Local Contractors Face Uncertainty, Questions

By: 
Times Staff Report
Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating so many unintended and inforseen impacts, including to all our contractors and those involved in the construction industry:

 

"Here is a letter from Jesse Baldwin Sr., President, Mammoth Lakes Contractors Association, with some good details on what to expect:

 

 

 

Hello MLCA Members, Town/ County Officials, Local Media Outlets and Others in the local Construction Community:

 

NOTE: Information is changing constantly, so please let me know ASAP if you see anything here which is no longer accurate and/ or if you have any additional clarification. Also, please forward as deemed appropriate.

 

Please see the latest on the California Covid-19 website which (in my professional opinion and interpretation) allows for at least certain construction services to continue. My hope is that by sharing this information, it will help our local construction community in deciding how (and/ or IF) to operate going forward, at least in the immediate short-term.

 

https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/

 

Here are a few other interpretations:

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-03-19/coronavirus-garcetti-how-safer-at-home-order-works

https://www.constructiondive.com/news/in-most-us-cities-construction-work-continues-as-shutdowns-loom/574458/

 

i.e. City and County of LA interpretations of businesses specifically exempted from the order to shut down, to include:

“Hardware and building supply stores, and nurseries.

Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, heating, ventilation and air conditioning installers, carpenters, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation to properties and other essential activities discussed in this subsection.

Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support, services or supplies necessary to operate, provided that strict social distancing is maintained. This section includes, without limitation, utility companies.”

 

This exception appears to be at least a glimmer of hope for local construction businesses providing what the state considers “essential” services necessary to at least maintaining the safety and sanitation of homes and businesses and continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.

 

HOWEVER: If you are going to remain in business in any fashion, then I cannot stress the importance of operating responsibly (to protect yourself, your employees and the public) in order to avoid spreading or contracting the disease within our local communities. Please see the notes below my e-mail signature for some of the steps that our company is taking to help ensure that we are operating responsibly. And, reply back to let me know if your company is still operating, and if so, anything else that you are doing to help protect the public which you think would be valuable for me to pass along to our other members, the public, the media, etc..

 

I urge you all to try and stay abreast and review the latest updates since this whole situation is changing daily. And, I will continue to do what I can to try and help keep our local construction community informed of changes. I also ask each of you to please forward me any information which you think would be helpful to others in the MLCA and the local construction community at large.

 

These are challenging times for our community at large. And, there are some unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of this situation to swoop in on the little business that still does remain. Especially on Facebook and other social media outlets, you can see unlicensed handymen and self-proclaimed “tradesmen” advertising kitchen remodels, condo remodels, etc.. I implore each of you to not patronize those operators who are advertising and/ or contracting illegally, to do what we can to help support each other (who are operating legitimately), and to help encourage and educate our clients and the public to do their research on licensing and insurance to help shut those people out who are literally taking food out of the mouths of our families and employees.

 

See these examples just taken from the CSLB website and compare to what you are seeing posted on Facebook, etc.

 

Minor Work Exemption

(B&P Code §7048)

Is it true a contractor's license is not required if the work to be performed is under $500?

Yes, B&P Code section 7048 (small operations) provides an exemption from licensure for minor work if the aggregate contract price, including labor, materials, etc. is less than $500. This exemption does not apply if the "minor work" is part of a larger project. Example: A homeowner is having a kitchen remodeled at a total cost of $6,000 and decides to sublet the flooring work, which is only $300. The person doing the flooring still would require licensure because the overall cost of the project was over $500. In addition, jobs cannot be broken down into hourly fees to sidestep the $500 threshold.

Is it against the law for an unlicensed individual to advertise construction services?

No, as long as the advertisement includes a statement that the individual does not hold a state contractor license (B&P Code §7027.2).

Check a Contractor’s License:

https://www.cslb.ca.gov/onlineservices/checklicenseII/checklicense.aspx

 

Report Unlicensed Activity:

https://www.cslb.ca.gov/consumers/report_unlicensed_activity/

 

Legal Advertising Guidelines:

https://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPublications/AdvertisingGuidelines.pdf

 

Thank you and let me know what else the MLCA can do. I am writing letters to our congressman and senators and would definitely appreciate hearing your story or anything that you might think that I should pass along on behalf of the MLCA re: the need for grants for sole proprietors not covered by unemployment/ disability/ etc., clarity on types of construction allowed, best practices for keeping construction job-sites safe from spreading Covid-19, etc..

 

And, as I put out yesterday, I STRONGLY encourage each of you to write our governor, our congressman, Paul Cook and senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris to let them know the challenges that we are facing and the urgent need to provide grants (vs loans) to main street/ small businesses hardest hit by this pandemic (follow the links to get contact info):

https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/

https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

 

And stay abreast of the latest developments at the state and local levels here:

https://coronavirus.monocounty.ca.gov/

and here:

https://covid19.ca.gov/

 

Small Business Administration COVID-19 Guidance and Loan Resources:

https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

 

Thank you, Godspeed, stay safe and help us take care of each other!

 

Jesse Baldwin Sr

President – Mammoth Lakes Contractors Association

Owner/ General, Electrical & Roofing Contractor – Baldwin Industrial Group

Commissioner – Town of Mammoth Lakes Construction Board of Appeals/ Building Advisory Committee

 

Baldwin Industrial Group - Go BIG!

Phone: (760) 914-2455

Fax: (760) 965-0557

www.linkedin.com/in/JesseMBaldwin/

www.BaldwinIndustrialGroup.com

www.facebook.com/BaldwinIndustrialGroup

P.O. Box 1173 - Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

General Building (B), Electrical (C-10) & Roofing (C-39)

CA License #925362

 

Privileged/confidential information of Baldwin Industrial Group may be contained in this message and is exclusively for the intended recipient.

 

RE: Coronavirus/ Covid-19 and B.I.G. business operations in your homes and businesses throughout Mono and Inyo counties.

 

We care deeply about the safety of our clients, their guests, our community and our team. We are still in business at this time, and observing/ adjusting our operations in real-time to meet the guidelines put out by the town, county, state, the CDC and the WHO. And, we will continue to operate for as long as it is responsible to do so, in light of everything going on.

 

Please be assured that the US Navy and US Marine veterans on our team have had extensive training in dealing with biological threats and our staff is remaining calm, focusing on effective leadership and taking proactive measures within our control.

 

We have been delivering our services with minimal "in-person" client interaction out of necessity for well over a decade. And, by using technologies like FaceTime, Skype, e-mail, text, telephone and electronic contracts, we will continue to keep our client's businesses and homes safe and operational by delivering essential repair and construction trade services throughout this challenging time.

 

We are conducting safety training every single day that we are working, and throughout the day. This training is aimed directly at  educating and reminding our crews to do everything possible to minimize the rate of spread of the Covid-19 virus and to avoid contracting it ourselves and/ or to self-quarantine if that occurs.

 

All of our crews have been issued commercial grade disinfecting supplies, personal protective equipment, and we are safely removing and disposing of all potentially contaminated waste off-site.

 

At job-sites, we are disinfecting doorknobs, thermostats, switches, plumbing fixtures, handles, dials and other commonly touched items upon arrival, during the performance of work and then once more upon departure from the site.

 

Our team is washing and sanitizing their hands regularly, engaging in social distancing of at least 6 feet and performing administrative work from home, wherever practical.

 

At our shop and warehouse (whenever staff must be present), we are disinfecting all commonly touched areas twice daily. This includes doorknobs, handrails, telephones, coffee pots, handles, keyboards, mice and horizontal work surfaces (desks, countertops, etc.).

 

We are urging our staff, our clients and the community to remain at home wherever possible, to stay calm and to help protect our seniors and those with pre-existing medical conditions. We will get through this together, as a community and as a nation, and we will be stronger for it.

 

Wishing you Godspeed and good health.

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