Friday, November 7, 2008

Industry Expert Matt Le Vesque #95

Bruce Norris is joined this week by radio host of the Construction Zone Radio Show on KTIE 590am, general building contractor, and industry expert for the State License Board, Matt Le Vesque.

Bruce starts by asking Matt about the term general contractor and what type of license is implied. Matt talks about the different A, B, C, and D licenses. A license is a general engineering license which means streets and bridges. B is for general building contractors which means they perform two or more unrelated trades on a particular project. C license allows the contractor to subcontract out parts of a job.

Bruce asks if that having a general contractors license describes capability and expertise. Matt says there are many that have a license that shouldn’t try to do other areas of specialty and how that comes into play. Matt says four years of experience in general construction working for someone else or specific education is necessary to become a general contractor. There are three parts to the test to pass: legal, trade and within the trade is a large section on math. General contractors can’t do specialty projects out of their industry not does it always work out well when they try.

Matt talks about people who pose as general contractors who are not. Matt describes what happens to those who pose as generals and get caught.

Bruce asks what licenses a handyman is required to have. Matt tells him none and expands to talk about the limitations of what a handman can and cannot do and the dollar amount allowed. Overhead does change quite a bit when you get the general contractors license. Matt talks about the bond costs for different specialties.

Bruce asks Matt what people should have to be protected. Matt says general contractors should have workers compensation and why it’s necessary. Bruce talks about a certain issue that the Norris Group has recently found about. Matt talks about how people get around the rules or work the loopholes.

Bruce asks what happens if people are caught not paying workers comp. Matt talks about Workers Comp fraud laws and what could happen. People can search to find out info on contractors. He says not to be fooled by the except status and explains what to look for.

Matt and Bruce discusses general liability and when that kicks in. Matt talks about a third party that gets injured on a job and not an employee or home owner.

Bruce asks about the rights of the consumer if the general contractor who do not deliver. Matt talks about how many consumers get shamed, especially with early payments. Some people pay before the work is complete which is a mistake. Don’t let the payment get ahead of the work he warns.

Bruce talks about the scenario about contractors who do work and get paid but who fail to pay supply stores like Home Depot and Lowes for the materials. Matt says this is actually a problem for the consumer and how to protect yourself. Matt reminds people to get the lien release and talks about preliminary lien notices. Consumers want to make sure they have the opportunity to write a joint check. Bruce and Matt talk about how this works with subcontractors.

Bruce asks Matt the best way to get connected with reputable contractors. Matt likes when people talk to their friends and neighbors and to make sure you do your homework.

Bruce asks about a warranty of work from a contractor. Matt says there’s a four year minimum for all work. Most contractors don’t know that or believe it and sometimes write something different in their contracts. They can extend it but can’t make it shorter than four years.

Bruce asks about how to be a good customer. Matt says payment is key followed by interesting and/or challenging work.

Bruce asks about Matt’s radio show and what they do. The Construction Zone Radio Show has live experts and also has live callers call with their questions. See or visit

Matt Le Vesque is a long time resident of Southern California. He currently lives locally with his wife and youngest of three sons. He is involved with many local charities including Habitat for Humanity, Arthritis Foundation, and United Cancer Research Society.

After several years as a marketing consultant, Matt changed careers and started working in the construction industry in the late 1980s. Over the years his positions included Technical/Marketing Manager and Vice President of a national remodeling company. In 1992, he started Bishop Construction Services.

As a licensed contractor, Matt is a member of the International Code Conference, National Association of Home Builders, Building Industry Association of California, and the Remodelor's Council. He is also an Industry Expert with the Contractors State License Board and the American Institute of Architects, California Council. Matt is a residential and commercial builder/remodelor and a consultant on construction matters. Matt is an "A" licensed General Engineering Contractor.

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