Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that requires Cal/OSHA to forward contractor safety citations to the Contractors’ State License Board. SB 465 also would require notification to CSLB of criminal convictions and civil judgments for construction defects.

The bill by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) is fallout from a deadly June 2015 incident in Berkeley that killed six students and injured seven others when an apartment balcony there were standing on collapsed. An investigation determined that the support beams holding the balcony had deteriorated and that the contractor who built the structure (or its insurers) had paid out more than $26 million in settlements for construction defects in just three years.

CSLB was unaware of the settlements because currently holders of contractors’ licenses aren’t required to report settlements not directly handled by the board. It is required to make available public complaints to the board if the board refers them to the state Attorney General.

Under SB 465, the Division will transmit to CSLB any citations or other actions it has taken against a contractor “after consultation” with the board. The reasoning for this language, according to a knowledgeable source, is that there might be some citations that are so minor that they don’t warrant transmitting to the board. The legislation is also aimed at ensuring that various elements of the Department of Industrial Relations are communicating with each other. “It tries to pull in everyone under DIR,” the source says. The legislation will permit CSLB also to take enforcement action against a contractor even though Cal/OSHA has already taken action.

The CSLB has since filed a formal accusation to suspend or revoke the license of Segue Construction, Inc. (#638854), the general contractor in the building the apartment complex where the deadly collapse occurred.

The Accusation, filed November 29, 2016, alleges that Segue willfully departed from or disregarded building plans or specifications, and willfully departed from accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike construction. The Accusation alleges that design and load analysis of the balcony established that if the balcony had been built as designed, the imposed load of the 13 students was well within the design limits of the balcony structure. The Accusation also alleges that it was the decay of the joists that caused the balcony to collapse on June 16, 2015.

The licensee has 15 days from the date of the accusation filing to file a Notice of Defense (NOD). Failure to file a NOD usually results in a default revocation of the license. If a NOD is filed, the parties may try to reach a stipulated settlement. If no settlement is reached, the matter may be scheduled for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) within the Office of Administrative Hearings. After a hearing, the ALJ submits a proposed decision to the Registrar of Contractors, which may include a recommendation for discipline to be imposed. The Registrar of Contractors, or their designee, usually makes the final decision on any discipline.