Fall 2015       |      Cindi Christenson, Registrar      |      Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor


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Message From the Board Chair

Ed Lang

If you're a history buff (like me) who enjoys poking around in the past, I think you will appreciate the project that CSLB staff has been working on in recent months. They have been on a "treasure hunt" of sorts, going deep into the vaults of the California State Archives and other sources to find almost all of the known back issues of CSLB's California Licensed Contractor (CLC) newsletter dating to 1937. The historic editions now are available for public viewing. Staff members also managed to unearth transcripts from early Board meetings, and CSLB plans to post those online in the near future.

The documents shed a fascinating light on CSLB and several of its leaders during the formative years, and upon the California construction industry and the pivotal role it played in the state's tremendous growth and change.

Here are a few snippets from CSLB's back pages that I found interesting:

CSLB certainly had its share of interesting moments and personalities, but of more lasting impact has been its development as a consumer protection agency and regulator of the construction industry. We've certainly come a long way as an organization.

Standards for contractors weren't particularly demanding when CSLB first came into existence. Pay $5, and you got a contractor license. No examination was required, and you could work in any trade you wished. Applicants were only required to display a "good character," and there is no record of anyone being turned down for a license.

But a series of laws passed by the Legislature in the 1930s and early 1940s laid down criteria to become a licensed contractor, and defined the rules of licensee conduct. A modern-day CSLB was taking shape.

The first license exam was given to contractor applicants on Oct. 9, 1939, replacing the "good character" standard applied previously. A few years later, another step toward responsible contracting was taken when licensees were required to specify their field of practice within CSLB's "A," "B," and "C" classification system.

Since then, the Board has revised many of the classifications to stay current with industry, and, as situations called for it, added new classes (such as the C-22 Asbestos Abatement contractor class added this year). The state Legislature and governors, at the urging of the Board, have continued to strengthen the Contractors' State License Law and consumer protections through the years.

That mission continues to this day. CSLB has consistently sponsored legislation that safeguards the public, while maintaining the integrity of the construction industry.

It's also interesting to see that our message in the newsletters remains much the same today as it did in CSLB's early history: the danger of unlicensed contractors, risks inherent with verbal-only contracts, news of Board appointments, pending legislation, and, as is done today, the disclosure of contractor suspensions and revocations.

I hope you'll take a look at the past issues, and appreciate the contributions you've all made to one of California's most important industries.


Ed Lang

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License Revocations     |      Past Issues