This month, Governor Brown signed AB 2249, the State Controller sponsored bill that raises the bid threshold limits for California Uniform (Public) Construction Cost Accounting Act (Act) participating public agencies commencing January 1, 2019 for public projects.
Here is the background of the bill, as reported by the State: The Public Contract Code specifies the procedures that public agencies must follow when they build public works projects, including limits on project costs. The Act was enacted in 1983 as an alternative to these general requirements by allowing increased bid limits as long as participating agencies follow uniform accounting standards and bidding procedures. A voluntary program that is available to all public entities in the State, the Act allows public projects costing $45,000 or less to be performed by the public agency’s force account, by negotiated contract, or by purchase order. Projects costing $175,000 or less can use informal bidding procedures set forth in the Act. Projects that cost more than $175,000 must be put out to bid under formal bidding procedures.
The California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission (Commission) administers the Act and provides technical support to public agencies by prescribing uniform construction cost accounting procedures for agencies that opt in. The Commission also reviews public complaints and recommends audits when the criteria of the Act are not fulfilled. In addition, the Commission conducts meetings open to the public, provides a manual for use by public agencies who are signatory and maintains a Commission web page on the Controller's website. Commissioners also facilitate and participate in outreach and training to participating agencies, candidate agencies, and professional organizations.
The Act requires the Commission to review the force account and bid limits every five years to account changes in public construction costs. If the Commission recommends higher limits, the Controller promulgates the new limits and the Legislature amends the Act to reflect the adjusted amounts. This last occurred via AB 720 (Hall). The Commission on September 28, 2017, passed a resolution recommending that the Controller increase the bid limit to $60,000 from the previous $45,000 limit and to $200,000 from the previous $175,000 limit.
CIFAC monitors agencies to ensure they follow the Act’s requirements and has filed complaints against agencies that are found to be out of compliance.