deep dive into the types of jobs contractors that hold the General A license are bidding in the state of California

Jobs You Can Do With a General A License!

Table of Contents

What Jobs Can You Bid with a General A License?

The General A license is for individuals or companies that specialize in engineering and public works-related construction work.

There are a variety of projects associated with this license, including:

  • Project engineering
  • Site evaluation
  • Structural engineering
  • Public works
  • Machinery installation
  • Welding and Fabrication
  • Facility maintenance and construction
  • Architectural services
  • Project development
  • Drilling and Blasting
  • Demolition and subterranean services
  • Mas grading
  • Hydraulic Systems, Pneumatic Systems, and AC/DC Electrical
  • Pier & barge maintenance and construction
  • Maritime diving and Marine construction services
  • Gas station and fueling station construction
  • Heavy and Civil engineering
  • Bio-energy construction
  • Pipeline engineering
  • Highways and streets
  • Utility location and documentation
  • Mass and rough grading
  • Underground services
  • Parking lots and sidewalks
  • Finish rock grade and subgrade
  • Fault trenching and backfilling
  • Sawing, Cutting, and Coring
  • Soil stabilization
  • Auger and Directional boring
  • Locating services
  • ADA Compliance
  • Erosion Control
  • Pavement reconstruction
  • Asphalt and concrete paving
  • Slope repair
  • Water mains, fire hydrants
  • Vault structures, telephone, and communications duct banks
  • Construction and design
  • Design of dams, bridges, airports, and railroads
  • Public infrastructure projects
  • Preconstruction services
  • Excavating
  • Equipment and machinery rentals
  • Air/Vacuum Excavation
  • Gravel removal
  • Potholing, tunneling, trenching, and vacuuming
  • Vault/Catch basin/Storm drain cleanouts
  • Sewer structures
  • Storm drain structures
  • Maintenance engineering
  • Asphalt engineering
  • Backhoe services
  • Drilling
  • Steel framing
  • Seismic retrofitting
  • Metal trading
  • Operational planning
  • Issuing custom contracts
  • Installation supervision
  • Facility upgrades and modernization
  • Soil retention design and systems
  • Professional installation for soil retention products
  • Metallurgical Consulting
  • Cast house Technology supply and licensing
  • Environmental permit design & consulting
  • Techno-economic counseling

Limitations of the General A license

It is extremely important to remember that there are limitations to the General A license.

Holding this classification does not mean that you can simply bid on any project. Let's analyze the definition of a General Contractor by the CSLB:

Business & Professions Code
Division 3, Chapter 9. Contractors, Article 4. Classifications

7056. A general engineering contractor is a contractor whose principal contracting business is in connection with fixed works requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill, including the following divisions or subjects: irrigation, drainage, water power, water supply, flood control, inland waterways, harbors, docks and wharves, shipyards and ports, dams and hydroelectric projects, levees, river control and reclamation works, railroads, highways, streets and roads, tunnels, airports and airways, sewers and sewage disposal plants and systems, waste reduction plants, bridges, overpasses, underpasses and other similar works, pipelines and other systems for the transmission of petroleum and other liquid or gaseous substances, parks, playgrounds and other recreational works, refineries, chemical plants and similar industrial plants requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill, powerhouses, power plants and other utility plants and installations, mines and metallurgical plants, land leveling and earthmoving projects, excavating, grading, trenching, paving and surfacing work and cement and concrete works in connection with the above mentioned fixed works.

When in doubt. ALWAYS check with the Contractors State License Board for clarification.

General Engineering Contractors and the CSLB

The General A license is one of 74 classifications available in California. Contractors in the state of California are governed by the CSLB(Contractors State License Board)

There are 4 major classification categories:

Common Pairings for the General A Contractor License

Contractors in California can hold multiple classifications.

The most common pairing for the General A license are:

projects you can do with a General A license in California for engineering contractors

General A license requirements

To become licensed with the CSLB you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • 18 Years of Age
  • 4 Years of Journeyman Level Experience
  • Social Security or ITIN #
  • Not Currently on Probation or Parole
  • Signature from a licensed contractor, fellow employee, supervisor, or business associate 

What construction concepts do I need to know for the exam?

You will definitely want to be prepared for any curveballs that could come up on the California General A license exam.

You may be presented with questions related to subsurface work, drilling, project estimation, and mechanical systems that could be unfamiliar.

Take the time to review every possible question and concept.

Below is a breakdown of what you need to know:

Planning and Estimating (19%)

  • Interpreting plans and specifications
  • Code compliance
  • Evaluating job sites
  • Coordinating projects
  • Estimating costs for materials, equipment,
  • and labor

Structural Principles (5%)

  • Constructing structures
  • Seismic requirements
  • Basic engineering

Earthwork and Surveying (14%)

  • Surveying job sites
  • Preparing job sites
  • Assessing soil conditions
  • Assessing soil compaction and expansion

Subsurface Work (20%)

  • Shoring and sloping excavations
  • Preventing erosion
  • Tunneling, drilling, and boring
  • Installing pipelines
  • Connecting and testing systems
  • Connecting dry utilities

Foundation and Concrete Construction (10%)

  • Constructing forms and falsework
  • Placing and finishing concrete
  • Installing pilings and foundations

Buildings, Structures, and Related Work (9%)

  • Installing mechanical systems
  • Installing plumbing pipes
  • Installing electrical systems
  • Demolition, disposal, and recycling

Roadwork and Paving (5%)

  • Base for highways, roads, and parking lots

Safety (18%)

  • Personnel and job site safety
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Hazardous material safety

What's the General A Contractor license exam process like?

The exam will be:

  • 115 Questions Law & Business
  • 115 Questions General Engineering
  • Multiple Choice
  • Closed Book
  • 3 Hours to Complete each section
  • Taken via Computer at a proctored exam center
  • Exam centers located all over the state of California

Math Skills 

There will be math on your CSLB law & business and trade exam.

On the law side, questions will be presented to you as if you are a General Contractor with multiple projects running simultaneously with several employees.

You can expect math questions related to:

  • Arithmetic
  • Cost Estimation 
  • Percentages and Decimals

The math you can expect on the General contractor license exam may vary. Be prepared for questions that may include:

  • Basic Geometry
  • Units of measurement
  • Percentages and Decimals
  • Light algebra and electrical math

Blueprint Reading Skills

Blueprint reading is a fundamental skill for all contractors... but especially general Engineering contractors!

Knowing how to interpret plans is a key part of the job if you are working within a construction crew.

Interpreting building plans is critical.

Some aspects of plan reading may also be your examination. 

For a deeper look at blueprint reading concepts, you will want to check out this free blueprint reading guide.

CSLB law & business exam

Our complete course gives you everything you need to pass the California general engineering contractor license exam.

In addition to getting brushed up on the construction trade, those looking to get the A-General engineering license will be equipped with a crash course on how to run a profitable business. 

You will learn:

  • Company organization 
  • How to bid effectively
  • Understanding cost control
  • Various contract types
  • Cash management
  • Estimation fundamentals
  • Business Structures
  • Worker’s Compensation and Taxes
  • Insurance Types in Construction
  • Labor Laws and Employee Rights
  • Hiring and Firing Practices
  • Contractor Bonds
  • Mechanics Liens
  • State Laws and Statutes
  • Project Management 101
  • Prevailing Wages and Public Works
  • And Much More!