Below you will find general information tabs for contractor licensing, including the contractor trades for California state and frequently asked questions.

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We invite you to check out our popular published article on how to become a licensed contractor in the state of California.

Who Needs a Contractors License?

All businesses or individuals who construct or alter any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California must be licensed by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) if the total cost (labor and materials) of one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more.  Contractors including subcontractors, specialty contractors, and persons engaged in the business of home improvement must be licensed before submitting bids.  Licenses may be issued to individuals, partnerships, corporations, or joint ventures.

Why should I be licensed?

  • It’s illegal for any contractor to take on a job worth a total of $500 or more (including labor and materials), without a Contractor License.
  • It’s illegal for any contractor to advertise without listing their California State Contractor License number in the ad. It must be included when advertising in any medium or form such as the following: newspapers, flyers, business cards, all contracts, or any written estimates or bids.
  • If convicted of operating without a Contractor License maximum penalties could range from $3,000 – $15,000 and may include jail time.

Advantages of having a Contractor’s License

Being a licensed contractor does not make you a better contractor than you already are, but it does make you legal.  Unlicensed contractors are known to pose financial risks.  Customers have more confidence in hiring a licensed contractor due to the state recognition that you are a true legal professional in the construction field.  In that regard, having a valid California Contactor License make all the difference in the world – in your business and especially in your personal future.

  • Financial Independence – Be your own boss!  Make more money! Start your own business, and enjoy the benefits. You can also use your license for part-time work to provide additional income.
  • Payment for your work – Being a Licensed Contractor means guaranteed payment for your work through Mechanics Lien Rights.
  • Business Loans – Being a Licensed Contractor helps enable you to qualify for small business loans.
  • Discounts – Get your materials and supplies at discount rates.
  • Tax Breaks – Write-off your trucks, home office, tools, gas, and other expenses.
  • Protection – Being a Licensed Contractor and working legally will provide you with more financial security. You will never have to worry about losing a job to a Licensed Contractor, or paying unexpected fines and penalties for lack of license.
  • Bigger Jobs – Having your Contractor License will “open doors” for opportunity and success, allowing you to bid on larger and more profitable jobs.  Commercial, industrial, residential, and government projects will be in your reach.
  • More Contacts – Larger construction companies use other Licensed Contractors regularly for their numerous projects. With your license in hand, you can introduce yourself to other contractor’s you may want to work with and develop lucrative business relationships.
  • Professional Prestige – The average consumer knows the importance of hiring a Licensed Contractor. The media warns the public to hire only Licensed Contractors to avoid scams and disreputable individuals. Being a License tells your customers that you are a true professional- that you’re knowledgeable, responsible, and credible in the construction field.

What kind of work experience is required for a contractor license?

At least four years of experience is required to qualify for the exam. Credit for experience is given only for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee, contractor, or owner-builder. These are defined as follows:

  • A Journeyman is a person who has completed an apprenticeship program or is an experienced worker, not a trainee, and is fully qualified and able to perform the trade without supervision.
  • A Foreman or Supervisor is a person who has the knowledge and skill of a journeyman and directly supervises physical construction.
  • A Contractor is a person who manages the daily activities of a construction business, including field supervision.
  • An Owner-Builder is a person who has the knowledge and skills of a journeyman who performs work on his or her own property.

California Contractor License State Exam Application Requirements

You must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a contractor license, with 4 years experience in your trade. You can claim self employment, you may also claim both part time and full time experience. If you have an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, the state will reduce your work experience requirement.  For more details on work experience and educational credit, see our FAQ tab above.  You can also contact your course director. Note: The state will not accept work experience that goes back further than the last 10 years.

The information listed below is the required fees and filings to receive a California State Contractor License.

State Application for Examination: The fees are $330 for “Original Contractor Application” (first time applying for a contractor license).  “Application for Additional Classification” (adding one additional trade classification to your current license) fee is $150.  The application fee must be included with your state application.  You will need to send a check or money order [with your application] to the CSLB made payable to: Registrar of Contractors.  This fee is non-refundable.  The fee is for processing the application, whether or not the application is approved. Since each application is filed for processing as soon as it arrives at the CSLB, the fee cannot be refunded.  For more information on state fees, select our F.A.Q. tab above.

State Contractors License:  After you pass the exam, your license fee is $200 and is good for 2 years. When it expires, you will need to re-new your license.  You will not be required to take the contractor state exam again.


Bonds

Contractors are legally required to maintain a form of security as a guarantee that they will perform in a good and workmanlike manner.  Surety bonds are commonly used for this purpose.
Before an active contractor’s license can be issued or renewed, or a previously inactive license reactivated, the licensee must have a contractor license bond on file with the CSLB.

The Contractor Bond must be in the amount of $15,000 or $12,500 for a Qualifying Individual for all trade classifications.  A Contractor’s Bond must be in place before CSLB can issue an active license, reactivate an inactive license, or renew an active license. (Business and Professions Code Section 7071.6).

The bond is filed for the benefit of consumers who may be damaged as a result of defective construction or other license law violations, and for the benefit of employees who have not been paid wages that are due to them.

Effective January 1, 2016, the required amount of a contractor’s bond or cash deposit with CSLB in lieu of a contractor’s bond is $15,000. The bond for a qualifying individual is $12,500.

Requirements for the Contractor’s Bond:The bond must be written by a surety company licensed through the California Department of Insurance.
The bond must be in the amount of $15,000.The business name and license number on the bond must correspond exactly with the business name and license number on the CSLB’s records.

The bond must have the signature of the attorney-in-fact for the surety company.

The bond must be written on a form approved by the Attorney General’s Office.
The bond must be received at the CSLB’s Headquarters Office within 90 days of the effective date of the bond.

Bond of Qualifying Individual.

In addition to a Contractor’s Bond, a Bond of Qualifying Individual may be required for the issuance of an active license, reactivation of a license, and for the maintenance of an actively renewed license (Business and Professions Code Section 7071.9).

A Bond of Qualifying Individual is required if the license is qualified by a Responsible Managing Employee (RME). A Bond of Qualifying Individual is required if the license is qualified by a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) who does not own at least 10% of the voting stock of the corporation. If the RMO owns 10% or more of the voting stock of the corporation, they must complete and submit a Bond of Qualifying Individual Exemption Certification.

If a license has more than one RME or RMO qualifying the license, each qualifier must comply with the qualifier bonding requirements.

Requirements for the Bond of Qualifying Individual:

The bond must be written by a surety company licensed through the California Department of Insurance.
The bond must be in the amount of $12,500.

The business name, license number, and qualifier’s name on the bond must correspond exactly with the information on the CSLB’s records.

The bond must have the signature of the attorney-in-fact for the surety company.

The bond must be written on a form approved by the Attorney General’s Office.
The bond must be received at the CSLB’s Headquarters Office within 90 days of the effective date of the bond.
Disciplinary Bond

If a license has been revoked for a violation of the Contractors’ License Law, the company must file a disciplinary bond with the Registrar in order to reinstate or reissue the license (Business and Professions Code Section 7071.8).

Requirements for the Disciplinary Bond:

The disciplinary bond must be filed in addition to any other bond(s) required on an active contractor’s license. The disciplinary bond cannot take the place of or be combined with any other bond(s).

The Registrar will determine the bond amount, which is based on the seriousness of the violation(s). The amount may not be less than $15,000 nor greater than ten times the amount of the contractors’ bond.
The disciplinary bond must remain current and on file with the Registrar for at least two years. In some cases, the Registrar may require a longer filing period.

The company’s license must remain active and current while the disciplinary bond is on file.
The bond must be written by a surety company licensed through the California Department of Insurance.
The business name and license number on the bond must correspond exactly with the business name and license number on the CSLB’s records.
The bond must have the signature of the attorney-in-fact for the surety company.

The bond must be written on a form approved by the Attorney General’s Office.
The bond must be received at the CSLB’s Headquarters Office within 90 days of the effective date of the bond.

Note: Getting a contractor bond is similar to getting insurance, as you are paying a premium (price) to be bonded in the amount of $15,000 for a certain length of time.


Renewal

A license bond is canceled 30 days from the date that CSLB receives a cancellation notice from a bond company.  If a bond reinstatement notice is not received by CSLB or a replacement bond is not received by CSLB before the end of the 30-day period, the related contracting license is suspended.

Avoid a license suspension by renewing your bond promptly and making sure the effective date of the new bond is the same as the cancellation date of the old bond.

Contractor License Frequently Asked Questions

Below are listed the most Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) we receive regarding contractors licenses.  We hope you find this section helpful.  Just click on a topic, and the topic will expand to show you the related information.

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If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for please feel free to Contact Us.

What are the contractor license classifications?

The CSLB issues a license to contract in a particular trade or field of the construction profession.  Each separate trade is recognized as a “classification”.  You may add as many classifications to your license as you can qualify for.

The CSLB issues licenses for the following classifications:

  • Class A – General Engineering Contractor.  The principal business is in connection with fixed works requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill.
  • Class B – General Building Contractor.  The principal business is in connection with structures that shelter and enclose persons, animals, chattels, or movable property requiring in their construction more than two unrelated trades.  The “B” contractor may contract any single or multiple trade or craft without the additional “C” specialty license.
  • Class “C” – Specialty Contractor.  There are 40 separate “C” license classifications for contractors whose construction work requires special skill and whose principal contracting business involves the use of specialized building trades or crafts.  Manufacturers are considered to be contractors if engaged in on-site construction, alteration, or repair.

Please refer to our contractor trade classification tab (above), for a detailed description of these trades.

How long is a California contractor's license valid?

A contractor’s license is initially issued for a two-year period. It will expire two years from the last day of the month in which it was issued. The license must be renewed every two years. However, you will not be required to take the exam again.

How much are the state contractor license fees?

The State Contractor License Fees (as of July 1, 2017) are as follows:

FEE TYPE: APPLICATION & LICENSING FEE (As of July 1, 2017)
Original Application (exam or waiver for one classification)  $330
Initial License Fee (renew every 2 years)  $200
Additional Classification (for existing license)  $150
Additional Classification (each) (with waiver or joint venture application for original license)  $75
Re-Examination  $60
Replacing the Qualifier  $150
License Reactivation Application  $400
Joint Venture Application total fee for one classification
(application fee plus initial license fee)
 $530
Home Improvement Salesperson Registration Application  $83
Asbestos Certification Application  $83
Hazardous Substance Removal Certification Application  $83
Fingerprinting Fees – Paid to Live Scan operator Dept. of Justice Processing Fee  $32
Federal Bureau of Investigation Processing Fee
 Active Timely Replacement Renewal (Postmarked or received at CSLB (for hand deliveries) on or before the expiration date) $400
 Active Delinquent Renewal (Postmarked or received at CSLB (for hand deliveries) on or before the expiration date) (Renewal fee plus penalty) $600
 Inactive Timely Renewal (Postmarked or received at CSLB (for hand deliveries) on or before the expiration date) $300
 Inactive Delinquent Renewal (Postmarked or received at CSLB (for hand deliveries) on or before the expiration date)(Renewal fee plus penalty) $300
 Home Improvement Salesperson Timely Renewal $83
 Home Improvement Salesperson Delinquent Renewal (Renewal fee plus penalty) $124.50
FEE TYPE: LICENSE & REGISTRATION RENEWAL FEES & LICENSING FEE (As of July 1, 2017)
 Duplicate/Replacement Pocket/Wall Certificates $12 each
 Certified License History for licensed or unlicensed contractor, per name researched $12 each
 Certified License History for registered or unregistered Home Improvement Salesperson, per name researched $67 each
 General Status Letter $8 each
 Bond Status Letter $8 each
 Copies of Public Documents $0.10 each
 Certified Copies of Public Documents $2 plus $0.10 per page

Will a conviction of a criminal offense prevent a person from being licensed as a contractor?

The CSLB’s applications and other forms include questions regarding criminal convictions.  The CSLB may deny a license if the crime is substantially related to the duties, functions and qualifications of a contractor.  Failure to disclose the requested information may, in and of itself, be grounds for denial of a license.

Even if a crime is found to be substantially related to the duties, functions and qualifications of a contractor, an individual may be licensed if he or she has demonstrated sufficient rehabilitation.

In 2003, the Legislature mandated that all applicants for licenses and home improvement salesperson registrations would be required to submit fingerprints with each application.  All new applicants for licensure, including each officer, partner, owner and responsible managing employee; and all home improvement salespersons will have to submit fingerprints.

Fingerprints are not required for:

Individuals who are currently licensed by the CSLB, as long as they do not apply for any changes to their licenses; and Applicants for joint venture licenses.

If my contractor license application is not approved, will the CSLB refund my application fee?

No.  The fee is for processing the application, whether or not the application is approved.  Since each application is filed for processing as soon as it arrives at the CSLB, the fee cannot be refunded.

Is Workers' Compensation insurance required?

All contractors are required to present proof of worker’s compensation insurance coverage.  Contractors who do not have employees working for them will be required to file a certificate of exemption.

Are there any financial requirements to qualify for a contractor license?

Yes.  All applicants, other than those applying for a joint venture license, must have more than $2,500 worth of working capital.  Also, a contractor’s bond in the amount of $15,000 or $12,500 for a Qualifying Individual is required.

How long before I receive my license documents?

You should receive your wall certificate and pocket card within approximately one week of the time your license is issued.

What will I receive to show that I'm licensed?

You will receive a wall certificate showing the name of the person or company to which the certificate has been issued, the license number, the classifications held, and the date of issue.  You will also receive a permanent plastic pocket card showing the license number, business name, classification(s), and the license expiration date.  The law requires that you display your wall certificate in your main office or chief place of business. You should also make it a habit to carry your pocket card, especially in situations where you think you might be soliciting business or talking to potential customers.  The CSLB’s publication, “What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor”, recommends that customers ask to see the contractor’s pocket license.

Where are the examinations given?

To make the examination procedure more convenient for applicants, testing centers are located throughout the state.  The examination sites are located in San Diego, San Bernardino, Norwalk, Oxnard, Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, and Fresno. CSLB testing staff use zip codes to assign applicants to the testing center nearest their business address.

The Notice to Appear for Examination mailed to you will state where you will take your examination; the date and time of the exam; what identification is required; and directions on how to get to the examination site.

If I fail to appear for an examination or fail to pass the Law and Business and/or Trade examination, may I retake the examination(s)?

Yes.  If you fail to appear for an examination, you must pay a $60 rescheduling fee.  If you fail to appear a second time, your application will be considered void, and you will have to submit a new application with new fees.  Your examination may be rescheduled one time without a fee if you provide documented evidence that the failure to appear was due to a medical emergency or other circumstance beyond your control.

If you fail the Law and Business examination and/or your trade examination, you must also pay a $60 fee each time you are rescheduled.  You are given 18 months to pass the examinations.  If you do not pass within 18 months after your application is accepted by the Board, your application is considered void, and you will have to submit a new application.  The void date on an application may be extended up to 90 days if you provide documented evidence that the failure to complete the application process was due to a medical emergency or other circumstance beyond your control.

To file for rescheduling, complete the application on the bottom of the notice informing you that you failed to pass the examination and submit it with the $60 fee to the CSLB.  (Please note any address change on this form.)You will be sent a notice informing you where and when to appear for your next examination.

Examination results are good for five years.  If you pass either the Trade or the Law and Business examination but fail the other, you need only take the examination you failed as long as you retake the examination within five years.

What kind of feedback will I receive after taking the contractor's exam?

Exam-takers receive their score results before they leave the test site.  Successful exam-takers are told only that they have passed the state examination; they are not given detailed information about the score.

Unsuccessful test-takers are given a statement showing how well they performed in each section of the test.  So the test-taker will know what areas to emphasize in preparing to retake the state examination.

What is involved with the computer-assisted testing (CAT) system?

You will be taking your state examination on the easy-to-use computer-assisted testing (CAT) system.  No prior experience with computers is necessary–the test monitor guides all test-takers through a short exercise to help them feel at ease with the computer.

How long does the state examination take?

You will be given 2-1/2 hours to complete each examination.  Failure to arrive at the test site on time may result in your seat being given to another candidate.

What are the major components of the state examination?

There are two parts to the examination process:

ALL qualifying individuals must pass the standard Law and Business examination; in addition (with the exception of the C-61 Limited Specialty Classification), qualifying individuals must pass a second exam covering the specific Trade classification or certification area for which they are applying.

Is there an examination requirement for a contractor license?

Yes, the qualifying individual for a contractor’s license is required to pass written law and trade examinations.  Also, contractors who engage in the business of home improvement or who provide goods and services for home improvement must complete the Home Improvement Certification open-book exam.

Do I need to reside in California to get and keep a California contractor's license?

No.

How much credit can I expect to receive for technical training, the completion of an approved apprenticeship program, or related college or university education?

The CSLB may credit training, apprenticeship, or education as follows:

A maximum of 1-1/2 years upon submission of transcripts of the following:

  • An A.A. degree from an accredited school or college in building or construction management;

A maximum of 2 years upon submission of transcripts of any of the following:

  • A four-year degree from an accredited college or university in the fields of accounting, business, economics, mathematics, physics, or areas related to the specific trade or craft for which application is being made
  • A professional degree in law
  • Substantial college or university course work in accounting, architecture, business, construction technology, drafting, economics, engineering, mathematics, or physics
  • A Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship from an accredited apprenticeship program or a certified statement of completion of apprenticeship training from a union in the classification for which application is being made

A maximum of 3 years upon submission of any of the following:

  • Submission of transcripts for a four-year degree from an accredited college or university in architecture, construction technology, or any field of engineering that is directly related to the classification for which application is being made
  • Submission of transcripts for a four-year degree from an accredited college or university in the field of horticulture or landscape horticulture for the Landscaping (C-27) classification

Are there education requirements for a license?

No. You do not have to meet any education requirements in order to qualify for a contractor’s license.

May I substitute any education, technical training, or apprenticeship training for the required experience?

You may receive credit for technical training, apprenticeship training, or education instead of a portion of the required four years of practical experience.  You must provide written documentation of any training or education claimed in place of experience.  Acceptable documentation includes copies of apprenticeship certificates and college transcripts.

What happens if my contractor license application is not approved?

Your application may be returned to you if it is insufficient or incomplete.  You must provide any missing information, make corrections, and return your application within 90 days from the date it was returned.  If it is not returned to the CSLB within 90 days, your application becomes void.  You cannot reinstate it, and you must submit a new application and processing fee if you wish to pursue a license.

You can utilize Academy License Center’s Application Processing Service to minimize problems that may arise.  Use our experience to your advantage!

How can I check on the status of my contractor license application?

You will receive an acknowledgment of the receipt of your application that will contain instructions on how to make inquiries.  You will also receive your Application Fee Number and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that will give you private access to your application status by calling the Board’s automated toll-free number, 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

How will I know if my contractor license application is approved?

After your application is reviewed and approved, you will receive a Notice to Appear for Examination.

Will the CSLB acknowledge receipt of my contractor license application?

The CSLB will send you a letter of acknowledgment.  This letter will contain two important numbers: a nine-digit Application Fee Number and a four-digit Personal Identification (PIN) Number, together with instructions on how to use these numbers to check on the progress of your application.

How long does it take to complete the contractor license application process?

If all application materials are filed correctly on a timely basis and the exam is passed on the first try, a first-time applicant can typically expect 8–10 weeks to pass between the time he or she files the application and the time the license is issued.

Listed below are the California CSLB’s standard contractor trade classifications.Click (or tap) on a classification to see the state definition and description of the trade.

See the next two tabs (above) for a list of the C-61 limited specialty classifications and the CSLB’s trade related frequently asked questions (FAQ).

The C-61 Limited Specialty classification is different than other trades because the trade portion is not required for the state exam (the Law portion is still required).  Once you pass the state exam you will receive a contractor’s license under the C-61 Limited Specialty with the ‘D’ type code reference for your specific trade type.

L&B - Law and Business

An exam related to business and construction laws that must be passed by all qualifying individuals to become licensed.

A - General Engineering

A general engineering contractor is a contractor whose principal contracting business is in connection with fixed works requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill, including the following divisions or subjects: irrigation, drainage, water power, water supply, flood control, inland waterways, harbors, docks and wharves, shipyards and ports, dams and hydroelectric projects, levees, river control and reclamation works, railroads, highways, streets and roads, tunnels, airports and airways, sewers and sewage disposal plants and systems, waste reduction plants, bridges, overpasses, underpasses and other similar works, pipelines and other systems for the transmission of petroleum and other liquids or gaseous substances, parks, playgrounds and other recreational works, refineries, chemical plants and similar industrial plants requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill, powerhouses, power plants and other utilities plants and installations, mines and metallurgical plants, land leveling and earth moving projects, excavation, grading, trenching, paving, and surfacing work and cement and concrete works in connection with the above mentioned fixed works.

B - General Building

Except as provided in this section, a general building contractor is a contractor whose principal contracting business is in connection with any structure built, being built, for the support, shelter and enclosure of persons, animals, chattels or movable property of any kind requiring in it’s construction the use of at least two unrelated building trades or crafts, or to do or superintend the whole or any part thereof. This does not include anyone who merely furnishes material or supplies under Section 7045 without fabricating them into, or consuming them in the performance of the work of the general building contractor.

A general building contractor may take a prime contract or a subcontract for a framing or carpentry project. However, a general building contractor shall not take a prime contract for any project involving trades other than framing or carpentry unless the prime contract requires at least two unrelated building trades or crafts other than framing or carpentry, or unless the general building contractor holds the appropriate license classification or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed contractor to perform the work.  A general building contractor shall not take a subcontract involving trades other than framing or carpentry, unless the subcontract requires at least two unrelated trades or crafts other than framing or carpentry, or unless the general building contractor holds the appropriate license classification.  The general building contractor may not count framing or carpentry in calculating the two unrelated trades necessary in order for the general building contractor to be able to take a prime contract or subcontract for a project involving other trades.

No general building contractor shall contract for any project that includes the C-16 Fire protection classification as provided for in Section 7026.12 or the C-57 Well Drilling classification as provided for in Section 13750.5 of the Water Code, unless the general building contractor holds the specialty license or subcontracts with the appropriately licensed specialty contractor.

C-2 Insulation & Acoustical Contractor

An insulation and acoustical contractor installs any insulating media and preformed architectural materials for the purpose of temperature and/or sound control.

C-4 Boiler, Hot Water Heating & Steam Fitting

A boiler, hot water heating and steam fitting contractor installs, services and repairs power boiler installations, hot water heating systems and steam fitting, including fire tube and water tube steel power boilers and hot water heating low pressure boilers, steam fitting and piping, fittings, and valves, gauges, pumps, radiators, convectors, fuel oil tanks, fuel oil lines, chimneys, flues, heat insulation and all other equipment, including solar heating equipment, associated with these systems.

C-5 Framing & Rough Carpentry

A framing and rough carpentry contractor performs any form work, framing or rough carpentry necessary to construct framed structures; installs or repairs individual components of framing systems and performs any rough carpentry or associated work, including but not limited to the construction or installation of: sub-flooring, siding, exterior staircases and railings, overhead doors, roof decking, members and sheathing.

C-6 Cabinet Millwork & Finish Carpentry

A cabinet, millwork and finish carpentry contractor makes cabinets, cases, sashes, doors, trims, nonbearing partitions and other items of “finish carpentry” by cutting, surfacing, joining, gluing and fabricating wood or other products to provide a functional surface. This contractor also places, erects, and finishes such cabinets and millwork in structures.

C-7 Low-Voltage Systems

A communication and low voltage systems contractor installs, services and maintains all types of communication and low voltage systems which are energy limited and do not exceed 91 volts.  Such systems include, but are not limited to, telephone systems, sound systems, cable television systems, closed circuit video systems, satellite dish antennas, instrumentation and temperature controls, and low voltage landscape lighting.  This classification specifically excludes Fire Alarms.

C-8 Concrete

A concrete contractor forms, pours, places, finishes, and installs specified mass, pavement, flat, and other concrete work, and places and sets screeds for pavement flatwork.  This class shall not include contractors whose sole contracting business is the application of plaster coatings or placing and erecting of steel or bars for the reinforcing of mass, pavement, flat, and other concrete work.

C-9 Drywall

A drywall contractor lays out and installs gypsum wall board and gypsum wall board assemblies including non-structural metal framing members, and performs the taping and texturing operations including the application of compounds that adhere to wall board to produce a continuous smooth or textured surface.

C-10 Electrical

An electrical contractor places, installs, erects, or connects any electrical wires, fixtures, appliances, apparatus, raceways conduits, solar photovoltaic cells or any part thereof, which generate, transmit, transform or utilize electrical energy in any form or for any purpose.

C-11 Elevator

An elevator contractor fabricates, erects, installs, and repairs elevators, including sheave beams, motors, sheaves, cable and wire rope, guides, cab, counterweights, doors (including sidewalk elevator doors), automatic and manual controls, signal systems, and all other devices and equipment associated with and efficient installation and operation of electrical, hydraulic and manually operated elevators.

C-12 Earthwork & Paving

An earthwork and paving contractor digs, moves, and places material forming the surface of the earth, other than water, in such manner that a cut, fill, excavation, grade, trench, backfill or tunnel (if incidental thereto) can be executed, including the use of explosives for these purposes.  This classification includes the mixing, fabricating and placing of paving and any other surfacing materials.

C-13 Fencing

A fencing contractor constructs, erects, alters, or repairs all types of fences, corrals, runs, cribs, game court enclosures, guard rails and barriers, playground game equipment, backstops, posts, flagpoles, and gates, excluding masonry walls.

C-14 Metal Roofing

(Repealed, merged to C-39)

(a) Effective July 1, 1998, the C-14 (Metal Roofing Contractor) classification shall be abolished, and a C-14 license cannot be renewed.  On July 1, 1998, contractors who hold a C-14 and a C-39 (Roofing Contractor) license will hold only a C-39 license.  On July 1, 1998, contractors who hold a C-14 and a C-43 (Sheet Metal Contractor) license will hold only a C-43 license.  On July 1, 1998, contractors holding only a C-14 license will be granted a C-39 license. (b) No application for the C-14 classification will be accepted by the board after the effective date of this regulatory proposal.

C-15 Flooring & Floor Covering

A flooring and floor covering contractor prepares any surface for the installation of flooring and floor coverings, and installs carpet, resilient sheet goods, resilient tile, wood floors and flooring (including the finishing and repairing thereof), and any other materials established as flooring and floor covering material, except ceramic tile.

C-16 Fire Protection

A fire protection contractor lays out, fabricates, and installs all types of fire protection systems, including all the equipment associated with these systems, excluding electrical alarm systems.

C-17 Glazing

A glazing contractor selects, cuts, assembles, and/or installs all makes and kinds of glass, glass work, mirrored glass, and glass substitute materials for glazing; executes the fabrication and glazing of frames, panels, sashes and doors; and/or installs these items in any structure.

C-20 Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning

A warm air heating, ventilating and air-conditioning contractor fabricates, installs, maintains, services and repairs warm air heating systems and water heating heat pumps, complete with warm air appliances; ventilating systems complete with blowers and plenum chambers; air-conditioning systems complete with air-conditioning unit; and the ducts, registers, flues, humidity and thermostatic controls and air filters in connection with any of these systems.  This classification shall include warm air heating ventilation and air conditioning systems which utilize solar energy.

C-21 Building Moving & Demolition

A building moving and demolition contractor raises, lowers, cribs, underpins, demolishes, and moves or removes structures, including their foundations.  This classification does not include the alterations, additions, repairs, or rehabilitation of the permanently retained portions of such structures.

C-22 Asbestos Abatement

An asbestos abatement contractor performs abatement, including containment, encapsulation, or removal, and disposal of asbestos containing construction materials, as defined in Section 6501.8 of the Labor Code, in and on buildings and structures.

All work performed and all documentation prepared by an asbestos abatement contractor shall be done in accordance with regulations and requirements of the Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

The C-22 Asbestos Abatement contractor classification operates as a stand-alone specialty contractor classification for asbestos abatement work, regardless of any other classification(s) that may be held by the licensed contractor, and functions within the scope of the contractor’s DOSH registration.

DOSH Registration Requirement

The CSLB shall not issue a C-22 Asbestos Abatement contractor license unless the applicant or contractor is duly registered with DOSH, pursuant to Labor Code §6501.5, or has an active application for registration in process with DOSH.

If the applicant does not yet have proof of DOSH registration, CSLB shall issue the license (provided all other requirements are met), but will require the contractor to submit to CSLB proof that he or she is duly registered with DOSH within 90 days after the C-22 Asbestos Abatement contractor license is issued or the classification is added. In such cases, no asbestos abatement work shall be performed until the contractor has submitted proof to CSLB of his or her DOSH registration.

If a contractor fails to provide proof of current registration with DOSH, as required, the license shall be automatically suspended or the C-22 classification will be removed at the end of the 90 days.

DOSH Training

All holders of the C-22 Asbestos Abatement classification shall have completed DOSH registration training requirements, as contained in Section 1529 of Title 8 in the California Code of Regulations.  DOSH training covers different class levels that relate to the type and criticality of the asbestos abatement work.  The class levels are relevant in determining the need for DOSH registration, in addition to whether or not there is disturbance of 100 sq. ft. or more of construction materials that contain more than 0.1 percent asbestos by weight.  Generally speaking, DOSH registration is required for Class I and Class II asbestos abatement work that involves the removal of asbestos-containing materials, which is higher-level, more critical work.  Class III or Class IV asbestos-related work involves repair, maintenance, and custodial activities around asbestos containing materials.

The C-22 classification and DOSH registration operate hand-in-hand.  The C-22 Asbestos Abatement contractor classification functions directly in accordance with the DOSH training that the individual has completed.  If he or she has completed the highest levels of asbestos abatement training (Class I level and general Class II level), the holder of the C-22 classification will be able to perform asbestos abatement work in or on any part of a building or structure, as allowed by their DOSH registration.  However, if only specialized Class II DOSH training has been completed for asbestos abatement in relation to flooring or roofing, for example, then the C-22 classification will similarly allow them to perform asbestos abatement work only in the specialized field, such as in flooring or roofing environments.

Distinction from BPC §7058.5 asbestos (ASB) certification

The C-22 Asbestos Abatement classification does not replace the BPC §7058.5 asbestos (ASB) certification.  The existing ASB certification continues to operate as an overlay to other classification(s) held by a licensed contractor.

Holders of the ASB certification can continue to perform asbestos abatement work in the trade(s) for which they are licensed and as allowed by their DOSH registration, without the need to obtain the C-22 classification.  However, they may choose to apply for the C-22 classification if they plan to expand their scope of work beyond their currently held license classification(s).

No licensed contractor who holds the ASB certification shall contract for any project that includes asbestos abatement work in a trade for which the contractor is not licensed, unless the licensee also holds the C-22 Asbestos Abatement classification.

The C-22 classification scope of work does not include any addition to or alteration, repair, or rehabilitation of the permanently retained portions of buildings and structures.

“B“ General Building contractors shall not contract for any project that includes asbestos abatement work unless the General Building contractor holds the C-22 Asbestos Abatement classification or the ASB certification and DOSH registration, or unless the General Building contractor subcontracts with an appropriately licensed contractor.

Contractors who do not hold the C-22 classification or the ASB certification and DOSH registration may bid on projects that include asbestos abatement work as long as they subcontract with and the work is performed by an asbestos abatement contractor who is duly licensed to perform such work.

Asbestos abatement is separate and distinct from hazardous substance removal and remediation, as defined in BPC §7058.7, that can be performed with the hazardous substance certification that CSLB currently issues.  Hazardous substance removal and remediation are specifically not included in the C-22 classification scope.

C-23 Ornamental Metals

An ornamental metals contractor assembles, casts, cuts, shapes, stamps, forges, welds, fabricates, and installs, sheet, rolled and cast brass, bronze, copper, cast iron, wrought iron, ornamental metal, stainless steel, and/or any other metal for the architectural treatment and ornamental decoration of structures.  This classification does not include the work of a sheet metal contractor.

C-26 Lathing

(Repealed, merged with C-35)

[This classification was repealed and is no longer being issued. The work now requires a C35 Lathing and Plastering license (832.35).]  A lathing contractor applies and affixes wood and metal lath, or any other material prepared or manufactured to provide key or suction bases for the support of plaster coatings.  This classification includes the channel work and metal studs for the support of metal or any other lathing material and for solid plaster partitions, but shall not include any plaster work.

C-27 Landscaping

A landscaping contractor constructs, maintains, repairs, installs or subcontracts the development of landscape systems and facilities for public and private gardens and other areas which are designed to aesthetically, architecturally, horticulturally, or functionally improve the grounds within or surrounding a structure or tract or plot of land.  In connection therewith, a landscape contractor prepares and grades plots and areas of land for the installation of any architectural, horticultural, and decorative treatment or arrangement.

C-28 Lock & Security Equipment

A lock and security equipment contractor evaluates, sets-up, installs, maintains, and repairs all doors and door assemblies, gates, locks and locking devices, panic and fire rated exit releases, jail and prison locking devices and permanently installed or built in safes and vaults.  This classification includes, but is not limited to, master key systems, metal window guards, security doors, card activated and electronic access control systems for control equipment, motion and other types of detectors and computer systems for control and audit of control systems and other associated equipment.  FIRE ALARM SYSTEMS ARE SPECIFICALLY NOT INCLUDED IN THIS SECTION.

C-29 Masonry

A masonry contractor installs concrete units and baked clay products; concrete, glass and clay block; natural and manufactured stone; terra cotta and fire brick or other material for refractory work.  This classification includes the fabrication and installation of masonry component units for structural load bearing and non load bearing walls for structures and fences installed with or without mortar; ceramic veneer (not tile) and thin brick that resembles full brick for facing; paving and clear waterproofing, cleaning and caulking incidental to masonry construction.

C-31 Construction Zone Traffic Control

A construction zone traffic control contractor prepares or removes lane closures, flagging, or traffic diversions, utilizing portable devices such as cones, delineators, barricades, sign stands, flashing beacons, flashing arrow trailers, and changeable message signs, on roadways, including but not limited to public streets, highways, or any public conveyance.

C-32 Parking & Highway Improvement

A parking and highway improvement contractor applies and installs protective coatings, vehicle stops, guard rails, and mechanical devices, directional lines, buttons, markers, signs and arrows on the horizontal surface of any game court, parking facility, airport, highway or roadway constructed of concrete, asphalt or similar material.  This classification includes the surface preparatory work necessary for the application of protective coatings but does not include the re-paving of these surfaces.

C-33 Painting & Decorating

A painting and decorating contractor prepares by scraping sandblasting or other means and applies any of the following: paints, papers, textures, fabrics, pigments, oils, turpentine’s, japans, driers, thinners, varnishes, shellacs, stains, fillers, waxes, adhesives, water and any other vehicles, mediums and materials which adhere by evaporation and may be mixed, used and applied to the surfaces of structures and the appurtenances thereto for the purpose of decorating, protecting, fireproofing and waterproofing.

C-34 Pipeline

A pipeline contractor fabricates and installs pipelines for the conveyance of fluids, such as water, gas, or petroleum, or for the containment or protection of any other material, including the application of protective coatings or systems, and the trenching, boring, shoring, backfilling, compacting, paving and surfacing necessary to complete the installation of such pipelines.

C-35 Lathing & Plastering

A lathing and plastering contractor coats surfaces with a mixture of sand, gypsum plaster, quick-lime or dehydrated lime and water, or sand and cement and water, or a combination of such other materials that create a permanent coating, including coatings for the purpose of soundproofing and fireproofing.  These coatings are applied with a plasterer’s trowel or sprayed over any surface which offers a mechanical means for the support of such coating, and will adhere by suction.  This contractor also installs lath (including metal studs) or any other material prepared or manufactured to provide a base or bond for such coating.

A lathing and plastering contractor also applies and affixes wood and metal lath, or any other material prepared or manufactured to provide key or suction bases for the support of plaster coatings.  This classification includes the channel work and metal studs for the support of metal or any other lathing material and for solid plaster partitions.

Effective January 1, 1998, or as soon thereafter as administratively feasible, all C-26 licensees will be merged into the C-35 Lathing and Plastering classification.  On and after January 1, 1998, no application for the C-26 classification will be accepted and no new C-26 Lathing licenses will be issued.

C-36 Plumbing

A plumbing contractor provides a means for a supply of safe water, ample in volume and of suitable temperature for the purpose intended and the proper disposal of fluid waste from the premises in all structures and fixed works. This classification includes but is not limited to:

a) Complete removal of waste from the premises or the construction and connection of on site waste disposal systems.

b) Piping, storage tanks, and venting for a safe and adequate supply of gasses and liquids for any purpose, including vacuum compressed air and gasses for medical, dental, commercial and industrial uses.

c) All gas appliances, flues and gas connections for all systems including suspended space heating units. This does not include forced warm air units.

d) Water and gas piping from the property owner’s side of the utility meter to the structure or fixed works.

e) Installation of any type of equipment to heat water, or fluids to a temperature suitable for the purposes listed in this section including the installation of solar equipment for this purpose.

f) The maintenance and replacement of all items described above and all health and safety devices such as but not limited to, gas earthquake valves, gas control valves, back-flow preventors, water conditioning equipment and regulating valves.

C-38 Refrigeration

A refrigeration contractor constructs, fabricates, erects, installs, maintains, services and repairs refrigerators, refrigerated rooms, and insulated refrigerated spaces, temperature insulation, air-conditioning units, ducts, blowers, registers, humidity and thermostatic controls for the control of air, liquid and/or gas temperatures below fifty (50˚) degrees Fahrenheit, or ten (10˚) degrees Celsius.

C-39 Roofing

A roofing contractor installs products and repairs surfaces that seal, waterproof and weatherproof structures.  This work is performed to prevent water or its derivatives, compounds or solids from penetrating such protection and gaining access to material or space beyond.  In the course of this work, the contractor examines and/or prepares surfaces and uses the following material: asphaltum, pitch, tar, felt, glass fabric, urethane foam, metal roofing systems, flax, shakes, shingles, roof tile, slate or any other roofing, waterproofing, or membrane material(s) or a combination thereof.

C-42 Sanitation System

A sanitation system contractor fabricates and installs cesspools, septic tanks, storm drains and other sewage disposal and drain structures.  This classification includes the laying of cast-iron, steel concrete, vitreous and non-vitreous pipe and any other hardware associated with these systems.

C-43 Sheet Metal

A sheet metal contractor selects, cuts, shapes, fabricates, and installs sheet metal such as cornices, flashings, gutters, leaders, pans, kitchen equipment, duct work, (including insulation, patented chimneys, metal flues, and other installations requiring sheet metal).

C-45 Electrical Signs

An electrical sign contractor fabricates, installs, and erects electrical signs, including the wiring of such electrical signs.

C-46 Solar

A solar contractor installs, modifies, maintains, and repairs active solar energy systems.  An active solar energy system consists of components which are thermally isolated from the living space for collection of solar energy and transfer of thermal energy to provide electricity and/or heating and cooling of air or water.  Active solar energy systems include, but are not limited to, forced air systems, forced circulation water systems, thermo siphon systems, integral collector/storage systems, radiant systems, evaporative cooling systems with collectors, regenerative rock bed cooling systems, photovoltaic cells, and solar assisted absorption cooling systems.  A licensee classified in this section shall not undertake or perform building or construction trades, crafts or skills, except when required to install an active solar energy system.

C-47 General Manufactured Housing

A general manufactured housing contractor installs, alters, repairs or prepares for moving any type of manufactured housing as that term is defined in section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code, including the accessory buildings or structures, and the foundations.  A manufactured house does not include any recreational vehicle, commercial coach, or factory built housing as that term is defined in section 19971 of the Health and Safety Code.  A general manufactured housing contractor may provide utility services on a single family, individual site placement.  Utility services mean the connection of gas, water, sewer, and electrical utilities to the home.

C-50 Reinforcing Steel

A reinforcing steel contractor fabricates, places and ties steel mesh or steel reinforcing bars (rods) of any profile, perimeter, or cross-section, that are or may be used to reinforce concrete structures.

C-51 Structural Steel

A structural steel contractor fabricates and erects structural steel shapes and plates, of any profile, perimeter or cross-section, that are or may be used as structural members for buildings and structures, including the riveting, welding, rigging and metal roofing systems necessary to perform this work.

C-53 Swimming Pool

A swimming pool contractor constructs swimming pools, spas or hot tubs, including installation of solar heating equipment using those trades or skills necessary for such construction.

C-54 Tile Ceramic & Mosaic

A ceramic and mosaic tile contractor prepares surfaces as necessary and installs glazed wall, ceramic, mosaic, quarry, paver, faience, glass mosaic and stone tiles; thin tile that resembles full brick, natural or simulated stone slabs for bathtubs, showers and horizontal surfaces inside of buildings, or any tile units set in the traditional or innovative tile methods, excluding hollow or structural partition tile.

C-55 Water Conditioning

A water conditioning contractor installs water conditioning equipment with the use of only such pipe and fittings as are necessary to connect the water conditioning equipment to the water supply system and to by-pass all those parts of the water supply system within the premises from which conditioned water is to be excluded.

C-57 Water Well Drilling

A well drilling contractor installs and repairs water wells and pumps by boring, drilling, excavating, casing, cementing, and cleaning to provide a supply of uncontaminated water.

C-60 Welding

A welding contractor causes metal to become permanently attached, joined and fabricated by the use of gasses and electrical energy, which creates temperatures of sufficient heat to perform this work.

C-61 Limited Specialty

1) Limited specialty is a specialty contractor classification limited to a field and scope of operations of specialty contracting for which an applicant is qualified other than any of the specialty contractor classifications listed and defined in this article.

2) An applicant classified and licensed in the classification Limited Specialty shall confine activities as a contractor to that field or fields and scope of operations set forth in the application and accepted by the Registrar or to that permitted by Section 831.

3) Upon issuance of a C-61 license, the registrar shall endorse upon the face of the original license certificate the field and scope of operations in which the licensee has demonstrated qualifications.

4) A specialty contractor, other than a C-61 contractor, may perform work within the field and scope of the operations of classification C-61, provided the work is consistent with the established usage and procedure in the construction industry and is related to the specialty contractor’s classification.

Click on the tab above for our list of the C-61 Limited Specialty Trades.

See our list of C-61 trades here.

ASB - Asbestos Certification

BPC §7058.5

1) No contractor shall engage in asbestos-related work, as defined in Section 6501.8 of the Labor Code, which involves 100 square feet or more of surface area of asbestos containing materials, unless the qualifier for the license passes an asbestos certification examination.  Additional updated asbestos certification examinations may be required based on new health and safety information.  The decision on whether to require an updated certification examination shall be made by the Contractors’ State License Board, in consultation with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health in the Department of Industrial Relations and the State Department of Health Services.  No asbestos certification examination shall be required for contractors involved with the installation, maintenance, and repair of asbestos cement pipe or sheets, vinyl asbestos floor materials, or asbestos bituminous or resinous materials.  “Asbestos” as used in this section, has the same meaning as defined in Section 6501.7 of the Labor Code.

2) The Contractors’ State License Board shall develop, and deliver to all applicants with the request for bond and fee, a booklet containing information relative to handling and disposal of asbestos, together with an open book examination concerning asbestos-related work.  All applicants for an initial contractor’s license and all applicants filing a delinquent renewal application who have not previously completed the open book examination shall complete and sign the open book examination and submit it to the Contractors’ State License Board with the required renewal or bond and fee.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Chapter 1160 (AB 2190)).

Distinction from C-22 Classification

The C-22 Asbestos Abatement classification does not replace the BPC §7058.5 asbestos (ASB) certification.  The existing ASB certification continues to operate as an overlay to other classification(s) held by a licensed contractor.

Holders of the ASB certification can continue to perform asbestos abatement work in the trade(s) for which they are licensed and as allowed by their DOSH registration, without the need to obtain the C-22 classification.  However, they may choose to apply for the C-22 classification if they plan to expand their scope of work beyond their currently held license classification(s).

No licensed contractor who holds the ASB certification shall contract for any project that includes asbestos abatement work in a trade for which the contractor is not licensed, unless the licensee also holds the C-22 Asbestos Abatement classification.

The C-22 classification scope of work does not include any addition to or alteration, repair, or rehabilitation of the permanently retained portions of buildings and structures.

“B“ General Building contractors shall not contract for any project that includes asbestos abatement work unless the General Building contractor holds the C-22 Asbestos Abatement classification or the ASB certification and DOSH registration, or unless the General Building contractor subcontracts with an appropriately licensed contractor.

Contractors who do not hold the C-22 classification or the ASB certification and DOSH registration may bid on projects that include asbestos abatement work as long as they subcontract with and the work is performed by an asbestos abatement contractor who is duly licensed to perform such work.

Asbestos abatement is separate and distinct from hazardous substance removal and remediation, as defined in BPC §7058.7, that can be performed with the hazardous substance certification that CSLB currently issues.  Hazardous substance removal and remediation are specifically not included in the C-22 classification scope.

HAZ - Hazardous Waste Substance Removal

7058.7.

a) No contractor shall engage in a removal or remedial action, as defined in subdivision (d), unless the qualifier for the license has passed an approved hazardous substance certification examination.

b) The Contractors’ State License Board, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health of the Department of Industrial Relations, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control shall jointly select an advisory committee, which shall be composed of two representatives of hazardous substance removal workers in California, two general engineering contractors in California, and two representatives of insurance companies in California who shall be selected by the Insurance Commissioner.  (2) The Contractors’ State License Board shall develop a written test for the certification of contractors engaged in hazardous substance removal or remedial action, in consultation with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the advisory committee.

c) The Contractors’ State License Board may require additional updated approved hazardous substance certification examinations of licensees currently certified based on new public or occupational health and safety information. The Contractors’ State License Board, in consultation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the State Water Resources Control Board, shall approve other initial and updated hazardous substance certification examinations and determine whether to require an updated certification examination of all current certificate holders.

d) For purposes of this section “removal or remedial action” has the same meaning as found in Chapter 6.8 (commencing with Section 25300) of Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code, if the action requires the contractor to dig into the surface of the earth and remove the dug material and the action is at a site listed pursuant to Section 25356 of the Health and Safety Code or any other site listed as a hazardous waste site by the Department of Toxic Substances Control or a site listed on the National Priorities List compiled pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 9601 et seq.). “Removal or remedial action” does not include asbestos-related work, as defined in Section 6501.8 of the Labor Code, or work related to a hazardous substance spill on a highway.

e) A contractor shall not install or remove an underground storage tank, unless the contractor has passed the hazardous substance certification examination developed pursuant to this section.  (2) A contractor who is not certified may bid on or contract for the installation or removal of an underground tank, as long as the work is performed by a contractor who is certified pursuant to this section.  (3) For purposes of this subdivision, “underground storage tank” has the same meaning as defined in subdivision (x) of Section 25281 of the Health and Safety Code.

(Amended by Stats. 1990, Chapter 1366 (SB 2004), eff. Sept. 26, 1990; amended by Stats. 1992, Chapter 1289 (AB 2743), Chapter 1290 (AB 3188), eff. Sept. 30, 1992; amended by Stats. 1993, Chapter 168 (AB 427).)

HIC - Home Improvement Certification

(Repealed)

(No longer being issued, sunset date January 1, 2004.)
7150.2.

(a) On or before January 1, 1999, the board shall establish a certification program for home improvement contractors. The board shall certify as home improvement contractors individuals, partnerships, corporations, or other combinations or organizations that perform or provide home improvement goods or services, as defined in Section 7151, and that meet the requirements set forth in Section 7150.3.
(b) The board shall publish a booklet containing information relative to the business of a home improvement contractor that shall be distributed to contractors upon request. At the board’s discretion, it may charge an amount not to exceed the cost of publication.
(c) On and after July 1, 2000, a contractor may not engage in the business of home improvement or provide home improvement goods or services, as defined in Section 7151, unless the contractor is certified as a home improvement contractor.
(d) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2004, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2004, deletes or extends that date.

Listed below are the California CSLB’s C-61 limited specialty contractor trade classifications.  Click on a classification to see the state definition and description of the trade.  You may also search the site for keywords using the search box above.

The C-61 limited specialty classification is different than other trades because the CSLB does not require the contractor to take a trade section of the state exam (the Law portion is still required).  Once you pass the state exam you will receive a contractor’s license under the C-61 Limited Specialty with the ‘D’ type code reference for your specific trade type.

D-01 Architectural Porcelain

(Now under D-64)

D-02 Asbestos Fabrication

(Now under C-2)

D-03 Awnings

An awning contractor installs, modifies or repairs aluminum, metal, vinyl or canvas awnings and patio covers.  These installations can be either freestanding or attached to a structure.  Patio enclosures or carports are not included in this classification.

D-04 Central Vacuum Systems

A central vacuum systems contractor installs, modifies, maintains or repairs central vacuum systems, pneumatic tube dispatching systems or any other type of pipeline which operates systems of reduces pressure for any purpose.

D-05 Communication Equipment

(Converted to C-7)

D-06 Concrete Related Services

A concrete related services contractor installs reusable steel concrete from sections or interlocking precast pavers.  Performs post-tensioning work, concrete sawing, breaking, curing, floor hardening treatment, coloring concrete, concrete restoration, coring work or operates a concrete pumping service; also includes the application of granite, but does not include the installation of reinforcing steel.

D-07 Conveyors-Cranes

(Now under D-21)

D-08 Doors and Door Services

(Now under D-28)

D-09 Drilling, Blasting and Oil Field Work

A drilling contractor does core and post hole drilling, horizontal drilling (no piping) and drilling for placement of charges and performing blasting work; performs drilling for site de-watering, oil well and other oil field related specialty work.  (DOES NOT INCLUDE WATER WELL DRILLING)

D-10 Elevated Floors

An elevated floors contractor installs wood or metal framed elevated computer flooring systems.  This work does not include the construction of mezzanines.

D-11 Fencing

(Converted to C-13)

D-12 Synthetic Products

A synthetic products contractor installs:

1) Synthetic counter tops and wall coverings; fiberglass, plastic, vinyl and epoxy products; plastic tile board and decorative art work; and synthetic turf.

2) Bathtub and enamel refinishing, resin and epoxy application, and synthetic caulking and sealants.

3) Reservoir liners, vinyl swimming pool relining, pier piling wrap, and rodent guards.

4) PVC piping systems for irrigation and drainage; subsurface irrigation drip systems.

D-13 Fire Extinguisher Systems

(Now under C-16)

D-14 Floor Covering

(Converted to C-15)

D-15 Furnaces

(Now under A or C-20)

D-16 Hardware, Locks and Safes

A hardware, locks, and safes contractor installs, modifies or repairs power and/or manually activated door and window locks with related hardware, built-in safes and vaults.

D-17 Industrial Insulation

(Now under C-2)

D-18 Prison and Jail Equipment

(Under relevant class)

D-19 Land Clearing

(Now under C-12 or A if license is required)

D-20 Lead Burning and Fabrication

(Now under D-64)

D-21 Machinery and Pumps

A machinery and pumps contractor installs, removes, modifies or repairs:

a. Pumps, conveyors, cranes, dock levelers, various hoisting and material handling equipment and meters.

b. Dumb waiters; handicap lifting and assistance equipment, automated speed-rail trolley systems for garment hanging.

c. Automatic car washing racks and auto body paint finishing booth equipment.

NOTE: Construction of buildings and/or roof structures for this equipment is not included.

D-22 Marble

(Now under C-29)

D-23 Medical Gas Systems

(Now under C-36)

D-24 Metal Products

A metal products contractor installs, modifies or repairs the following:

1. Metal cabinets, lockers, modular storage structures, mail chutes, cable racks; and aluminum or vinyl storm doors and windows.

2. Metal wall tiles; aluminum fascia covers; and metal gutters.

3. Aluminum studs and trusses; metal railings and turnstiles; metal prison cell accessories such as welded-to-structure cell furniture; grills and cabinets.

D-25 Mirrors and Fixed Glass

(Now under C-17)

D-26 Mobile Home Installation and Repairs

(Converted to C-47)

D-27 Movable Partitions

(Now under D-34)

D-28 Doors, Gates and Activating Devices

A doors, gates and activating devices contractor installs, modifies or repairs all types of residential, commercial or industrial doors including overhead or sliding door assemblies.  This includes but is not limited to: wood and screen doors, metal-clad doors, glass sliding/stationary doors and frames, automatic revolving doors, hospital cubical doors and related installations, power activated doors, gates, moveable sun shades/shutters, card activated equipment and other access control device and any low voltage electronic or manually operated door hardware/device.

D-29 Paperhanging

A paperhanging contractor applies all types and varieties of decorative wall coverings, except painting or paneling, including paper and vinyl goods, cork, burlap and carpet-type wall coverings.

D-30 Pile Driving and Pressure Foundation Jacking

A pile driving and pressure foundation jacking contractor provides a pile driving and/or caisson drilling or auger service.  This work also includes but is not limited to the injection of concrete or mortar into foundations for stabilization purposes.

D-31 Pole Installation and Maintenance

A pole installation and maintenance contractor installs wood or precast poles to support the wiring or cable that is installed by others or installs and maintains flag poles.

D-32 Power Nailing and Fastening

(Now under D-64)

D-33 Precast Concrete Stairs

(Now under C-23)

D-34 Prefabricated Equipment

A prefabricated products / equipment contractor performs installations of prefabricated products/equipment, including but not limited to the following:

1. Theater stage equipment, school classroom equipment, playground equipment, bleacher bench / seat component parts (no installation or renovation of any supporting or structural member); store fixtures, and display cases (either prefabricated or modular form); all forms and types of toilet/shower room partitions / accessories; and prefabricated closet systems.

2. Laboratory and medical equipment, dust collecting systems; factory built fireplaces and accessories (no masonry facing); major appliance installations and ventilating hoods in connection with existing fuel and energy lines which are installed by others.

3. Bus stop shelters, prefabricated phone booths; prefabricated sound proof environmental clean rooms; panelized refrigerated walk-in boxes (not to include the work of refrigeration contractor); all types of modular office, institutional or home improvement systems including, but not limited to all types of pre-finished and / or UL listed pre-wired wall panels.

D-35 Pool and Spa Maintenance

A pool and spa maintenance contractor installs, replaces or repairs pool motors, pumps, filters, gas heaters and any above ground piping in connection with pools; includes electrical switches, breakers, pool lights, diving boards, existing solar systems that heat pools, pool and spa acid baths and applies vinyl liners to existing surfaces.

D-36 Rigging and Rig Building

(Now under “A” General Engineering)

D-37 Safes and Vaults

(Now under D-16)

D-38 Sand and Water Blasting

A sand and water blasting contractor uses the force of compressed air in conjunction with abrasive materials or water to clean or prepare surfaces for any protective, decorative and/or functional treatment.

D-39 Scaffolding

A scaffolding contractor erects metal or wood scaffolding including temporary sidewalk sheltered construction work barricades.

D-40 Service Station Equipment and Maintenance

A service station maintenance contractor installs and/or removes underground fuel storage tanks up to 20,000 gallons which have been or are to be used for dispensing gasoline, diesel fuel, waste oil or kerosene (no chemicals).  This work involves the installation and/or removal of all incidental tank related piping, electrical work, including the installation of vapor probes in back fill areas of the tanks and any associated calibration work, including but not limited to the testing and adjustment of leak detection and vapor recovery equipment, such as automatic tank gauges, leak line detectors, vapor recovery lines, and in-station diagnostics.  This contractor also performs the installation of auto hoisting equipment, grease racks, compressors, air hoses, and other service station equipment.  Note: Licensees holding this classification prior to January 18, 2001, may perform all the work as described above.  Licenses issued after this date may perform the “calibration” work only.

D-41 Siding and Decking

A siding and decking contractor applies or installs all types of exterior siding including wood, wood products, vinyl, aluminum and metal siding to new or existing buildings.  This contractor also constructs wooden decks and related handrails.  This work shall not include the construction or installation of covers or enclosures of any kind.

D-42 Sign Installation

A sign installation contractor fabricated and installs all types of non-electrical signs, including but not limited to: post or pole supported signs, signs attached to structures, painted wall signs and modifications to existing signs.

D-43 Soil Grouting

(Now under C-32, C-12, or A)

D-44 Sprinklers

(Now under D-12)

D-45 Staff and Stone

(Now under C-29)

D-46 Steeple Jack Work

(under relevant class)

D-47 Tennis Court Surfacing

(Now under C-12 or A)

D-48 Theater and School Equipment

(Now under D-34)

D-49 Tree Service

A tree service contractor prunes trees, removes trees, limbs or stumps (including grinding) and engages in tree or limb guying.

D-50 Suspended Ceilings

A suspended ceilings contractor installs, modifies or repairs all types of suspended ceilings, including but not limited to the following: lay-in-grid and other types of systems involving solid, perforated or translucent ceiling panels (no electrical work).

D-51 Waterproofing and Weatherproofing

(under relevant class)

D-52 Window Coverings

A window coverings contractor installs or applies decorative, architectural/functional window/glass treatment or covering products, including but not limited to the following: all types of materials and fabrics that make up louvers, shutters, Venetian and mini-blinds; residential or commercial draperies and screens; expanded metal window and door guards; plastic film window treatment and/or any other window treatment applied for temperature control or as a screening device.

D-53 Wood Tanks

A wood tanks contractor erects or repairs elevated wooden storage tanks and related cooling towers.  (Hot tubs are not included)

D-54 Rockscaping

(Now under C-15 or C-27)

D-55 Blasting

(Now under C-12 or A)

D-56 Trenching Only

A trenching contractor is a limited specialty contractor whose contracting business is trenching only for foundations, pipelines, conduit and related trenching work.

D-57 Propane Gas Plants

(Now under A)

D-58 Residential Floating Docks

(Now under A)

D-59 Hydro Seed Spraying

A hydro-seed spraying contractor applies seeds through any liquid media type of surface that has been prepared or contoured by others.

D-60 Striping

(Now under C-32)

D-61 Gold Leaf Gilding

(Now under D-64)

D-62 Air and Water Balancing

An air and water balancing contractor installs any device and performs any work related to providing a specified flow of air in all types of existing heating and cooling systems and/or related to providing a specified flow of water in water piping systems.

D-63 Construction Clean Up

A construction cleanup contractor cleans up and / or removes from building grounds or structures any debris resultant from any construction project including but not limited to: concrete, dirt, scrap lumber, plaster, drywall, any paint or adhesive products from windows, floors, ceramic tile and bathroom fixtures.

D-64 Non-Specialized

A non-specialized contractor installs, modifies, maintains and repairs new products and/or new installations which are not defined in any section herein or defined in any license classification authorized by the Board under Chapter 9, Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code (Contractors License Law).

D-65 Weatherization and Energy Conservation

A weatherization and energy conservation contractor installs, removes, modifies, or repairs or provides maintenance services for energy conservation products limited to the following: door and window weather stripping, caulking, water heater pipe wrap, water heater blankets, insulating gaskets for electrical outlet covers, shade screens, shutters, storm windows, tinted window film, residential water flow restricting devices installed onto existing fixture. (DOES NOT INCLUDE INSULATION, GLAZING OR HEATING VENTILATING, OR AIR CONDITIONING WORK).

Listed below are the CSLB’s list of trade related frequently asked questions (FAQ).  Click on a topic to see the CSLB’s definition and description of the topic.  You may also search the site for keywords using the search box in the menu above.

General Engineering ('A') Contractor Specifics

Can a general engineering (“A”) contractor perform the work of a single trade (specialty work) if that specialty work is an integral part of the scope of work for a general engineering contractor?  For example, a general engineering contractor can build a freeway, which can include pouring concrete and putting up fences.  Can the “A” contractor take a contract for concrete work only or to build a fence only?

An “A” contractor can contract to perform all or any part of a project that falls under the “A” classification. California Code of Regulations section 834(a) states “…a general engineering contractor shall operate only within those areas defined in Section 7056 of the [B&P] Code.”Therefore an “A” contractor could take a contract to build a fence or pour concrete if the work was originally or currently part of the type of projects listed in B&P Code section 7056 (airports, roads and similar “fixed works”).

General Building ('B') Contractor Specific Questions

How is a general building (“B”) contractor defined in Contractors License Law?

Section 7057(a) broadly defines general building contractor as a contractor whose principal business is in connection with any structure built, being built, or to be built, requiring in its construction the use of at least two unrelated building trades or crafts; however, framing or carpentry projects may be performed without limitation.  In some instances, a general building contractor may take a contract for projects involving one trade only if the general contractor holds the appropriate specialty license or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed specialty contractor to perform the work.

Subsections (b) & (c) of section 7057 specifically define the situations in which a “B” contractor may take a prime contract or subcontract.

The last part of the first paragraph of section 7057 states “…or to do or superintend the whole or any part thereof.”  What does this mean?

Any projects, or portions thereof, that are identified under section 7057 as appropriate for the “B” General Building classification may be completed by a “B” contractor through the licensee’s own forces, and/or by overseeing (superintending) the work of properly licensed subcontractors.

How does the CSLB differentiate between a prime contract and a subcontract?

A prime contract is a contractual relationship made between the owner of the property and the contractor.  A subcontract is when the contractor does not have a direct contractual relationship with the owner of the property.  For example, the subcontractor contracts with the prime contractor.

What prime contracts or subcontracts can a “B” contractor take?

A “B” contractor can take a prime contract or subcontract for:

  1. framing or carpentry projects; or
  2. projects that require at least two unrelated building trades other than framing or carpentry (cannot count framing or carpentry as one of the two unrelated trades); or
  3. any specialty projects (even if less than two unrelated trades) for which the “B” contractor also holds the required specialty class.

Can a “B” contractor take a “prime contract” for a single specialty trade?

A “B” contractor may take a prime contract for any specialty project (even if less than two trades); if the “B” contractor holds the specialty classification or subcontracts the work to an appropriately licensed specialty contractor.

Can a general building (“B”) Contractor take a “subcontract” for work involving a single trade if he plans to sub the work out?

As provided in B&P section 7057(b), a “B” contractor cannot take any subcontract (a subcontract is when the “B” does not have a direct contractual relation with the owner of property) for any single trade project (excluding framing or carpentry), unless he/she holds the required specialty license classification.  For example, a “B” contractor may take a prime contract (contract directly with the owner of the property) to roof a home, then subcontract the work to a licensed roofing contractor.  However, a “B” may not take a subcontract to roof a home, then subcontract the work out.

Can a “B” contractor take a contract for fire protection or well drilling work?

Section 7057 (c) prohibits a “B” contractor from taking a contract for any project that includes work covered under a C-16 (Fire Protection) or C-57 (Well Drilling) classification, unless the “B” contractor either holds the C-16 or C-57 class or subcontracts the work to a properly licensed specialty contractor.

Can a “B” contractor obtain a roofing permit when the work involves replacing facia board, painting eaves and applying a new roof cover?

If the work is part of an overall general building project, then yes, the “B” contractor could obtain a roofing permit and perform or subcontract the work.

The first paragraph of B&P section 7057 refers to “chattels.”  What are chattels?

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines chattels as: “an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate, freehold, and things (as buildings) connected with real property.” Example: A tool or equipment shed is a structure that is designed to house “chattels.”

C-8 Concrete Contractor (CCR 832.08)

Can a C-8 Concrete Contractor contract and pull permits for a lattice patio cover?

No. A C-8 contractor can only work with wood when it is part of a formwork for concrete.

C-16 Fire Protection (CCR 832.16)

What is the proper license to install fire protection systems?

B&P section 7026.12 is very specific.  It states: “The installation of a fire protection system, excluding an electrical alarm system, shall be performed only by a contractor holding a fire protection contractor classification…” as defined in the California Code of Regulations section 832.16 Fire Protection Contractor “…or by an owner-builder of an owner-occupied, single-family dwelling, if not more than two single-family dwellings on the same parcel are constructed within one year…”.

C-27 Landscaping Contractor (CCR 832.27)

Can a landscaping (C-27) contractor pull permits and perform work involving gas lines and / or electrical circuits?

This is sometimes the case when yard lighting or a pre-manufactured spa or an outdoor barbecue is part of the landscaping contract.

A C-27 contractor may obtain permits and contract for such work, provided the work is part of or incidental to an overall landscaping project.

Can a landscaping contractor contract and pull permits for patio covers or outdoor decks?

A C-27 contractor may contract and pull permits for “nonwatertight” patio covers or outdoor decks.

If a patio cover is attached to the house, what classification(s) can build it?

Patios with lattice type covers can be built by either a general building (“B”) contractor, a carpentry contractor (C-5), or a landscaping contractor.

Are there any restrictions on the size, height, or type of deck that a landscaping contractor can contract or pull permits for?

Generally, there are no restrictions on the size, height, or type of deck that a landscaping contractor can contract or pull permits for.  However, certain structural work may be precluded.  A review will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Can a landscaping contractor build a perimeter wall?

Only if the perimeter wall is part of a total landscaping project.

Can a landscaping contractor do a single trade, i.e. concrete, masonry, carpentry?

A landscaping contractor may undertake any single trade contract, provided such work is a part of:

“…landscape systems and facilities…which are designed to aesthetically, architecturally, horticulturally, or functionally improve the grounds within or surrounding a structure or a tract or plot of land…” (Board Rule 832.27)

If an outdoor wall is built simply for its aesthetic value, what classification is required?

A landscaping contractor, general building contractor, or carpentry contractor would be appropriate if carpentry skills are required. A masonry wall would require either a landscaping or masonry contractor.

C-36 Plumbing Contractor (CCR 832.36)

Can a C-36 Plumbing Contractor contract and pull permits for the installation of a seepage pit or other components of a septic system?

A C-36 Plumbing Contractor may contract and pull permits for installation of a seepage pit or other components of a septic system.  An “A” General Engineering or C-42 Sanitation System Contractor may also perform this work.  All three licenses are appropriate to install or repair all septic systems.

What license classifications are allowed to install or repair building sewers?

“A” General Engineering, C-36 Plumbing, C-42 Sanitation System, and C-34 Pipeline Contractors may install and/or repair building sewers.  A “B” General Building Contractor may perform this work if it falls within the scope of work of a general building contractor as defined in B&P section 7057.

What license or certification is appropriate for removal of underground storage tanks?

Removal of underground storage tanks requires the Hazardous Substance Certification in addition to the appropriate license classification.

An “A” General Engineering Contractor is appropriate to install and/or remove underground storage tanks for any purpose whatsoever at any location.

A C-36 Plumbing Contractor is appropriate to install and/or remove any underground storage tank that provides a service to a building.  This includes storage tanks for service stations.

A C-61 / D-40 Limited Specialty Service Station Equipment Contractor is appropriate to install and/or remove underground fuel storage tanks with a capacity of up to 20,000 gallons at service stations or any other site.

A “B” General Building Contractor is appropriate to install and / or remove an underground storage tank only if such work is performed within the meaning of B&P section 7057, the definition of a general building contractor.

C-39 Roofing Contractor (CCR 832.39)

Can a roofing (C-39) contractor pull a repitch / reroof permit including the framing and structural work that is involved?

Generally, structural changes are inappropriate for the C-39 contractor on a reroof / repitch. However, certain projects may require special consideration and a determination will be made on a case-by-case basis.

C-53 Swimming Pool Contractor (CCR 832.53)

Can a C-53 Swimming Pool Contractor contract and pull permits for a patio cover?

No.  A C-53 contractor cannot contract or pull permits for a patio cover.

Assembly Bill 2697 (regarding swimming pool safety) was signed by the Governor in 1998. Among other things, the bill requires all dryniche and wet-niche light fixtures operating at more than 15 volts to be protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).  Who can perform the installation and inspection of this work?

The installation and inspection of electrical work in public swimming pools (required by Senate Bill 873) may be done by either an engineering (“A” ) contractor, electrical (C-10) contractor, swimming pool (C-53) contractor, or a pool & supply maintenance (C-61 / D-35) contractor.

Sign Installation

What classification of license is appropriate for installation of signs?

If the installation of a sign falls under the definition of contracting (B&P 7026), the following licenses would be appropriate:

  • C-10 Electrical or C-45 Electrical Sign would be required for electrical signs;
  • C-45 Electrical Sign or C-61/D-42 Limited Specialty would be required for nonelectrical signs.

(Note: Installation of any sign that comes under the purview of the Outdoor Advertising Act [California Administrative Code, Title 4, Chapter 6] does not require a contractor’s license. Billboards are the most common and these types of installations require registration with the Department of Transportation.)

Minor Work Exemption (B&P 7048)

Is it true a contractor’s license is not required if the work to be performed is under $500?

Yes, B&P section 7048 (Small Operations) provides an exemption from licensure for minor work if the aggregate contract price, including labor, materials, etc. is less than $500.  This exemption does not apply if the “minor work” is part of a larger project.  Example: A homeowner is having a kitchen remodeled at a total cost of $6,000 and decides to sublet the flooring work which is only $300.  The person doing the flooring would not be exempt from licensure because the overall cost of the project was over $500.  In addition, jobs cannot be broken down into hourly fees in order to sidestep the $500 threshold.

Agriculture Exemption (B&P 7049)

What is agriculture exemption?

B&P section 7049 provides an exemption from licensure for any “construction or operation incidental to the construction and repair of irrigation and drainage ditches of regularly constituted irrigation districts, reclamation districts, or to farming, dairying, agriculture, viticulture, horticulture, or stock or poultry raising, or clearing or other work upon the land in rural districts for fire prevention purposes”.  However, if a licensed contractor performs work included in the agriculture exemption, CSLB has jurisdiction over complaints. (B&P 7049)

Owner/builder Exemption (B&P 7044)

Who is considered an owner/builder?

Any individual, or group of individuals, who own the property on which they plan to construct, alter, repair, improve, or remodel a building or structure.  Also, a tenant may be considered an owner/builder (case-by-case).

Is an owner / builder required to have a license?

An owner / builder is exempt from licensure, but there are limitations.  A license is not required if:

  1. The owner / builder does the work himself or herself or through his or her own employees with wages as their sole compensation and the structure(s) is / are not intended for sale.
  2. The owner/builder contracts with properly licensed subcontractor(s).  This exemption applies to the construction of a single-family residential structure and limits the number of structures intended or offered for sale to four or fewer in a calendar year.
  3. Number of structures is unlimited if the owner / builder contracts with a general building (“B” ) contractor.

Is a homeowner required to obtain a license if he/she wants to improve his / her home?

A homeowner improving his or her principal place of residence is exempt from licensure if all of the following exist:

  1. The work is performed prior to sale;
  2. The homeowner resides in the residence for the 12 months prior to completion of the work; and,
  3. The homeowner has not taken advantage of this exemption on more than two structures during any three-year period.

Are there any trades that property owners are prohibited from performing themselves?

Property owners are prohibited from performing well-drilling work covered under the C-57 Well Drilling classification.

Yes. The owner / builder exemption would apply to an individual who builds homes for resale under any of the following conditions:

  1. Licensed tradesmen are hired to perform all work on the project (provided no more than four structures per calendar year are intended for resale).
  2. A licensed general contractor is hired to perform and/or subcontract the completion of all work on the project. (No restriction on the number of structures completed per calendar year.)
  3. The owner/builder performs the work, all or in part, and resides in the completed structure for one year prior to resale. (Applies to not more than two structures in a three-year period.)

Multiple Classes for a Project

Is it possible that more than one classification could be appropriate for a single project?

Yes–for example, grading and paving a road can be performed by either a general engineering (“A” ) contractor or an earthwork & paving (C-12) contractor.

Structural Pest Control Operator

Is a licensed Structural Pest Control Operator required to have a contractor’s license when making structural repairs caused by wood destroying pests or organisms?

Structural Pest Control Operators are not required to hold a contractor’s license when operating within the scope of their license.  Only a Branch 3 Licensed Structural Pest Control Operator may contract and pull permits for the repair or replacement of wood damaged by wood-destroying pests or organisms.

(Structural Pest Control Act, Chapter 14, Article 1 Section 7505 and Article 4 Section 8560). The key is replacement of damaged members.

Alarm Company Operator (B&P 7054)

Is an alarm company operator required to be licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) and the Contractors State License Board?

Individuals who install, maintain, monitor, sell, alter or service burglar alarm systems are exempt from licensure under the Contractors License Law (B&P section 7054) provided they are licensed by BSIS. Fire alarm work is subject to Contractors License Law and requires a C-10 Electrical license.

Contractor Advertising

Are licensed contractors required to include their license numbers in advertisements?

Any time licensed contractors advertise their services, whether on paper, over the air waves or on the Internet, a license number must appear.  This includes but is not limited to letterhead, business cards, any type of directory listing, airwave transmissions, newspaper ads, vehicle lettering, or any form of advertising.

Is it against the law for an unlicensed individual to advertise construction services?

No, as long as the advertisement includes a statement that the individual does not hold a contractor’s license (B&P 7027.2).