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Chair Nathan Fletcher, and members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, today passed two separate ordinances about subcontractor transparency, after the to increase the amount of information contractors provide about the subcontractors they use on their projects in unincorporated areas of the County. 

“Subcontractor transparency is vital to protecting workers and ensuring project worksites are safe and completed correctly by a skilled workforce. I am pleased this Board of Supervisors has taken action to ensure contractors and subcontractors who perform work in our unincorporated areas are more accountable,” said Chair Fletcher.  

Union leaders are supportive of this new subcontractor transparency ordinance.  

“There are too many subcontractors that prey on working families and use exploitation as a business model. Today’s ordinance ensures we are able to identify the bad actors that plague the construction industry. Thanks to the leadership of Chair Fletcher, we are seeing other local cities also taking steps to protect workers and law abiding contractors,” said Doug Hicks, Regional Manager, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. 

“Multi-layered employment structures can create accountability problems and dangerous conditions at worksites, including in the public right-of-way. Low-road subcontracting is a huge problem in the telecom industry, affecting work quality, worker safety, and public safety. For example, we are currently seeing a boom in installation of wireless “small cell” technology in our rights-of-way. CWA Local 9509 technicians, including myself, have surveyed work done by subcontractors at Verizon 5G small cell sites. We have seen substandard work quality and unsafe work conditions,” said Frank Lopez, Maintenance Splicing Technician for 23 years and Chair of CWA Local 9509 Health and Safety Committee. “We commend Chair Fletcher and the entire Board and staff for taking action on an issue that affects both workers and the public.” 

The updated ordinance will collect the following information before a subcontractor gets onsite:  

  1. Subcontractor specialty, name & contact, license number, and workers compensation policy,
  2. Start and end dates of subcontractor work,
  3. Subcontractor address, 
  4. Detailed scope of work done on job, 
  5. Verification of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or wage violations,
  6. Subcontractor Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) status, and 
  7. Special safety licenses or training requirements for a subcontractor’s scope of work. 

The following are types of projects that will require greater subcontractor transparency

  • Building Permits: 1.) All new commercial, residential tracts (five or more lots), and multifamily construction projects (5 or more units); 2.) Commercial tenant improvement (renovation) projects that affect more than 10,000 square feet of space under the renovation; and 3.) Projects associated with General Plan Amendments
  • Right-of-Way Permits: 1.) Projects that are done in the right-of-way to provide for transport of energy, water, or sewer that are subject to State Prevailing Wage; and 2.) Projects in the right-of-way not subject to State Prevailing Wage (excluding residential projects for driveways and retaining walls) 

Approximately 14,000 to 18,000 building permits annually and roughly 2,200 right-of-way permits annually are issued, and  the overwhelming majority use subcontractors. In March of last year, Chair Fletcher introduced the policy for the ordinance changes