The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) opened the doors for public works contractors to renew registrations starting on May 1. Public works contractor registrations expire each year on June 30. Contractors now have the option to renew current registrations for one, two or three fiscal years…for a fee, of course…of $400, $800 or $1,200, respectively.

The state registration requirements came into force with the passage of SB 854, enacted in June 2014 by the California Legislature. That bill, codified as Labor Code section 1720, orders all California contractors desiring to do construction work for any public agency to register with DIR before bidding, to be listed on a bid proposal, to be awarded or engaging in the performance of any public works contract. Fees and penalties may be assessed for a lapse in renewal or failure to register when engaged in public works. Anyone working on a public works project must be paid prevailing wages as determined by DIR. Projects of $30,000 or more must meet DIR’s apprenticeship requirements. Failure to comply with public works requirements can result in civil penalties, criminal prosecution, or both.

Registration Requirements—Contactors

  • Have workers’ compensation coverage for any employees and only use subcontractors who are registered public works contractors.
  • Have Contractors State License Board license if applicable to trade.
  • Not have any delinquent unpaid wage or penalty assessments owed to any employee or enforcement agency.
  • Not be under federal or state debarment.
  • Not be in prior violation of this registration requirement once it becomes effective. However, for the first violation in 12 months, a contractor may still qualify for registration by paying an additional penalty.

The public works contractor registration application was recently updated to process applications within one business day when paid by credit card and provide the applicant with a credit card receipt.

Registration and requirements are available on DIR’s public works website including information on responsibilities related to prevailing wages, apprenticeship and certified payroll records.

One interesting footnote…Two other professions have to submit to DIR oversight and fee-based registration—Car Wash Operators and Janitorial Services…who knew?

By Rich Lambros, ECA Interim Executive Director Email: [email protected]