Passage of SB 785 culminates the longtime industry effort to standardize design-build laws in California, and it is the eighth bill passed in California in the past year expanding design-build authority. SB 785 streamlines California design-build laws and provides clarity and increased opportunity for project owners and practitioners.
AB 401 recently passed as well. This controversial bill authorizes CalTrans & regional governments to use design-build on up to 10 projects between 2014 and 2024. The controversy stems from provisions included in the bill that require all project inspection services to be performed by CalTrans employees and the design-builder would be required to reimburse the state for prevailing wage enforcement. Critics of the bill feel that the inspection provisions put an undue risk on design-builders that perform the work and that the limit of 10 projects over 10 years unnecessarily limits design-build at a time when owners have indicated a desire to use design-build more extensively.