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According to the CSLB, “A general building contractor is a contractor whose principal contracting business is in connection with any structure built, being built, or to be built, for the support, shelter, and enclosure of persons, animals, chattels, or movable property of any kind, requiring in its construction the use of at least two unrelated building trades or crafts, or to do or superintend the whole or any part thereof.

This does not include anyone who merely furnishes materials or supplies under Section 7045 without fabricating them into, or consuming them in the performance of the work of the general building contractor.

(b) A general building contractor may take a prime contract or a subcontract for a framing or carpentry project. However, a general building contractor shall not take a prime contract for any project involving trades other than framing or carpentry unless the prime contract requires at least two unrelated building trades or crafts other than framing or carpentry, or unless the general building contractor holds the appropriate license classification or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed specialty contractor to perform the work. A general building contractor shall not take a subcontract involving trades other than framing or carpentry, unless the subcontract requires at least two unrelated trades or crafts other than framing or carpentry, or unless the general building contractor holds the appropriate license classification. The general building contractor may not count framing or carpentry in calculating the two unrelated trades necessary in order for the general building contractor to be able to take a prime contract or subcontract for a project involving other trades.

(c) No general building contractor shall contract for any project that includes the “C-16” Fire Protection classification as provided for in Section 7026.12 or the “C-57” Well Drilling classification as provided for in Section 13750.5 of the Water Code, unless the general building contractor holds the specialty license, or subcontracts with the appropriately licensed specialty contractor.”

Requirements for Licensure

Before you can apply for your license, you must meet the following experience requirements:

  • 4 years of experience performing/supervising general building (Class B) work.
  • Social Security number or ITIN
  • Be at least 18 years old*
  • A College Degree can be substituted for up to three years of that experience if you don’t have 4 years of general building experience.
  • In order to obtain your general building contractors license, you are required to pass the Trade examination as well as the Law & Business exam.

General Building Exam (B)

The exam is a closed book exam and has approximately 100 questions that must be answered in 2.5 hours. The exams are given on a computer at one of the many testing centers throughout California. An appointment is needed and can be made once an application has been accepted.

Some of the topics covered in the exam include:

  • Planning & Estimating
  • Framing & Structural Components
  • Core Trades
  • Finish Trades
  • Safety

How to Prepare for the Exam

Once the CSLB has approved your application, you will be informed of the testing date. We recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to prepare and study, preferably months. One of the most effective ways to prepare for the exam is by using the Peerless General Building (B) Study Guide book. The book includes hundreds of pages of relevant content that is covered on the state exam and also loaded with close to a thousand multiple choice questions.

You can then start preparing for your exam right away by getting access to the General Building (B) Online Practice Exam. Once you purchase this, you will receive a code which will give you instant access to an online question database with 800 randomized questions. Your answers will be instantly graded so you can see how well you know the information. Furthermore, the questions on the database are constantly updated and reviewed so you can rest assure that you are attempting the most recent and relevant questions.