Among the hundreds of new laws recently signed by Governor Gavin Newsom are two bills which may impact contractors working on California public works jobs.
Prevailing Wage: Public Works
The first bill, AB 1768, which goes into effect January 1, 2020, amends the definition of “construction” work for which prevailing wages must be paid to include “work performed during the design, site assessment, feasibility study, and other preconstruction phases of construction…regardless of whether any further construction work is conducted…” Although the California Labor Code already defined “construction” to include “work performed during the design and preconstruction phases of construction, including but not limited to, inspection and land surveying work,” according to the bill’s author, Assemblymember Wendy Carillo, “ambiguity as to what is considered preconstruction work has led to confusion amongst stakeholders in the construction industry as to when prevailing wage requirements apply.”
In addition to expanding the definition of construction to include site assessments and feasibility studies, the bill also specifies that preconstruction work is covered by the prevailing wage law regardless of whether any further construction work is conducted.
Community College Facilities: Design-build Contracts
The second bill, AB 695, will require contractors and subcontractors working on community college district design-build projects to use a skilled and trained workforce. Specifically, the law prohibits a design-build entity, on or after July 1, 2020, from being prequalified or short listed for such projects unless the entity commits to using a skilled and trained workforce, which includes a mandated percentage of apprenticeship program graduates.
These skilled and trained workforce requirements are already in effect for specified design-build projects involving school districts as well as certain local and state agencies. As of July 1, 2020 at least 60% of the skilled journeypersons working in the electrical, plumbing and other identified trades on such projects must be apprenticeship program graduates, whereas a 30% graduation requirement applies to other trades such as carpenter, cement mason and roofer. Click here for more information regarding skilled and trained workforce requirements and penalties for non-compliance.