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CSLB Industry Bulletin - 11/30/2009

Contractors State License Board Alerts Contractors to Renewed Enforcement of Building Permits in January 2010

State and local agencies ready to take action against those who fail to pull permits


SACRAMENTO -Accelerated building permit enforcement efforts will begin in January 2010, following the Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) unanimous vote to make this a higher priority. Building permits are a critical element to any construction project, helping to ensure that construction is performed according to established state and local code, and safety standards. Sections 7090 and 7110 of the California Business and Professions Code mandate that CSLB help regulate these laws and safety standards, and discipline violators.

Permit violations are not only a health and safety issue for the property owner, but can also become a financial liability if someone is injured. When a contractor performs work that requires a permit and doesn’t have one, a local building department can issue a "Stop Work" notice and assess fines against the property owner. Contractors who violate the permit process may be held responsible for any fine issued to the property owner by the building department, as well as the cost of complying with the code requirements.

Contractors who break these laws are subject to disciplinary action by CSLB. The contractor may be subject to civil penalties of up to $5,000 per citation and/or suspension or revocation of their license. The contractor’s complaint history and seriousness of the violation are factors considered when determining the appropriate level of discipline.

CSLB has partnered with the California Building Officials (CALBO) to effectively work with local building departments, help identify suspected offenders, and perform proactive investigations of violations. CSLB also has begun more stringent enforcement of permit requirements when performing regular investigation of consumer complaints. Permit complaints can be filed by consumers, contractors, or building department staff.

CSLB will continue to educate consumers and contractors during the mediation phase of the more than 20,000 complaints received each year, and during community outreach events. By stringently enforcing permit requirements, CSLB is complying with its mandate of public protection while preserving the integrity of California’s construction industry.