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To get a C-21 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 qualify for 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 for an demolition company, or contractor that holds the C-21 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 demolition contractor license:
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.
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.
“Fred has overseen various demolition projects” will not cut it be accepted by the CSLBThe state board will want to see a description like:
"Fred has operated heavy equipment including cranes, bulldozers, and graders. He has identified electrical and sewer connections before demolition, removed asbestos, has done excavating and underpinning" etc.
"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" -CSLB.GOV
C-21 Building, Moving, and Demolition Contractors specialize in safely raising, lowering, moving or removing a structure including its foundation.
The C-21 License is the classification required in the state of California for all persons looking to bid on the moving or demolition any residential, commercial, or industrial dwelling where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.
Demolition Contractors engage in a wide variety of duties that include:
To get the C-21 license, you will be tested on all aspects of demolition and job site safety so it will be essential to your success to become familiar with all the areas of expertise that fall under the demolition license.
The C-21 license allows contractors to engage in projects as simple deconstructing a barn to demolishing a multi-story building in the heart of a metropolitan city.
In some cases a demolition contractor that holds the C-21 license may work directly with a homeowner or small business owner.
However, they may primarily function as a sub to a general contractor or general engineering continually engaging in demolition for multiple projects over an extended period.
General Contractors oversee that the C-21 Licensed Subcontractor has not only executed his duties with adherence to safety standards avoiding any possible legal liability that could arise from damage to property surrounding the demolition site.
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the governing body for all contractors in the state of California.
Their sole responsibility is to protect the consumer public and ensure that anyone charging over $500 for construction services is qualified and registered with the state of California.
The C-21 License is issued to demolition contractors by the CSLB.
The CSLB administers applications, exams, and maintains a database of all active and inactive contractor license numbers which are public domain. Click the link, to learn more about the CSLB.
It is critical for the demolition contractor to be able to follow specific designs and plans when engaging in a demolition project.
A demolition contractor must ensure the safety of the surrounding area during the detonation of explosives, a visual representation of the project site is found on a blueprint.
The ability to quickly interpret construction blueprints is an invaluable skill for all tradesman but is especially important for demolition contractors.
Understanding how to safely contain lead paint when demolishing a structure built before 1978 are also critical skills for contractors looking to get the C-21 license.
Lead paint can travel miles through the air, rest on soil, and even enter air ducts causing potentially fatal damage to those that come in contact with it.
Demolition contractors looking to build a profitable business must position themselves as experts and the authority within their industry.
They must be a source of information beyond just demolition for their clients and community if they want referrals and repeat business.
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 an electrical contractor 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:
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.
The Building Moving and Demolition Examination is divided into five key sections:
1. Planning and Estimation (33%)
2. Project Preparation (19%)
3. Building Moving (6%)
4. Building Demolition (17%)
5. Safety (25%)
Getting your demolition contractor license can be a smooth process if you have the right information.
Understanding the difference between how things are done everyday on the job site vs. how the state will expect you to perform your trade is a very important part of passing the exam.
Some things to remember:
If you don’t have the four years required journeyman level experience to obtain the C-21 Demolition contractor license, not to worry.
Your journey begins here!
Construction is a trillion-dollar industry and highly skilled electricians are always in demand. Whether you are completely new or have some experience already, there are resources available to you.
Generally someone looking to become an demolition contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship or certification program.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman.
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