Sacramento, Calif. (January 31, 2020) - Pursuant to California's Contractors License Law, all license classifications must have a qualifier or qualifying individual. The qualifying individual is a person (1) who meets the (a) four-year's experience for the particular license classification and (b) law and trade examination requirements for the license classification, and (2) who will be responsible for exercising that direct supervision and control of their employer's or principal's construction operations to secure compliance with California's Contractors Licensing Law and the Contractors State License Board's (CSLB) rules and regulations.

In addition to having the requisite experience and passing the required exams, the qualifier must submit a full set of fingerprints so that the CSLB may conduct a criminal background check. The fingerprints are compared to the records of the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to determine whether a criminal history exists.

What Are You Required to Do If Your Qualifier is Leaving

If a qualifier will no longer be associated with a license classification, the licensee must replace the qualifier within 90 days of the date of the qualifier's disassociation. Failure to replace the qualifier within the time period allowed by law will result in the suspension of the license or removal of the classification from the license. If the replacement process cannot be completed within the 90-day time frame, the licensee can request a 90-day extension by sending a written request to the CSLB's headquarters. It should be noted that only one extension may be granted.

The written request for extension must be signed by an officer listed as personnel of record on the CSLB's records for the licensee. If the licensee disputes the qualifier's disassociation date, or can show good cause for failing to notify and replace the qualifier within the prescribed time, the licensee can petition the Registrar of Contractors for a 90-day extension. The petition must be sent to CSLB's headquarters.

Be Aware of Possible Delays When Replacing Your Qualifier

When replacing the qualifier, one way to avoid delays is to have one or more individuals already identified who may quickly and efficiently replace the disassociating qualifier. If a licensee employs individuals who are eligible to act as a qualifier, those individuals can apply for their own individual license and either maintain it in an active or inactive status. The individual's active license can be inactived when she/he associates with another license.

Under Section 7065 of California's Contractors License Law, "[n]o examination shall be required of a qualifying individual if, within the five-year period immediately preceding the application for licensure, the qualifying individual has either personally passed the written examination for the same classification being applied for, or has served as the qualifying individual for a licensee whose license was in good standing at any time during the five-year period immediately preceding the application for licensure and in the same classification being applied for." Likewise, under Title 16, Cal. Code of Reg. sec. 869.2(b), "Individuals already fingerprinted as required by Section 869.1 and for whom subsequent arrest information remains available at the Board need not submit fingerprints when submitting a subsequent application." Pursuant to Section 869.4, "[o]nce an applicant has been fingerprinted, the [CSLB] will maintain access to the applicant's subsequent arrest history until such time as the individual's license is cancelled, revoked or no longer renewable."

Licensee should be aware that if their prospective qualifiers have a lapse in their licensure, they may be required to retain the exams and be re-fingerprinted. Fingerprints are typically submitted through the LiveScan process, but fingerprints may be submitted using hard copy forms provided by the Registrar of Contractors. If a qualifier or the licensee's personnel of record elect to use the latter process, delays between six and nine months should be expected.

Licensees should also be aware that if their records on file with the California Secretary of State, including, but not limited to, the personnel of record for the licensee, do not match the CSLB's records for the licensee, additional delays could result. In such a case, the licensee will be required to update their records with the California Secretary of State and then the CSLB. Certain changes may trigger a fingerprinting requirement for any new personnel of record for the licensee.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.