Every license with the Contractor State License Board (CSLB) requires a qualifying individual, or “qualifier,” who is the one person listed in CSLB’s personnel of record, that has demonstrated his or her knowledge and experience through the application process, and holds one or more license classification. A license qualifier may be a Sole Owner, Qualifying Partner, Responsible Managing Employee (RME), Responsible Managing Officer (RMO), Responsible Managing Manager, or Responsible Managing Member.
- If you have an individual license, you as Sole Owner, may be the qualifier or you may designate a Responsible Managing Employee (RME).
- If you have a partnership license, your qualifier may either be one of the general partners (who shall be designated as the Qualifying Partner) or the RME.
- If you have a corporate license, your qualifier may be either one of the officers listed on the CSLB’s records for your license (who shall be designated as the Responsible Managing Officer, or RMO), or an RME.
- If you have a limited liability company license, your qualifier may be one of the officers, members, or managers listed on the CSLB’s records for your license (who shall be designated as the Responsible Managing Officer or RMO, the Responsible Managing Member, or the Responsible Managing Manager, respectively), or an RME.
If the licensee’s qualifying individual is an RME , the RME must be a “bona fide employee” of the firm and may not be the qualifier on any other active license.
The duties and responsibilities of all qualifiers are defined in B&P Code section 7068.1 and the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 16, Division 8, Article 2, section 823.
B&P Code section 7068.1 states, in part:
The person qualifying on behalf of an individual or firm under paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 7068 shall be responsible for exercising that direct supervision and control of his or her employer’s or principal’s construction operations as is necessary to secure full compliance with this chapter and the rules and regulations of the board relating to the construction operations.
CCR section 823 further defines a “bona fide employee” and “direct supervision and control” as follows:
(a) For purposes of Section 7068 of the Code, “bona fide employee” of the applicant means an employee who is permanently employed by the applicant and is actively engaged in the operation of the applicant’s contracting business for at least 32 hours or 80% of the total hours per week such business in operation, whichever is less.
(b) For purposes of 7068.1 of the Code, “direct supervision and control” includes any one or combination of the following activities: supervising construction, managing construction activities by making technical and administrative decisions, checking on jobs for proper workmanship, or direct supervision on construction sites.
The duties are also defined, in part, by the applicant. Per B&P Code section 7068.1(d) (emboldened emphasis mine):
The duties and the responsibilities of the qualifying individual also depends on the applicant or licensees for a contractors license because the RMO’s duties and responsibilities for supervision and control of the applicant’s construction operations are to be set forth in detail by the applicant and submitted to the contractor’s board.
Being the qualifier on a license can be a huge risk and liability. Under existing law (Business and Professions (B&P) Code section 7122.5), if the performance of an act or omission by the license constitutes a cause for disciplinary action, it also is a cause for disciplinary action against the qualifier, regardless of his or her knowledge and participation.