California Contractor State License Board Discipline
“Departure From Accepted Trade Standards”
The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) requires that contractors complete construction projects in accordance with industry trade standards. Business & Professions Code § 7109(a) provides that a willful departure from accepted trade standards constitutes a cause for disciplinary action. In any disciplinary action brought against a contractor for Departure From Accepted Trade Standards, the state must prove willfulness on the part of the contractor.
When an allegation into worksmanship or quality of construction arises, CSLB Enforcement Representatives often utilize the services of a CSLB construction expert licensed in the same trade as the contractor in question. The CSLB construction expert visits the job location and authors a report. The report examines each item of construction in question. If the expert finds that the contractor in question Willfully Departed From Accepted Trade Standards, the expert will identify the cost to correct the poor worksmanship.
Poor worksmanship or construction quality issues do not necessarily mean disciplinary action will follow. CSLB can refer issues to CSLB sponsored Mediation or Arbitration. However, in some cases, CSLB will issue a Citation or refer the matter to the Attorney General’s Office for the filing of an Accusation alleging Departure From Accepted Trade Standards. Formal discipline for an Accusation alleging Departure From Accepted Trade Standards ranges from probation with standard terms and conditions to contractor’s license suspension or revocation.
In most situations, CSLB construction experts can find at least one thing wrong with a construction project. However, contractors also have the right to hire their own construction expert. In many Accusation matters heard before the California Office of Administrative Hearings, a defense construction expert often makes a significant difference in discipline and restitution amounts.
Previously, Willful Departure From Accepted Trade Standards were administrative and civil matter. Recently, CSLB Investigators and District Attorney’s Offices have been attempting to criminally prosecute contractors for Diverting Construction Funds and Grand Theft when construction quality and worksmanship are extremely poor. Contractors should always check the quality of their work to ensure that it complies with industry standards.
If you possess a California contractor license and are facing an investigation or Accusation, contact the Law Offices of Seth Weinstein at (310) 707-7131.
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