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2nd Project Halted over License Lapse

Friday, May 16, 2014

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For the second time in one month, California regulators have shut down and fined a major construction project because a drywall subcontractor was working without a license.

Nova Drywall Systems Inc., based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been ordered to pay almost $200,000 in fines after a May 7 inspection of a 32-story tower going up in downtown Los Angeles.

Acting on a tip, investigators from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and California Department of Industrial Relations/Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) determined that Nova Drywall was working without a license.

Los Angeles Construction

The Onni Group is the primary contractor for the $100 million apartment and retail complex underway in Los Angeles. Both the GC and a drywall subcontractor were cited and fined because the sub lacked a contractor license.

The $100 million apartment and retail center is being built by the Onni Group, a Canadian developer.

Nova Drywall has had 28 employees on the project since January. The company's subcontract is worth $5.5 million.

The project’s primary contractor, Onni Contracting California, has a valid California contractor license, the state agencies said.

Nova Drywall applied for a CSLB license in January, but has not yet completed the licensing process, officials said.

Nova Drywall did not respond Thursday (May 15) to a request for comment.

$200K+ in Fines

The Labor Standards Enforcement Office cited Nova Drywall for performing services without a valid state contractor license. The citation includes a $180,400 fine based on when the company started work and on the number of its employees assigned to the project.

The State License Board levied a $15,000 civil penalty—its maximum—against Nova Drywall for acting as a contractor without a license.

Nova Drywall project
Nova Drywall

According to its website, Nova Drywall specializes in commercial construction, with a project portfolio that includes the River Market at Westminster Quay in British Columbia.

In addition, general contractor Onni Contracting California was fined $10,800 by the labor agency for contracting with an unlicensed contractor. The License Board is also considering administrative action and a fine against Onni.

'Play by the Rules'

“To perform contracting work in California, a company must be licensed by CSLB,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “This company should not have been working until its license was in place.”

California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su noted that contractors who subcontract work "are obligated to make sure they are dealing with contractors who play by the rules. If they do not, we will work with CSLB and other law enforcement to level the playing field."

Earlier Project Halted

In April, California regulators ordered drywall work stopped on a $150 million, 45-story Pinnacle Towers construction project in downtown San Diego after determining that subcontractor Clayton Wall & Ceiling Systems Inc. was not properly licensed in California.

CSLB licenses and regulates about 300,000 contractors in California.


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Contractors State License Board; Drywall; Enforcement; General contractors; Good Technical Practice; Subcontractors

Comment from Peter Russell, (5/16/2014, 8:13 AM)

How come it takes four months to get a contractor's license?

Comment from Gregory Stoner, (5/17/2014, 8:52 AM)

Who says it does? The article states the application was not complete It goes on to talk about a level playing field. Sounds good to me.

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