The Pennsylvania Separations Act of 1913 requires public entity construction projects to solicit separate bids and awarding separate contracts for electrical, HVAC (heating, ventilating, air-conditioning), plumbing and general construction. In other words, four prime contracts are required for public projects. This assures a cleaner and less expensive process of spending taxpayer dollars. Multiple prime contracts prevent the taxpayer from paying for unnecessary mark up of subcontractor’s prices. It also provides an opportunity for small and local contractors to bid on projects directly to the public body. The work is awarded based on low bid and is free of personal interest, bias, and prejudice.
HB 163 effectively repeals the Separations Act. The bill undoes the separate primes bidding requirement under the guise of cost savings. All state and local government agencies currently subject to the Separations Act would be permitted to use any other method of procurement listed in the Commonwealth Procurement Code. This legislation will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in unnecessary construction costs. Head to head bidding between multiple and single prime bids has demonstrated that multiple prime bidding is consistently less expensive. Another affect of the bill is that smaller, often local, contractors will not have the bonding capacity to bid on the larger single prime contracts. That results in loss of jobs for workers from the community where the project is built.
For these reasons, please utilize this page to contact your legislators in opposition to HB163.