Off-Site Prefab Bill Passes Commerce and Labor

The House Commerce and Labor Committee passed HB 2805 the off-site prefabrication legislation.

AGC strongly opposes the bill which says that for public works contracts over $1 million contractors and subs must submit a certified list to the awarding agency and L&I of any off-site prefabricated nonstandard project-specific items produced outside Washington. The list must provide: (1) a general description of the item; (2) the name and address of the contractor or subcontractor; and (3) the name address and federal employer identification number of the contractor or subcontractor that produced the item. Plus the contractors and subs producing the items outside Washington must file certified copies of payroll records.

In his testimony against the bill AGC Legislative Counsel Van Collins raised many problems with the bill including the ambiguity surrounding the definition of “off-site prefabricated nonstandard project-specific items.”

“How can one reasonably expect any consistency of interpretation by public owners and contractors on the hundreds if not thousands of public works projects over $1 million that are implicated in this bill?” Collins asked. “AGC believes that the disputes arising from just this lack of definitional clarity will be immense.”

Collins also raised issue with the lack of a stated intent for the rationale behind the data collection although it appears the ultimate goal is the enactment of some kind of “Buy Washington” legislation. Such a measure while seeming good on the face of it would raise the cost of public works projects considerably and would set Washington companies that export products to retaliation particularly by states such as Idaho and Oregon that have reciprocal preference statutes.

“This is a lose-lose situation” said Collins. “Contractors are facing enormous economic challenges and do not need this additional burden.”

HB 2805 was passed out of the Commerce and Labor Committee. Those voting yes: Reps. Conway Green Moeller Williams and Wood. Those voting no: Reps. Chandler Condotta and Crouse. It is now in the House Capital Budget Committee.

For more information contact Van Collins 360-352-5000.