The Louisiana Public Works Act (“LPWA”), La. R.S. 38:2241, et seq., protects the rights of contractors and others relating to the construction of public works projects for the state, any of its boards, agencies, and political subdivisions. August 1, 2022 not only marks the beginning of the end of summer 2022, but also the effective date of several important changes to the LPWA from the most recent Louisiana Legislative Session. All contractors working on Louisiana public projects should take note of these key revisions concerning time periods under the LPWA detailed below:
Punchlists and Substantial Completion
Act No. 756 makes an important revision relative to punch lists for public works contracts. The amendment to La. R.S. 38:2248(B) provides if a public entity occupies or uses the public works, then the punch list must be provided to the contractor within ten (10) days of substantial completion (see La. R.S. 38:2248(B)(2)(a)) and the punch list may be amended by the design professional or the public entity within fourteen (14) days of providing it to the contractor (see La. R.S. 38:2248(B)(2)(b)). According to La. R.S. 38:2248(B)(3), these provisions are not subject to waiver and are inapplicable to the Department of Transportation and Development. See 2022 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 756 (S.B. 429) (WEST).
No Response To A Submittal Of A Particular Product After Seven (7) Working Days Means Approval
Act No. 424 amends and reenacts La. R.S. 38:2295(C)(1) relating to plans and specifications for public works in order to clarify the requirements for prior approval and provide for an adjustment of time to respond to the submittal of a particular product other than a product specified in the contract documents. Under the revision to La. R.S. 38:2295(C)(1), if a potential supplier of a particular product other than a product specified in the contract documents submits a request for the approval of the product no later than seven (7) working days prior to the opening of bids, the prime design profession must furnish both the public entity and the potential supplier a written approval or denial of the project submitted. Failure by the prime design professional to respond in the seven (7) working days results in approval of the submitted product. See 2022 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 424 (S.B. 423) (WEST).
Working Days Defined and Time Limits For Bidders’ Information
Act No. 774 amends and reenacts La. R.S. 38:2212(B)(2) and (H) and enacts La. R.S. 38:2211(A)(15) relating to certain public works projects bidding requirements. Revisions of interest include the definition of “working days” for purposes of the Section concerning the bid process to mean “the days Monday through Friday, excluding recognized holidays and declared emergencies.” La. R.S. 38:2211(A)(15). Further, the revision to La. R.S. 38:2212(B)(2) provides if a public entity advertising for public work adds additional requirements for information beyond what the statute mandates, then those additional “requirements shall be void and not considered in the award of the contract.” La. R.S. 38:2212(B)(2) (Emphasis added). Finally, the revision to La. R.S. 38:2212(H) changes the time from fourteen (14) days to nine (9) working days for any and all of the bidders’ information to be available upon request following the bid opening or after the recommendation of the award by the public entity or design professional, whichever occurs first. See 2022 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 774 (S.B. 271) (WEST).