B - General Building
Contractors License


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B - General Building
Description

A California general building contractors license allows a contractor to build a house or a shelter as long as framing or at least two unrelated trades are being performed. For example, general contractor cannot bid and perform on a project that only requires electrical work to be performed, but general contractor may subcontract this work to a licensed electrician. If the project requires electrical and plumbing, now general contractor can bid and perform on this contract.


As a general building contractor you may not take any contracts that involve only one trade, unless the one trade is framing or the work is being subcontracted to a specialty contractor specializing in that trade.

View Full Description

Business & Professions Code

Division 3, Chapter 9. Contractors, Article 4. Classifications

7057. (a) Except as provided in this section, 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.

(Amended by Stats. 1997, Chapter 812 (SB 857).)

B-General Building vs. B-2 Residential Remodeling

What is the difference between B and B2 license classifications?
B-General Building
  • Can build new or improve existing buildings.
  • Can build or work on structural framing elements.
  • Contracts MUST involve framing OR 2 UNRELATED trades.*
  • Can subcontract any of the trades to appropriately licensed contractors.

*Framing or Rough Carpentry cannot count as unrelated trade.

  • Can remodel existing residential structure.
  • Can work on drywall, finish carpentry, flooring, insulation, painting, plastering, roof repair, siding, and tiling.
  • Contracts MUST include 3 or more unrelated trades or crafts.
  • CANNOT make structural alterations to load-bearing partitions and walls, install or extend electrical or plumbing systems (allowed to make alterations to existing systems only), and CANNOT install or replace HVAC systems.
  • Can subcontract any of the trades to appropriately licensed contractors.

Visit B-2 Residential Remodeling page.

Difference in the experience requirements between B and B2
B-General Building

An applicant applying for B-General Building license must have 4 years of journeyman level experience performing or directly supervising framing or rough carpentry AND two (2) unrelated core trades (e.g., Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC, Roofing, Concrete, etc.)

Framing or Rough Carpentry experience is REQUIRED for the B-General Building classification.

An applicant applying for the B-2 Residential Remodeling license must have 4 years of journeyman level experience performing or directly supervising at least three 3 unrelated trades pertaining to remodeling. For example, experience with floor installation, painting, cabinet installation, tile, and more.

Framing or Rough Carpentry experience is NOT required for the B2 classification.

Visit B-2 Residential Remodeling page.

How to obtain a
general building
contractors license?

Before you can apply for your general building contractors 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*

Don't have 4 years of general building experience?
A college degree can be substituted for up to three years of that experience.

The State will accept self-employed 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.


*Even though you can apply for a general building contractors license when you are 18 years old, it is recommended that you be at least 23 years old due to experience requirement.

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