The construction landscape had changed.
With the repeal of Indiana’s Common Construction Wage, the public project construction landscape has significantly changed. While the tedious and sometimes costly process of establishing a wage scale committee and wage for each public project has been repealed, there are still a number of requirements for owners, contractors and participants in public construction which must be closely monitored. The new requirements apply to any “public works project” undertaken by a state or local “public agency” and awarded after June 30, 2015. In the event a project was awarded prior to July 1, 2015, the prior common construction wage statute continues to apply as if it was not repealed.
For projects awarded after June 30, 2015, unless required by federal or state law, a public agency is not permitted to establish or otherwise require a wage scale or wage schedule for a public works project. Consequently, no wage committee is established, no wage is published, and responding or selected contractors need not comply with a government-mandated wages with some exceptions.
The price local governments have to pay for this freedom is not expensive, but it is complicated. Post-CCW public works contracts must now be drafted within the “contractor tier” requirements of the new law.
Tier 1 contractors:
- are prime contractors with a contract for work, supplies or services directly with the public agency
Tier 2 contractors:
- an immediate subcontractor of a prime contractor
Tier 3 contractors:
- each person or entity that has a contract with a subcontractor and lower tier contractors including each person that has a contract with a Tier 3 contractor for work, supply or materials for the public works project.
Some of the new requirements apply to contractors of any tier, while others apply specifically to prime contractors holding a direct contract for materials, work or supplies with the public agency.
Contractors failing to comply with the provisions may be determined by the public agency to be “not responsible” for future bidding requirements for a period of up to forty-eight (48) months and may be subject to additional requirements and penalties as provided under applicable law. In making the determination of the length of time the contractor remains “not responsible” the public agency is to consider the severity of the violation. Suspected violations of provisions not specifically listed in the statute are to be noticed to the contractor and remedied within thirty (30) days of notice. A failure to remedy results in a finding of the contractor being “not responsible” as with other violations. A finding of “not responsible” is applicable only to that public agency, and cannot be used by another agency in determining whether the contractor is “responsible” under applicable bidding statutes. Any determination that a contractor is “not responsible” by the public agency is deemed to be “final and conclusive,” subject to judicial review under Ind. Code §34-13-5.