Spring 2015       |      Cindi A. Christenson, Registrar      |      Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor


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Contractors Bidding on Public Works Jobs First Must Register with State


Licensees who compete for public works projects need to be aware of important new requirements when submitting a bid for a publically funded construction project. All contractors bidding on public works projects are now required to register with the state Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), and that registration must be verified before a contract can be awarded, even if the project did not go out to bid.

The DIR registration requirement that began March 1, 2015, is the result of Senate Bill (SB) 854, which took effect in 2014 and changed laws pertaining to the administration and enforcement of prevailing wage requirements.

DIR maintains a list of registered contractors and subcontractors to assist awarding bodies that must confirm the registration status before considering a bid or awarding a contract. Prime contractors also must consult the list to verify that their bid team members are registered.

The annual DIR registration is $300 and covers a fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). Only contractors in good legal standing, which includes having a current and active CSLB license free of disciplinary action, are eligible to register for the DIR's public works list.

SB 854 also requires contractors to submit certified payroll records to the state Labor Commissioner's Office for all new projects. Contractors must provide these payroll records for projects awarded prior to April 1, when the requirement took effect, if those projects are still ongoing after January 1, 2016. Projects undertaken by Caltrans, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District, Sacramento County, and those covered by a labor project agreement, are exempt.

It is hoped that the new requirements will reduce violations in such areas as prevailing wages, workers' compensation insurance, and unpaid liabilities. CSLB's Public Works Unit investigators work to identify contractors who do not follow the law, and seek administrative or criminal sanctions, depending on the violation. The unit also works closely with DIR, its Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, Caltrans, and the Department of Insurance, as well as numerous labor-compliance organizations throughout the state.

The Public Works Unit has been effective in identifying non-compliant contractors. It closed 239 complaints in 2014 – a 68 percent increase over 2013 – with 94 complaints referred for administrative disciplinary actions and four referred to prosecutors for criminal charges.

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