Licenses and Certifications offered by the CSLB

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) currently offers 73 different contractor license classifications. Each license covers a specific area of construction expertise.

It is extremely important for a contractor to know what can and cannot be done with its license.  The CSLB can take taking disciplinary action against a contractor working outside its license. The disciplinary actions include:

Warning Letter

Letter of Admonishment

Citation

Accusation

Suspension/Revocation of License

Criminal Charges

A contractor can also have a civil lawsuit brought for working outside its license for disgorgement. In a disgorgement lawsuit the contractor may be required to disgorge (pay back) all monies it has previously been paid for work outside its license pursuant to BPC §7031(b).

CSLB Licenses and Certifications | Minor Work Exception

There is one minor exception to the licensing requirement that is known as the “handyman exception”.  A contractor is not required to have a license for type of work on a project that has a value of less than $500.  It is important to note that this is a project-based, not a work-based, exception.

For example, if a project owner is remodeling their kitchen at a cost of $5,000 and the cost of doing the tile installation is only $300, the person doing the flooring would need to have a contractor’s license in the appropriate classification since the aggregate cost of the work is $500 or more.

Contractor License Categories

Contractor licenses are broken down into four categories: 

A-General Engineering

B-General Building

C-Specialty Classifications

C-61 / D-Limited Specialty Classifications

Each classification except those listed under the C-61/D-limited specialty class requires a construction trade exam in addition to the Contractor Law Exam. 

SPECIALTY CLASSIFICATIONS “C” Specialty contractors perform their trade using the art, experience, science, and skill necessary to satisfactorily organize, administer, construct, and complete projects under their classification, in accordance with the standards of their trade. A specialty contractor may use subcontractors to complete the incidental and supplemental work, or may use his/her own employees to do so.  BPC §7058

CSLB – C licenses are:

C-2 Insulation and Acoustical

An insulation and acoustical contractor installs any insulating media and preformed architectural acoustical materials for the purpose of temperature and/or sound control. (832.02 CCR)

C-4 Boiler – Hot-Water Heating and 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 firetube and water-tube steel power boilers and hot-water heating low pressure boilers, steam fitting and piping, fittings, 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. (832.04 CCR)

C-5 Framing and 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, truss members, and sheathing. (832.05 CCR)

C-6 Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry

A cabinet, millwork and finish carpentry contractor makes cabinets, cases, sashes, doors, trims, non-bearing 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. (832.06 CCR)

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. These 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. Low voltage fire alarm systems are specifically not included in this section. (832.07 CCR)

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 pavements or 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. (832.08 CCR)

C-9 Drywall

A drywall contractor lays out and installs gypsum wall board and gypsum wall board assemblies, including nonstructural 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. (832.09 CCR)

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. (832.10 CCR)

C-11 Elevator

An elevator contractor fabricates, erects, installs and repairs elevators, including sheave beams, motors, sheaves, cable and wire rope, guides, cab, counter weights, doors (including sidewalk elevator doors), automatic and manual controls, signal systems, and all other devices and equipment associated with the safe and efficient installation and operation of electrical, hydraulic and manually operated elevators. (832.11 CCR)

C-12 Earthwork and Paving

An earthwork and paving contractor digs, moves, and places material forming the surface of the earth, other than water, in such a 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. (832.12 CCR) 5

C-13 Fencing

A fencing contractor constructs, erects, alters, or repairs all types of fences, corrals, runs, railings, cribs, game court enclosures, guard rails and barriers, playground game equipment, backstops, posts, flagpoles, and gates, excluding masonry walls. (832.13 CCR)

C-15 Flooring and 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. (832.15 CCR)

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. (832.16 CCR)

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. (832.17 CCR)

C-20 Warm-Air Heating

Ventilating and 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, ventilating and air-conditioning systems which utilize solar energy. (832.20 CCR)

C-21 Building Moving/Demolition

A building moving/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. (832.21 CCR)

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).

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. (832.22 and 833 CCR excerpts)

C-23 Ornamental Metal

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, monel metal, stainless steel, 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. (832.23 CCR)

C-27 Landscaping

A landscape 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 a 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. (832.27 CCR)

C-28 Lock and 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 devices, manual and automatic operated gate and door closures and 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. (832.28 CCR)

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. (832.29 CCR)

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. (832.31 CCR)

C-32 Parking and 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. (832.32 CCR)

C-33 Painting and 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, turpentines, 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 purposes of decorating, protecting, fireproofing and waterproofing. (832.33 CCR)

 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. (832.34 CCR)

C-35 Lathing and Plastering

A lathing and plastering contractor coats surfaces with a mixture of sand, gypsum plaster, quick-lime or hydrated 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. (b) 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. (832.35 CCR)

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 gases and liquids for any purpose, including vacuum, compressed air and gases 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; 9 (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; and (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 preventers, water conditioning equipment and regulating valves. (832.36 CCR)

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 degrees Fahrenheit (50º), or ten degrees Celsius (10º). (832.38 CCR)

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. (832.39 CCR)

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. (832.42 CCR)

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, metal roofing systems and any other installations requiring sheet metal). (832.43 CCR)

C-45 Sign

A sign contractor fabricates, installs, and erects electrical signs, including the wiring of such electrical signs, and 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. (832.45 CCR)

C-46 Solar

A solar contractor installs, modifies, maintains, and repairs thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems. A licensee classified in this section shall not undertake or perform building or construction trades, crafts, or skills, except when required to install a thermal or photovoltaic solar energy system. (832.46 CCR) Please see page 19 for additional information on contractor classifications authorized to perform solar projects.

C-47 General Manufactured Housing

A general manufactured housing contractor installs, alters, repairs, or prepares for moving any type of manufactured home as defined in Section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code, any type of mobile home as defined in Section 18008 of the Health and Safety Code, and any type of multifamily manufactured home as defined in Section 18008.7 of the Health and Safety Code, including the accessory buildings or structures, and the foundations. A manufactured home does not include any recreational vehicle, commercial coach, or factory-built housing as defined in Section 19971 of the Health and Safety Code. (b) 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. (832.47 CCR)

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. (832.50 CCR)

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. (832.51 CCR)

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. (832.53 CCR)

C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile

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. (832.54 CCR)

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. (832.55 CCR)

C-57 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. (832.57 CCR)

C-60 Welding

A welding contractor causes metal to become permanently attached, joined and fabricated by the use of gases and electrical energy, which creates temperatures of sufficient heat to perform this work. (832.60 CCR)