Question Regarding Construction Management in California For Home Improvement Projects

2 weeks ago
State: California

I am a designer that draws plans to obtain permits for home improvement projects for home owners in California. I have been ask If I could construction manage the projects that I have designed. In this capacity I would not pay any of the licensed contractors that would be preforming the work, I would not be preforming any of the work on the sight my self and the owners would sign the contracts directly with the individual contractors. I would be paid a fee from the home owners to do the following tasks:

o Master Schedule development.

o Conceptual Cost/Budget development and evaluation.

o Individual Contractor vetting and review.

o Individual Contractor contract review and recommendations.

o Site inspections/meetings.

o Individual Contractor invoice review and recommendations.

o Schedule slippage review and recommendations.

o Cost/Budget slippage review and recommendations.

o Possible Change Order issues review and recommendations.

o Scheduling and coordination of individual Contractors and inspections.

o Quality control review and recommendation via punch list.

o Closeout and warranty review and recommendations.

My desire is to conduct business in a proper fashion and to be fully compliant with the CSLB.

Thank you,

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

Determining who does and does not need to be licensed to perform work in California can be an uphill battle. Levelset has actually explored that idea a bit here.

As discussed in that article, whether or not licensing is required in order to perform certain construction-related functions will typically come down to the details. Generally, California construction managers do not need to be licensed. However, for those acting as a consultant, a license may be required. But, as set out in the article above, as well as Wolff Law Office describes here, performing a construction management function will generally not require licensure as long as contractors are directly hired by the property owner and as long as the construction manager is not performing actual work on the site.

Note, though, that there is some specific language regarding consultants on home improvement contracts to be aware of. Specifically, 7026.1(2) of the California Business and Professions Code states that a “consultant to an owner-builder…which undertakes, offers to undertake, purports to have the capacity to undertake, or submits a bid to construct any building or home improvement project, or part thereof” will be considered a “contractor”, which would mean licensure is required. Further, that section continues to state that a “consultant” is a party other than the owner who: “(i) Provides or oversees a bid for a construction project. (ii) Arranges for and sets up work schedules for contractors and subcontractors and maintains oversight of a construction project.” So, particularly for those who are overseeing and coordinating California home improvement contracts, extra caution may be warranted.

Still, when merely performing the work of a construction manager, licensure will generally not be required. But, for a little more clarity, it might be worthwhile to contact the CSLB for additional information regarding what licensure may or may not be required.

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