California At Work: Design-Build legislation moves in the final days of session

Subscribe to our Blog


Posted on

California At Work: Design-Build legislation moves in the final days of session

by Andrew Ausel  |  September 15, 2016

Coming into the last week of their legislative session, the California Legislature had several votes to hold on design-build bills prior to their September 2nd adjournment. The legislators in Sacramento were able to pass many of these bills that had made it to the last stage of the legislative process in the final week of their session, something not many other state legislatures are able to achieve. Although some bills stalled at various points in the year, the ultimate result was undoubtedly a success for the state and for its design-build industry.

Some big wins:

Possibly the most impactful legislation passed was CA S 957, giving healthcare districts design-build authority until 2025. It authorizes any healthcare district to use the design-build process when contracting for the construction of a hospital or health facility building. The bill received support from multiple stakeholders including the Association of California Healthcare Districts, and various healthcare districts including Beach Cities and John C. Fremont Districts.

Among the other bills that passed, AB 2551 allows local agencies, county water districts, and other similar water districts to use design-build on surface storage projects. SB 839 and SB 859 authorize the Department of Water Resources to use design-build procurement for projects at the Salton Sea and have been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. In addition, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the State Public Works Board were authorized to use design-build after SB 844 was signed by the Governor in late-June.

Some came close, but no cigar…

Unfortunately there were a few bills that failed to pass prior to the end of session which is an inevitable challenge in every state legislature. AB 1265, 2a & 14a would have extended the sunset date on public-private-partnerships (P3s) for transportation projects to 2030 and authorized the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to use P3s. While P3 authority expiring is never a good thing, the California Legislature has been a strong advocate of P3s and we anticipate a bill rewriting this P3 statute to resurface in the future.

As California is one of the last state legislatures to adjourn, we are already starting the process of planning for next year. The last of 2016’s work is still ongoing in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio. Each of these states still face issues related to design-build and infrastructure funding. But with a new batch of legislators in many states and a new biennium starting in 2017, we look forward to working to expand full design-build authority beyond the 25 state threshold achieved this year.

See our full list of 2016 legislation here!