Ohio House Bill 487 and the New Ohio Facilities Construction Commission
On June 11, Governor Kasich signed Amended Substitute House Bill 487 (titled Mid-Biennium Review Management Efficiency Plan) into law. HB 487 provides, in part, for the elimination of the State Architect’s office and the creation of a new Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (“OFCC”). The State Architect’s office was formed almost a century for the purpose of building and maintaining Ohio’s canals and transportation system. With the passage of HB 487, the State Architect’s office will be subsumed under the OFCC whose role will be to administer the design and construction of improvements to public facilities of the State of Ohio.
The Ohio School Facilities Commission (“OSFC”) will be an independent agency within the OFCC. HB 487 provides that the OSFC may share employees and facilities with the OFCC.
HB 487 delegates to the OFCC certain duties currently performed by the Department of Administrative Services such as (i) preparation, through licensed engineers or architects, of surveys, general and detailed plans, specifications, bills of materials, and estimates of cost for any projects, improvements, or public buildings to be constructed by state agencies (however, independent architects are not required as provided for in Section 153.01), (ii) supervision over the construction of any projects, improvements, or public buildings for a state agency and over the inspection of materials prior to their incorporation into those projects and (iii) preparation of contracts for and supervision of the design and construction of any projects and improvements or the construction and repair of buildings under the control of a state agency. The OFCC will also have the authority to debar contractors as provided in Ohio Revised Code Section 153.02 for public works generally. The OFSC, conversely, will not have the power to debar contractors but, instead, must request OFCC to do so.
As HB 487’s title suggests, the restructuring of the State Architect and Engineers Office into the OFCC is intended to create efficiencies within the State of Ohio with respect to the construction of public improvements. These changes follow the recently enacted HB 153 Construction Reform Act which allows public entities to utilize multiple delivery methods for construction (design-build, construction manager at-risk, general contracting and multi-prime contracting).
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C. Michael Shull, III focuses his practice on construction law and litigation. Michael's client representations range from casinos and ENR Top 400 contractors to design firms and subcontractors.