California Senator proposes adding Residential Remodel License to Building License
Senator Mike McGuire from California, together with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), proposed a bill to add a Residential Remodeling Contractor (RRC) license to the classification of the Category B General Building Contractor.
The bill is in response to the growing residential remodeling and home improvement work in California, much of it as a result of wildfires over the last three years.
An RRC is defined as a contractor whose principal contracting business is in connection with any project to make improvements to or in an existing residential wood-frame structure, and the project requires the use of at least three unrelated building trades or crafts for a single contract.
The bill would authorize an RRC to take a prime contract for specified trades or crafts.
These include, but are not limited to, drywall, flooring and painting, as well as the installing, repairing or replacing of various identified electrical, plumbing and mechanical fixtures.
However, the RRC cannot contract to install, replace, substantially alter or extend such systems unless the RRC holds the appropriate license classification or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed contractor.
According to the CSLB, SB 1189 would not change the current requirements for obtaining a contractor’s license (such as meeting the years of experience requirements, be 18 years of age, etc.).
Instead of needing the rough carpentry and framing experience which is currently required for the General B, an applicant could apply for the RRC license, without having a carpentry and framing experience. This would allow the contractor to take a contract for improvement of an existing residential wood-frame structure involving three or more unrelated trades.
This could potentially expand the pool of applicants who would be able to qualify for the new residential contracting license, as many interested persons likely do not have the rough carpentry and framing background currently required for the General B license.
This bill clarifies that if the RRC takes on a project for which rough carpentry or framing is necessary, such as adding additional square footage to a project, they would need to have the General B license.
The CSLB observes that several other states have a similar license structure as this bill proposes.
Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Utah have some type of license structure that would allow for some form of a remodeling contractor license in addition to a General B-type license, which has higher experience requirements and can take on more extensive constructionrelated projects. This bill also revises the definition of “home improvement.”
It would include the reconstruction, restoration or rebuilding of residential property that is damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster for which a state of emergency was declared. “Home improvement” also means the installation of home improvement goods or the furnishing of home improvement services.
However, it does not currently include reconstruction, restoration or rebuilding after a disaster.
Rebuilding a home devastated by a natural disaster is one rationale for changing the definition of “home improvement.”
According to media reports from areas impacted by wildfires, contractors were hired for rebuilds or other construction-related work on fire destroyed homes yet did not actually complete the work.
Adding the disaster language to the definition of home improvement will ensure these projects have the same contracting protections afforded other legitimate improvement jobs, including contract cancellation rights, down payment security or the prohibition on payment in advance of completed work and undelivered materials.
Although this new general license would allow an RRC to remodel or repair in-ground swimming pools and spas, it would not allow the RRC to do so unless he or she obtained specialty licenses necessary to perform the work or subcontracted with individuals or construction companies that do have the proper licensing categories to perform the construction, electrical, plumbing and concrete work necessary to remodel a swimming pool or spa.
SB 1189 is currently still pending in the Legislature but is expected to be on the Governor’s desk for signature in September.
California Senator Mike McGuire