Whittier Fire Rebuilding/ Repairing

Jul 21, 2017
License Contractors with Whittier Fire

TO: Solvang Chamber of Commerce FR: Dave Fogt, Registrar, Contractors State License Board

RE: Whittier Fire Rebuilding/Repairing

 Included with this email are links to provide our Solvang Chamber members with post-disaster safety and protection information when rebuilding or repairing structures that were damaged or destroyed in your community from the Whittier Fire.

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) protects consumers and businesses by licensing and regulating the construction industry. Its mission is especially important during disaster events to help residents avoid being harmed a second time by unscrupulous, unlicensed contractors who may prey on vulnerable disaster victims.

Key points to remind your members and local residents of when restoring damaged businesses and buildings:

  • Any construction job that costs $500 or more in combined labor and material costs must be performed by a state-licensed contractor;  
  • Don’t rush into repairs – get at least three bids to compare;
  • Before hiring a licensed contractor, ask to see their license and a photo ID;
  • Always check the license number on CSLB’s website at www.cslb.ca.gov and contact the business directly if you have any questions;
  • Down payments should not be more than 10 percent of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less. There is an exception for a small number of licensees who carry special bonds known as blanket performance and payment bond, which are noted on CSLB’s website;
  • Don’t pay in cash, and don’t let payments get ahead of the work;
  • Check references, and always get a written contract that you fully understand before signing; and
  • Review CSLB’s Disaster Help Center page and its helpful contents before hiring contractors to make repairs.

To help avoid putting your members at risk as they make plans to rebuild, contact the City of Solvang Building and Safety Division to make sure all permits are pulled as required, and that heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems are inspected to meet California energy efficiency requirements. Building departments also can inform you if there are specific debris removal requirements.

CSLB’s publications and a video, “Rebuilding After a Natural Disaster,” are available at www.cslb.ca.gov or on YouTube. We have signs available (in English and Spanish) that your members may want to post in their business windows to prevent unlicensed contractors from trying to scam them or their customers – please see below. As the signs state, unlicensed contractors who try to take advantage of people in disaster areas could face felony charges.


Also remember to check with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) to make sure that people who identify themselves as insurance adjusters are properly licensed especially if they are trying to sell disaster insurance.

We hope your members find this information useful as they restore business operations. Please contact CSLB if you need further assistance with this information. Our staff understands that this is a difficult time for your community and we want to make our resources available as quickly and easily as possible.


Headquarters Contact Information

Location: 9821 Business Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95827

24-Hour Licensing and Consumer Information: (800) 321-CSLB

Reporters/News Media: CSLB Public Affairs Office

Report Unlicensed Activity: Statewide Investigative Fraud Team

Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. / Closed on holidays

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