Local Resolution Serves as Statewide Model to Snare Unethical Contractors
CALPASC Supports Butte County Resolution as Template for All California Counties to Reinforce State Licensing Board's Efforts
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- California specialty contractors recently endorsed Butte County Supervisors' adoption of a resolution to support a pilot program cracking down on contractors' abuse in the workers' compensation system. The California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC) backs the local resolution that immediately implements a 12-month pilot program calling for all pool permits to require verifiable proof of active workers' compensation coverage of all applicants, including contractors and owner builders. Additionally, the program calls for owner builders applying for reroofing permits who claim exemption from workers' compensation coverage to be advised that the California State License Board (CSLB) will be notified when the exemption is claimed, which may result in a site visit by CSLB investigators to verify the exempt status. Finally, the pilot program calls for an ongoing permitting process at a flat fee for re-plastering both residential and commercial swimming pools to ensure workers' compensation coverage is in place.
"We support the efforts of all local governments in lending a hand to catch contractors who are crooks," said CALPASC Chief Executive Officer Brad Diede . "This program keeps legitimate contractors in business and protects employees and consumers. Hopefully, other local governments throughout the state will take steps to curb the cheaters as well."
For years, CALPASC has been urging action to clamp down on the underground and semi-underground economies where illegitimate contractors thrive. These contractors skirt state laws and regulations by hiring individuals without proper certifications, not training employees, under reporting payroll and not obtaining adequate workers' compensation insurance. And all of this leads to law-abiding contractors and consumers bearing the costs.
"I hear numerous stories from legitimate contractors who have been asked to repair the shoddy work of unqualified contractors," noted Diede. "This often results in the owner or builder paying twice as much or more for a job that could have been done right in the first place." Diede cautioned, "Owners and builders that try to cut corners by hiring the lowest-bid contractors, without researching their legitimacy, are just asking for trouble."
Unfortunately, trade contractors have to compete against illicit contractors too often, which is why it is important for local governments, the CSLB and other agencies to work together. Charlie Gardemeyer , CEO of Gardemeyer Finish Carpentry, experiences this first hand, "I work throughout California and run my business lawfully and by the book without sacrificing quality. Contractors who intentionally avoid paying into the state's workers' compensation system are skirting the law and shifting the costs to those of us who abide by the law. With the decreased construction work that exists in this economy, it is only right that legitimate contractors get the work. Otherwise the cheaters will rule the day, and employee safety and quality craftsmanship will suffer."
Example after example of general contractors not abiding by the law are chronicled in press releases issued by the CSLB and posted at www.cslb.ca.gov/GeneralInformation/Newsroom/. In one case, the CSLB opened an investigation on a developer in 2009 after complaints were filed by more than 20 subcontractors and materials suppliers who had not been paid. In another example as described in a news release issued August 23, 2011, by the CSLB, a "notorious unlicensed operator with an extensive history of using [contractor] licenses not issued to him," and whose website indicates his company's services include residential remodeling, was arrested. The contractor has "a complaint history with CSLB that stretches back to 1980."
"The number of violators is voluminous and pervasive in all areas of construction, which is why we need local and state governments to work hand in hand," concluded Diede. "We see the Butte County resolution as a model to duplicate throughout the state and one more mechanism to keep these lawbreakers from succeeding."
In 2010, CALPASC implemented the LEVEL Program to work closely with state agencies to fight against the underground economies and create a business environment where professional contractors can compete fairly.
The California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors is a nonprofit 501(c)6 trade association advocating on behalf of trade contractors and suppliers of building materials in California. CALPASC is committed to educating members on complex issues and advancing safety and compliance within the building industry.
SOURCE California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC)
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