Question: During 1987, the Contractors State License...

Question: During 1987, the Contractors State License Board had an amnesty program under which contractors who had experience in construction, but not gotten a license, would have been able to use their work record toward the four-year work experience requirement to obtain a contractor's license. Has this program been extended, and has it been successful?

Answer: To the best of my knowledge, the program ended Dec. 31. However, according to the registrar of contractors, John F. Mallony, the amnesty program has produced two or three times the number of applications for licenses usually received by the board. He reported that there now is a six-month backlog in license processing. The board is recruiting staff to expedite this work.

Q: Do you recommend using a gold-plated fixture in a remodeling job of our bathroom?

A: My experience has been very poor in this area. Most contractors tell me that gold fixtures are very difficult to maintain, and even though you are very careful in using only soft detergents to clean the fixtures, you will usually find that they begin to wear and show discoloration after a short time.

A few years ago, I used gold fixtures in a remodeling project, and within a year, the manufacturer was required to replace the fixtures. Since they have been replaced, they have shown considerable wear. Most contractors still recommend chrome or brass fixtures.

Fontaine is president of the Western Regional Master Builders Assn. and a director of the American Building Contractors Assn. He will answer questions concerning home improvements. Phone 213/653-4084 or write him at 6404 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 850, Los Angeles 90048-5510.

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