Several recent changes that affect construction law have occurred. Some of the key updates are described below.

State of Ohio Public Notice Website

In February 2012, the state public notice website required by H.B. 153 became operational. All advertisements and notices required by the R.C. to be published in a newspaper were also to be posted on the website at no cost. As of September 10, 2012, posting on the website is no longer a requirement; however, it is optional and can still be used.

Under § 7.16, a state agency or political subdivision has the option to use an abbreviated second notice or publication procedure, which includes publication to the state public notice website; however, if the state public notice website is not operating, then regular publication requirements apply. Note that some political subdivisions (e.g., schools) have different options for a second advertisement in their bidding statute.

Bidding Thresholds Increase

The following bidding thresholds increased recently:

Click here to view the table.

Not all bidding thresholds increased (e.g., schools remain at $25,000, as do conservancy districts). The bidding threshold for several other entities, including the state of Ohio, increased through prior legislation in 2011 (e.g., villages without a village administrator and township bidding for memorial buildings, monuments, statutes and memorials, or by fire and ambulance districts).

Energy Conservation Measures for Libraries Added

Effective September 10, 2012, options for procurement of energy conservation measures outside of the library bidding statute are now available for public libraries. The key provisions in R.C. § 3375.405:

  • Provides options for creating an “energy conservation report” for library facilities.
  • Defines three possible methods for a library to implement energy conservation measures: 1) Any manner authorized by existing authority; 2) Advertise for bids, following competitive bidding requirements, using the energy conservation report or any part of the report; and 3) Request proposals from at least three vendors, requiring any vendor who is awarded a contract to prepare an energy conservation report and then use that vendor to implement some or all of the measures identified in the report.
  • Before awarding a contract for energy conservation measures implemented under R.C. § 3375.405, the board of library trustees must find that it is not likely that the library will spend more on the energy conservation measures than it will save, according to the energy conservation report.

Statute of Limitations for Contracts Decreased

Beginning September 28, 2012, the statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit based on a written contract was reduced from fifteen years to eight years. See R.C. § 2305.06.

Declaration of Material Assistance/Nonassistance Form Not Required

As a result of H.B. 487, effective September 10, 2012, the “Declaration of Material Assistance/Nonassistance” (DMA) form is no longer required. See R.C. §2909.33 [repealed].

These are some of the relevant updates to construction law, but it is not an exhaustive list. Be sure to check applicable R.C. sections when beginning a project.