Construction Projects

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Contractor License Information Requirements—For construction projects, the license information for the general contractor and certain subcontractors must be placed on the outside of the bid envelope or in the electronic bid submission in accordance with T.C.A. § 62-6-119.  The following information must appear on the outside of the envelope containing the bid or in the submission of the electronic bid:  (1) The name, license number, expiration date thereof, and license classification of the contractor applying to bid for the prime contract; (2) The name, license number, expiration date thereof, and license classification of the contractor applying to bid for the masonry contract where the total cost of the materials and labor for the masonry portion of the construction project exceeds one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000); (3) The name, license number, expiration date thereof, and license classification of the contractor applying to bid for the electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, or air conditioning contracts except when such contractor's portion of the construction project is less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000); and (4) For each vertical closed loop geothermal heating and cooling project, the company name, department of environment and conservation license number, classification (G, L or G,L) and the expiration date, except when the geothermal portion of the construction project is in an amount less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).  Prime contractor bidders who are to perform the masonry portion of the construction project which exceeds one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), materials and labor, the electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation or air conditioning or the geothermal heating and cooling must be so designated.  Only one (1) contractor in each of the listed classifications shall be written on the bid envelope or provided within the electronic bid document.

Failure of any bidder to comply with these requirements voids the bid and the bid cannot be considered. Upon opening the envelope or acceptance of an electronic bid, the names of all listed contractors must be read aloud at the official bid opening and incorporated into the bid. Prior to awarding a contract, the awarding person or entity and its authorized representatives must verify the accuracy, correctness and completeness of the required information.  Any discrepancies found in the spelling of names of bidders, transposition of license numbers, or other similar typographical errors or omissions may be corrected within forty-eight (48) hours after the bid opening excluding weekends and state-recognized holidays.

For design/bid/build procurements where cost is the primary criterion for the contract award, no invitation to bid may require that a subcontractor be identified until the final bid submission, nor require that a contractor accept the bid of any subcontractor until the final bid submission.

Anyone preparing bid documents is required to include a reference to Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 62, Chapter 6 (the Contractors Licensing Act of 1994), and a specific statement informing bidders that it is necessary for the bidder to provide evidence of compliance with the applicable provisions of Title 62, Chapter 6 before the bid may be considered. 

Any person who awards a bid to a contractor who is not licensed in accordance with Title 62, Chapter 6, commits a Class A misdemeanor.  T.C.A. § 62-6-119 and -120.

Discrimination against Contractors Licensed by the State—Under T.C.A. § 62-6-111, counties and cities cannot discriminate against contractors licensed by the state of Tennessee on the basis of the licensee's nonresidency within the county or municipality.  See Op. Tenn. Att'y Gen. 15-69 (October 1, 2015).

Income or Residency Requirements Prohibited---Counties and cities cannot require companies bidding or contracting on public construction projects to employ individuals residing within their jurisdiction or within a specific income range, unless otherwise required by federal law.  T.C.A. § 12-4-117.

Employment of Licensed Architect or Engineer on Public Works—If a public works project is expected to cost more than $50,000 and involves architecture, engineering or landscape architecture, the plans, specifications and estimates for the project must be prepared by a registered architect, engineer, or landscape architect. T.C.A. § 62-2-107.

Drug-free Workplace Requirements for Construction Contracts—Private employers with five or more employees who contract with the county to provide construction services must submit an affidavit stating that they have a drug-free workplace program in effect at the time of submission of a bid, in accordance with T.C.A. § 50-9-113. As long as the county obtains a written affidavit from the principal officer of the covered employer stating that the employer is in compliance with T.C.A. § 50-9-113, the county has no further liability.  The form of the affidavit is not prescribed by statute.  An example of an affidavit.

The county is required to include certain information in bid specifications for construction services as set out in T.C.A. § 50-9-114, including a statement as to whether the county operates a drug-free workplace program or drug testing program, a statement describing the program, and a statement requiring bidders to submit an affidavit as part of their bid that the bidder operates a drug-free workplace program at least as stringent as the county’s.  Any construction contract that does not meet these requirements is subject to challenge in chancery court if such challenge is filed within seven days.

Contractors and Public Contracts— Unless required by federal or state law, T.C.A.  § 50-3-109 prohibities local governments, as part of a contract to improve real estate, from requiriing a contractor or remote contractor to: (i) obtain, gather, or disclose personnel information of the contractor’s employees; (ii) provide personnel information of the contractor’s employees to a person or entity; (iii) adhere to safety and health standards in excess of those required by OSHA and TOSHA; (iv) provide access to the worksite to anyone who would not otherwise have legal access to the worksite; (v) provide access to personnel information of anyone furnishing labor or materials on the worksite to a third party unless the third party is a certified public accountant performing an audit for the contract; (vi) require written contracts for labor and materials; (vii) be responsible for another party’s compliance agreement to the improvement; or (viii) offer employment to a temporary laborer regardless of the length of service.  Local governments are not authorizedd to prohibit a contractor from bidding, proposing, or accepting a contract unless the contractor has committed a willful violation of federal or state law.  T.C.A. § 50-3-109.  

Construction Contracts Retainage—Retainage on construction contracts is governed by Title 66, Chapter 34.  Retainage amounts on public and private construction contracts cannot exceed 5% of the contract amount, and retainage must be released to the prime contractor within 90 days after completion of the project or within 90 days after substantial completion of the project for work completed, whichever occurs first.  The prime contractor must pay all retainages due to any remote contractor within ten days after receiving the owner’s retainages.  Any remote contractor receiving the retainage from the prime contractor must pay to any lower-tier remote contractor all retainages due within ten days after receipt of the retainages T.C.A. § 66-34-103. 

When the prime contract is $500,000 or more for real property improvement, retainage amounts must be placed in a separate interest-bearing account with a third party.  The account must be established upon the withholding of any retainage.  At the time of the withholding, the funds become the separate property of the prime or remote contractor, subject to the person’s rights withholding the retainage in the event the prime or remote contractor defaults on or does not complete its contract. Every time funds are withheld from a contractor's application for payment, the contractor must be notified of the name of the financial institution holding the escrow, the account number, and the amount of funds deposited into the account from that payment.  T.C.A.  § 66-34-104.

Immediately following satisfactory completion of the contract, all funds with interest must be paid to the prime or remote contractor to whom the funds are owed.  If the owner, prime contractor, or remote contractor fail to release the funds, then the prime or remote contractor may seek equitable relief, including injunctive relief provided in T.C.A. § 66-34-602. Upon written agreement of all parties, other claims may be settled by arbitration according to the Uniform Arbitration Act.  Compliance with the statute is mandatory and may not be waived by contract.  T.C.A. § 66-34-104. 

If an owner or prime contractor withholds retainage used for the benefit of the prime contractor or remote contractor pursuant to T.C.A. § 66-34-104(a) and (b), then neither the remote contractor nor any of the remote contractors are required to deposit additional retainage funds into the escrow account. T.C.A. § 66-34-103(d).