Architects must register with the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) in order to compete to provide services on a public works project. The cost of registration is $400 per year.
The revenue from the registration is used by DIR for its oversight and enforcement of various labor laws on public works projects, including the payment of a prevailing wage when required.
Many architects are unaware of this requirement, and for good reason. A common sense read of the requirement on the DIR website gives a strong impression that registration only is required of contractors and subcontractors who pay a prevailing wage.
Prior to June 27, 2017 that was, for the most part, the requirement. However, on 6/27/17 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 96, a 2017-18 State Budget Trailer Bill. SB 96 changed the law and now most service providers, including architects, must register regardless of whether their contract includes any service requiring the payment of a prevailing wage. AIA California has confirmed this with staff and attorneys at DIR.
It is important for architects to register. Competing for or signing a public works contract without being registered can result in a $2,000 fine and affect an architect’s ability to compete for future public works contracts.
Information about registration, a link to register, and FAQs can be found on the DIR website at www.dir.ca.gov/Public-Works/Contractors.html