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Do you need a license to pour concrete?
The answer is yes!
This step by step guide will breakdown everything you need to know about the licensing processing California!
To get a Concrete License in California, you must prove a minimum of 4 years journeyman level experience.
You must also 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:
What is Journeyman Level Experience?
Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a concrete company, or contractor that holds the C-8 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.
Signature of A Qualifying Individual
The following people can sign off on your experience
Proving Your Work Experience for the Concrete 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.
The CSLB receives thousands of applications per month so there is a good chance they won’t document your experience.
However, 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 person you choose to be your Qualifying Individual needs to write a description of your work experience.
“Hank has done concrete work…” will not workThe CSLB will want to see something:
"Hank has mixed mortar, done forming, placed and poured concrete, constructed retaining walls, and foundations"
"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 the placing and erecting of steel or bars for the reinforcing of mass, pavement, flat and other concrete work" - CSLB.GOV
Anyone charging over $500 for concrete projects needs to have a C-8 Concrete Contractor License.
The C-8 License is an essential license in the eyes of the state of California.
Concrete is a trade that is critical to the foundation and functionality of most structures in the developed world.
A concrete contractor legally is not allowed to bid on a project that falls outside of the spectrum of general concrete related work.
Concrete Companies that hold the C-8 License often function as an independent unit subcontracted by a General Contractor.
They perform specific duties associated with a construction project.
75% of the state exam for General Contractors includes questions specific to concrete.
Meaning, it is critical skillset for anyone overseeing a full construction or remodel project.
The General Contractor reports directly to the client and is in charge of the overall project and its day to day operations, including subcontractors and job site safety.
To learn more about the General Contractor License, check out this article!
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:
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:
Application Costs for the C-8 Concrete License
The Current CSLB fees are:
Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-8 Concrete 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.
Contractor licenses are broken down into four categories:
1) A-General Engineering (LAW + TRADE EXAM )
2) B-General Building (LAW + TRADE EXAM)
3) C-Specialty Classes (LAW + TRADE EXAM )
4) C-61/D- Limited Specialty (LAW TEST ONLY EXAM)
The Concrete License (C-8 license)
Examination is divided into five sections:
1. Planning and Estimation (30%)
2. Pre-placement Preparation (28%)
3. Placing and Finishing (19%)
4. Post-placement Tasks (5%)
5. Safety (18%)
Preparation for the Concrete License Test
I have helped all types of construction professionals from various backgrounds and experience levels get licenses.
Most are startled by how different the subject matter on the state exam is from their years of first-hand experience.
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-8 License test.
CSLB Test Locations
The CSLB has test taking locations in the following cities:
If you don’t have the four years required journeyman level experience to obtain the C-8 Concrete License, not to worry.
Your journey begins here!
Construction is a trillion-dollar industry and highly skilled concrete tradesman are always in demand.
Whether you are completely new or have some experience already, there are resources available to you.
Generally someone looking to specialize in concrete construction would want to look into an apprenticeship or certification program.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman.
Blue Print Reading Course
Differentiating written plans vs design plans and knowing when to override drawings is a critical part of the job that concrete contractors do.
Being able to quickly interpret construction blue prints is an invaluable skill for all tradesman but especially for concrete contractors.
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 concrete specialists 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.
Getting the C-8 Concrete Contractor License can be a huge step up in your career.
Especially if you are looking to open your company, expand to larger clients, or become an RMO!
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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