The California Contractors State License Board – A General Overview

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) was originally established in 1929 as the Contractors’ License Bureau under the Department of Professional and Vocational Standards. Today, the CSLB is part of the Department of Consumer Affairs

The CSLB is a double edge sword for contractors – it protects duly licensed contractors against unlicensed contractors, but also protects consumers against unlicensed and licensed contractors.  Unfortunately, the CSLB, at times, overzealously takes action against licensed contractors who make minor mistakes.

CSLB | Protecting The Licensed Contractor

The CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) focuses on the underground economy and on unlicensed contractors. This unit conducts proactive stings and sweeps to help curtail illegal contracting by unlicensed contractors as well as cites those who are not licensed.

SWIFT is comprised of various governmental agencies including district attorneys, Workers Compensation Fund, Board of Equalization and other government agencies.

Plumtree & Associates has worked with SWIFT through the nonprofit organization California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC).  Plumtree & Associates has specifically met and advised district attorneys in many counties regarding various areas of construction law.

CSLB | Protecting The Consumer

The CSLB protects consumers by regulating the construction industry through policies that promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the public in matters relating to construction.


Ensures that construction is performed in a safe, competent, and professional manner;

Licenses contractors and enforces licensing laws;

Requires that any person performing construction services be licensed;

Enforces the laws, regulations, and standards governing construction contracting in a fair and uniform manner;

Provides resolution of disputes that arise from construction activities; and

Educates consumers so that they make informed choices.

Protecting The License Contractor From a CSLB Investigation

As discussed above, the CSLB can overzealously take action against a licensed contractor for the most minor of infractions.

It is highly important that a contractor retain an attorney experienced with CSLB license defense immediately after a complaint has been filed against its contractor’s license.  Anything a contractor says to the CSLB from the first contact forward can and will mostly likely be used against them.