On Friday, July 17, Michael Courtney, Director, Facilities Services for the Judicial Council of California, provided an update to AGC of California’s North/Central Region members about the status of the department’s construction plans. Acknowledging that short and long term implications of COVID-19 will have an impact on project funds and timelines, Courtney outlined his expectations in a presentation to members.
The Judicial Council of California currently has 10 courthouse projects in progress, with project status ranging from in construction, in AHJ review, or in buyout phase. Those projects, which range across the entire state, were funded two years ago.
Last year, the Council published a five-year infrastructure plan, with intended new construction or renovation for 32 courthouses in 24 counties across California estimated at $6.5 billion. During the governor’s January 10 budget proposal, Governor Newsom allocated $2 billion over five years to fund these needed improvement projects. Unfortunately, during the governor’s May Budget Revision, the funding was eliminated due to impacts from COVID-19 on state revenues, and Courtney acknowledged additional sort and long term implications should be expected. The Council will update their plan in August, likely pushing funding requests for infrastructure improvements out a year.
When projects are once again funded, Courtney announced the Council’s intent to switch to Design/Build from the current Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) delivery method. The Council anticipates less risk and greater value with this process, and will adopt a model similar to the CSU system.
Courtney noted COVID-19 has impacted current construction projects. At jobsites, new safety protocols and materials shortages created slowdowns on project completion. The Council also had to reduce its operating budget, resulting in one furlough day per month for staff. Courtney is expecting future cuts for the 2021-2022 budget, with a 5% cut already anticipated.
While COVID-19 is impacting the Council’s budget and anticipated plans for construction, Courtney said he remains eager and open to continued conversation with AGC of California members and the construction industry.
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