By Patricia (Patti) Rascon, Southern Regional Compliance Manager. -
One of the most critical aspects of the role of a CIFAC Regional Compliance Manager (RCM) is often reading copious documents related to the scope of work for a project. While the task can be mind numbing at times, our attention to detail determines how the RCM will proceed with an investigation.
The story begins with a Riverside County City that is signatory to the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act (CUCCAA). They were embarking on a half-million-dollar sports park restroom expansion and renovation project. The project scope included the demolition of the existing facility and its replacement with eight unisex single-stall restrooms, a large concession facility, and a dedicated storage area.
While perusing City Council meeting agendas, I came across this agenda item, which appeared to be routine. As a member of a National Purchasing Cooperative, the City intended to utilize that process to procure for the design, fabrication, and installation of a pre-fabricated building. As I dug deeper into the project documentation, I found a different picture. A picture that showed city crews using force account!
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: the scope of work referenced a list of components that the City was to perform with their own forces. Items included the demolition of the existing building, excavation of the utility trenches for placement of the pre-fabricated structure, underground piping for plumbing and electrical, connection of utility piping, flushing of water lines, and pulling wire and the tie off on the electrical panel.
While the benefits of CUCCAA are many, Public Contract Code section 22032 (c) requires public projects of more than two hundred thousand dollars to be let to contract by formal bidding procedure. Additionally, since the project's total cost exceeds CUCCAA's $60,000 threshold, the City cannot self-perform any portion of the project's scope of work.
Based on the information uncovered, CIFAC sought clarification by contacting city staff to express our concerns and object to any use of force account on this project. After educating them on the Public Contract Code requirements, the City assured us that all the components of the project would be bid!
WIN-WIN, CIFAC successfully influenced the agency and the project! Our attention to detail further solidifies our mission to ensure a level playing field and fair bidding opportunities for the construction industry.