50-State Construction Licensing Compliance Guide
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Guide Contents
Overview

California Construction Licensing

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Licenses are typically required for individuals and businesses that provide construction industry services. This guide contains information about construction industry licensing in California.

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Company Licenses

California Construction and Contracting Company Licenses

California Contractor License

Agency:California Department of Consumer Affairs - Contractors State License Board (CSLB)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Bond Requirements:

  • All contractors must have a $15,000 contractor's bond on file with CSLB.
  • An additional $12,500 qualifying individual's bond must be filed for contractors that are qualified by a responsible managing employee.
  • All LLC licenses are required to obtain a $100,000 surety bond as well.
Notes:

Exemptions: 

The following projects or individuals may be exempt from licensing:

  • A project for which the combined value of labor, materials, and all other costs on one or more contracts is less than $500. Work on a larger project, may not be broken down to smaller amounts of less than $500 in an attempt to meet the $500 exemption;
  • An employee who is paid wages, who does not usually work in an independently established business, and who does not have direction or control over the performance of work or who does not determine the final results of the work or project;
  • Public personnel working on public projects;
  • Officers of a court acting within the scope of their office;
  • Public utilities working under specified conditions;
  • Oil and gas operations performed by an owner or lessee;
  • Owner-builders who build or improve existing structures on their own property if they either do the work themselves or use their own employees (paid in wages) to do the work;
  • Sale or installation of finished products that do not become a fixed part of the structure;
  • A seller of installed carpets who holds a retail furniture dealer's license but who contracts for installation of the carpet with a licensed carpet installer;
  • Security alarm company operators (licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services) who install, maintain, monitor, sell, alter, or service alarm systems (fire alarm company operators must be licensed by CSLB);
  • Persons whose activities consist only of installing satellite antenna systems on residential structures or property. These persons must be registered with the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair.
Qualifying Individual Requirements:
  • A qualifying individual, or simply "qualifier," is the person listed in CSLB records who meets the experience and examination requirements for the license. There must be a qualifying individual for every classification on each license issued by CSLB.
  • The license's qualifying individual is responsible for the employer's (or principal's) construction operations.
  • A person may act as a qualifying individual for more than one active license only if one of the following conditions exists:

    • There is a common ownership of at least 20 percent of the equity of each firm for which the person acts as a qualifier; or
      The additional firm is a subsidiary of or a joint venture with the first; or

    • The majority of the partners or officers are the same.

  • Even if he or she meets the above conditions, A PERSON MAY SERVE AS THE QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL FOR NO MORE THAN THREE FIRMS IN ANY ONE-YEAR PERIOD. If a qualifier disassociates from the third firm, he or she must wait one year before associating with a new third firm.

  • A Responsible Managing Employee (RME) can only act as a qualifying individual for one active license at a time.

  • If you have an individual license, you may be the qualifier or you may designate a Responsible Managing Employee (RME).

  • If you have a partnership license, your qualifier may either be one of the general partners (who shall be designated as the qualifying partner) or the RME.

  • If you have a corporate license, your qualifier may be either one of the officers listed on the CSLB's records for your license (who shall be designated as the Responsible Managing Officer, or RMO), or an RME.

  • If your qualifying individual is a Responsible Managing Employee, he or she must be a bona fide employee of the firm and may not be the qualifier on any other active license. This means that the RME must be regularly employed by the firm and actively involved in the operation of the business at least 32 hours per week or 80 percent of the total business operating hours per week, whichever is less.

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Original Contractor License

Agency Fee:

$450 application fee + $200 sole owner license fee or $350 non-sole owner license fee.

Turnaround:

Processing Times

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the California Secretary of State - Business Programs Division.
  2. File an Application for Original Contractor License with the California Contractors State License Board.
  3. Pass the relevant exam for your classification.
  4. After passing the exam, submit the required contractor's bond, proof of insurance, and license fee to the California Contractors State License Board.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. File foreign qualification documents with the California Secretary of State - Business Programs Division.
  2. File an Application for Original Contractor License with the California Contractors State License Board.
  3. Pass the relevant exam for your classification.
  4. After passing the exam, submit the required contractor's bond, proof of insurance, and license fee to the California Contractors State License Board.

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$450 for sole owner licenses (C-10 contractors are charged $470) and $700 for non-sole owner licenses (C-10 contractors are charged $720)

Due:

Biennially by the end of the month of issuance.

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
Notes:

The application to renew a contractor license automatically is sent to current licensees by CSLB about 60 days before an expiration date.

Local Construction and Contracting Company Licenses

City of Lakewood Business License - General Contractor

Agency:City of Lakewood Business License Division (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No

Initial Registration

Form:

General Contractor License Registration Application 

Filing Method:

Mail. 

Agency Fee:

$120.00 + $5.00 per employee + quaretly fees +$4.00 State mandated fee.

Registration Renewal

Form:

General Contractor License Application (Renewal)

Filing Method:

Mail. 

Agency Fee:

$120.00 + $5.00 per employee + quaretly fees +$4.00 State mandated fee.

Due:

Annually by June 30. 

Pasadena Business License - Contractor

Agency:Pasadena Department of Finance (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No

Initial Registration

Form:

Business License Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

Depends on which contractor license classification the applicant has at the state level in California. Fees are based on the highest classification the contractor holds if more than one. The annual license fees are as follows:

  • General engineering contractors - $603.70
  • General building contractors - $402.46
  • Specialty contractors - $301.86
  • Other building tradesmen - $301.86

Fees for the 3-month and 6-month licenses are 30% and 60% respectively of the annual license fee.

 

Notes:

Contractors located within the city limits of Pasadena are required to apply for the annual license. Contractors located outside of Pasadena may apply for the 3-month or 6-month license but should remember to close out their license after finishing their work in Pasadena.

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Depends on which contractor license classification the applicant has at the state level in California. Fees are based on the highest classification the contractor holds if more than one. The annual license fees are as follows:

  • General engineering contractors - $603.70
  • General building contractors - $402.46
  • Specialty contractors - $301.86
  • Other building tradesmen - $301.86

Fees for the 3-month and 6-month licenses are 30% and 60% respectively of the annual license fee.

Due:

Annually by June 30 for annual license holders. 3-month and 6-month licenses expire 3 months and 6 months respectively from the date of issuance and can be renewed for additional 3 or 6 month periods.

Individual Licenses

California Individual Construction and Contracting Licenses

California Asbestos Consultant Certification

Agency:California Department of Industrial Relations - Asbestos and Carcinogen Unit

Initial Registration

Form:

Examination Application Packet

Agency Fee:

$500

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Request Form

Agency Fee:

$325

Due:

Certifications expire annually by the date of issuance but renewal applications must be submitted at least 60 days prior to the expiration date.

California Asbestos Site Surveillance Technician Certification

Agency:California Department of Industrial Relations - Asbestos and Carcinogen Unit

Initial Registration

Form:

Examination Application Packet

Agency Fee:

$400

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Request Form

Agency Fee:

$270

Due:

Certifications expire annually by the date of issuance but renewal applications must be submitted at least 60 days prior to the expiration date.

California Fire/Life/Safety Electrical Technician Certification

Agency:California Department of Industrial Relations - Electrician Certification Program

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Electrician Examination and Certification

Agency Fee:

$75 application fee + $100 examination fee

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Application for Electrician Certification

Agency Fee:

$100

Due:

Triennially by the date of issuance.

California General Electrician Certification

Agency:California Department of Industrial Relations - Electrician Certification Program

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Electrician Examination and Certification

Agency Fee:

$75 application fee + $100 examination fee

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Application for Electrician Certification

Agency Fee:

$100

Due:

Triennially by the date of issuance.

California Lead Inspector / Assessor License

Agency:California Department of Public Health Childhood Lean Poisoning Branch
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Qualifying Individual Requirements:
  • Lead-Related Construction Inspection / Assessment course (40 hours); or
  • CIHs may take a Lead-Related Construction Certified Industrial Hygienist Course (24 hours).
  • A Bachelor's Degree or higher in a biological, chemical, physical science or related field; and
    • 1 year of experience in lead-related construction or a related field (such as asbestos or environmental remediation); a) conducting environmental inspections and assessing environmental health, occupational safety or environmental hazards; or b) designing projects in environmental health, occupational safety or environmental hazard reduction; or
  • An Associate's Degree or higher (or 20 semester / 30 quarter college units) in a biological, chemical, physical science or related field; and
    • 2 years of experience in lead-related construction or a related field (such as asbestos or environmental remediation); a) conducting environmental inspections and assessing environmental health, occupational safety or environmental hazards; or b) designing projects in environmental health, occupational safety or environmental hazard reduction; or
  • A High School Diploma or its equivalent and
    • 3 years of experience in lead-related construction or a related field (such as asbestos or environmental remediation); a) conducting environmental inspections and assessing environmental health, occupational safety or environmental hazards; or b) designing projects in environmental health, occupational safety or environmental hazard reduction.

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$135

Required Attachments:
  • Proof of Experience (except Workers and Sampling Technicians)
  • Proof of Training, via the CDPH Course Completion Form
  • Photo 
  • Education documentation (except Workers, Supervisors and Sampling Technicians)

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online 

Agency Fee:

$135

Due:

Annually by date of issuance. 

Required Attachments:
  • Proof of Experience (except Workers and Sampling Technicians)
  • Proof of Training, via the CDPH Course Completion Form
  • Photo 
  • Education documentation (except Workers, Supervisors and Sampling Technicians)

California Lead Sampling Technician License

Agency:California Department of Public Health Childhood Lean Poisoning Branch
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Qualifying Individual Requirements:
  • Lead-Related Construction Sampling Technician course (8 hours)
  • No experience or education is required.

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Onlne

Agency Fee:

$135

Required Attachments:
  • Proof of Experience (except Workers and Sampling Technicians)
  • Proof of Training, via the CDPH Course Completion Form
  • Photo

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online 

Agency Fee:

$135

Due:

Annually by date of issuance. 

Required Attachments:
  • Proof of Experience (except Workers and Sampling Technicians)
  • Proof of Training, via the CDPH Course Completion Form
  • Photo 

California Lead-Related Construction Supervisor License

Agency:California Department of Public Health Childhood Lean Poisoning Branch
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Qualifying Individual Requirements:
  • Lead-Related Construction Supervision & Project Monitoring course (40 hours); or
  • Lead-Related Construction Work course (24 or 32 hours) + Lead-Related Construction Supplemental Supervision; Project Monitoring course (16 hours).
  • 1 year of experience as a certified lead worker; or
  • 2 years of experience in lead-related construction or a related field (such as asbestos, the building trades or environmental remediation) conducting health, occupational safety, or environmental hazard control.
  • No education is required.

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$135

Required Attachments:
  • Proof of Experience (except Workers and Sampling Technicians)
  • Proof of Training, via the CDPH Course Completion Form
  • Photo 

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$135

Due:

Annually by date of issuance. 

Required Attachments:
  • Proof of Experience (except Workers and Sampling Technicians)
  • Proof of Training, via the CDPH Course Completion Form
  • Photo 

California Non-Residential Lighting Technician Certification

Agency:California Department of Industrial Relations - Electrician Certification Program

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Electrician Examination and Certification

Agency Fee:

$75 application fee + $100 examination fee

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Application for Electrician Certification

Agency Fee:

$100

Due:

Triennially by the date of issuance.

California Residential Electrician Certification

Agency:California Department of Industrial Relations - Electrician Certification Program

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Electrician Examination and Certification

Agency Fee:

$75 application fee + $100 examination fee

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Application for Electrician Certification

Agency Fee:

$100

Due:

Triennially by the date of issuance.

California Voice Data Video Electrical Technician Certification

Agency:California Department of Industrial Relations - Electrician Certification Program

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Electrician Examination and Certification

Agency Fee:

$75 application fee + $100 examination fee

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Application for Electrician Certification

Agency Fee:

$100

Due:

Triennially by the date of issuance.

Explore Licensing in Other States

Associated General Contractors of America
Professional association providing advocacy and organization for construction firms and workers.

National Association of Home Builders
National association for the promotion of the housing industry.

National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies
National organization that represents and promotes the interests of state level contractor licensing agencies.

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