As 2020 (finally) comes to a close and we turn the page to 2021, it is worth reviewing some of the upcoming changes in affecting the construction industry and those who work in it.
COVID-19 Exposure Notices to Employees
Under AB 685, employers are required to provide written notice to employee who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at their worksite. The notice must include the same information as that required of an injury incident report pursuant to Cal/OSHA requirements. The only exception is where the information is unknown or inapplicable to the employer. Notably, AB 685 also expands Cal/OSHA’s ability to potentially shut down a place of employment by restricting access to the place of employment itself, or any machine, device, or apparatus, if the Cal/OSHA division concludes that a dangerous condition exists.
CSLB Discipline of Employers of Tree Workers
Pursuant to AB2210, the Contractors State License Board may take disciplinary action against a licensed contractor for violating tree worker safety regulations regardless of whether the violation resulted in death or serious injury to an employee. Further, the time for the Board to bring disciplinary action against the contractor for violation is extended to 18 months from the date the violation occurred.
Modifications to the Dig Safe Act
SB 865 effects several changes to the Dig Safe Act of 2016. The law now requires operators to notify a regional notification center within 48 hours of discovering or causing damage to a subsurface installation. Additionally, beginning in 2023, all new subsurface installations must be mapped using a geographic information system and the map must be maintained as a permanent record of the operator. The only exception is oil and gas flow lines three inches or less in diameter located within the boundaries of an oil field.
Public Entities Must Give Notice of Skilled and Trained Workforce Requirement In All Bid and Construction Contracts
AB 2311 provides that public entities must provide notice that a skilled and trained workforce is required for a given project in all bid documents and construction contracts generated in relation to the project.
New Licensing Classification
SB 1189 creates a new license classification for “residential remodeling contracting.” This license will be a B-2 classification and cover projects that make improvements to, on or in an existing residential wood frame structure and utilize at least three trades or crafts for a single project. The new law also expands the definition of “home improvement” to include the reconstruction, restoration or rebuilding of residential property that has been damaged by a disaster severe enough to merit a declaration of a state of emergency by the California Governor or the President of the United States.
Safe Harbor for Payment of Prevailing Wage On Public Works Projects
Pursuant to AB 2231, employers now enjoy a safe harbor protection from the payment of prevailing wages on a public works projects if the public subsidy is both less than $600,000 and less than two percent of the total project cost. For single family residential public works projects, the safe harbor applies if the public subsidy is less than two percent of the total project cost. This new law applies to contracts awarded, or projects advertised to bid, on or after July 1, 2021.
Withholding of Monies By State Agency for Failure to Certify Amounts Paid to Disabled Veteran Business
SB 588 permits state agencies to withhold the lesser of $10,000 or the final payment owed to a prime contractor where the contractor fails to certify the amounts paid to a disabled veteran business when required to by law. A contractor who receives a demand for certification has up to 30 days to provide the certification or the withholding is forfeited. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2021.
Extension of the Right to Cancel For Seniors On Home Improvement and Repair Contracts
Pursuant to AB 2471, the right to cancel contracts for persons 65 years of age or older is extended to five business days in relation to the following contracts: property assessed clean energy assessment (PACE), home solicitation, home improvement, service and repair, and seminar sales.
Payment of Prevailing Wage On Private Contracts For Charter Schools
Under AB 2765, an employer must pay prevailing wage on private contracts related to the construction of charter schools where the project is paid in whole or in part with monies generated from a conduit revenue bond issued on or after January 1, 2021.
In closing, we wish everyone a healthy, safe, and productive year in 2021.
Zachariah H. Rowland is a partner in the law firm of Dunn DeSantis Walt & Kendrick. He advises clients on all types of commercial litigation and construction matters in state and federal courts throughout California. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Dunn DeSantis Walt & Kendrick provides a broad spectrum of legal services to businesses of all sizes, from small, local start-ups and non-profits to large, national companies. DDWK’s real estate development and construction practice includes representing all segments of the development and construction industries on both private and public projects.
You can find additional information and resources related to helping business owners and their businesses through COVID-19 challenges on the DDWK website.