The Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act (“UPCCAA”) provides public agencies with an optional, alternative and less-burdensome bidding procedure for public works projects that are valued at a certain amount. Assembly Bill 2249 (“AB 2249”) increased these amounts so that more public works contracts can be awarded using these relaxed bidding procedures. Agencies that have elected to become subject to the UPCCAA may want to review their bidding procedures to determine if their local rules automatically incorporate changes to the UPCCAA and if not, make the appropriate revisions. Beginning January 1, 2019, for entities subject to UPCCAA, public projects valued at $60,000 or less may be performed by the local agency or by negotiated contract and public projects valued at $200,000 or less can be contracted using informal procedures. Only public projects valued at over $200,000 will require formal bidding procedures under AB 2249.
The Public Contract Code (“PCC”) generally requires that cities competitively bid public projects when the value of the project exceeds $5,000.1 However, cities can pass a resolution electing to become subject to the relaxed bidding requirements of the UPCCAA2 and dispense with formal bidding procedures for smaller public projects. Effective January 1, 2019, AB 2249 amended PCC § 22032 to provide that:
- Public projects valued at $60,000 (increased from $45,000) or less may be performed by the employees of a public agency by force account, by negotiated contract, or by purchase order.
- Public projects valued at $200,000 (increased from $175,000) or less may be let to contract by informal procedures.
- Public projects of more than $200,000 (increased from $175,000) generally must be let to contract by formal bidding procedure.
Therefore, agencies that have elected to become subject to the UPCCAA need not formally bid public projects that are valued at $175,000 or less throughout the rest of 2018. Beginning January 1, 2019, this amount increases to $200,000, thus giving agencies more flexibility and efficiency in public contracting. Agencies which have not elected to become subject to the UPCCAA might consider doing so in order to dispense with the time-consuming and expensive bidding procedures that are generally required for public projects valued between $5,000 and $200,000.
Agencies that have already elected to become subject to the UPCCAA might want to review their public bidding ordinances and purchasing policies to see if they automatically incorporate the changes imposed by AB 2249, or whether they reference specific dollar amounts. Agencies subject to UPCCAA should promptly determine whether they should update any ordinances, polices, purchasing manuals, or other documents prior to January 1, 2019.
Regardless of whether your agency is currently subject to the UPCCAA, it may be wise to promptly consider whether your agency should take action so that it can start using the higher limits as soon as January 1, 2019. This is especially important for those agencies that must update their purchasing ordinances because ordinances require two readings and do not become effective until 30 days after adoption (“second reading”). Charter cities are likely not affected by AB 2249 because their purchasing policies and procedures are likely governed by their charter and not state law.
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1 Cal. Pub. Cont. Code § 20162.
2 Cal. Pub. Cont. Code § 22030.