Can a construction subcontractor request a construction permit or does the contractor have to?

I have some issues with my contractor and I am investigating all licensing issues. One question is I see the request for permit to built was signed by a licensed subcontractor not the prime contractor. Once the permit was issued, it was signed by another party representing the contractor. *** Does the representative of the contractor who signs have to be an employee, or partner? Or can the prime contractor have an agreement with an independent contractor to sign for them? Does this imply an unlicensed person contracted to build?

San Carlos, CA -

Attorney Answers (3)

Laurence Louis Spitters Jr

Laurence Louis Spitters Jr

Construction / Development Lawyer - San Jose, CA
Answered

Usually the owner or general contractor requests permits. If the owner is agreeable, the subcontractor can do so, but the owner must sign an authorization, just as with the general contractor.

Christian Frederick Paul

Christian Frederick Paul

Construction / Development Lawyer - San Juan Capistrano, CA
Answered

You can easily check whether your contractor is licensed by visiting the Contractors' State License Board web site at http://www.cslb.ca.gov/ and clicking on the "Instant License Check" flag. If your contractor is not licensed, you should fire him and demand refund of everything already paid. You jeopardize yourself by hiring an unlicensed contractor, and the contractor is not entitled to do the work or charge you for it (over $500).

You can, of course, ask the contractor why he didn't pull the permit for you, and see whether he had a good reason for it. I'm guessing not. If the contractor is a corporation, then some authorized person must sign on its behalf, so you should check with the contractor on that issue, too.

Nicholas Basil Spirtos

Nicholas Basil Spirtos

Construction / Development Lawyer - Montclair, CA
Answered

Your issues are complicated by your specific situation which would probably require review of the contracts and permit application and other documents.
But generally speaking, subcontractors can pull permits. Generally they can only obtain permits for work that is within the scope of their license. When it comes right down to it, it really does not matter who pulls the permits, as long as the permits are obtained and cover the whole project.
There might be some legitimate reason the general asked the sub to do it, or there might be some improper reason. Check everyone's licensing, bond, workers comp and insurance records. If everyone is licensed, bonded, and insured, then you should not worry about who pulled the permits.

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