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New Legislation Revamps Design Build Procurement Requirements For All Public Projects Throughout The State

On September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed in to law Senate Bill 785 which, among other things, updates and rewrites the statutory law relating to design-build procurement for public projects throughout the State.  The new law goes in to effect on January 1, 2015.

Senate Bill 785 repeals several design-build statutes that apply to specific agencies in favor of one primary set of design-build procurement standards for all State agencies.  In addition, the new law adds a new chapter to the Public Contract Code (Section 22160 et seq.) which applies to design-build procurement for local agencies and municipalities.  Local agencies are now required to first prepare and issue a request for qualifications in order to pre-qualify a short-list of design build entities who, if qualified, will be invited to bid on the project.

In addition, in order to prequalify the design build entities must provide an “enforceable commitment” to the local agency that the entity and its subcontractors will use a “skilled and trained workforce” to perform all work that falls within an apprenticeable occupation in the building and construction trades.  The use of a “skilled and trained workforce” requires, among other things, that all workers be skilled journeypersons or apprentices registered in an apprenticeship program approved by the Chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

Finally, under the new law an entity’s “commitment to use of a skilled and trained workforce” must be demonstrated by either (1) monthly reporting that the entity or subcontractors are complying with this subdivision; or (2) evidence of a project labor agreement binding the awarding entity, design-build entity, and subcontractors to the requirements of the new law.

These are just some of the changes introduced by Senate Bill 785 which have dramatically changed design build procurement requirements in the State.  If you design build, we recommend you review contracts and bid documents to make sure they comply with the new requirements of Senate Bill 785 before January 1, 2015, when the law goes in to effect.