Code Section Group

Public Contract Code - PCC

DIVISION 2. GENERAL PROVISIONS [1100 - 22355]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1981, Ch. 306. )

PART 3. CONTRACTING BY LOCAL AGENCIES [20100 - 22178]

  ( Part 3 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 465, Sec. 11. )

CHAPTER 1. Local Agency Public Construction Act [20100 - 20929]

  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 465, Sec. 11. )

ARTICLE 1.5. Resolution of Construction Claims [20104 - 20104.6]
  ( Article 1.5 added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 726, Sec. 22. )

20104.
  

(a) (1) This article applies to all public works claims of three hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ($375,000) or less which arise between a contractor and a local agency.

(2) This article shall not apply to any claims resulting from a contract between a contractor and a public agency when the public agency has elected to resolve any disputes pursuant to Article 7.1 (commencing with Section 10240) of Chapter 1 of Part 2.

(b) (1) “Public work” means “public works contract” as defined in Section 1101 but does not include any work or improvement contracted for by the state or the Regents of the University of California.

(2) “Claim” means a separate demand by the contractor for (A) a time extension, (B) payment of money or damages arising from work done by, or on behalf of, the contractor pursuant to the contract for a public work and payment of which is not otherwise expressly provided for or the claimant is not otherwise entitled to, or (C) an amount the payment of which is disputed by the local agency.

(c) The provisions of this article or a summary thereof shall be set forth in the plans or specifications for any work which may give rise to a claim under this article.

(d) This article applies only to contracts entered into on or after January 1, 1991.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 697, Sec. 47. (SB 189) Effective January 1, 2011. Operative July 1, 2012, by Sec. 105 of Ch. 697.)

20104.2.
  

For any claim subject to this article, the following requirements apply:

(a) The claim shall be in writing and include the documents necessary to substantiate the claim. Claims must be filed on or before the date of final payment. Nothing in this subdivision is intended to extend the time limit or supersede notice requirements otherwise provided by contract for the filing of claims.

(b) (1) For claims of less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), the local agency shall respond in writing to any written claim within 45 days of receipt of the claim, or may request, in writing, within 30 days of receipt of the claim, any additional documentation supporting the claim or relating to defenses to the claim the local agency may have against the claimant.

(2) If additional information is thereafter required, it shall be requested and provided pursuant to this subdivision, upon mutual agreement of the local agency and the claimant.

(3) The local agency’s written response to the claim, as further documented, shall be submitted to the claimant within 15 days after receipt of the further documentation or within a period of time no greater than that taken by the claimant in producing the additional information, whichever is greater.

(c) (1) For claims of over fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) and less than or equal to three hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ($375,000), the local agency shall respond in writing to all written claims within 60 days of receipt of the claim, or may request, in writing, within 30 days of receipt of the claim, any additional documentation supporting the claim or relating to defenses to the claim the local agency may have against the claimant.

(2) If additional information is thereafter required, it shall be requested and provided pursuant to this subdivision, upon mutual agreement of the local agency and the claimant.

(3) The local agency’s written response to the claim, as further documented, shall be submitted to the claimant within 30 days after receipt of the further documentation, or within a period of time no greater than that taken by the claimant in producing the additional information or requested documentation, whichever is greater.

(d) If the claimant disputes the local agency’s written response, or the local agency fails to respond within the time prescribed, the claimant may so notify the local agency, in writing, either within 15 days of receipt of the local agency’s response or within 15 days of the local agency’s failure to respond within the time prescribed, respectively, and demand an informal conference to meet and confer for settlement of the issues in dispute. Upon a demand, the local agency shall schedule a meet and confer conference within 30 days for settlement of the dispute.

(e) Following the meet and confer conference, if the claim or any portion remains in dispute, the claimant may file a claim as provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 900) and Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 910) of Part 3 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code. For purposes of those provisions, the running of the period of time within which a claim must be filed shall be tolled from the time the claimant submits his or her written claim pursuant to subdivision (a) until the time that claim is denied as a result of the meet and confer process, including any period of time utilized by the meet and confer process.

(f) This article does not apply to tort claims and nothing in this article is intended nor shall be construed to change the time periods for filing tort claims or actions specified by Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 900) and Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 910) of Part 3 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code.

(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 726, Sec. 22. Effective September 22, 1994.)

20104.4.
  

The following procedures are established for all civil actions filed to resolve claims subject to this article:

(a) Within 60 days, but no earlier than 30 days, following the filing or responsive pleadings, the court shall submit the matter to nonbinding mediation unless waived by mutual stipulation of both parties. The mediation process shall provide for the selection within 15 days by both parties of a disinterested third person as mediator, shall be commenced within 30 days of the submittal, and shall be concluded within 15 days from the commencement of the mediation unless a time requirement is extended upon a good cause showing to the court or by stipulation of both parties. If the parties fail to select a mediator within the 15-day period, any party may petition the court to appoint the mediator.

(b) (1) If the matter remains in dispute, the case shall be submitted to judicial arbitration pursuant to Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 1141.10) of Title 3 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, notwithstanding Section 1141.11 of that code. The Civil Discovery Act (Title 4 (commencing with Section 2016.010) of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure) shall apply to any proceeding brought under this subdivision consistent with the rules pertaining to judicial arbitration.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon stipulation of the parties, arbitrators appointed for purposes of this article shall be experienced in construction law, and, upon stipulation of the parties, mediators and arbitrators shall be paid necessary and reasonable hourly rates of pay not to exceed their customary rate, and such fees and expenses shall be paid equally by the parties, except in the case of arbitration where the arbitrator, for good cause, determines a different division. In no event shall these fees or expenses be paid by state or county funds.

(3) In addition to Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 1141.10) of Title 3 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, any party who after receiving an arbitration award requests a trial de novo but does not obtain a more favorable judgment shall, in addition to payment of costs and fees under that chapter, pay the attorney’s fees of the other party arising out of the trial de novo.

(c) The court may, upon request by any party, order any witnesses to participate in the mediation or arbitration process.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 182, Sec. 54. Effective January 1, 2005. Operative July 1, 2005, by Sec. 64 of Ch. 182.)

20104.6.
  

(a) No local agency shall fail to pay money as to any portion of a claim which is undisputed except as otherwise provided in the contract.

(b) In any suit filed under Section 20104.4, the local agency shall pay interest at the legal rate on any arbitration award or judgment. The interest shall begin to accrue on the date the suit is filed in a court of law.

(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 726, Sec. 22. Effective September 22, 1994.)

PCCPublic Contract Code - PCC1.5.