Construction Law Blog
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Small Business Administration Updates Small Business Standards - Increasing the Definition of “Small”
If your company participates in any small business, federal government procurement program, or certain state procurement programs such as the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, the 8(a) Program of the Small Business Administration (SBA), or Washington State’s Minority or Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Programs, your size status may have changed on July 14, 2014, as a result of an update to the SBA’s small business standards. The majority of these small business procurement programs utilize SBA’s “Table of Small Business Standards” to define the government’s limits for what constitutes a small business. As the definition of “small” varies by industry and scope of work, this Table is based on the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which assigns six-digit codes to businesses based on their primary activity. In turn, each NAICS code is assigned either a revenue limit (based on average annual receipts) or average employment (number of employees). For example, for the past few years (since 2008), the NAICS code for framing contractors is 238130, and provided for a $14.1 million average revenue limit. Thus, any framing business with an average revenue (over the past three years) of less than $14.1 million met the definition of a “small business.”
President Obama, on Thursday, July 31, 2014, signed an Executive Order that requires contractors bidding on federal government work to disclose labor law violations and gives screening assistance to federal agencies awarding contracts. Termed the “Fair Pay and Safe Work Places Executive Order” will apply to companies pursuing federal contracts worth more than $500,000 and becomes effective in 2016. Government statistics indicate this executive order will affect roughly 24,000 businesses that employ 28 million workers on federal contracts. According to a White House fact sheet: “The Executive Order will ensure that the worst actors, who repeatedly violate the rights of their workers and put them in danger don’t get contracts and thus, can’t delay important projects and waste taxpayer money.”
Suit Against Limited Liability Company Held to Be Time Barred When Brought More Than Three Years After Dissolution: Certificate of Dissolution Requirement Not Retroactive
On March 13, 2014, Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's refusal to dismiss of a suit by homeowners against a developer as untimely when it was brought more than three years after the developer dissolved its limited liability company.
The Washington State Department of Transportation ("WSDOT") is moving forward with its proposal to exclude non-minority women-owned businesses from Washington's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise ("DBE") program goals for federally-funded contracts. In early March 2014, WSDOT submitted its proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration ("FHWA"). If approved by FHWA, this significant change will go into effect in Washington for the rest of federal fiscal year (FFY) 2014 and remain in place through FFY 2017. WSDOT's proposal was originally reported on the Ahlers & Cressman blog on January 9, 2014. Read our original article here.
On January 9, 2014, the Washington Utilities and Transpiration Commission ("UTC") announced that it has fined two utility companies, Pacific Power and Light Co. ("Pacific Power") and Frontier Communications Northwest, Inc. ("Frontier"), under Washington's new Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act (the "Act"). These are the first two penalties issued by the UTC since the Act took effect on January 1, 2013.
In his State of the Union speech, President Obama again made building infrastructure a centerpiece of his jobs plan, promising to cut though the bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects:
we can take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes - because in today's global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure. We'll need Congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.
At this point, it isn't clear how he is going to reduce the bureaucracy inherent in federal construction projects or which "key project" he intends to streamline.
The Washington State Legislature is reviewing legislation to expand the availability of the "general contractor/construction manager" or "GC/CM" method of construction on public construction projects.
WSDOT Makes a Drastic Move by Publishing its Intent to Exclude Non-Minority Women-Owned Businesses from DBE Participation Goals for 2014
On the eve of the holiday season, the Washington State Department of Transportation (“WSDOT”) published its intent to submit a proposal to the United States Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) with two striking and drastic changes to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“DBE”) Program in Washington. These changes will have a radical effect on non-minority women-owned DBEs. Women-Owned Businesses (“WBEs”) should take swift action to halt WSDOT’s proposed changes, which will have lasting detrimental impacts on small businesses in Washington and the construction industry as a whole.
This is the second part of the two-part blog urging lawmakers to vote against a False Claims Act in Washington.
We can expect the perennial False Claims Act bill to be on Washington lawmakers' 2014 legislative agenda again this year. This is part one of a two-part blog urging lawmakers to vote against passage of a False Claims Act pertaining to construction in Washington.