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New Laws Impact State and Local Public Works Projects

The most recent session of Georgia’s General Assembly produced several notable changes to state and local government procurement laws.  These laws apply to both state agencies and local governments.  They relate to bidding requirements and conditions, award selection, early completion incentives and liquidated damages for delayed completion, and immigration laws. 

Bidding Requirements

The first change limits public owners’ ability to disqualify a bidder based on its lack of prior experience with projects that are the same size as the project being proposed.  A public owner may not disqualify bidders for this reason where (i) the bid or proposal is not more than 30 percent greater in scope or cost from the bidder’s previous experience in projects; (ii) the bidder has experience in performing work that is being proposed; and (iii) the bidder is capable of being bonded by a surety which meets the qualifications of the bid documents.

The second change relates to bond requirements for projects based on competitive sealed proposals for which price or cost will not be a selection factor.  For such projects, the bidder need not provide a bid bond, unless the public owner expressly requires a bid bond and specifies the amount.

Conditions Based on Labor Agreements

With respect to public works bidders or their subcontractors or suppliers, the third change prohibits public owners from:

(i)                imposing a requirement to, or prohibition against, entering into or adhering to pre-hire agreements, project labor agreements, collective bargaining agreements, or any other agreement with one or more labor organizations on the same or other related construction project; or

(ii)              discriminating against, or treating differently, any bidder or its subcontractors or suppliers for becoming or refusing to become or remain signatories, or otherwise adhering to agreements, with one or more labor organizations on the same or related construction project.

An exception from the above rule applies if the public owner finds, after public notice and a hearing, that special circumstances require an exception to avert an imminent threat to public health or safety.

Completion Incentives and Liquidated Damages

The fourth change expressly authorizes public owners to impose liquidated damages for delayed completion, along with incentive provisions for early completion when the project schedule is deemed to have value.  If they are to be used, the provisions must be included in the construction contract and included within the terms of the bid or proposal.

Immigration Law Changes

The last change relates to immigration mandatates.  See this helpful Q&A published by the Georgia Municipal Association.

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