Environmental Protection

Calif. Offers Online Guide for Stimulus Funds

The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) for the state of Califronia has launched Building Compliance & Community Alliance, A Public Works Tool Kit to assist public agencies and contractors to understand and comply with state laws as they put Recovery Act funding to work in the state.

As guardians of these dollars, the awarding public agencies ensure California prevailing wage laws are followed and employment of apprentices are upheld, maximizing job growth and boosting the economy.

This fully electronic and fiscally responsible campaign features a free, online tool kit, www.CalPublicWorks.com, that contains applications to help guide public agencies on ways to ensure that bidding contractors are aware and understand the critical requirements. The kit includes the key provisions of the laws and regulations that apply to public works projects as well as the benefits public works offer to local communities.

“Our effort is to help public agencies prepare to award public works contracts and to understand their responsibilities,” said DIR Director John C. Duncan. “In addition, winning contractors have many responsibilities under California law in regard to prevailing wages, and this public works tool kit will assist them in keeping track of the requirements which will result in a project that will be on time and within budget.”

The continuing mission of DIR is to ensure that projects built with public funds, comply with all laws pertaining to wages as well as safety and health and to continuously train apprentices who will be the next generation of workers.

Included in the kit is a special insert for contractors that can be provided in the pre-bid and pre-job packet. It contains a checklist for contractors, as well as frequently asked questions and all forms needed to comply with prevailing wage and apprenticeship laws. The kit also describes compliance benefits such as the benefit of employing apprentices which provides training opportunities and creates a skill base for the local community where the public works project is located.

The laws pertaining to public works projects were written to create a level playing field. With all things being equal, the law-abiding contractor has an opportunity to compete, the awarding agency will attract responsible bidders, and transparency will reduce claims and disputes that lead to extra costs and delays. As more contractors are educated about public works and lawfully step into the arena, bidding becomes more competitive and the stimulus dollars will go further.

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