About 200 contractors have applied for the certification they need to work on state construction projects after Jan. 1, according to a Department of Administration employee.
Summer Strand, administrator of the Division of Facilities Development, said Wednesday at a state Building Commission meeting that the certifications have been going smoothly. The department notified contractors Nov. 22 of the need to be registered with the state to work on projects valued at $50,000 or more. Of the questions that have been raised about the process, most have come from out-of-state companies, she said.
State Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah and a member of the Building Commission, has raised concerns about the certification requirements in the past, particularly about a provision that would prevent companies that have no experience with government contracts from bidding for state contracts. He has said excluding bidders would reduce competition and possibly lead to higher costs.
The certification requirement comes as part of sweeping changes the current state budget made to the state’s bidding procedures. In the biggest of those, officials elected to have projects worth more than $185,000 managed as a single-prime system.
Under that system, the only companies to hold contracts directly with the state will be general contractors, which will then be responsible for managing subcontractors. The state now uses a multi-prime system, in which mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades contract directly with the state without the intermediary of a general contractor.
Strand said that a company that gets certified need not worry about re-registering with the state for two years. She said the Jan. 1 date is not a deadline and is only something contractors should be concerned about if they plan to bid on projects that will be let that same month.