Design build bill released

TRENTON – The Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee released a bill that would change how some public construction contracts are bid.

A1332, known as the “Design-Build Construction Services Procurement Act,” sets forth the procedures for the awarding of design-build contracts. The vote was 3-0-2 along party lines.

A design-build contract is used in construction and renovation projects. Traditional contracts are awarded using a design-bid-build system, where the project contracting unit starts by hiring an architect.

Once the architect has finished the design phase, the project is put out for bid to general contracting companies. The contractor with the lowest bid is awarded the project.

With a design-build contract, the contracting unit awards the entire project to a single company.

It is typically awarded to a contractor, though architects or engineers may be awarded a design-build contract in some specialized cases. Once the contract is signed, the contractor is responsible for all design and construction work required to complete the project.

This system allows the contracting unit to deal with a single source throughout the duration of the job, rather than coordinating between various parties, and is intended to provide cost savings to the contracting unit, according to bill language.

There were concerns raised about a requirement regarding apprenticeship training language and prevailing wage issues, and some opponents called the bill “exclusionary” and said it overrides public bidding law.

Sponsor Assemblyman Troy Singleton, however, disputed such characterizations and

said he wanted to make sure the panel understood this bill is not some “back-door’’ attempt to benefit organized labor unions at the expense of non-union labor.

The committee released these other bills:

A2473: The bill permits a mayor or commissioner to appoint a municipal emergency management coordinator from among the residents of the contiguous municipalities that are subject to a shared services agreement. The vote was unanimous.

A3362: This bill would exempt property acquired by municipalities as part of a flood-prone property acquisition program from county, school, and fire district taxes for the following tax year.  The vote was unanimous.

A3317: This bill clarifies that owners of residential rental property with three or more units must register their properties with the state, not the municipality in which the property is located.  The vote was unanimous.

Owners of one-unit and two-unit residential rental properties are required to register properties with the municipality in which they are located.  State law also allows municipalities to require owners of all  residential rental units to register their properties locally, although those properties have already been registered with the state. 

This results in an unnecessary duplication of registration for properties of three units or more by two levels of government, creates confusion, and permits the imposition of unnecessary fees by two entities for a single purpose, the bill states. 

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato