Infrastructure Law Blog

Infrastructure Law Blog

Insights on California and national public works construction issues

Budget Trailer Bill 502 would expand DIR fines and agency notice requirements

Posted in Legislation, Prevailing Wages, Public Works Funding

On March 17, 2017, the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) submitted Budget Trailer Bill 502. Budget Trailer Bill 502 would provide changes to the existing contractor registration requirements, as well as changes to the requirement for agencies to provide the DIR with notice of pending public works projects, as initially required by SB 854. SB 854 established the requirement that all public works contractors register with the DIR, and also established a prevailing wage monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. See our previous article on the changes here.

Budget Trailer bill 502 proposes to increase the registration dollar thresholds that were set in SB 854. Contractor registration would be required for new construction that is $25,000, previously $1,000, and $15,000 for maintenance projects. The Budget Trailer bill would also create new civil penalties that would be imposed by the State Labor Commissioner. Any contractors or subcontractors that do not register with the DIR will be fined $100 per day, with a limit of $8,000. Additional fines of $100 per day, up to $10,000, would apply to any contractors who employ unregistered subcontractors. This could also result in the loss of registration for the current fiscal year and disqualification from registering in the following year. Moreover, a first time violation would not result in the loss of registration if it was unintentional. Continue Reading

New bill would expand design-build authority for local agencies

Posted in Design-Build, Legislation

A new bill, AB 851, was introduced in the California legislature on February 16 that would expand the scope of the design-build authority currently available to local agencies.  If adopted, AB 851 would amend Public Contract Code sections 22161 to expand the definition of special districts that can utilize the design-build authority under Public Contract Code section 22106-22169 to include special districts that provide or operate flood protection, habitat restoration or enhancement, groundwater recharge or storage, surface water storage, water treatment facilities, wastewater facilities, solid waste management facilities, water recycling facilities, and fire protection facilities.

As a proponent of design-build and other alternative project delivery methods for public agencies, this expansion of authority would be welcome, even though it is relatively modest.

Are P3s the answer to our infrastructure needs? NYT article raises concerns.

Posted in Infrastructure News, Public-private partnerships

This article by Griff Palmer in the NY Times Business Day section examines three P3 projects in the US, and compares the promises with some of the disappointments.  The article provides a good overview of the significant issues that must be considered in order for a P3 to be successful for all concerned.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/24/business/dealbook/private-equity-water.html?emc=edit_ta_20161224&nlid=51116999&ref=cta&_r=0

 

New statute regarding public works claims

Posted in Claims

 

A new set of requirements regarding contractor claims submitted on public works projects went in to effect on January 1, 2017.  Public Contract Code section 9204 was adopted pursuant to AB 626, and will require most public agencies to revise their claims procedures. See the link below for a discussion of the new law.

https://www.hansonbridgett.com/Events/2016-12-govt-ab626-public-works

The protected bicycle intersection comes to Davis, CA

Posted in Infrastructure News, Transportation

Davis is the first city in California to install a protected bicycle intersection, which many cyclists believe is part of the necessary infrastructure to expand cycling to the general public. This article includes a great video explaining the benefits of the protected intersection. It will be interesting to see how Davis reacts to the intersection.

Source: http://www.vox.com/2015/8/12/9139771/protected-intersection-bike-davis

Fascinating tunnel project plans to connect Denmark and Germany under the Baltic Sea

Posted in Infrastructure News, Transportation

The Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link project would create a new 11 miles tunnel under the Baltic Sea, which would be the longest undersea tunnel in the world. Check out the video in the attached link for 4 minute overview of how the construction will be done. http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/03/the-tunnel-project-that-could-reshape-the-european-map/388652/?utm_source=SFTwitter

 

New public works requirements for contractors and public agencies pursuant to SB 854

Posted in Certified Payroll Records, Legislation, Prevailing Wages, Uncategorized

On June 20, 2014, the California legislature adopted SB 854, a “budget bill” that was heavily negotiated and tied to the approval of the state budget. Included among a variety of unrelated provisions in the lengthy bill were a number of additions and changes to the California Labor Code which will revamp the monitoring of public works projects throughout California through the Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”).

SB 854 creates a new public works monitoring scheme for the DIR. While the DIR has been charged with establishing and enforcing prevailing wage requirements for number of years, the new scheme will place more responsibility on the DIR. This alert will summarize the new requirements for both public agencies and contractors. Continue Reading

New case confirms competitive bidding exception for lease lease-back projects award by school districts

Posted in Lease-leaseback

A court of appeal case published on September 18, 2014, Los Alamitos Unified School District v. Howard Contracting, Inc., confirmed the existence of an exception to competitive bidding for “lease-leaseback” agreements awarded by school districts pursuant to Education Code section 17406. Many involved in school district construction have held the view that “lease-leaseback” agreements were exempt from competitive bidding, despite the fact that these agreements result in new construction projects which are ultimately owned by a school district. This case confirms that view by applying a plain meaning interpretation of section 17406. Continue Reading

California legislature enacts several new laws concerning prevailing wage requirements

Posted in Prevailing Wages

The California legislature has enacted a number of laws that impact prevailing wage requirements, including provisions that affect charter cities, requirements to inform the Labor Commissioner of the completion of public works projects, exposure to liquidated damages for prevailing wage violations, and applying prevailing wage requirements to refinery construction projects. These laws went into effect on January 1, 2014, and are summarized below.

Continue Reading