Thousands of Californians lost their homes, in whole or in part, to the wildfires in 2017 and 2018. Many homeowners then began the challenging task of rebuilding. In the wake of this loss and the resulting shortage of available builders, some homeowners turned to handymen for help. Many homeowners came to find out the hard way that these handymen who were acting as their contractors didn’t have the experience needed to complete the work correctly, or in some cases, finish their work at all.

Last year a new bill was introduced in Sacramento (SB 1189) which changes the Business and Professions Code Section 7151 dealing with home improvements. This changed the Class B licensing classification for building contractors, and created a new classification of contractor called a “Residential Remodeling Contractor”. This new classification created an opening for unlicensed handymen to become licensed without the same required work experience and expertise needed to obtain a Class B license. A Residential Remodeling Contractor will work on projects that make improvements to an existing residential wood frame structure and require the use of at least three unrelated building trades or crafts for a single contract.

The law went into effect in January 2021, but contractors are not able to test for the new Residential Remodeling Contractor license until this summer, when the Contractors State Licensing Board will begin administering the exam.