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Dozen-plus new construction laws taking effect Jan. 1

With the start of any new year come new laws and regulations.

There are more than a dozen new California laws that will become active Tuesday and influence the construction industry -- and two regulations will mainly affect San Diego contractors and government agencies dealing with public transportation.

Senate Bill 1549 will allow the San Diego Association of Governments to use alternative project delivery methods on its construction projects, and not just the lowest responsible bid method.

The bill also will now require SANDAG to make a progress report of completed work on a project, submit it to its governing board, and make it available to the public via SANDAG’s website.

Assembly Bill 2498 will allow the California Department of Transportation to employ construction managers and general contractors for highway, bridge or tunnel construction projects.

AB 2498 also allows Caltrans to use department employees or consultants under contract with Caltrans to perform project design and engineering services, project development services, and construction inspection services.

There are also three major bills that involve contracting on public-sector projects.

Senate Bill 829 states a charter city cannot receive funding for a capital improvement project if the city bans project labor agreements.

Senate Bill 1509 extends an existing law that allows school districts to enter into design-build contracts until Jan. 1, 2020. This policy was set to expire in 2014.

Assembly Bill 1565 will now require school districts with more than 2,500 students to prequalify all general contractors, electricians, plumbers and mechanical contractors.

The bill also allows school districts to prequalify bidders on a quarterly or annual basis, based on a system developed by the Department of Industrial Relations.

The regulation and definition of small businesses will change with Assembly Bill 1783 and Senate Bill 1510 coming online on Tuesday.

AB 1783 will now give the Department of General Services the responsibility of certifying and determining eligibility of small businesses. General Services will also now provide local agencies access to its list of certified small businesses.

SB 1510 will modify the definition of a small business to include additional conditions under which a certified small business or “micro business” is deemed to perform a commercially useful function.

Senate Bill 1092 will cause brokers of construction trucking services to annually provide written evidence of its valid surety bond to a third-party nonprofit organization that is related to the construction industry, and regularly maintains a published database of bonded brokers or website for publication.

SB 1092 also prohibits the third-party nonprofit organization from charging a broker for posting the surety bond or from limiting the posting of the bond to only the organization's members.

There are also four Assembly bills that deal with more specific types of jobs.

AB 2181 will ensures that state-certified small businesses working on the development, design and construction of the California High-Speed Rail have the same benefits as contractors under the California Prompt Payment Act.

AB 1566 revises the definition of "above-ground storage tank" to include tanks in an underground area.

Assembly Bill 1922 will require on or before Dec. 31 of each year a fleet to comply with the California Air Resource Board regulations and standards for excessive emissions of smoke for that calendar year.

The existing law requires the owner of a heavy-duty, diesel-fueled vehicle to test the vehicle for excessive smoke emissions periodically, and repaired if the applicable smoke opacity standard is exceeded within 12 months of the previous test.

Assembly Bill 2237 defines the term "consultant" for purposes of the definition of a contractor to include a person who provides a bid, or who arranges for and sets up work schedules and maintains oversight of a construction project, with respect to a home improvement contract.

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