In its first official meeting of 2020, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 14 approved a new policy for contractors working with the county on construction projects.

Traditionally, the county has used the design-bid-build model, in which an agency contracts with separate entities for each project phase, typically including design and construction, Public Works Director Josh Pack told the board in a presentation on the new contracting policy. Each individual project also requires approval from the Board of Supervisors under that model.

Promoted as a cost- and time-efficient alternative, job order contracting will allow contractors to complete a substantial number of individual projects with a single bid.

Job order contracting will be an “effective tool in helping the county complete new projects approved in the county budget, deliver backlogged projects from past years, and improve responsiveness to urgent and time-sensitive projects,” according to the agenda item.

Designed for repairs, remodels, maintenance and other minor construction, the policy would only apply to small projects. Companies would initially be guaranteed bids for projects costing up to $50,000 under the new system, such as roadway resurfacing, emergency road repairs, facility maintenance, bridge maintenance and building remodels. After completing jobs, the county would conduct a performance review to determine whether it should contract with entities again for larger projects – an incentive for improving work quality, Pack said.

Over the next three years, Public Works has approximately $17.8 million in projects eligible for job order contracting, and the new policy would save upward of $900,000 in administrative fees, Pack said. Additionally, the county would be the smallest in the state to embrace job order contracting, giving it the opportunity to “set the template for many rural agencies moving forward,” according to Pack.

In July, the board approved an agreement with the Gordian Group for Job Order Contracting services, including the development and maintenance of a construction task catalog, for projects identified by the county. At the Jan. 14 meeting, supervisors approved the specifications of that plan on a 4-0 vote, with District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills absent.

As for the next steps in implementing the policy, Pack said a mandatory before-bid meeting will be held on Feb. 6, with bids due on Feb. 20, contracts to be awarded in March and projects to start in spring, tentatively.



Davis graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies. He covers environmental issues, agriculture, fire and local government. Davis spends his free time playing guitar and hiking with his dog, Penny.

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