Construction Industry Force Account Council

Promoting Transparency Through Public Agency Compliance

CIFAC: Your Public Agency Watchdog

Watson Watchdog

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By Michelle Pickens, Executive Director. -

For over forty years, the Construction Industry Force Account Council (CIFAC) has led the way in preventing public agencies from using force account/public agency crews to perform construction work. As the defender of the Public Contract Code and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the competitive bidding process, our dedication to compliance is steadfast. Through support from our partner contractors, associations, and unions, we are able to monitor, investigate, and file complaints against agencies who violate the PCC provisions.

Public contracting laws were created to ensure a uniform bid process, to ensure all qualified bidders have the opportunity to submit bids on projects, to eliminate favoritism, fraud, and corruption in the awarding of contracts, and to stimulate advantageous project prices by way of competition.

The Code outlines force account limits for agencies, where work under the limit may be performed by the agency or maybe completed by negotiated contract. These limits were established so that agencies can perform minor maintenance and repair work. Above those limits, most public projects must be competitively bid in a fair, transparent, and objective manner and performed by licensed and insured contractors with the expertise to perform the work.

So as a contractor, if you were denied the opportunity to submit a bid on a project that you knew you had the skills and licensing to complete, how would that make you feel? Alternatively, if you knew that an agency only used their “preferred” contractor on all their projects with no bidding, would that be unfair? Or, if unlicensed, often inexperienced crews, such as force account, were performing all their own projects rather than contracting out, I’m sure that would be frustrating.  These are just a few examples of what we investigate, all with the intention of increasing job opportunities for you.

CIFAC’s job is to act as the compliance organization for the California Public Contract Code. There is no state agency that performs this oversight. Our “watch-dog” presence is also a deterrent that keeps local government officials from crossing the line into non-compliance.

In an effort to provide industry partners with an easier and faster way to notify us about agency compliance issues, CIFAC developed the first of its kind mobile reporting app, compatible with Apple iPhones, tablets, and Android devices.  KwikCompli allows for faster communications between the reporting party and CIFAC’s Regional Compliance Managers. It also provides the ability to pinpoint the job site via GPS, take, upload, and send photographs. Most importantly, there is total anonymity for the app user. The more information we receive from the sender on the spot, the faster we can make a determination whether the public agency is non-compliant.

Help us help you… If you see public projects being performed by public agencies or observe other contracting issues that you believe may be improper, contact CIFAC at 1-800-755-3354 or call your local compliance managers, whose contact information is available on our informative website. We welcome any questions and potential project leads.

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