Fire Protection is an umbrella term that can refer to:
This article will provide you with every single detail you need to know about how to get a C-16 Fire Protection Contractor License.
"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." -CSLB.GOV
The C-16 License is the classification required in the state of California for all persons looking to bid on the installation, design or repair of residential, commercial, or industrial fire protection systems where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.
Residential, Commercial and Industrial Fire Protection contractors may offer various services.
Things you have to know include:
To obtain the C-16 license, you will be tested on all aspects of fire protection systems installation, maintenance, and repair.
A fire protection contractor that holds the C-16 license is legally is not allowed to bid on a project that falls outside of the spectrum of fire protection
To get a C-16 license in California, you must prove a minimum of 4 years journeyman level experience and pass a two part state exam with the Contractor State License Board.
To get an exam date you must meet the the following requirements:
You must also have:
Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time as a fire fighter, or for a contractor that holds the C-16 License.
The CSLB will want to see four full-time years over the last ten years. The years do not need to be consecutive, but they do need to be four years in total.
The following people may be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience when applying for the C-16 license:
Your Qualifying Individual will also need to provide a brief but detailed description of your knowledge and skillset.
The way this description is written will be critical to whether or not your application is accepted.
“Bill is an ex-firefighter and has installed our sprinkler systems” will not be enough for the CSLB
The CSLB will want to see something like:
"Bill has designed, installed and maintained fire sprinkler systems, established supply lines from waiter mains to buildings, inspected hose systems, and fire hydrants"
You must be prepared to submit documentation supporting the experience you claim to have.
The Contractors State License Board gives you a few ways that you can prove your experience.
The CSLB receives thousands of applications per month so there is a good chance they won’t document your experience but if you are one of the applicants that get reviewed you will need to be ready to submit something.
The CSLB does not accept pictures of projects.
The time it takes to get your application processed and assigned a test date fluctuates throughout the year.
Typically you can expect:
I have seen some situations where applicants got their test date sooner and some where they got their test date much later.
The most common reasons your application would get held up are:
The Current CSLB fees are:
Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-16 License.
I have personally helped guys with all types of criminal records obtain multiple licenses.
The key is to be honest on the application, even if the felony or misdemeanor happened years ago and even if it was expunged.
BE 100% HONEST ON THE APPLICATION, because they will see everything anyway when you do fingerprinting. The CSLB handles criminal records on a case by case basis.
Remember, their responsibility is to protect the public. In my experience, they primarily concerned with criminal charges associated with: Fraud, Embezzlement, and Forgery.
In the state of California, you are required to divulge any criminal charges when applying for any state license even if they have been expunged.
You will need to be prepared to submit anything they ask for regarding your criminal history.
Contractor licenses are broken down into 4 categories:
2) B-General Building
3) C-Specialty classes
4) D-Limited Specialty classes
Each category of license except the D-Limited Specialty license class requires that you pass a TRADE exam in addition to the California LAW examination which is the same for all licenses.
The test will consist of:
The Fire Protection (C-16 License) Examination is divided into five major sections:
1. Planning and Estimation (25%)
2. Installation of Underground Fire Main Systems (11%)
3. Installation of Fire Protection Systems (34%)
4. Fire Protection System Maintenance and Repair (8%)
5. Safety (22%)
Currently there are CSLB testing facilities in:
The CSLB will grant you 18 months after your application is accepted to pass both examinations.
You must wait three weeks before retaking the state exam ( $60 per retake ) A 70% score will be required to pass.
Learn more about the Contractor LAW Exam.
Some things to remember:
It will be essential to study a standardized resource that will give you the information that you need, which is to pass the state exam.
For schools and C-16 study guides designed to help you the state exam, check out my post on the best resources to pass your state exam.
Apprenticeships are an excellent way to learn the fundamentals of your trade
If you don’t have the 4 years required journeyman level experience to obtain a C-16 license, not to worry. Your journey begins here.
Fire protection is a multi-million, dollar industry and highly skilled tradesman are always in demand.
Whether you are brand new to the trade, have dabbled over the years or are coming back and want to brush up your skills, there is a myriad of resources available to help you learn the basics or get up to speed.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman.
After gaining the necessary experience, the apprentice could attempt to look for a job working unsupervised with a C-16 contractor, company or union at which point experience recognized by the Contractors State License Board would begin. For information on courses in your area or books to get you on the right path click here.
Being able to read blueprints and identify where fire protection mechanisms are supposed to be installed is critical.
Anyone in a supervisory role on a construction site should know at least the basics of construction blueprint reading.
Blueprint Reading Skills are also critical to pass the General Contractor exam.
Check out this Blue Print Reading Course for a basic introduction to the concepts you will want to know about.
Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The most profitable glazing contractors are ones that position themselves as the experts and are the most knowledgable and helpful to their clients.
Becoming EPA Certified can help you expand your business and can be completed in a one day 8 hour course.
Staying EPA compliant is not only important to the survival of your business but also the safety of your customers.
For a complete guide on how to get the EPA Certification, check out this article.
Fire Protection Contractors that hold C-16 License who offer excellent customer service can quickly build a viable business offering a valuable skill set to millions of homeowners and businesses.
Getting the C-16 License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to transition from being a fire fighter to a more consultant type role!
The key is to take action and follow these steps from beginning to end.
If you have found this article helpful feel free to drop a comment below and be sure to check back for updates!
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