With the downturn in construction nationwide,
California has not been immune to the loss of opportunities
for contractors. Now, it is more important than ever to be competitive
in the marketplace.
With the strong military presence, there are always
projects coming up for the Navy and Marine bases, especially
in Southern California. What bidders have experienced though,
is increased competition from construction companies that are
new to the public works or Federal project arena.
Along with the increased competition are increased
numbers of disputes. As a contractor your best weapon is knowledge.
Know what you are agreeing to in your contracts, know what you
need to do to have proper licensing, insurance, bonding etc.
Know the legal tools that you can use such as mechanics'
stop notices, prompt payment statutes, or even alternative
dispute resolution procedures. Above all, know what you are
The last thing that a contractor wants is to have an administrative
or technical problem with licensing to eliminate them from getting
Get to Know the Contractor's State License
The CLSB (as it is more commonly called) regulates all construction
contractors in California. Their authority is to license contractors,
administer the laws, and investigate and settle disputes. Their
obvious role is to protect the public, both from unlicensed
contracting activity and bad contractors. The benefit to licensed
contractors is the CSLB keeps unlicensed contractors from taking
work from legitimate contractors.
Getting the Advantage by joining a trade
group. One way for contractors or suppliers to have an advantage
is to get involved with local trade groups. Often, these groups
spearhead new opportunities by having active liaisons with
agencies that award the work.
This does not guarantee that you will get work, and you will
still have to be competitive in the bidding process, but you
will have a much better understanding of the requirements
for bidding. Often, trade groups will host seminars along
with the agencies who are putting projects out for bid (Military,
municipalities, state agencies) giving contractors the opportunity
to ask questions and be better prepared for bidding on work.
If you have a dispute, you can often call on your trade group
for advice or recommendations on how to handle the problem.
More often than not, a member has already had to deal with
a similar situation in the past.
Understand the Laws, Understand
If you are a contractor looking at bidding on any project,
be it public works or a private project, you need to know
what you are contracting for.
For public works projects, it is important to understand the
public contracting laws prior to bidding on and performing
public works projects. There are some very specific requirements
and some very specific laws that apply, and any deviation
from these requirements or laws is usually not possible. While
the laws may seem overly restrictive, they can be used to
a contractor's advantage, as the public agency must also comply
with the laws as well.
See the article "Are
Public Entities above the Law?"
version) , and "Subcontractors:
The Public Contract Code Can Protect You From Abuse -If You
Let It" (PDF
If you are bidding on private works, you need to know what
your obligations are. Because there are less restrictions
on contract terms and conditions than public works projects,
it is especially important to be confident that you know the
contract terms. As a contractor, contracts are a way of life.
It isn't enough to be skilled at a trade, you must also know
contracts in order to be successful.
For more information about construction contracts go to this
For more information on training programs that will bring
you up to speed go to this site: construction-laws.com.
Call us now to discuss how you can benefit
by using a different approach to managing to your legal