Recently in Construction Generally Category

CA CSLB License Exam/Certification Study Guides

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The California Contractors State License Board has made available a study guide for the trade examination for the various contractor license and specialty license classifications and one for the law and business examination; a trade examination is not required for the C-61 limited specialty classification. It has also made available a study guide for the asbestos certification and hazardous substances removal certification. Each study guide provides: (1) a breakdown of examination topics, (2) several sample examination questions, (3) resource information to help the license applicant study for the examination, (4) test site policies, and (5) a test strategy.

Additional Sources: California Contractors License Law & Reference Book (2014 Ed.); CSLB, Apply for a Contractors License - Exam Required; CSLB, Step 2: Applying for a Waiver of the Examination; CSLB, Step 7: Studying for the Examination

S. 1 -- Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act

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S.1 -- 114th Congress (2015-2016) was introduced on January 6, 2015. Recently, it was passed by both the House (February 11, 2015) and Senate (January 29, 2015). The President has indicated he will veto the bill. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see what's in the bill.

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The Legal Landscape Rapidly Changes for D.C. Employers

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Today, Pillsbury attorneys Julia Judish, Rebecca Carr Rizzo and Keith Hudolin published their client alert titled The Legal Landscape Rapidly Changes for D.C. Employers. The Alert discusses how District of Columbia employers now face and are soon to face a number of new laws affecting a wide range of issues, including wage payments, recording of hours worked, pregnancy accommodations, concealed weapons in the workplace, and the use of criminal background checks and drug testing during the hiring process. While most of the changes impose new requirements on employers, emergency legislation passed by the D.C. Council on February 3rd also contained a win for employers by changing existing D.C. law that had previously required that employers keep records of hours worked by both exempt and non-exempt employees. Employers must be aware of these new requirements, some of which require employers to change their current practices, and should carefully review their employee handbooks and other policies to ensure timely compliance.

If you have any questions about the content of this blog, please contact the Pillsbury attorney with whom you regularly work or Julia Judish, Rebecca Carr Rizzo, or Keith Hudolin, the authors of this blog.

July 1, 2015, WA Electrical Certification Examinations To Be Based on 2014 NEC

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The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries ("L&I") is in the process of updating its electrical examinations to the 2014 National Electrical Code® (NEC®) and current versions of Washington electrical laws (Ch. 19.28 RCW) and rules (Ch. 296-46B WAC). L&I expects the revised exams to be in place on July 1, 2015. If an applicants first attempt to pass an electrical administrator exam is on or after July 1, 2015, the examination will be based on the 2014 NEC® and current Washington electrical laws and rules. If the applicant is re-taking an exam on or after July 1, 2015, the applicant will be able to re-test using the 2008 version until your one year test cycle ends; those applicants who have not successfully passed the exam by June 30, 2016 will start a new testing session with the 2014 version.

Additional Resource: Washington State Department of Labor & Industries; Electrical Currents, Vol. 19 No. 2 (Feb. 2015)

Contractor And Tradesmen Licensing and Registration By State

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State contractor and tradesmen licensing laws, and the agencies responsible for issuing and regulating these licensees, vary across the nation. In California, the California Contractors State License Board issues licenses to general engineering contractors, general building contractors and specialty classifications for trades that require a license, including, by way of example only, electrical, warm-air heating, ventilating & air-conditioning (aka HVAC or HVACR), and plumbing. In some states, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC trades are licensed and regulated by separate agencies. Others states only require contractors to register. In other states, municipalities issue and regulate any required contractor's licenses.

Below is a list of regulatory agencies across the nation that issue licenses (or require registration) with a link to their webpage(s) identifying the license classifications and trades subject to licensure (or registration). It does not identify all of the municipalities responsible for issuing and regulating contractors and tradesmen. It also does not include certification requirements, including for example, asbestos abatement certification, hazardous substance removal certification, electrician's certification, or lead-safety certification, or permit requirements. If you are aware of additional state contractor and tradesmen regulatory agencies, please email me and I will update the list.

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WA Legislative Update ~ Electricians

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The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries ("L&I")Electrical Currents , Vol. 19 No. 2 (Feb. 2015) identifies legislative updates in 2015 that may be of interest to electrical contractors. None of the bills identified are sponsored by L&I:

House Bill 1315 - L&I's summary of the bill: "Requires L&I to grant a variance from the allowed scope of work, upon application, to a specialty electrician, a master specialty electrician, or a specialty plumber under certain circumstances."
House Bill 1375 - L&I's summary of the bill: "Eliminates special immunities from prosecution for criminal trespass, whether those immunities have been legislatively granted to the government or to private persons or entities. This bill would compromise an inspector's ability to gain access to ensure electrical work complies with state laws and rules, and require property owners to be present for an electrical inspection, which would significantly reduce the number of inspections that could be performed with current inspection staff."
House Bill 1590 - L&I's summary of the bill: "Requiring completion of an apprenticeship program to receive a journey level or residential specialty electrician certificate of competency."
House Bill 1608 - L&I's summary of the bill: "Addresses certified HVAC/refrigeration specialty electricians and certified appliance repair specialty electricians concerning replacement of household appliances."
House Bill 1609 - L&I's summary of the bill: "Exempts from the plumbing and electrical codes, minor or incidental work that does not require regulation for the protection of public health or safety."
Senate Bill 5686 - L&I's summary of the bill: "Removes the ability of the Electrical Board to hear appeals of decisions by the Office of Administrative Hearings. Decisions made by an administrative law judge would be a final order."
Senate Bill 5281 - L&I's summary of the bill: "Requires L&I to establish a 2,000 hour nonresidential security system specialty electrician certificate allowing a trainee to take the examination after 720 hours (or 90 days) of work experience and if successful, work alone installing these systems."
Senate Bill 5282 - L&I's summary of the bill: "Exempts from licensing requirements, and permit and inspection requirements under chapter 19.28 RCW, persons, firms, partnerships, corporations, and other entities for work limited to certain installations of security system wiring in one and two family dwellings."

Florida Bill Would Revise Methods For Labor Pools to Compensate Day Laborers

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On January 22, 2015, Florida Senate Bill 456 was introduced, proposing to revise the methods by which a labor pool may pay day laborers. If signed into law, Senate Bill 456 would permit a labor pool to compensate day labors, paying them in cash, using a commonly accepted negotiable instrument that is payable in cash, on demand at a financial institution, and without discount, using a payroll debit card, or by electronic fund transfer to a financial institution designated by the day laborer.

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NV Overview of Contractor License Requirements

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The Nevada State Contractors Board has an Overview of Contractor License Requirements for Nevada that addresses commonly asked questions about the general requirements for applying for a contractors license and the corresponding answers.

The topics addressed in the overview include:

AR Transaction Privilege Tax License Still Required For Contractors

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The Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) warns contractors that even if they have received a notice from the Department of Revenue stating: "If you are a contractor whose only business is to enter into contracts with the owner of real property for the maintenance, repair, replacement or alteration of existing property, beginning January 1, 2015, you do not need to have a transaction privilege tax (TPT) license," Arizona Revised Statutes § 32-1122(B)(1)(h) requires all contractor license applicants and licensees to provide the ROC with a TPT license number to obtain or renew a contractor license. The ROC confirmed that it has asked the legislature to make these laws more consistent by removing this TPT requirement. However, it cautions that, until this change is made, contractors need to maintain their Arizona TPT license.

2015 California Contractors License Law Reference

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Recently, the California Contractors State License Board posted a link to the 2015 edition of the California Contractors License Law & Reference Book. This is an incredibly helpful resource if you are currently a contractor, subcontractor or materials supplier in California or if you may become one in the near future.

NCSB Warns Contractors To Be On Look Out for Out-of-State Solar Manufacturers Looking for Installation Services

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Today, the Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) issued an Industry Bulletin confirming that, in recent months, it "has been seeing an increase in the number of out-of-state solar manufacturers entering into contracts with licensed Nevada contractors to perform solar installation services for Nevada residents." It noted that many of these out-of-state manufacturers do not possess a Nevada contractor's license and the Nevada contractors performing installation services for such businesses are being disciplined by NSCB for aiding and abetting an unlicensed contractor.

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NV State Contractors Board to Discuss Pre-filed Legislative Bills at Next Meeting

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In its Public Notice of Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) Meeting scheduled for January 22, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. by videoconference at its Henderson and Reno NSCB offices, the NSCB's agenda indicates that the meeting may include a legislative discussion and possible action on several pre-filed senate and house bills.

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California Contractor License #1,000,000 Issued

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Today, the California State Contractors License Board (CSLB) announced that, over the weekend, it issued its one-millionth contractor license to a tree service company in Norwalk, California. The CSLB was created on August 14, 1929, with the support of the State of California's construction industry, so the public would be protected from irresponsible contractors.The law creating the CSLB defined three contractor categories that remain in effect today: Class "A" General Engineering, Class "B" General Building, and Class "C" Specialty contractors. In 1939, those categories evolved into the original license "classifications" and CSLB also began to examine applicants on their trade qualifications.

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New CA Public Accommodation Bill Introduced

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Existing California law allows a plaintiff to collect statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public accommodation only if the plaintiff was denied full and equal access to the place of public accommodation on a particular occasion, as specified. It also requires a demand letter alleging the construction-related accessibility claim to, among other things, state facts sufficient to allow a reasonable person to identify the basis of the claim, and imposes a $1,000 limit on such statutory damages if the defendant demonstrates that it has, among other things, cured the construction-related accessibility violation within 60 days of being served with a complaint. Assembly Bill 54 (Olsen), introduced in early December 2014, seeks to amend this law to provide that, when a plaintiff brings a claim alleging a violation of a construction-related accessibility standard within 3 years of a change in that standard, a plaintiff may only collect statutory damages if she/he also provides the owner, agent, or other party responsible for the place in violation with a written notice or demand letter with specified information at least 60 days prior to filing any action and the violation is not cured.

California Civil Code § 55.56 would be amended to read (new language underlined):

"(a) Statutory damages under either subdivision (a) of Section 52 or subdivision (a) of Section 54.3 may be recovered in a construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public accommodation only if a violation or violations of one or more construction-related accessibility standards denied the plaintiff full and equal access to the place of public accommodation on a particular occasion. occasion, and the requirements of Section 55.565 have been met, if applicable."

New California Civil Code § 55.565 would provide:

" (a) When a plaintiff brings a construction-related accessibility claim alleging a violation of a construction-related accessibility standard within three years of a change in that standard, statutory damages under subdivision (a) of Section 52 or subdivision (a) of Section 54.3 may be recovered against a place of public accommodation only if the plaintiff provides the owner, agent, or other party responsible for the place of public accommodation where the alleged violation occurred with sufficient written notice of the allegations and alleged access barriers on which the claim is based at least 60 days prior to the filing of any action and the alleged access barriers are not removed.
(b) A written notice is sufficient for the purposes of subdivision (a) if either of the following conditions is met: (1) The notice states facts sufficient to allow a reasonable person to identify the basis of the construction-related accessibility claim under subdivision (a) of Section 55.31 and states that the recipient may be civilly liable for actual and statutory damages for a violation of a construction-related accessibility requirement if the access barriers that constitute the basis of the construction-related accessibility claim are not removed within 60 days. (2) The notice is a written demand letter that offers prelitigation settlement negotiations in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 55.31.
(c) For the purposes of this section, "construction-related accessibility claim," "construction-related accessibility standard," and "place of public accommodation" have the meanings set forth in Section 55.52."

A Cautionary Tale for Small and Large Businesses in a Mentor-Protégé Relationship: Size Appeal Of Kisan-Pike

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Yesterday, we published our client advisory titled A Cautionary Tale for Small and Large Businesses in a Mentor-Protégé Relationship: Size Appeal Of Kisan-Pike. The Advisory discusses the Small Business Administration ("SBA") Office of Hearings and Appeals' ("OHA") November 24, 2014 finding that a mentor-protégé joint venture agreement between Kisan Engineering Company P.C., a small 8(a) business, and The Pike Company Inc., its large business mentor, caused the joint venture to lose its status as a small business. As a result, the joint venture was not qualified to receive a contract award on a procurement reserved for small businesses. OHA disqualified the mentor-protégé joint venture despite the fact that the SBA had approved the Kisan-Pike mentor-protégé agreement, through which Pike was to mentor Kisan.