Construction Terms and Definitions

as defined by

Contractors State License Board – CSLB

Term Acronym Definition
Accusation   A public written statement of charges CSLB has filed with the Office of the Attorney General that specifies statutes and rules a contractor or home improvement salesperson is alleged to have violated. It may result in a hearing to determine whether a licensee has violated the law and whether the license should be revoked, suspended, and/or placed under some type of restriction by the Registrar.
Active License Status   Contractor is licensed and able to perform work.
Administrative Law Judge ALJ The hearing officer provided by the Office of Administrative Hearings to decide CSLB disciplinary cases.
Alternative Dispute Resolution ADR A process to economically and efficiently resolve disputes outside of court, such as arbitration, mediation, conciliation, negotiation, etc.
Asbestos Certification ASB The certification required by contractors who perform asbestos related work. Before performing any asbestos related work, a licensee must also be registered with the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
Attorney General, Office of the AG The state agency that represents the CSLB in administrative and some criminal matters before trial, appellate and supreme courts.
Bond of Qualifying Individual BQI The bond required for the qualifying individual who is a responsible managing employee (RME) or is a responsible managing officer (RMO) who owns 10% or less of the voting stock/equity of the license entity.
Business and Professions Code B&P The section of the California Codes where the Contractors License Laws can be found.
California Code of Regulations CCR The code, which includes CSLB rules and regulations.
California Licensed Contractor CLC A quarterly newsletter published by the CSLB.
Certification   The Asbestos Abatement or Hazardous Substance Removal certifications offered to licensed contractors who hold classifications directly related to this type of work.
Certificate of Insurance   A certificate issued by a contractor’s insurance company and submitted to the CSLB as proof of workers’ compensation coverage.
Civil remedies   Usually refers to money damages sought through suit in civil court (small claims court, municipal court, superior court).
Classification   Refers to the type of work a contractor may perform, for example, plumbing, electrical, etc. There are 43 license classifications.
Complaint   A written complaint filed with the Board alleging failure of a licensed contractor to fulfill the terms of an agreement. Alleged violations in a complaint could involve poor workmanship; requiring a down payment in excess of amount allowed by law; abandonment; failure to pay subcontractors or material suppliers; building code violations; use of false, misleading or deceptive advertising; violations of the Home Improvement Act; and violations of the Swimming Pool Act, etc.
Complaint Disclosure   Process approved by law, which allows the Board to make information available to the public about contractors with probable violations or a history of violations.
Contractor’s Bond CB A bond required from all active licensees. Consumers can claim against the bond for violations of the Contractors License Law by a licensee.
Criminal Action   A misdemeanor or felony filing in which a contractor is charged with a violation of criminal law in order to punish violators by fine and/or imprisonment, to compel restitution and to deter (discourage) others from committing similar acts.
Default   A situation where the respondent fails to appear to provide a defense.
Disciplinary Bond DB A bond that is required when disciplinary action has been taken against a license.
Doing Business As DBA The name under which a licensee will conduct business. Example: John Smith dba Smith Construction or ABC Associates Inc. dba ABC Construction Services.
Enforcement Representative ER The staff that investigate complaints.
Entity   The various types of businesses that can be licensed, such as, sole owner (individual), partnership, corporation or joint venture.
Exemption from Workers’ Compensation   The form a contractor who does not hire employees must file with the CSLB.
Hazardous Substances Removal Certification HAZ The certification required by contractors who perform hazardous substance removal and remedial action. Only contractors holding certain license classifications can obtain HAZ certification.
Home Improvement   Home improvement means the repairing, remodeling, altering, converting, modernizing of, or adding to, residential property land or structures. It also covers providing home improvement goods and services.
Home Improvement Salesperson HIS A person registered by the CSLB and employed by a licensed contractor to solicit, sell, negotiate, or execute home improvement contracts.
Inactive License Status   The license status in which the contractor is still licensed but is not permitted to perform work.
Industry Expert IE Licensed professionals recruited by the Board to inspect a job and render an opinion on specific items of a complaint as directed by the CSLB’s Enforcement Representative.
Injunctions   A court order requiring individuals and/or firms to stop doing certain acts on grounds these acts are against the law.
Issue Date   The date a license was originally issued.
Joint Venture JV A license issued to a combination of already licensed companies or individuals. These companies or individuals must hold an active and current license at all times.
Licensee Citation   A written document that specifies violations of law performed by a licensee. A citation usually contains a civil penalty and/or an order to correct.
Mandatory Settlement Conferences   An informal meeting in which the contractor must participate to settle a complaint and avoid a formal hearing.
Non-Licensee Citation   A written document that alleges a violation of law by a non-licensee and usually including an order to stop performing unlicensed work.
Non-Licensee Citation Settlements   A settlement with the CSLB for less than the original citation amount.
Notice to Appear NTA The letter mailed to candidates informing them of the time, date and location of their examination. A notice to appear is also used when a person is arrested for a misdemeanor and promises to appear in court rather than be taken in front of a magistrate.
Occupational Analysis OA A description of current work performed by contractors in terms of important tasks and knowledge. The OA is used to determine the content of licensing examinations.
Office of the Attorney General AG The state agency that represents the CSLB in administrative and some criminal matters before trial, appellate and supreme courts.
On-Site Negotiation Program OSN A program that brings together the complainant, the contractor and an industry expert at the job site where the CSLB’s Enforcement Representative attempts to negotiate a resolution to a complaint.
Owner-builder   Any individual, or group of individuals, who own the property on which they plan to construct, alter, repair, improve, or remodel a building or structure.
Partnership PT A license that is issued to a group of individuals or companies.
Qualifier   The individual who qualifies a license by demonstrating the necessary experience and knowledge for the classification.
Qualifying Individual   The individual who meets the experience and examination requirements for a license. Every active license must have a designated qualifier.
Qualifying Partner QPT Title of the qualifying individual on a partnership license.
Reissue or Reassigned Date   The date a license is reissued or reassigned. Under specific provisions of the Contractors License Law, a license may be reissued or reassigned.
Respondent   A licensee or registrant responding to a complaint made to the CSLB.
Responsible Managing Employee RME Title of an employee who serves as the qualifying individual on a sole owner, partnership or corporate license.
Responsible Managing Officer RMO Title of an officer who serves as the qualifying individual on a corporate license.
Statement of Issues SOI A written statement that specifies statutes and rules that an applicant for licensure or registration is alleged to have violated. The purpose of a statement of issues is to initiate a hearing to determine whether a license will be issued or denied.
Sting   Undercover operation where CSLB staff invites suspected unlicensed contractors to bid on jobs that ordinarily require licensure. When unlicensed individuals offer to perform work that requires a license, they are issued Notice to Appear misdemeanor citations and ordered to appear in municipal court.
Structural Defect   According to California Code of Regulations (CCR) 861.5, a “structural” defect is defined as: 1. A failure or probable failure in the load bearing portions of a structure; and, 2. The failed portions were not constructed in compliance with the code (this requires a violation notice from the building official); and 3. The failure or condition results in the inability to use the affected portion of the structure for the purpose for which it was intended. Also see SB 800 effective January 1, 2003, for definitions of structural defect in new home construction.
Sweeps   Operations by SWIFT Enforcement Representatives to verify license status of contractors working in a specific geographical area or construction sites.
SWIFT Unit SWIFT Statewide Investigative Fraud Team: Enforcement Representatives and Consumer Service Representatives who conduct special investigations and proactive non-licensee investigations.
Underground Economy   A term used to describe businesses that use cash payment transactions to avoid employment taxes, workers compensation premiums and labor code regulations.
Undercover Operations/Stings   Investigations by SWIFT representatives at a residential or commercial property to receive bids from unlicensed contractors and cite them.
Warning of a Violation   Notification provided to an individual that there is a minor violation and that a future occurrence may result in a disciplinary action.
Workers’ Compensation   Insurance required by all contractors who have employees.


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