Construction Industry Force Account Council

Promoting Transparency Through Public Agency Compliance

Category Archives: Uncategorized

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CIFAC’s Watchful Eye Leads to County bidding $9.9 million in Pavement Overlay Rehabilitation Project

Category:Around The State News,Uncategorized

Recently, CIFAC was approached by an industry partner regarding Madera County crews self-performing work on multiple road projects throughout the County. As a participating member of the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act, the County may self-perform public works projects of $60,000 or less by force account, negotiated contract, or purchase order. The County Board of Supervisors or County Road Commissioner acting on its authority can publicly declare its intention to use force account for new road construction and road reconstruction during a fiscal year. However, there is one provision; the total value of the work performed cannot exceed 30 percent of the value performed by force account (except maintenance) the prior fiscal year. This dollar value is commonly referred to as a “Road Commissioner cap” and CIFAC's Regional Compliance Managers monitor the Road Commissioner projects to determine if an agency has exceeded that amount.

Well-paved roads and highways is important to ensure driver safety. There is a sense of relief knowing that my car's front end is less likely to be knocked out of alignment or that I am less likely to experience a flat tire. Unfortunately, the quality of work observed on these roads was substandard. I conducted three investigations and determined that the County did not exceed the force account limit or the road commissioner's cap. To avoid further bumps in the road, CIFAC contacted County staff with their concerns and requested the County competitively bid future roadwork. Our goal was to increase job opportunities and ensure work other than simple road maintenance and repair work, are completed by licensed and insured contractors with the expertise to perform and produce quality work.

In March 2021, Madera County advertised the 2020 Countywide Pavement Rehabilitation and Overlay project valued at $9.9 million. An industry partner called to thank CIFAC for its involvement and assistance in this accomplishment. Although CIFAC uncovered no violations, we genuinely believe that the County was mindful of CIFAC's presence and persistence. Our watchful eye encourages agencies to comply with the law, review its methods, and competitively bid projects. This project will result in over 10,000 work hours for the construction industry. A step in the right direction and another way CIFAC is increasing job opportunities. Contact CIFAC if you see work being performed by force account or have questions about any project. When in doubt, seek us out!

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Persistence Pays Off-CIFAC forces Agencies to Bid Projects

Category:Around The State News,Uncategorized

By Tony Morelli, CIFAC Southwestern Regional Compliance Manager


As a result of consistently monitoring Public Agencies and their actions, CIFAC’s Regional Compliance Managers are achieving their objectives through determination and insistence that Public Agencies comply with California’s legal requirements when advertising, bidding or awarding public projects.

Two recent examples highlight CIFAC’s success…

The Ojai Unified School District was recently seeking Board approval to award an $81,300 contract for two large shade structures for use at their Meiners Oaks Elementary School.  With no other supporting documentation on how the project was procured, CIFAC contacted the District for more information.

The District's Bond Manager responded, indicating that the District was utilizing a piggy-back contract from the Fullerton Joint Union High School District and since the installation portion was less than $15,000, they did not advertise the installation work for bid.

CIFAC advised the District that, unfortunately they could not procure the project in this manner. The use of piggy-back contracts, per the language in the Public Contract Code, section 20118, is meant for the purchase of personal property items and does not mention, nor include the construction or installation of any items that are permanently affixed to real property.

Additionally, we provided the District with a copy of the California Attorney Generals 2006 opinion and conclusion [89 Ops. Cal Atty Gen. 05-405] supporting CIFAC’s position.  The School District is also subject to the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act (CUCCAA) procurement requirements, so we provided them with a copy of the CUCCAA Commission's 2020 written opinion concerning piggy-back contracts, which aligned with the State Attorney Generals conclusion.

After evaluating CIFAC’s position and the supporting documents, the District agreed to remove the item from their Board agenda and properly bid-out the project as required.

The City of Paramount was intending to award a contract for their $400,000 Progress Park Plaza Interior Improvements project.  The projects scope-of-work included the installation of an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant unisex bathroom, a new storage area with room for a washer and dryer, new lighting fixtures, ceiling tiles, carpet, storefront windows and an updated front entrance.

While looking closer at the details, CIFAC determined that the contractor the City was about to award to was not currently registered with the Department of Industrial Relations to perform public works construction.

CIFAC contacted the City and advised them that per Labor Code section 1771.1 (a) and 1725.5, the City could neither accept nor consider bids from unregistered contractors and would need to either award to the second lowest bidder or re-bid the project.  The City thanked CIFAC for bringing this to their attention and indicated that they would be re-bidding the project to ensure compliance.