On October 9, 2011, Governor Brown signed SB 293 in to law.  SB 293 addressed a variety of issues in public works related statutes, including prompt payment periods between a prime contractor and subcontractor, procedures for filing 20-day preliminary notices, and procedures for making claims on payment bonds.  Most noteworthy, however, is the adoption of a new Public Contract Code section 7201 which caps retention of progress payment for all public works projects at 5%.  


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The use of design-build in the public sector appears to be growing.  As more public agencies achieve positive results with this project delivery method, the legislature appears to be more comfortable with expanding the statutory authority.  My colleague, Lisa Dal Gallo, and I recently co-authored an article about this trend as well as the many benefits of design-build.  Click here for a copy of

I recently received a link to a very informative blog post on the Blogineering blog which includes a compilation of 50 separate articles and videos addressing the current state of infrastructure in the United States.   It paints a disconcerting portrait of our considerable infrastructure needs over the near term, while also linking to articles which offer potential solutions.  Needless

A court of appeal case published on August 31, Great West Contractors, Inc. v. Irvine Unified School District, refined the rules for public agencies evaluating bids submitted for a low-bid contract by clarifying the distinction between bidder responsiveness and bidder responsibility.  In short, bidder responsiveness can only be determined on the face of the bid, and the rejection of a bid based on information obtained from an investigation external to the bid must be evaluated as an issue of bidder responsibility.  The court also made several observations about the apparent favoritism of the School District in attempting to award the contract to the third low bidder.   Please read on for a discussion of the case.   


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An appellate court case decided in April of 2009 held that public works projects awarded by charter cities, and financed solely from city revenues, were not subject to California prevailing wage requirements under the Prevailing Wage Law. (See State Building and Construction Trades Council of California v. City of Vista (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 567.)  On August 19, 2009, the California Supreme Court granted a petition to review the case, and de-published the opinion of the appellate court.  According to the Supreme Court website the case has been “fully briefed,” although oral argument has not yet occurred.  Presumably, the Supreme Court will issue its opinion by the end of the year.


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On October 22 and 23, 2009, the Harvard Graduate School of Business and Graduate School of Design jointly sponsored a symposium on Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). IPD is a project delivery method where all of the key participants (owner, contractor, designer and key subcontractors) are engaged at project commencement to collaboratively design, develop and execute the project. Participants’ compensation is based on overall project outcome, measured against an agreed target cost, and liability within the IPD group is waived or greatly reduced. IPD has produced exceptional results in healthcare, and more recently, in a range of commercial and institutional projects.


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In a word, yes.  Most public agencies are required to award their public works construction projects to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder.  Failure to comply with public bidding requirements can result in a legal ruling which can void the contract.  However, there are also a variety of alternative project delivery methods (design-build, construction manager at-risk

The California Department of Industrial Relations recently published an opinion which solidifies the “de minimis” exception to prevailing wage laws for private developers which receive small amounts of public financial support for their projects. In Public Works Case No. 2008-37, the DIR responded to a request for a prevailing wage coverage determination initiated by the developer of a senior care facility in Elk Grove. As an incentive to build the facility, the city offered financial incentives in the form of reduced sewer impact fees (sewer credits) which totaled over $200,000. The DIR concluded that pursuant to Labor Code section 1720(c)(3), this amount was “de minimis” in relation to the overall project cost.


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The California State & Consumer Services Agency recently released the first draft of a step-by-step guide to help California schools and community colleges cut energy costs through on-site electricity generation and become "grid neutral."  The guide is entitled "Grid Neutral:  Electrical Independence for California Schools and Community Colleges," and can be viewed here.  In fact, the state’s Department of General Services is seeking comments regarding the content of the guide, which can be emailed to this address:  Theresa.Townsend@dgs.ca.gov.     


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