- Highly skilled masons can be some of the highest paid tradesmen in the construction industry.
- Local Masonry Contractors often times serve a segment of the public that has considerable wealth to maintain or restore historic pieces of architecture.
- Masonry Contractors that are organized and hold the C-29 license can become key power players in this billion-dollar industry.
- In this article we will breakdown everything you need to know about how to get your C-29 License!
What is a Masonry Contractor?
"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 block for facing; paving; and clear waterproofing, cleaning, and caulking incidental to masonry construction"-CSLB.GOV
The C-29 License is a requirement for anyone charging over $500 for masonry services in California
Duties of a Masonry Contractor
Masonry contractors generally engage in a wide variety of duties including:
Contractors that hold the masonry license can work in a variety of settings. However, most general contractors will seek professional masonry services for their expertise in:
- Brick and Stone
- Chimney and Fireplace construction
A General Contractor ensures that the masonry contractor has executed their duties adhering to CAL/OSHA safety standards.
Check out this article for an in-depth look at the General Contractor License!
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-29 License is issued to masonry contractors by the CSLB.
- Administers examinations
- Processes applications
- Maintains a database of active and inactive contractor license numbers
- Conducts sting operations targeting un-licensed construction activity
Blue Print Reading Course
It is critical for masons to be able to follow specific designs and blueprints.
Correctly identifying exterior elevations, site works and specific lines or drawings that may indicate placement of concrete blocks is fundamental.
The ability to quickly interpret construction blueprints is an invaluable skill for all tradesman but is especially important for masonry contractors.
Blueprint Reading Skills are also critical to pass the General Contractor exam. See our Free Blueprint Reading Course!
How to get a Masonry License
To get a C-29 license in California, you must meet the following basic requirements:
You must also have:
What is Journey Level Experience?
Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a masonry company, or for a contractor that holds the C-29 License.
- A journeyman can perform all of the duties associated with his or her trade.
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.
Signature of a Qualifying Individual
The following people may be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience when applying for the C-29 license:
Filling out the Contractor License Application
Your Qualifying Individual will also need to provide a brief but detailed description of your masonry knowledge and skillset.
The way this description is written will be critical to whether or not your application is accepted.
“Ted is a great guy, he is always on time and has done masonry…”
will not be accepted by the CSLB
The CSLB will want to see something like:
"Ted has selected brick and or block, erected barbecues, laid foundations, erected fireplaces, chimneys and done extensive cavity wall masonry"
Work Experience for the C-29 Masonry License
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.
- Tax Returns
- Check Stubs
- Material Order Invoices or Receipts
Application Processing, Fees and Criminal History
The time it takes to get your application processed and assigned a test date fluctuates throughout the year. Typically you can expect:
- 6-8 Week Application Processing Time
- 3-4 Week wait for an Exam date
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:
- Time of year (processing time slows down during the holidays)
- Criminal History
- Proving Experience
- Mistakes on your application
Application Costs for the Masonry License
The Current CSLB fees are:
Can you get a Contractors License with a Felony in California?
Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-29 Masonry 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.
C-29 Masonry License Exam
The masonry license exam will consist of:
The C-29 masonry license examination consists of seven major sections:
1. Planning and Estimation (12%)
- Scope of work
- Identify and calculate material needs
- Identify and calculate labor and equipment needs
2. Job Site Preparation (24%)
- Pre-construction activities
- Water management
- Reinforcement and bracing
- Job site preparation
3. Masonry Wall and Building Installation and Repair (16%)
- Build CMU walls and buildings
- Repair and reconstruct historical masonry structures
- Build and repair retaining walls
- Clean masonry walls and buildings
4. Decorative Masonry Installation and Repair (10%)
- Install flatwork and staircases
- Install precast masonry
- Install glass block
- Repair and clean decorative masonry
5. Masonry Veneer and Stone Installation and Repair (8%)
- Install adhered veneers
- Install anchored veneers
- Install dimensional stone veneers
- Repair and clean veneer installations
6. Fireplace, Chimney, and Barbecue Installation and Repair (11%)
- Fireplace construction requirements
- Barbecue and fire pit construction requirements
7. Safety (19%)
- Cal/OSHA safety requirements
- Elevated work
- Handling and fabrication of stone slabs
- Disposal of contaminated materials
CSLB Test Locations
Currently the CSLB has testing locations in the following cities:
- San Jose
- San Bernardino
- San Diego
- The CSLB will grant you 18 months after your application is accepted to pass both examinations
- You will be assigned a testing location based on your zip code
- You must wait three weeks before retaking the state exam ( $60 per retake )
- A 70% score will be required to pass
- You can bring a translator
Learn more about Contractor License LAW!
Masonry License Exam Prep
Getting your masonry contractor license can be a smooth process if you have the right information.
Some things to remember:
- The questions you will see on the exam may use outdated terms
- Processes may be completely different from how things are done on the job site
- You will see questions about things you may have never done before
- Questions will be presented to you as if you are running a large scale construction business with several employees and jobs happening all at once.
- Know all aspects of your trade
Be as prepared as you possibly can. Studying just 10 mintues a day consistently can dramatically increase your chances of passing the test on your first try.
Focus on and study ONLY the information that you need to pass the C-29 Masonry License
If you do not have 4 years journeyman level experience, not to worry, your journey begins here!
Generally someone looking to become a masonry contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship or find a skilled tradesman to learn under.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman!
Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is a requirement by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The most profitable masonry 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. Learn how to get an EPA Certification, in 8 hours!
Statistically, 21% of all work-related fatalities are in construction.
That equals about 1 and 5 worker deaths on average. In the construction industry, the leading cause of worker deaths is reported as falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between.
The CSLB places a specific emphasis on masonry contractors staying compliant with OSHA.
Safety represents 18% of the Masonry License Exam.
Learn more about OSHA Training!
Getting the C-29 Masonry License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own company or become an RMO for an existing firm!
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!