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Bidder Responsibility Criteria Changing July 1

Bidder Responsibility Criteria Changing July 1

July 1, 2019 is the effective date for an addition to responsible bidder criteria under RCW 39.04.350.

As of this date, awarding agencies must verify that a bidder has received training on prevailing wage and public works requirements or that the bidder is exempt from this training because they have completed three or more public works projects and have had a valid Washington business license for three or more years. This verification is required by the public agency prior to awarding a contract for prevailing wage and public works projects, although contractors should ensure they meet the requirement before submitting a bid.

Contracts that are started before July 1, 2019 and continue after that date will not be subject to this training requirement.

How Will This Impact My Local Government?

Agencies will want to consider bids that may be released prior to July 1, 2019 if these bids will be awarded or will commence following this effective date. Agencies should review and update the language in their solicitations to reflect this bidder responsibility change, and they should also update language in contracts awarded following such solicitations. RCW 39.06.020 states that verification requirements and responsibility criteria must be included in every public works contract and subcontract of every tier: Thus, getting this information into solicitations from which subsequent contracts will be awarded is important since this effective date is drawing near and will impact these awards.

Additionally, and pursuant to the requirement in RCW 39.06.020, a public works contractor must verify responsibility criteria for its first-tier subcontractors. A subcontractor of any tier hiring other subcontractors must verify responsibility criteria for each of its subcontractors. Subcontractors must meet criteria responsibility at the time of subcontract execution.

Tools to Help Local Governments

In the originating 2018 legislation, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) was tasked with the responsibility of keeping records of entities that have satisfied the training requirement or are exempt from training for reasons noted above. Additionally, L&I was to make this information available on its website. L&I initiated the necessary training in 2018, and the Prevailing Wage and Public Works Training outline offers insight into contents of the contractors’ training.

L&I also now provides access to such records for use in fulfilling the verification requirements.

Awarding agencies are already familiar with tools on the L&I website that allows them to check contractors information currently necessary to award public works contracts at the Verify a Contractor page. This same tool can be used to verify the new training requirement for bidder responsibility. Steps are as follows

  • Enter contractor name or business number
  • This will pull up a variety of information about the company, including certification, workplace safety, workers’ comp and more.  Open the tab Public Works Requirements.
  • Several types of requirements are listed under this tab, including one addressing the training on prevailing wage and public works requirements, titled Required Training-Effective July 1, 2019.
  • Underneath Required Training-Effective July 1, 2019, one of the following statements will appear to indicate company status:
    • Exempt from this requirement, (or)  
    • Needs to complete training.

Awarding agencies should retain this information in the same manner as other verifications, likely by printing the page and retaining it in their bid file, to confirm the training verification and its results.

L&I has also created a Public Works Training Exemption list, which includes contractors who are exempt from the training as well as those contractors who have met the requirement by taking the training.

“When we work together, we do our best.”

MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

Photo of Judy Isaac

About Judy Isaac

Judy is MRSC's Procurement and Public Works Contracting Consultant, and she joined the organization in 2017.

Her experience in public works and public procurement includes purchasing positions with the City of Redmond and the City of Shoreline, and most recently as Purchasing Manager for KCDA Purchasing Cooperative.

Working in areas of procurement and project management has provided Judy significant experience in both the public and private sectors.

She studied Business/Accounting at Edgewood College in Wisconsin and attended the Purchasing program at Shoreline Community College for continued education. Participation in various professional organizations supplement her experience and she currently holds a Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) certification through the Institute of Supply Management.