Changes to the Small Works Roster

Washington’s Small Works Roster laws are changing, thanks to a bill passed during the 2023 Legislative Session (Second Substitute Senate Bill 5268). The changes will make it easier for small businesses and public agencies to use the small works roster to contract small public works projects.

The law:

  • Updates the existing small works roster requirements
  • Updates "small business" and "state agency" definitions
  • Creates a statewide small works roster
  • Establishes a new public works small business enterprise certification
  • Aligns financial thresholds throughout the state
  • Adds a direct contracting option
  • Allows agencies to either waive or reduce retainage bonds for projects $5,000 or more

What do I need to do now (construction firms)?

If you are a construction firm interested in public works contracts with Washington State, changes are coming July 1, 2024. Here are some things you can do now:

  • Subscribe to DES’ Public Works Business Diversity Updates
  • Register in WEBS — Washington’s Electronic Business Solution — and self-certify if you are a small, mini, or micro business
  • Apply for the statewide roster
  • Get certified with the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) now, if you are a minority- or women-owned business.
    • Save money — all OMWBE certification fees are waived through July 1, 2024.
    • Certified businesses can opt in to get the new Public Works Small Business Enterprise (PWSBE) certification when it launches.

What do I need to do now (public agencies)?

Port and irrigation districts

Effective July 1, 2023, the small works roster allowable limit for ports and irrigation districts was changed to $350,000 to match small works limits across the state.

Agencies joining the statewide roster

If you are a state or local agency with public works authority, changes are coming July 1, 2024. To prepare for coming changes, you can sign up to participate with the statewide roster.

Agencies with independent rosters

If you are a state or local agency with public works authority and do not plan to switch to the statewide roster, you must prepare your independent roster to:

  • Integrate OMWBE certification data
  • Follow DES rules on rotation, outreach, and data collection once published
  • Set up demographic data collection
  • Send an annual notice to your paper of record, and conduct outreach to OMWBE certified businesses

Attend a training

Date and time Event Location
11/15/2023 ACEC WA & COMTO WA Networking Reception SeaTac Airport Convention Center
11/16/2023 Meet Apex Accelerator Webinar for local government Virtual
11/16/2023, 2:30-4 p.m. Cornerstone General Contractors Virtual
11/29/2023 Cornerstone General Contractors Virtual
11/30/2023, 1-4 p.m. Meet the Agencies, Thurston EDC Virtual
12/1/2023 L&I Contractors Day Renton, WA
12/13/2023 WSAC County Training  
12/14/2024 MRSC Public Works Fundamentals Training Sequim, WA
12/15/2023 L&I Contractors Day Peninsula College
01/17/2024 MRSC Digging into Public Works Fundamentals Tumwater, WA
01/24/2024 MRSC Digging into Public Works Fundamentals Everett, WA
02/22/2024 Apex Accelerator Meet the Agencies Clallam, WA
03/14/2024 Alliance Northwest Tri-Cities, WA
05/14/2024 Meet the Agencies Tri-Cities, WA

Or, request a speaker to come to your meeting.

Statewide implementation

DES is working with other state and local agencies and community partners to implement these changes.

New state public works small business enterprises certification

OMWBE is creating a new race- and gender-neutral certification for Public Works Small Business Enterprises (PWSBE). We encourage eligible minority- or women-owned businesses to start the certification process now to be ready to opt-in when the new PWSBE certification launches.

Statewide small works roster

The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) will update its existing statewide small works roster to meet new state requirements, including the ability to filter by location and specialty.

DES will be moving to the MRSC roster, subscribe for updates.

Agency rule updates

State agencies are updating the following rules:


Contact us

Bill Frare

Facility Professional Services assistant director