All California Contractors and Subcontractors Involved with Public Works Projects Now Required to Register With State by March 1, 2015


Urgency Legislation SB 854 Passed by California Legislature

The California Legislature has imposed a new registration requirement for contractors and subcontractors involved with public works projects. Senate Bill 854, passed late last month, created a registration program, effective July 1, 2014, to fund the Department of Industrial Relations’ monitoring and enforcement of prevailing wage laws.

The registration period is open now, and contractors and subcontractors wishing to work on a public works project must be registered by March 1, 2015. For public agencies/awarding bodies, the new law requires that all public works projects with bids due after March 1, 2015, or awarded on or after April 1, 2015, use only registered contractors and subcontractors. The bill also requires awarding bodies to include notice of the registration requirement in their bid invitations and bid documents. In addition, public agencies must also file notice of their public works projects using DIR approved forms.

Registration is completed through an online application and requires a non-refundable $300 fee to be paid by the contractors and subcontractors. The registration process requires contractors to:

  • provide workers’ compensation coverage to its employees
  • hold a valid Contractors State License Board license
  • have no delinquent unpaid wage or penalty assessments
  • not be subject to federal or state debarment

Contractors must pay an annual renewal fee by July 1 of each year. The registration form is located on the DIR’s website at

To help awarding bodies and contractors comply with the new requirements, the DIR will post a database of registered contractors and subcontractors on its website. While non-registered contractors may not be awarded public works contracts after the effective date, inadvertently listing an unregistered subcontractor on a bid will not necessarily invalidate that bid. In addition, the registration requirement does not apply to private jobs that are determined to be public works after the contract has been awarded.

The new registration system replaces the previous requirement that awarding bodies pay for costs to monitor and enforce compliance with prevailing wage laws for certain public works projects. Registration and renewal fees will go into the State Public Works Enforcement Fund, which provides for the administration of contractor registration, monitoring and enforcement of prevailing wage laws, and the enforcement of Labor Code violations on public works projects by the DIR.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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