART 11

• Only affected energy provisions of the 2013 CALGreen, Part 11, Title 24,California Code of Regulations is delayed until July 1, 2014. The specific energy provisions that will not be effective until July 1, 2014 are identified on the CBSC website.

• Questions about CALGreen and the change of the effective date for residential green building standards should be directed to Emily Withers, District Representative, Department of Housing and Community Development at (916) 445-9471 or via e-mail: ewithers@hcd.ca.gov.

• Questions regarding non-residential green building standards should be directed to CBSC at (916) 263-0916 or via e-mail: cbsc@dgs.ca.gov.

Please note that all other parts and provisions of the 2013 California Building Standards Code became effective on January 1, 2014.


California Health and Safety Code (HSC), Division 13, Part 2.5, Section 18938.5 states that only building standards approved by the CBSC, and that are effective at the local level at the time an application for a building permit is submitted, shall apply to the plans, specifications, and construction performed under that building permit. This section of law also provides for exceptions and should be carefully reviewed.

The 2013 California Energy Code, Part 6, the 2013 California Administrative Code, Part 1, Chapter 10, and the affected energy provisions of t he 2013 CALGreen, Part 11 (as identified in Building Standards Information Bulletin 13-07), will apply to submitted permit applications on and after July 1, 2014.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN: - New Construction Law Become Effective This Week
CSLB given new disciplinary powers,water-conservation measure take effect

Posted 12:31:13

SACRAMENTO - The turn of the calendar to 2014 ushers in a host of laws that will impact contractors and consumers alike. On January 1, 2014, newly enacted laws give the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) more disciplinary authority, while another law requires the installation of water-conserving plumbing devices in older homes when renovations are made.

A new statute in the state Business and Professions Code (B&P Code) expands CSLB’s disciplinary authority on Wednesday: CSLB now can take administrative action against licensed or unlicensed individuals who commit violations related to the fraudulent possession, alteration, or use of a contractor’s license (SB 261). Previously, an offense could not be alleged administratively, as the law only allowed it to be charged as a misdemeanor by a prosecutor. Now, if a prosecutor does not file charges, CSLB has administrative authority to discipline violators.

An amendment to the B&P Code now enables CSLB to discipline a license qualifier (and the licensed entity they are qualifying) when the qualifier is not actively involved in the construction activities of the license they are representing (SB 262). In addition to administrative penalties, the individual falsely serving as a qualifier on the license can be charged with a misdemeanor, and be sentenced to serve up to six months in jail, and pay a fine from $3,000-$5,000, or both, if convicted.

A water conservation law added to state Civil Code in 2009 (Senate Bill 407) takes effect this week and requires anyone applying for building alterations or improvements to single-family residences built in 1994 or before to replace all plumbing fixtures with water-saving models as a condition of receiving final permit approval from a local building department. The law also requires water-conserving plumbing fixtures in multi-family dwellings or commercial properties by 2019 when specific renovations are made.

Another B&P Code amendment (SB 822) gives a break to CSLB licensees who submit an incomplete renewal application on or before the license expiration date. The application will be sent back by CSLB with an explanation, and the applicant has 30 days to correct and resubmit the renewal without a delinquency fee. Several other laws affecting the construction industry take effect January 1, 2014, from the following 2013 legislative action:

AB 433 allows licensed C-36 Plumbing contractors to install residential fire protection systems for one- or two-family homes. The law will stay in effect until January 1, 2017.

AB 811 requires Regional Notification Centers to compile information provided by operators and excavators regarding facility incidents and make that information available in annual reports and on their websites.

AB 1236 allows contractors licensed as a limited liability company (LLC) to obtain statutorily required liability insurance from a surplus line insurer.

AB 44 specifies that contractors making public works project bids or offers must list each subcontractor license number on those documents.

AB 164 requires that local governments’ public-private partnership agreements for fee-producing infrastructure projects must include performance bonds and payment bonds.

SB 7 declares that charter cities that don’t require contractors to comply with the state’s prevailing wage law on any public works contract cannot receive nor use state funding or state assistance for those construction projects.

CSLB Newsletter Winter 2013

Posted 12:24:13

CSLB Remembrance Video of Sam K. Abdulaziz

Posted 12:18:13

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN - New Rules For Contractors Disposing of Mercury Thermostats

Posted 7:8:13

SACRAMENTO - Beginning July 1, 2013, new rules take effect in California for both C-20 (Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) and C-21 (Building Moving Demolition) contractors who dispose of out-of-service thermostats containing mercury. The new regulation requires the contractor to put his/her CSLB license number on the thermostat container or provide it at the collection location accepting the device.

The new regulations were adopted in May by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) as the final part of the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act of 2008.

Though no longer sold in California, DTSC estimates up to 10 million mercury thermostats are still in California businesses and homes.

C-20 contractors and C-21 contractors are seen as a critical link in proper disposal of obsolete thermostats that contain the toxin mercury. The new DTSC rules also will help identify contractors not participating.

The nonprofit, industry-funded Thermostat Recycling Corporation operates about 350 collection sites in California that accept and safely recycle old thermostats. Contractors can find the nearest collection site by going to www.thermostat-recycle.org/search.php and filling in a ZIP code.

Under the new regulations, collection sites will provide the number of mercury thermostats received and the contractor license numbers to manufacturers, who in turn submit an annual report to DTSC. The regulations require manufacturers to collect and recycle more than 32,500 mercury thermostats in the second half of 2013, or 30 percent of the estimated number of the devices that become waste. Recycling goals will increase for the next five years.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN: - CSLB Reminds Contractors to Get Permits Before Excavating
Failing to contact 811 regional notification centers risks safety, big fines, license

Posted 3:12:13

SACRAMENTO - The Contractors State License Board reminds contractors who plan to disturb a ground surface--whether by digging, drilling, boring, etc.--that they must call 811 before beginning a project. You must contact either the Northern or Southern California regional notification center at least two working days (but not more than 14 calendar days) before beginning your excavation project.

The center will issue an inquiry identification number to the excavator as confirmation of the call, and an Underground Service Alert (USA) excavation ticket number, which is only valid for 28 days. Every contractor excavating at a job site must have his or her own USA identification (ticket) number for the excavation work he or she is performing. An excavation permit is not valid without the identification number.

The regional notification center call is free by dialing 811. If you fail to register, your excavation will be considered unauthorized digging and you may be subject to a fine of up to $50,000, held responsible for any repair costs, and potentially lose your contractor license (Government Code sections 4216-4216.9).

The regional notification center websites provide information about permit exemptions and other state laws and requirements. Both Northern and Southern California centers also offer an online procedure to start the approval process for excavation at a single site only.

Unauthorized digging can damage telephone cables and disrupt service, or cut a fiber optic cable carrying millions of calls and resulting in costly repairs. The biggest safety hazard is the possibility of an explosion from hitting a gas line or electrocution from an electric line.

The Underground Service Alert of Northern California and Nevada (www.usanorth.org) serves the following California counties: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba.

The Underground Service Alert of Southern California (www.digalert.org) serves the following counties: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN - 2013 Contractors License Law & Reference Book Now Available
New edition features comprehensive construction laws and regulations

Posted 1:30:13

SACRAMENTO - This year's edition of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) California Contractors License Law & Reference Book is now available for purchase or for free viewing online. The updated publication, totaling just over 1,000 pages, provides easy reference to new and amended construction laws that took effect January 1, 2013.

The License Law & Reference Book's convenient, all-in-one format continues to provide CSLB's history and mission, and specialized sections about becoming a licensed contractor; home improvement; business management; construction standards and safety regulations; California's Business and Professions Code and other construction-related state codes; and complete California Contractors License Law rules and regulations.

"This book is designed as a quick-reference tool to help our state's 300,000 licensees keep up with continual changes in state contracting law," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "It's also a great resource for anyone trying to get their state contractor license."

The 2013 law book can only be purchased from the publisher, LexisNexis, and is not available at any CSLB office. This year's updated law book includes a convenient CD for Windows, and Mac computers.

The book costs $25 plus tax, and $9.49 for shipping and handling. Major credit cards are accepted.

  • Order Online from LexisNexis
  • Order by Phone: (800) 223-1940 (Monday-Friday, 5:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Pacific)
  • Order by Fax: (518) 462-3788

If ordering from a specialty book store, ask for ISBN number is 978-0-769-86362-7.

California Construction Law book
Coming Soon!

Posted 12:31:12

California Construction Law is written by our own acknowledged expert in the field of California construction law, Sam Abdulaziz and revised and edited by his partners, Kenneth S. Grossbart and Bruce D. Rudman. The new 2013 Edition of California Construction Law clearly explains how recent legislation and case law affect a wide range of potential legal hazards. There has been a complete overhaul of the information dealing with the Mechanic's Lien, Stop Notice and Bond process due to SB 189, which renumbered much of the Civil Code , as well as other important new laws.

California Construction Law also covers new laws affecting indemnification in contracts, registered salespersons, OSHA requirements on work related falls, off-road diesel vehicle regulations, lead paint rules, green building standards and much more. Any of these new laws could be a trap for the unwary!

With the 2013 Edition of California Construction Law, you'll be able to safely navigate this legal minefield and collect the funds that you are legally owed. This book is a must-have for contractors, subcontractors and other professionals in the construction industry and is updated annually.

Publication is usually completed by mid-January!

Asbestos Work Must Be Performed within License Classification
Asbestos certification does not authorize universal removal/abatement

Posted 12:21:12

Contractors who want to become certified to perform asbestos removal and/or abatement must be tested by CSLB and also register with the Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). Once registered, you must submit verification of the DOSH registration to CSLB, and "ASB" (asbestos) will appear on your license to indicate that asbestos removal/abatement can be performed within your classification.

A recent legal opinion from the Department of Consumer Affairs confirmed that asbestos certification is intended only to certify a licensed contractor's ability to perform asbestos work exclusively within his/her license classification(s).

This conclusion is based largely on the fact that the asbestos abatement certificate does not require the qualifier to have four years of experience in the field for which licensure is sought, the standard requirement for CSLB licensure. Asbestos certification by itself is not a CSLB license classification.

For more information on this topic, please see the legal opinion to conduct asbestos-related contracting work (also located on pages 125 to 130 in the December 11, 2012 CSLB Board Meeting packet).

Lis Pendens

Posted 12:13:12

A Lis Pendens, also known as a Notice of Pendency of Action, basically means that there is a lawsuit pending with respect to the particular real property listed in the Lis Pendens. A Lis Pendens is usually prepared once the lawsuit is commenced and is both recorded at the County Recorder's Office and filed with the court. The purpose of having the document recorded is to tie the property up from transfer of title. Anyone that might have an interest in the property (for example, someone wanting to buy or finance) would then be aware that there is a potential claim on the property.

In the construction industry, a Lis Pendens goes hand in hand with a Mechanic's Lien lawsuit. As you know, when a contractor provides work on a home and does not get paid, that contractor may record a Mechanic's Lien. Once a lawsuit is brought to foreclose on that Mechanic's Lien, a Lis Pendens is then filed and recorded to further enforce that Mechanic's Lien. This process essentially ties up the property until the legal proceeding is resolved.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN - CSLB Reminds Contractors to Check with East Coast Jurisdictions before Traveling to Assist with Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts - East Coast cities have varying licensing, certification, permit laws

Posted 11:14:12

SACRAMENTO - There may be a lot of well-intentioned California contractors who want to head to the East Coast to assist in the rebuilding effort following last week's hurricane. But, before going, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) urges licensees to make sure they ask about specific licensing and other legal responsibilities required in cities, counties, and states that were affected by Hurricane Sandy to avoid illegal contracting violations.

"A California contractor license enables you to work in California," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "It would be a mistake to assume that having a California license enables you to work anywhere outside of this state."

The laws in other states vary. Not all require licenses, while others require licenses and/or permits at the local level. Some cities have their own licensing or certification requirements. For example, all home improvement contractors working in New York City must be licensed by the city's Department of Consumer Affairs as opposed to a state agency. Learn more about varying state licensing guidelines from the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies.

Beware Of Fraud

Posted 10:25:12

It's that time of year again. We are starting to see more and more official looking third party solicitations for various things. From license renewal to corporate Statement of Information forms. PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS with anything that you receive through the mail. Make sure that any "bills" that you receive are from official sources and not third parties that are just trying to make a quick buck.

You do not have to go through a third party for licensing nor corporate documentation. These agencies are just charging more money than the fees actually are and not actually doing anything for you.

Both the Secretary of State and the Contractors' State License Board send out renewal forms directly from those agencies, not a third party.


CSLB California Licensed Contractor Newsletter

Posted 9:27:12

The newest edition of the California Licensed Contractor newsletter is now available. Inside you'll find information about these contractor issues and more:

  • Contractors State License Board Turns Up Heat on Illegal and Deceptive Internet Ads
  • State Regulations that May Affect You
  • Protect Your Lien Rights, Stay on Top of Mechanics Lien Laws
  • Remember Contractor Advertising Laws
  • Increased Time for License Examinations
  • CSLB and Partners Enforce Workers' Compensation Requirements
  • Hundreds of Cheating Contractors Identified in LETF Sweeps
  • Remember Health Standards when Installing, Replacing Copper Water Pipes
  • CSLB Serves as Post-Disaster Responder

You may view the newsletter on our website or by clicking this link.

Preliminary Notice (on private works)

Posted 9:6:12

A Preliminary Notice is intended to notify owners, lenders, and contractors that someone has a right to enforce a Mechanic's Lien or Stop Payment Notice and allows the owner to protect itself from the possible collection remedy. Subcontractors and material suppliers need to send out a Preliminary Notice to the owner, direct contractor, and construction lender or holder of construction funds (if any). If you are told there is no lender, you should check public records and the building permit for the existence of a lender. For purposes of collecting on a payment bond, all parties should serve the bonding company as well.

SB 189 made changes to the Preliminary Notice form on private works of improvement, specifically to the "Notice To Owner" language that is required. Make sure you are using the correct form!

If a preliminary notice is given by a subcontractor that has not paid all compensation due to a laborer, the notice shall include the name and address of the laborer and any person or entity described in Civil Code Section 8202(b) to which payments are due.

We strongly recommend serving a Preliminary Notice at the time that the contract for work on a project is entered into. There can never be an argument that a Preliminary Notice was served too early. On the other hand, a Preliminary Notice never relates back more than twenty (20) days.


Posted 8:2:12

A Mechanic's Lien is a document that contractors, engineers, material suppliers, designers, etc., (the "mechanic") has recorded at the County Recorder's office. The purpose of a Mechanic's Lien is to provide the "mechanic" a lien on the property that work was done on for which they have not been compensated for. In other words, it puts a "hold" on the property until the "mechanic" is paid. The lien then gives the "mechanic" the right to foreclose on that property that has the lien on it by filing a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, there are instances wherein the property owner could be the one responsible for paying the lien even though they already paid once for all of the work that was done on their property. This can occur when an owner pays the prime contractor in full for the job, but the prime contractor does not pay the subcontractor in full. If that subcontractor then places a lien on the property, the owner could then be responsible for the outstanding monies due to that subcontractor.

Mechanic's Liens, as well as Stop Payment Notices and Bonds, are documents that should not be taken lightly. There are many requirements in place as well as timing as to when certain things should be done and/or filed. Mechanic's Liens have been discussed and litigated many time throughout California Law. Because California law is very different than other state's laws, it is very important to seek the aid and advice of a competent California construction attorney for help with the Mechanic's Lien process, even before you realize you need to record one. You do not want to miss out on important deadlines that could preclude you from getting paid.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN - CSLB Encourages All Licensed Contractors to Take Quick Marketing Survey
Three-minute survey will help Board develop marketing materials for licensees

Posted 7:25:12

SACRAMENTO - The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is urging licensees to take a brief marketing survey that is posted on its website www.cslb.ca.gov. Information gathered from the 10-question survey will be used to create educational marketing products that licensees can use during client presentations.

"We already provide a variety of free educational materials for licensees," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "We're now going a step further to provide resources they can use to help educate consumers about the process of hiring a contractor and to help market the importance and value of only hiring licensed contractors."

To take the survey, go to CSLB's home page at www.cslb.ca.gov. The survey link is in the right column, under "CSLB Industry News." Licensees also can find a link to the survey in the "Contractor" section of the CSLB website.


Posted 7:20:12

When you have an agreement, make sure you have the agreement in writing. It is important because then the parties will know what their rights and liabilities are. If the agreement is for many different types of construction, the Contractors' License Law may require that agreement be completely in writing. Make the agreement is as detailed as possible. Anytime something changes, you should send a confirming letter or possibly a change order to the other side. All of this will give you legal protection. Even though you are allowed by law to have oral agreements as well, the legal protection you will get is not the same. When the agreement is only oral it is not clear as to what each party says and it is easier for a judge to believe either side of the story. A written agreement that clearly states your position leaves no room for a judge or jury to try and figure out what was meant by that agreement and you avoid going against the Contractors' License Law.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN - Contractors State License Board Makes New Mechanics Liens Forms Available
Updated forms reflect legal changes that took effect July 1, 2012

Posted 7:15:12

SACRAMENTO - The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is reminding licensees of revisions that were made to the state's mechanics lien laws on July 1, 2012. Legal revisions mainly change the wording and format of the mechanics lien notice. Because of the changes, CSLB has updated release forms to reflect the new language. Contractors can use these documents to protect their lien rights on construction projects. The forms are available on the CSLB website (www.cslb.ca.gov).

The 20-Day Preliminary Notice is now simply called Preliminary Notice. In addition, the wording of the Notice to Property Owner statement, required as part of the Preliminary Notice, has changed. Subcontractors and suppliers should use the newly worded Notice for private home improvement projects. The Preliminary Notice should be delivered to the homeowner in person or by certified, registered, or express mail, or overnight delivery, with a receipt of the mailing as proof. You may give notice any time before work starts or products are delivered, and up to 20 days after. If you give notice more than 20 days after work or delivery, your lien rights only apply to the work or products provided 20 days before the notice was given, and anytime thereafter.

The Notice of Mechanics Lien wording also changed in the new law. This notice must accompany the lien claim and be sent via certified, registered, or first class mail, with a certificate of mailing as proof. Failure to send the properly worded Notice with the lien claim could result in the lien being unenforceable.

The conditional and unconditional lien release forms also have changed. Make sure subcontractors and suppliers sign the new conditional forms as progress payments are owed, and when the project is finished before they are given final payment. Have them sign the new unconditional release forms after they receive progress payments and their final payment. The new law gives homeowners 15 days instead of 10 to file a Notice of Completion with the County Recorder. If a notice is filed, the contractor has 60 days and subcontractors have 30 days to record a lien. If no notice is filed, all parties have 90 days to record a lien.


Posted 7:5:12

Under California law, a corporation is a separate entity. Each entity will stand on its own. A corporation, if adequately set up and maintained, can save you a great deal of time and money. If your corporation is sufficiently capitalized and done correctly, you can shield your personal liability from the corporate liability. However, all of this has to be done correctly.

Corporation can have special tax ramifications. If you are thinking of incorporating, you should talk over the tax ramifications with an accountant. In addition to shielding your personal liability from your corporate liability, a corporate business can still exist after the death of the founders of the corporation. In theory, a corporation can go on indefinitely.

In addition to tax liability, there are costs associated with incorporating. It can also become very time-consuming. Once a corporation has been set-up, there are steps that need to be taken to continue to run the corporation such as holding regular meetings and keeping corporate records.

CSLB INDUSTRY BULLETIN - Contractors State License Board Makes New Mechanics Liens Forms Available
Forms on CSLB website reflect law change taking effect July 1, 2012

Posted 6:29:12

SACRAMENTO - The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) wants to inform licensees of changes in the state's mechanics lien law effective July 1, 2012. While these changes don't substantially change the laws, they do change the wording and formats of the notice and lien release forms required to protect contractors' lien rights.

The new law replaces the 20-Day Preliminary Notice with the Preliminary Notice. Subcontractors and materials suppliers should use the newly-worded forms. The Preliminary Notice should be delivered to the homeowner in person or by certified, registered, or first-class mail, with a receipt of the mailing as proof. You may give notice any time before work starts or product is delivered and up to 20 days after. If the Preliminary Notice is given more than 20 days later, you are only able to receive payment for work or products supplied 20 days before notice was given, and anytime thereafter.

The Notice of Mechanics Lien wording is also changed in the new law. This notice must accompany the claim of lien and be sent via certified, registered, or first-class mail, with the receipt as proof of mailing. Failure to send the notice with the claim could result in the lien being unenforceable.

The conditional and unconditional lien release forms have also changed. Make sure you have subcontractors and suppliers sign the new conditional forms as progress payments are owed and when the project is finished before they are given final payment. Have them sign the new unconditional release forms when they receive progress payments and their final payment.

The new law gives the homeowner 15 days instead of 10 to file a notice of completion with the county recorder. If notice is filed, the contractor has 60 days and subcontractors 30 to record a lien. If there is no notice filed all parties have 90 days to record a lien.


Posted 6:25:12

USA/Dig Alert was formed in 1976. This is a free service. All you have to do is simply dial 811. Unfortunately, it took a major disaster in order for USA/Dig Alert to get formed. There was a construction crew in Culver City that hit a petroleum pipeline causing a huge explosion, killing nine people and creating major damage. In 1985, there was another major tragedy where a utility company did not respond properly to an alert. Therefore, there has been new legislation etc. where everyone has to follow the law regarding responsibilities when it comes to digging.

All that is required is that you Call Before You Dig. The number is simple, you call 811 and they will walk you through the process. Excavators need to give at least two working days notice before digging. The members will mark the lines within those two working days. If you do not call, there can be fines and a possible loss of your contractor's license. If you do make the call, the operators of the underground lines are required to mark the areas. Remember this is a free service and can help save lives, including your own. The number to call for more information is 800-227-2600. For service dial 811. For more information you can visit their website at www.digalert.org.

Winter/Spring 2012 California Licensed Contractor Newsletter Now Available
Online newsletter highlights news of note to all licensed contractors

Posted 4:5:12

SACRAMENTO - The Winter/Spring edition of the Contractors State License Board's (CSLB) online, quarterly California Licensed Contractor (CLC) newsletter is now available on our website.

The newsletter provides readers with valuable information on a broad range of important subjects that affect California's construction industry. This edition has an update about recently introduced legislation and pending regulations; information about CSLB's statewide undercover blitz that nabbed 110 unlicensed operatives; an article about when it's OK to work under someone else's license (P.S.: never); and more. Perhaps most famously, a list of recently disciplined contractors is included.

"CSLB's newsletter provides our licensees with timely news they can use," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "We encourage readers to help us spread the word about this important publication. Now that it is available online, it's easy to access and can be read quickly."

To sign up and receive additional information from CSLB, visit www.cslb.ca.gov and click on "E-Mail Alerts."

Is There A Lender On The Project?
Posted 3:26:12

A Preliminary Notice needs to be served within 20 days of first furnishing services, material or labor on a project in order to protect your lien rights. The failure to serve a Preliminary Notice on a construction lender could make your subsequent Mechanic's Lien worthless. Except on Home Improvement Contracts, every contract between a property owner and a contractor requires a space for the owner to enter the name and address of the construction lender(s). The original contractor is thereafter required to make available the name and address of the construction lender(s) to any person seeking to serve the Preliminary Notice, which includes their subcontractors and material suppliers. Where it gets complicated is that if you are told that there is no construction lender, on a substantial project, the cases have held that contractors cannot rely on such a statement, and are obligated to perform an investigation which can include a public records check and a review of the building permit to determine if there truly is no construction lender. The failure to perform such a search, where there is a lender that would have been found by doing such an investigation, could invalidate a later mechanic's lien.

Our office worked on a recent appellate case which highlighted or distinguished the situation where a contractor was given bad information. The owner/builder gave a framing contractor the name of one bank, which was served with the Preliminary Notice, but the actual lender was different. The Court of Appeal held that if the contractor demonstrates that it reasonably relied on the information provided by the owner, its lien claim (in that case, a Stop Notice) would not be invalidated because they did not do a public records search.

We were recently asked how a contractor is supposed to check public records in order to find out if there is a lender. Besides going to the county recorder's office yourself and checking for a Construction Deed of Trust, the use of a construction notice service or title company could be more practical. However, there are costs involved with either option which may make many contractors hesitant to utilize these services. At a minimum, on large projects, if the owner says that there is no lender, to best protect your lien rights, you should check public records to make sure that you serve the Preliminary Notice on the lender, if there is one.

Contractors Who "Cheat to Compete" Face Stiff Penalties
New partnership targets offenders in the multi-billion dollar underground economy

Date Posted 3:6:12

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) already is seeing results from a new multi-agency partnership that targets individuals who are breaking the law and making it increasingly difficult for law-abiding licensed contractors to compete for business. CSLB estimates that on any given day, tens of thousands of licensed contractors and unlicensed operators are breaking the law and contributing to the state's underground economy. These individuals and companies will be at the top of the Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) target list.

LETF, which was launched January 1, 2012, is comprised of investigators from CSLB, the Department of Industrial Relations, Employment Development Department, and Board of Equalization, in collaboration with the Insurance Commissioner and Attorney General's Office. Partners have broadened information-sharing and the use of new enforcement technology to improve the way they target businesses in the underground economy.

"Contractors need to understand that they can't cheat to compete,' said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "By combining our resources and sharing information like never before, we will target and find the worst offenders, licensed or not."

Teams of investigators are already working side-by-side and have conducted 16 targeted enforcement operations throughout the state since January 2012 that have resulted in dozens of citations and thousands of dollars in fines. The operations are not limited to weekdays. At least one has taken place on a weekend and more weekend operations are on the calendar.

A recent operation in Orange County resulted in legal actions against a long-time illegal operator. Benito German Lopez Cruz, 47, of Orange, is believed to have underbid legitimate contractors on plastering jobs by hundreds of thousands of dollars during the past several years. A CSLB investigator cited Lopez for contracting without a license and failing to secure workers' compensation insurance for three employees who were working with him. The citation comes with $4,500 in fines. The Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued Lopez a stop order (that prohibits the use of employee labor until they are covered by workers' compensation insurance) and citations for $7,750 in fines for failure to carry workers' compensation and for paying employees in cash. Lopez also will be audited by the Employment Development Department.

A criminal case settled last week highlights the severe consequences of these types of business and contracting violations. On February 24, 2012, Michael Amzie Holley, 43, of Murrieta, was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay $510,000 in restitution for failing to provide workers' compensation insurance for an injured employee and failing to pay insurance premiums for unclaimed employees who were paid in cash. In 2009, CSLB revoked the contractor license of So Cal Roofing Company (#797707), owned by Holley. The criminal activity came to light after an incident in March 2003, when one of Holley's employees fell off of a roof and was injured. When that employee filed a workers' compensation insurance claim, Holley denied that the injured employee worked for him. He also had filed paperwork with CSLB certifying that he had no employees.

According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, in February 2010 Holley agreed to plead guilty to multiple felony counts associated with insurance and tax fraud. Holley purchased a minimum workers' compensation policy from the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) and failed to state that he employed subcontractors, paid workers in cash to hide the fact that So Cal Roofing Company had workers, hired unlicensed employees, and leased employees from other companies. He received insurance based on his false declarations, allowing him to underpay his insurance premiums. In addition, to hide the fraud and to avoid paying state taxes, Holley failed to file an accurate tax return.

In addition to construction, LETF addresses illegal activity in the agricultural, automotive, garment, restaurant, and warehouse industries.

Contractors State License Board Doesn't Have to Go Far
to Arrest Revoked Licensee
Formerly licensed general contractor taken into custody at CSLB headquarters on multiple charges

Date Posted 2:28:12

Licensed contractors, as well as contractor license applicants, got more than they bargained for when they were at Contractors State License Board (CSLB) headquarters in Sacramento Tuesday morning, February 21, 2012.

They saw Rancho Cordova Police officers take a revoked licensee into to custody on an $11,000 arrest warrant out of Sutter County. Robert Edward Omohundro, Jr., 59, of Cameron Park, was arrested without incident after being interviewed about two consumer complaints by a CSLB investigator. He was taken to Sacramento County Jail on three charges:
  • Business & Professions Code 7028(a) - Contracting without a License
  • Business & Professions Code 7161(b) - Misrepresentation as a Contractor
  • Penal Code 853.7 - Failure to Appear after Written Promise
The Sutter County arrest warrant was issued against Omohundro after he failed to show up in court on January 19, 2012, to face charges associated with a 2010 consumer complaint to CSLB. At the time, Omohundro entered into a contract with a Yuba City business owner for a $2,300 commercial kitchen remodel, took an excessive down payment, and then abandoned the job without doing any work.

The second consumer complaint filed with CSLB alleges that Omohundro entered into a contract for a commercial kitchen remodel and took a down payment of $1400. State law prohibits soliciting or accepting down payments larger than 10 percent of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less (there is an exception for about two dozen licensees who purchase special consumer protection bonds). This job also was left unfinished.

Omohundro received his general contractor license (#788236) in 2000. It expired in 2005, but he continued to work, unlicensed. CSLB revoked the expired license in January 2010, based on his illegal activity.

"When it comes to catching those who refuse to follow the law, CSLB is aggressive," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "It doesn't matter where we have to go to catch them in California, but it certainly helps when they come right to us." The arrest also stresses the importance for consumers to make sure a contractor is properly licensed before hiring them, or giving them any money."

As of Wednesday morning, Omohundro is still being held in the Sacramento County Jail.

CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips before hiring anyone to work on their home or business:
  • Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see their license and a photo ID to verify their identity.
  • Always check the license number on CSLB's website at www.cslb.ca.gov or www.CheckTheLicenseFirst.com to make sure the license is in good standing, and that a workers' compensation insurance policy is in place if the contractor has employees.
  • Don't pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment. There is an exception for about two dozen licensees who carry special bonds to protect consumers. These exceptions are noted on CSLB's website.
  • Don't pay in cash, and don't let payments get ahead of the work.
  • Get at least three bids, check references, and get a written contract.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on the CSLB website or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). You can also sign up for CSLB email alerts. CSLB licenses and regulates California's 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2010-11, CSLB helped recover nearly $45 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

How to Contract with Public Entities Forum
Participants to learn how small businesses can contract with utilities and government

Date Posted: 2.17.2012

The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is alerting licensees and anyone interested in learning how to contract with public entities about an upcoming free forum that is part of the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) Joint Utilities Initiative. Titled "Diverse and Small Business Contracting with Public Entities Forum," (Registration) the event takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, 2012, at the Woodlake Hotel, 500 Leisure Lane, Sacramento, CA 95815 (Map).

Representatives from the sponsors - U.S. Small Business Administration, the Sacramento Senior Core of Retired Executives (SCORE), the Northeastern California Small Business Development Center, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company - will provide detailed information about financial considerations and requirements that are necessary when contracting with public entities.
Contractors State License Board Issues First LLC License
Limited liability companies now authorized to hold state contractor license

Date Posted: 1.31.2012

The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) issued the first state contractor license to a limited liability company (LLC) on January 19, 2012, as part of the new business type that became eligible for licensure following the passage of Senate Bill 392 in 2010. The recipient is from the state of Washington: Doyon Project Services LLC, License No. 969358.

"To date, CSLB has received 36 LLC applications," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "However, our Licensing division has had to reject many because they were submitted without the correct information. We want to alert applicants to the errors we're noticing so they can correct them before submitting incomplete application forms and causing a delay in their business operations."

A common reason for rejection is the missing LLC registration number, which is issued by the California Secretary of State's office (SOS). That number must be included on page one of the application. Companies should not submit the LLC application to CSLB until the SOS number has been issued.

Another common problem is that the personnel listed on the application do not match those reported by SOS. The same names and number of personnel listed on the application must match all of the personnel information provided to CLSB by SOS.

An issue related to the LLC personnel is that SOS has a four-month processing backlog for the Statement of Information (Form LLC-12) initial filings and updates, which are essential for reporting the LLC's personnel (members and managers). CSLB cannot process the LLC license application until all information is consistent with SOS records. The personnel information is necessary for CSLB to determine the appropriate amount of required LLC liability insurance (between $1 million and $5 million, depending on the number of personnel).

Businesses that are planning to submit an LLC application to CSLB should plan for the four-month processing delay before submitting their application if they have recently submitted an initial or updated Statement of Information to SOS. However, SOS does offer expedited processing for an additional fee ($350 for 24-hour processing, and $750 for same-day processing - in by 9:30 a.m., out by 4:00 p.m.).

Training Available for New Public Works Project Requirements
New Department of Industrial Relations unit will monitor prevailing wage compliance

Date Posted: 1.9.2012

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is alerting licensees to the new Compliance Monitoring Unit within the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) that will begin operating January 1, 2012, when amendments to DIR regulations become effective. DIR's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) is offering seminars and webinars to help educate contractors and agencies that award public works contracts about prevailing wage laws on projects funded by state bonds.

The first seminar was January 4, 2012. Other seminars throughout the state will be announced by DLSE as they become available.

Register online for webinars geared toward contractors that explain how to submit certified payroll records through DIR's new electronic reporting system and how to comply with state labor laws. Awarding agencies can also register for webinars to learn about their state labor law responsibilities.

Since beginning a pilot project in September 2010, CSLB has investigated 153 complaints related to state labor law violations on public works projects; investigation results have included 21 licensee citations, 3 non-licensee citations, and one referral for criminal prosecution.

What's In Store For The CSLB This New Year?
Date Posted: 1.4.2012

The CSLB had been under a hiring freeze and had up to 76 vacancies. Because of the bad economy, they have been able to keep up with their work. This is only because they are getting fewer applications, renewals, phone calls, and giving fewer exams.

The previous hiring freeze that the CSLB dealt with was in 2001-02, when the economy was good, and construction was booming, which cost them 82 positions. At that time it took about six months to schedule an exam and about a year to get a license processed. Renewals were not completed in a timely manner and many phone calls went unanswered. A Complaint took years to complete. Registrar Steve Sands has stated that it took five years to recover from that hiring freeze.

With the condition of the State's economy, it is hard to see when the general fund budget will recuperate. The hiring freeze has recently been lifted, but it is feared that it is only temporary. None of us want the construction industry to continue on the lull it has this past year. However, once the state's construction picks up, the CSLB will slowly begin to be backlogged if they are understaffed.

Because of this, it is more important than ever to plan ahead when it comes time to renew your license and any other business that needs to be conducted with the CSLB. The staff is very efficient but we cannot expect them to remain that way if the workload increases but the staffing does not.

Changing Your HVAC System? Don't Forget Permits, CSLB Warns
Avoiding HVAC Building Permits Costly for Consumers

Date Posted: 12.9.2011

Property owners who change out their warm-air heating, ventilating or air-conditioning (HVAC) system need to make sure that their state-licensed contractor takes out a building permit from their local building department to avoid fines and additional repairs. Building permits generate routine inspections to help assure that the system was installed properly, is functioning efficiently, meets Home Energy Rating System (HERS) testing and verification requirements, and complies with the State Building Energy Efficiency Standards.

During Contractors State License Board (CSLB) undercover sting operations at residential properties over the past three years, investigators have found a growing trend of licensed contractors who are violating state law by telling consumers that building permits are not required to install HVAC systems. "Up to 40 percent of the contractors who were invited to give project bids at sting locations told investigators that a building permit isn't necessary, which simply is not true," said CSLB Enforcement Chief Dave Fogt. "Even worse, a homeowner's insurance policy could be cancelled if their insurance company finds that work has been done on the property without a permit."

Just as with all home repair, improvement or construction projects, homeowners need to ask about state and local requirements. Penalties for not obtaining an HVAC building permit vary from city to city.

"We want to make sure that consumers are aware of their project responsibilities and know the right questions to ask their contractor so they aren't stuck with fines and an inefficient HVAC system," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands.

"We're proud of the fact that CSLB receives relatively few complaints against its 300,000 licenses each year," said Sands, "but this illegal trend of skirting building permits needs to be corrected. HVAC contractors will continue to be sting and sweep operation targets."

California's 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards indicate that HVAC ducts should leak less than 15 percent but, according to California Energy Commission statistics, the average duct system leaks about 30 percent, wasting energy and increasing utility bills.

When HVAC contractors (known as C-20 Specialty contractors) "pull" the local building department permit, the system can be inspected by the department or a third-party field verifier, referred to as a HERS rater, to ensure that ducts have been properly sealed. If an HVAC system fails inspection, it has to be repaired by the contractor at no additional cost to the consumer. "Contractors must comply with all applicable California building standards, including using certified HERS raters to test and verify that HVAC installations meet energy efficiency standards," said Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas. "For the best energy efficiency and cost-savings, consumers will want to team up with their state-licensed HVAC contractors to make sure all permits and energy regulations are followed."

CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips before hiring anyone to work on their home or property:
  • Only hire state-licensed contractors and ask to see their license and a photo ID to verify their identity.
  • Always check the license number on CSLB's website at www.cslb.ca.gov or www.CheckTheLicenseFirst.com to make sure the license is in good standing and that the contractor has a workers' compensation insurance policy if there are employees.
  • Only pay 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment. There is an exception for about two dozen licensees who carry special bonds to protect consumers. These exceptions are noted on CSLB's website.
  • Don't pay in cash or let payments get ahead of the work.
  • Get at least three bids and three references for each contractor, and visit completed project sites in person.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on the CSLB website or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). You can also sign up for CSLB email alerts. CSLB licenses and regulates about 300,000 California contractors in 43 different categories, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2010-11, CSLB helped recover nearly $45 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

Contractors State License Board Warns Licensees to Be Aware of Misleading Business Solicitations

Date Posted: 11.4.2011

Appeals often look like official government correspondence

SACRAMENTO, CA - The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) wants its licensees to be aware of a warning issued this week by the California State Board of Equalization (BOE).

Licensees are urged to be wary of misleading business solicitations from companies that mimic official correspondence from a government agency.

BOE says businesses have informed the board of notices they have received from the "California Labor Compliance Bureau," requesting immediate payment of a "processing fee' of $275. The "California Labor Compliance Bureau" is not a government agency. The notices use public information, such as BOE account numbers and industry codes, which give them the appearance of official correspondence.

The "processing fee" is purportedly for labor-related notices that California employers are required to post at their business premises informing employees of their legal rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The notices in question are available free of charge on the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) website.

BOE is not affiliated with the California Labor Compliance Bureau. BOE Correspondence always features the BOE's title and/or logo and contains contact information. If you receive a notice and question whether it is official BOE correspondence, you should contact your local BOE office or contact the BOE's Information Call Center at 800-400-7115.

The NLRB can assist licensees with questions regarding required notices at 202-273-0064.

Common Causes for CSLB Revocations and Suspensions

Date Posted: 10.31.2011

One of the most common reasons for contractor license revocation or suspension is failure to submit payments within the appropriate time frame following citations or CSLB arbitration decisions.

To avoid a license suspension, licensees must pay their citations within 15 days of issuance (barring appeal) and arbitration decisions within 30 days. If no payment or appeal has been made before the citation order is final, a Notice of Intent to Suspend is sent. After 30 days of non-compliance with a citation or arbitration decision, the license can be suspended immediately. If the citation or arbitration decisions are not satisfied 90 days following the suspension, CSLB will revoke the contractor license.

Remember: Licensees are required to report a construction-related civil court judgment to CSLB within 90 days of the judgment date. Under Business and Professions Code section 7071.17, failure to do so within 90 days can also suspend a license until that judgment is satisfied or the judgment is appealed.

What Do Contractors Do Wrong?

Date Posted: 10.21.2011

Many contractors fail to notify the Contractors' State License Board of a change of address or telephone number.

This leaves you in a bad position if someone from the CSLB or otherwise, tries to contact you.

Some of the things that contractors do wrong is that they don't get a written contract.

This leaves them at the mercy of the owners. Sometimes, the contract is not well written, again, leaving the contractors at the mercy of the owners. Contractors should try to know the person that they are doing work for.

If there is a problem and it goes to the Contractors Board, chances are you will lose at the Contractors Board. Contractors should also make sure that all their changes are in writing.

There are three different types of contracts that are "required" by the Contractors Board. They are Home Improvement (this is the toughest for contractors), New Residential (usually between contractors and home builders), and Service & Repair (which is for contracts up to $750.00).

Don't become an unlicensed contractor.

CSLB Industry Bulletin -- Licensed Contractors Not Allowed to Perform Land Surveying and Civil Engineering Work

Date Posted: 10.14.2011

A license is required from Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is reminding licensees that their CSLB-issued license does not allow them to perform land surveying and civil engineering work. Performing this type of work without a license issued by the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists (PELSG) could put your CSLB license at risk.

Land surveyor and civil engineer requirements are detailed in California Business and Professions (B&P) Code, Chapter 15, Articles 1-8, Sections 8700-8805.

Land Surveyors
Some of the duties performed by land surveyors in California are:
  • Retracing Property Lines
  • Performing Boundary Line Adjustments
  • Preparing Topographic Maps
  • Preparing Subdivision Maps
  • Performing Construction Surveys
Civil Engineers
In California, some of the duties performed by civil engineers are:
  • Design of any building or structure except a hospital or public school
  • Structural and geotechnical (soils) engineering if fully qualified
  • Analyze and design buildings to withstand the natural forces of gravity, earthquakes, or wind
  • Provide advice regarding structural design requirements to architects, contractors, and consumers
  • Prepare design and repair recommendations for drainage systems, septic systems, foundations, and retaining walls
  • Prepare grading plans and topographic maps of the elevations and contours of the land
  • Design swimming pools
Possible Disciplinary Action
CSLB stresses the importance of following all state and local laws and ordinances.
When licensed contractors work outside of their specific classification or scope of work, they subject their license to possible criminal charges from PELS and disciplinary action from CSLB. Illegal acts of unlicensed engineering and land surveying by licensed CSLB contractors or unlicensed individuals are governed by B&P Code 8792(a), which is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties for these violations could run into the thousands of dollars and could be included in an action to revoke a license.


Corporations, LLC's, & Filing Information

Date Posted: 9.30.2011

Although this article has been published before, we feel it warrants an annual reminder.
If your business is a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC), you might be receiving official looking third party solicitations to file a Statement of Information form or to terminate your business. They usually request exorbitant fees for them to file these documents with the Secretary of State on your behalf. These documents look very official.
No business has to go through a third party (attorney or otherwise) to file these forms. The forms can be found on the Secretary of State's website along with all of the filing fee information and how to file. Please note, you can use a third party to file these forms for you if you want to or are unsure how to do it yourself, but it is not mandatory.
If you received one of these deceptive letters and would like to complain, you can send the letter along with a written complaint to the California Attorney General's office. Please include all documents received including the envelope the letter was received in and any return envelopes, if applicable. You can print a complaint form from their website at www.ag.ca.gov/consumers/general.php . The address is:
California Attorney General
Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
For more information about these letters and more, you can visit the Secretary of State website at www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/alert-misleading-solicitations.htm

Referral Fee Payment Restrictions

Date Posted: 9.23.2011

The issue of whether inducements or referral fees are acceptable has been a matter of some debate. The CSLB had decided that Business and Professions Code section 7157(d) indicated that these inducements or referral fees were not acceptable. The CSLB will take disciplinary action against violators and they were working on a proposal to clear up the confusion. Unfortunately, it is a very complicated topic and the legislation was put on hold soon after the 2011 started but the CSLB did go forward with stings to target violators.

Over the past year, the CSLB has discovered that members of the plumbing industry have stopped calling it referral fees and instead call it the "Plumber Referral Program." That is still illegal though. It has also become apparent that the practice of paying referral fees is actually prevalent in other construction trades as well, not just in the plumbing industry. Because it is so wide spread, the CSLB is concerned that they will not be able to actually have effective enforcement.

There is now a new legislative concept being discussed which will clean up the language of Business and Professions Code section 7157 but instead of the referral fees being illegal, it will actually allow the payment of referral fees up to a maximum dollar amount of $500. If this new proposal comes to fruition, it would also be mandatory that the payment of this referral fee be disclosed on the home improvement contract so that consumers are aware that the price they are paying includes the amount up to $500 that is being paid to the other contractors.

We will keep you posted on how this proposed legislation proceeds. In the mean time, remember that the CSLB says that referral fees are illegal and they are currently disciplining any violators.

Federal Lead-Paint Regulations Enforced

Date Posted: 9.14.2011

The Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) is a federal regulated program that applies to residential homes, apartments and child-occupied facilities that were built before 1978. If you are going to do any work that will disturb the painted surfaces in these buildings you need to make sure that you comply with the RRP. As of December 31, 2010, EPA inspectors are responding to leads, conducting inspections, and handing out fines of up to $37,500 per day, per location of violation(s).
The law requires "lead paint safety certification" for anyone who does remodeling or demotion, thereby disturbing the paint in pre-1978 homes, apartments, schools or childcare facilities as well as various notice requirements. It is not just painters that this law applies to. Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, even general contractors must have the certification.
To become certified, one individual of the firm must complete an eight-hour initial renovator training course given by an accredited training provider and then the firm must apply (the cost is $300 and valid for five years) with the EPA to perform renovations or dust sampling at www.epa.gov/getleadsafe or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323). .

Update Your Address With The CSLB

Date Posted: 9.02.2011

Contractors, make sure that the Contractors' State License Board has your proper address AND phone number. You cannot believe how many people move and do not give the Contractors' Board their new information. This could be very distressing to you if the Contractors' Board does not have a means of contacting you. In accordance with the law, if your address or business name changes, you must report it to the CSLB within 90 days. There is a form on the CSLB's website (www.cslb.ca.gov) that can be completed. Please note that if the address is a P.O. Box, a street address is still required.

AG&R Launches New Website

Date Posted: 8.29.2011

Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman is very proud to annouce the launch of the newly designed website. Please take a moment and browse through our new website. This has been a great project and we are very excited to share our new website with the rest of the world! We'd like to thank the guys over at Webtrix for the great job they did! Thank you!