SB96 Frequently Asked Questions (Revised 3/2018)
Who is a public works contractor?
A public works contractor is anyone who bids on or enters into a contract to perform work that requires the payment of prevailing wages. It includes subcontractors who have entered into a contract with another contractor to perform a portion of the work on a public works project. It includes sole proprietors and brokers who are responsible for performing work on a public works project, even if they do not have employees or will not use their own employees to perform the work.
Who needs to register as a public works contractor?
Anyone who fits within the definition of public works contractor (above) is required to register with the DIR.
Is a contractor who only does Davis-Bacon work under federal contracts required to register?Registration is required only to bid or work on public works projects that are subject to the prevailing wage requirements of the State of California. Registration is not required for projects that are awarded by and under the complete control of the federal government. However, federally funded or assisted projects that are controlled or carried out by awarding bodies in California are subject to the state's prevailing wage laws and therefore require registration.
Are there any exceptions to the registration requirement?
The contractor registration requirement does not apply to contractors working solely on public works projects awarded prior to April 1, 2015. Some exceptions allow contractors to bid on federally funded projects or submit joint venture bids without first being registered, as long as the contractors that are parties to the joint venture and the joint venture are registered at the time the contract is awarded.
Contractors who work exclusively on small public works projects are not required to register as a public works contractor or file electronic certified payroll reports for those projects. Contractors are still required to maintain certified payroll records on a continuous basis, and provide them to the Labor Commissioner’s Office upon request. Additionally, awarding agencies are not required to submit the notice of contract award through DIR’s PWC-100 system on projects that fall within the small project exemption. The small project exemption applies for all public works projects that do not exceed:
- $25,000 for new construction, alteration, installation, demolition or repair
- $15,000 for maintenance
Who is eligible to register?
Contractors must meet the following requirements to register:
- Have workers' compensation coverage for any employees and only use subcontractors who are registered public works contractors.
- Have a Contractors State License Board license if applicable to trade.
- Have no delinquent unpaid wage or penalty assessments owed to any employee or enforcement agency.
- Not be under federal or state debarment.
- Not be in prior violation of this registration requirement once it becomes effective. However, for the first violation in a 12-month period, a contractor may still qualify for registration by paying an additional penalty.
How much does registration cost, and how long does it last?
Registration costs $400 and covers one fiscal year (July 1–June 30), regardless of the date on which a contractor registers. Registration is renewable for a 3 year basis.
What if I don't register (i.e., what are the consequences of noncompliance)?
Contractors who are required to register but fail to do so are ineligible to bid or work on a public works contract and can be removed from any public works project on which they currently are working. For a single violation in a 12-month period, a contractor who is otherwise eligible may still register by paying a $2,000 penalty in addition to the $400 registration fee. Registered contractors who inadvertently fail to renew by June 30, but continue to work on public works after that date, have a 90-day grace period to renew retroactively by paying a $400 penalty in addition to the registration renewal fee.
How long does it take for DIR to process contractor registrations, verify submitted information, and post contractor information in the registration list that is accessible online?This process can take less than 24 hours if registration fees (including penalties, if applicable) are paid by credit card. Verification of payment by other means can take up to eight weeks.
How can a list of all registered contractors be obtained?The name and registration number of any contractor who has registered with the DIR can be found using the public works contractor search tool. An up-to-date list of all registered contractors can be obtained by entering the percentage symbol, %, in the "Contractor Legal Name" field.
Do all trades need to be identified on the PWC-100 at the time projects are registered?Awarding bodies should list information for all trades identified when they register projects (using the PWC-100 form). Awarding bodies are not required to provide information that is not available at the time of project registration.
What happens if an awarding body does not register a project within 30 days of awarding the contract for a public works project?
Failure to provide timely notice can jeopardize an awarding body's ability to obtain state funding for a project. It can also compromise important objectives of the public works laws. An official who intentionally ignores this requirement may be subject to criminal prosecution.
Are awarding bodies required to use registered contractors or submit a PWC-100 for any of the following?
- Professional service contracts
- Mechanics who service vehicles at the local dealership or auto shop
- Engineering firms or construction managers hired to manage public works projects
- Design consultants, architects, and engineers performing professional design services
- Material or product suppliers
- BIM (Building Information Modeling) or CAD (Computer-Aided Design) consultants
- Consultants providing Division of State Architect inspection services;
- Trucking companies and truck drivers
- Furniture dealers who deliver and install furniture
- Community Conservation Corps certified by the California Conservation Corps
Awarding bodies are required to use registered contractors and register the project for any work subject to prevailing wage requirements. California's public works prevailing wage requirements extend broadly to workers employed "in the execution of the public works contract" (Labor Code, section 1774). Coverage is not necessarily limited to work performed at the construction site by those in traditional construction trades. Awarding bodies and other interested parties can ask DIR's Director to make a formal determination on whether a particular work or project is subject to public works requirements. public works coverage determinations issued by the Director since 2002 are available online.
What is the definition of "Maintenance"
Labor Code § 1720(a) defines public works as construction and other enumerated construction-related tasks (including “maintenance,” see LC § 1771) done under contract and paid for in whole, or in part, with public funds.
Maintenance is defined at:
California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 16000. Definitions.
(1) Routine, recurring and usual work for the preservation, protection and keeping of any publicly owned or publicly operated facility (plant, building, structure, ground facility, utility system or any real property) for its intended purposes in a safe and continually usable condition for which it has been designed, improved, constructed, altered or repaired.
(2) Carpentry, electrical, plumbing, glazing, [touchup painting,] and other craft work designed to preserve the publicly owned or publicly operated facility in a safe, efficient and continuously usable condition for which it was intended, including repairs, cleaning and other operations on machinery and other equipment permanently attached to the building or realty as fixtures.
Exception:1: Janitorial or custodial services of a routine, recurring or usual nature is excluded.
Exception:2: Protection of the sort provided by guards, watchmen, or other security forces is excluded.
(3) Landscape maintenance. See Public Contract Code Section 21002.
Exception: Landscape maintenance work by "sheltered workshops" is excluded.