Frequently Asked Questions about the State of California’s Consolidated Debris Removal and Hazard Tree Removal Contracts

CalRecycle has compiled frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the Pre-Qualification Process for California’s Consolidated Debris Removal and Hazard Tree Removal contracts. This FAQ relates only to the Pre-Qualification Solicitation and resultant Pre-Qualification List (referred to as “Stage 1”). Questions related to individual Requests for Bids (“Stage 2” solicitations available to pre-qualified bidders) should be reserved for those solicitations.

To submit a new question, please email contracts@calrecycle.ca.gov.

Download Frequently Asked Questions PDF

Q: Can an entity pre-qualify on their own and also be part of a second pre-qualification as a member of a joint venture?

Yes. However, applicants should note that at Stage 2’s “Request for Bids,” an applicant will not be permitted to submit multiple bids (as part of a Joint Venture and as an individual member).

Q: Is this pre-qualifier for those companies that can provide the removal and transport?  Do Landfills need to go through the pre-qualified process for the disposal of asbestos and fire debris? 

The Stage 1 pre-qualification process is for firms who are interested in eventually becoming a prime contractor for both Structural Debris Removal Function and Hazard Tree Removal Functions. Both functions are described in the For Reference Only document, Exhibit A Scope of Work, version 1 dated 5-23-22 (subject to future revision at Stage 2’s Request for Bids).   No, landfills do not need to pre-qualify.

Q: Will valid/current insurance certificates rather than policy copies sufficient to satisfy the insurance requirements?

Yes, but applicants should note that the insurance requirements must be met as part of the Stage 2 “Request for Bids”.  

Q: Will there be a recording of the optional pre-bidders conference (held on 5/26)  available for future reference?

Yes.

Q: What is the Prompt Payment policy of CalRecycle?  How many days do you take to pay? What is remedy for late payments to Prime contractors?

CalRecycle follows the Prompt Payment Act’s provisions, described in detail in Government Code section 927 et seq.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of pre-qualified contractors for each service category?

No, there is no limit to how many contractors that may obtain pre-qualification status for any particular region or category.

Q: Are there any minority owned or veteran owned acquisition plans?

To the extent permitted by state law, CalRecycle anticipates Office of Management and Budget (OMB) federal procurement rules to be applicable to federally declared disaster recovery operations (found in 2 C.F.R. sections 200.317-327). Certain socio-economic requirements are described in more detail in the Attachment 4, the “Business Entity Requirement and Certification” in Section E’s “Socioeconomic Requirements.”

Q: What is your decision process for the acquisition best value? Lowest price. Does the RFP have a price page as part of the original Al approved list?

At this time, CalRecycle anticipates evaluating bids from responsible, pre-qualified bidders using the lowest responsive bid methodology (similar to the project-specific Invitation for Bids in previous disaster recovery operations). 

Q: What are the ingredients for a Stage 1 pre-qualification application?

Applicants are encouraged to review the “Required Pre-Qualification Application Package Checklist” located at page 25 of the pre-qualification solicitation document. The checklist provides a thorough overview of the necessary components that applicants must submit to successfully obtain pre-qualification status at Stage 1.

Q: Will a Class A license be required for contractors expressing interest only in Tree work or will C61/D49 and LTO suffice?

For entities pre-qualifying for Hazard Tree Removal only, a C61/D49 and LTO type A will suffice.  However, applicants should note that to be eligible for bid as a prime contractor at Stage 2, the entity submitting a bid must meet the license and registration requirements, including a Class A General Engineering license with a Haz Certification.

Q: Where can Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises (DVBE) sign up for further procurement opportunities? What about registered Small Businesses?

Please visit the Department of General Services website for more information about their SB/DVBE Emergency Registry.

Q: Do subcontractors have to comply with prevailing wage requirements?

Yes.

Q: Does this process/advertisement replace the other recent RFPs? (For example 5229933, 2/10/22). Are you still going to award that contract?

No.  DGS will award the MSA for Assessment and Monitoring services.

Q: Can subcontractors apply individually or should they join a larger company’s team? Or both? For example, will CalRecycle contract with a specialty company that only provides one small piece of the overall services, such as a specialty lab or trucking or biology or archaeology? Or are you only looking for applications from companies that provide all services?

The pre-qualification process is intended for prime contractors to perform both structural debris removal and/or hazard tree removal functions.

Q: Is the Stage 1 pre-qualification process for prime contractors only? Or can subcontractors pre-qualify too?

The pre-qualification process is for prime contractors only.

Q: Do subcontractors (such as labs) need to be pre-qualified or do we just team up with Primes? How do Primes know we are capable to team?

No, subcontractors do not need to be pre-qualified. Subcontractors are encouraged to seek business opportunities from firms on the pre-qualified list or as a registered Small Business (SB) or Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) at the Office of Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Services (OSDS).

Q: Are you considering awarding separate contracts to tree removal contractors and/or debris removal contractors?

No. The list specifies separate functions that will be included into one contract award. Multiple incidents will necessitate multiple contract awards with both functions included in each respective contract.

Q: Once pre-qualified, what additional requirements will be needed for stage 2?  Price proposal only?

Stage 2’s Request for Bids requirements will be released when project-specific details are available after a disaster has been declared. For now, applicants are encouraged to read the Stage 1 pre-qualification solicitation, including accompanying Attachments 1-6, as examples of what might be expected at Stage 2.

Q: If you are submitting for the Large (Cat3) services will you be prequalified for the small and medium categories?

No, not automatically.  Applicants must affirmatively indicate their interest in the appropriate category and region on Attachment 6, Service Regions and Categories Selection Form to be considered for such lesser categories.  However, applicants may apply for multiple or all regions and categories in a single application, and most documents need only be submitted for the largest category requested.

Q: Prevailing wage is based off counties and your regions cover many different counties.  Does CalRecycle want the highest rate per region or for each county per the prevailing wage charts?

Applicants should note that pricing is not part of the Stage 1’s pre-qualification application process. As such, questions about applicable prevailing wage rates should be resubmitted at Stage 2’s Request for Bids when specific information is available after a disaster has been declared (including which counties are affected).

Q: Does previous work performed as a subcontractor qualify for references?

Yes, but CalRecycle must be able to successfully validate the listed customer reference.

Q: Will there be RFB separating debris and hazard tree to eliminate the need for a JV?    

No, RFBs will generally include both Structural Debris Removal and Hazard Tree Removal functions. However, prime contractors can qualify for both functions in all regions.

Q: What bonding capacity is required for each category?           

As stated in Attachment 4 #B.8, a notarized statement from an admitted surety insurer must reflect your maximum bonding capacity respective to the prequalified category for which you are applying.  In Stage 2, the required bond amount will reflect the specific project amount.

Q: Will metal, concrete and other non-wood products need to be separated when taken to the landfill? 

This is a technical detail that is best answered during Stage 2’s Request for Bid’s Q&A process. Contractors should reference Exhibit A, Scope of Work (version 1, dated 5-23-22) as an example.

Q: Can an established JV apply for stage 1 as one entity?

Yes, joint ventures may apply at Stage 1’s pre-qualification process.  Individual members of a Joint Venture may also individually pre-qualify at Stage 1.

Applicants should note that a Joint Venture and any individual members of the Joint Venture may not simultaneously submit bids at Stage 2’s Request for Bids. If one or more bids are submitted by individual member(s) of a Joint Venture and the Joint Venture as a whole also submits a bid, all bids will be considered non-responsive and disqualified.

Q: Only those contractors included on the July 1st list will be able to submit bids this year?           

No, but applicants are encouraged to apply early. When an incident occurs for which CalRecycle intends to move to Stage 2, CalRecycle will post a notice on its website. Interested Parties not previously pre-qualified may submit a Pre-Qualification Application Package no later than five (5) days after said notice to be eligible to participate in Stage 2 for the noticed incident.  See “Ongoing Pre-Qualification Submission” in the pre-qualified application solicitation, pp. 8-9.

Q: What if we prequalify with named personnel but those people get assigned to a project? Will we be able to bid on projects knowing those people are no longer available? 

During Stage 2, CalRecycle anticipates offering pre-qualified applicants the opportunity to update the personnel described in Stage 1’s Attachment 3’s Required Personnel and Organization. Such an update is anticipated to be part of the overall bid package.

Q: Will approved contractors need to re-submit Licensing/Past Experience/EMR etc. during stage 2? or will stage 2 just be a “Bid Sheet”?        

Yes, pre-Qualified Applicants have the duty to report any material changes from their pre-qualification documents immediately or risk removal of pre-qualified status. CalRecycle also reserves the right to ask pre-qualified Contractors to resubmit documentation at any point to re-affirm pre-qualified status. CalRecycle will ask and expect pre-qualified applicants to affirmatively indicate whether any material changes have occurred to Stage 1 answers, and if so, to provide updates. If a material change has occurred, appropriate documentation should be provided. However, it is in the applicant’s best interest to affirmatively and immediately provide updates to CalRecycle upon discovery of material changes, rather than waiting until Stage 2’s Request for Bid.

Q: If a fire burns across multiple zones will there be separate contract let for each zone?

This will depend on operational needs, depending on the complexity of the disaster. Such specifics will be available in Stage 2’s Request for Bids document. Applicants are encouraged to apply for all regions and categories that the applicant is interested in working in at Stage 1 through Stage 1’s Attachment 6, Service Regions and Categories Selection Form.

Q: Regarding size, the slide said enrolled properties for the count.  At time of bidding not all have enrolled, would this actually be the count of the destroyed structures?

No, CalRecycle anticipates using an estimated number of enrolled parcels to determine the appropriate category. CalRecycle will use an estimate solely as a basis to determine the appropriate category for pre-qualification purposes, not as an actual promise of work to be performed.

Q: Does CalRecycle\CalOES have a debris management plan for each region? Are Temp Debris Reduction Sites identified for each site?     

This is a technical detail that will be determined at Stage 2’s Request for Bids. For reference purposes only, CalRecycle released Exhibit A.1. Special Provisions (version 1, dated 5-23-2022) available as an example of the means and methods for Contractors to remove debris in general terms (subject to finalization at Stage 2).  Neither Cal OES nor CalRecycle have pre-identified Temporary Debris Management Sites.

Q: What is the term of the prequalification? How many years will a contractor be pre-qualified for?          

CalRecycle reserves the right to ask for applicants to re-apply for pre-qualification at any time. Since the pre-qualification process is on a rolling basis, there is no set duration unless and until the pre-qualification criteria contained in the application changes or CalRecycle exercises its discretion to refresh the list.

Q: Does the contractor have to show experience with the number of parcels to prequalify for that category?       

Yes. Applicants should consider the directions provided in the pre-qualified application solicitation, pp. 13-14 (“Customer References”)

Q: For category 3, referencing 2,000+ parcels, it seems that this would require a JV to qualify for the quantity of parcels as there are probably no contractors with a single project of 2,000 parcels.

For the purposes of the customer reference validation, individual members of a past Joint Venture will be considered to have the necessary experience requirements so long as the listed reference is able to validate that the individual member performed the work, consistent with the customer reference validation process described in the Stage 1 solicitation document’s pp. 13-14.

Q: Will CalRecycle require a recycling component to include Green House Gas Emissions or carbon sequestration for Stage 2 bid submission concerning hazardous trees?     

Applicants should await specific direction during Stage 2’s Request for Bids and consider resubmitting during the Stage 2 Q&A process.

Q: Will out of state contractors have to get licensing for the State of California?    

Yes, all applicants must adhere to the licensing requirements, regardless of where the contractor is headquartered.

Q: For the PQ052322 solicitation, will CalRecycle consider extending the question deadline to June 3rd in order to thoroughly review and understand the submission requirements?            

No.

Q: If a contractor is successfully pre-qualified as a Category 1 hazard tree removal contractor, can they work as a subcontractor in the event a different prime wins the bid for the actual work?   

Yes. If a contractor has only been pre-qualified for a category 1 Hazard Tree removal, the contractor would be ineligible to submit a bid during the Stage 2 Request for Bid’s process because the contractor did not demonstrate capacity to perform structural debris removal functions through the formation of a joint venture and/or successful pre-qualification for the debris removal function. Such a contractor would have the option of seeking subcontracting opportunities with other pre-qualified applicants. 

Q: Are non-union contractors considered equally with union contractors?   

All interested parties are encouraged to submit applications to determine if the applicant is pre-qualified for the appropriate service category.

Q: Does a subcontractor’s experience count towards the contractor’s experience?  Can they be combined?        

Experience cannot be combined, but experience as a subcontractor may count towards the applicant’s past experiences so long as the listed reference is able to successfully validate the past project experiences, including the size.

Q: Do the customer references for Disaster Debris Removal and Hazard Tree Removal have to come from CalRecycle projects only?

No, customer references may come from any operation meeting the criteria described in the PQBL solicitation pp. 13-14.

Q: If an LTO wishes to pre-qual for Tree Removal only, do they have to have a Class A General Engineering license with a HAZ Certification?     

No, an LTO who wish to pre-qualify for the Hazard Tree function does not have to possess a Class A General Engineer license with a Haz Certification at Stage 1’s pre-qualification application. However, applicants should note that to be eligible for bid as a prime contractor at Stage 2, the entity submitting a bid must meet the license and registration requirements, including a Class A General Engineering license with a Haz Certification.

Q: Will the Applicants that are pre-qualified through this current solicitation process be the only Applicants who will be pre-qualified to submit Stage 2 (Pricing after an incident) for this specific fire season?             

Yes, applicants must be pre-qualified at Stage 1 to participate at Stage 2. CalRecycle reserves the right to not use the pre-qualified list and utilize another procurement method.                        

Q: We understand that the Customer Reference Form may include references from outside of the State of CA. Is our understanding correct?  

 Applicants may utilize references for operations that occurred outside of the State of California, so long as the operation meets the criteria described in the pre-qualification solicitation document, pp. 13-14.

Q: Does the contractor need to show experience from a single project to qualify for each category, or can experience from multiple projects be combined to qualify for each category?    

The project for customer reference requirements may not be combined. The listed project for the customer reference form must meet the criteria described in the pre-qualified bidder’s list application solicitation, pp. 13 -14.

Q: Under a Joint Venture bid can the experience of all JV partners be combined to qualify for the categories listed? Contractor A has experience to qualify for category 1 on parcels, contractor B’s experience combined with contractor A allows the JV to qualify for category 1,2, & 3 on parcels and trees.    

If a Joint Venture were to submit a pre-qualification application at Stage 1, the JV as a whole must qualify and meet the criteria described in the Stage 1 solicitation (see page 13). To do so, at least one of the members of the JV must meet the appropriate past project size, based on the selected service category (for instance: category 3 = 2,000+ APNs). JV’s will only pre-qualify for the highest category that can be verified.

At Stage 2, a pre-qualified contractor for the debris removal function will be permitted to form a joint venture with a pre-qualified contractor for the hazard tree removal function in order to submit a complete bid. Pre-qualified contractors may elect to form Joint Ventures for the purposes of participating in Stage 2 and responding to CalRecycle’s Request for Bid.  At least one member of the Joint Venture must qualify for the appropriate category and region for the debris removal function, at least one member of the Joint Venture must qualify for the hazard tree function, and all members of the Joint Venture must be on a list for the appropriate category and region. 

Q: It is unreasonable to expect good contractors to qualify for category 3 (2000+ APNs) where only two fires with more than 2000 APNs have occurred in the last 6 years. With this restriction, qualified contractors for Category 3 will be limited to the ones who participated, and the rest will have no path or opportunity to qualify for Category 3. Please change the category to be more reasonable or allow contractors to provide a justification to demonstrate qualification for category 3 without exceeding the 2000 APNs. The application doesn’t have a section that you can provide additional information.   

CalRecycle thanks applicants for their comment.  Please note that if the applicant has participated in a past project as a joint venture, all individual members of the joint venture may claim experience for that project for the purposes of Stage 1’s customer reference form. This is contingent on the listed reference on the customer reference form successfully validating the past project during CalRecycle’s reference validation process.

Q: EMR–Please don’t lapse your safety requirements from previous bids, the work is very dangerous.  Please add back the 3-year requirement that your California EMR rate must be under 1.0 for all 3 years. 

The EMR rating of 1.0 or less represents the three-year average. This is the same as previously awarded contracts.

Q: Please add a 50% self-performed requirement.  

To ensure full and open competition for the competitive bidding process, CalRecycle must encourage any and all firms who are interested in participating in debris removal operations (for hazard tree removal and structural tree removal functions) to apply for pre-qualification at Stage 1.

Q: Please consider adding payment terms that align with CA contracting statutes.  On the 2021 fires, no payments were made per parcel until it was 100% complete (debris, trees, and erosion control). This caused the contractor to wait months before payment on a parcel.

Payment details are to be finalized at Stage 2’s Request for Bids.

Q: Can the Contractor assume payments will be faster than 90 days on this contract?     

CalRecycle shall comply with the Prompt Payment Act Provisions. See Government Code section 927 et seq.

Q: What will the requirements be for maintaining the Pre-qualification status?        

Once awarded pre-qualification status, pre-qualified applicants must report any material changes to their Stage 1 application documents to CalRecycle immediately upon discovery. Applicants are also expected to maintain active and good standing with appropriate Authorities Having Jurisdiction (example: continuously maintaining a valid CalFire LTO license if pre-qualifying for the Hazard Tree removal function).

Q: Can Subcontractors, Partners, or other entities submitted with the Prime Contractor provide the experience needed to meet the prequalification at any given tier?         

If the applicant has participated in a past project as a joint venture, all individual members of the joint venture may claim experience for that project for the purposes of Stage 1’s customer reference form. This is contingent on the listed reference on the customer reference form successfully validating the past project during CalRecycle’s reference validation process.

Q: Can two affiliated companies submit two separate prequalification packages? 

Yes. However, affiliated companies may be barred from submitting competing bids during Stage 2’s Request for Bids.

Q: Does experience from a parent company pass down to a solely owned subsidiary company?   

Yes, so long as the applicant provides proof of the ownership claim. Also, such experience must be successfully validated by the listed reference during CalRecycle validation process.

Q: Just to confirm, the only resume you wish for us to submit during Stage 1 is that of the Health & Safety Officer? Or would you like for the other personnel’s resumes listed in attachment 3 be submitted as well?    

This is incorrect. Attachment 3 delineates which resumes are required to be submitted during Stage 1. Attachment 3 has been updated and Version 2 should be used.

Q: If applying for Category “X” does the contractor have to use the largest project as a reference if they have multiple qualifying references for Category “X”?         

The Contractor may use their own discretion as long as the customer reference meets the criteria described in the pre-qualified bidder’s list application solicitation, pp. 13 -14.

Q: Does CalRecycle take into consideration performance on previous projects since references are requested?         

Yes, customer references must be properly validated, consistent with the procedure outlined in the pre-qualification solicitation document, p. 14.

Q: Is an Associate’s degree required for the key personnel safety position?

Yes. See Attachment 3, Version 2 for updates and additional clarification.

Q: As stated in the pre-bid webinar, contractors can apply for a higher category even if they do not have the associated references and provide reasoning. Where in the proposal should contractors add this information?       

This is incorrect. Applicants may only pre-qualify for the appropriate service category having met all the pre-qualification application requirements, including past project experience requirements commensurate with the number of parcels and/or hazard trees in the applicant’s selected category size.

Q: If the contractor was subcontracted to work on a disaster, would they claim the entire quantity of debris parcels/trees assigned to the Prime? Or only the specific quantity of debris parcels/trees they performed?

Applicants should note that the customer reference must successfully validate the past project requirements (as described in the pre-qualification application solicitation document on p. 14, see “Customer Reference Validation”). As such, applicants should claim the appropriate quantity that can be successfully verified as being performed by the applicant.

Q: If the contractor only has 1 reference for Category “X” and cannot provide the second reference, will they be able to qualify for Category “X”?  

No.