August 10, 2021

OPSC addresses prohibition of piggyback contracting for permanent modular buildings

Recently the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) reiterated that the Public Contract Code (PCC) does not allow a school district “to acquire factory-built modular building components via piggyback contracting.” “Piggyback contracting” is a procurement method for “personal property” that allows a school district to avoid competitive bidding when another public agency has an existing contract with a vendor, in which case the school district can purchase the property either through that public agency or directly from that vendor.

The CA Attorney General concluded that modular buildings that would be set on permanent foundations must be competitively bid rather than piggybacked. The AG’s opinion addressed “modular structural components for the installation of classrooms and other school buildings and facilities … on permanent foundations,” where the components would be “attached at the building site.”

However, the analysis may differ for portable or relocatable single classroom buildings, which often are manufactured and delivered in just one or two pieces for simpler installation and relocation. The AG opinion specifically chose not to opine whether piggybacking would be allowed for purchase and installation of portables, and the SAB and OPSC apparently have not taken a formal position on the issue.

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