DES seeking public input on proposed updates to public works contracting rules
Updates align rules with state law changes, including small works contracting
The proposal also updates requirements for state agencies and local governments to use when awarding contracts under the small works contracting processes established in state law (RCW 39.04.151). This includes:
- Adding definitions.
- Recordkeeping requirements for contracting agencies.
- Clarifications on estimated cost and how change orders impact cost.
- Requirements for contractor rotation policies to ensure that agencies avoid favoritism when using direct contracting.
- Requirements for direct contracting solicitations, including quote solicitation and price negotiation.
How to comment
- See the proposed rule updates.
- Provide written comments.
- Join the public hearing: Jan. 9, 2024, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
DES is interested in feedback on whether the rules meet the intent of the Legislature under SSSB 5268 to update and revise the small and limited works roster process to:
- increase administrative efficiency,
- encourage greater participation and utilization by small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses, and
- continue to protect the rights of workers engaging in public works projects.
Small works contracting is an alternative contracting process that state agencies and colleges, and local governments like cities, can use for public works projects $350,000 and less. This process allows smaller construction firms to be more competitive in bidding processes, increasing small and diverse businesses in public works contracting. Public works are construction projects funded through public dollars.
The 2023 Legislature passed the Efficiency and Equity in Public Works Contracting bill to increase equity in public works contracting by helping small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses secure public works contracts.
- updates the existing small works roster regulations,
- establishes a statewide roster and a Public Works Small Business Enterprise certification program,
- aligns financial thresholds throughout the state, and
- adds a direct contracting option.
Most changes go into effect July 1, 2024.