Senate Passes Government Contracting Changes

Second Substitute House Bill 1506 reauthorizes the state’s alternative public works law that authorizes government entities to use design-build, general contractor/construction manager (GC/CM) and job order contracting procurement procedures. The AIA/WA was heavily involved in the drafting of the bill through the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board. The bill expands the number of public agencies who may be authorized to use design-build and GC/CM. It also requires all public agencies to go through a new review process under the Project Review Committee (PRC). The PRC will review public owners and the projects to ensure they are appropriately using alternative procurement procedures. This bill will have to go back to the House for concurrence with the minor changes made in the Senate.

The Senate also passed Substitute House Bill 2010 to establish new bidder responsibility criteria for construction contractors. State law provides that a construction contract should be awarded to the lowest, responsible, responsive bidder. Up to now state law has not defined “responsible,” instead leaving it to each government entity to set its own rules. Absent clear direction from the state, agencies have not been willing to set criteria. The bill sets basic responsibility criteria, such as being properly registered with the state and be current with tax and other responsibilities. In addition, local governments may set additional project-specific criteria in the bid documents. The criteria will also apply to subcontractors. This bill now goes to the Governor.