(a) Except as provided in Section 20111.5, a public entity subject to this part may require that each prospective bidder for a contract complete and submit to the entity a standardized questionnaire and financial statement in a form specified by the entity, including a complete statement of the prospective bidder’s experience in performing public works. The standardized questionnaire may not require prospective bidders to disclose any violations of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1720) of Part 7 of Division 2 of the Labor Code committed prior to January 1, 1998, if a violation was based on a subcontractor’s failure to comply with these provisions and the bidder had no knowledge of the subcontractor’s violations. The Department of Industrial Relations, in collaboration with affected agencies and interested parties, shall develop model guidelines for rating bidders, and draft the standardized questionnaire, that may be used by public entities for the purposes of this part. The Department of Industrial Relations, in developing the standardized questionnaire, shall consult with affected public agencies, cities and counties, the construction industry, the surety industry, and other interested parties. The questionnaire and financial statement shall be verified under oath by the bidder in the manner in which civil pleadings in civil actions are verified. The questionnaires and financial statements shall not be public records and shall not be open to public inspection; however, records of the names of contractors applying for prequalification status shall be public records subject to disclosure under Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code.
(b) Any public entity requiring prospective bidders to complete and submit questionnaires and financial statements, as described in subdivision (a), shall adopt and apply a uniform system of rating bidders on the basis of the completed questionnaires and financial statements, in order to determine both the minimum requirements permitted for qualification to bid, and the type and size of the contracts upon which each bidder shall be deemed qualified to bid. The uniform system of rating prospective bidders shall be based on objective criteria.
(c) A public entity may establish a process for prequalifying prospective bidders pursuant to this section on a quarterly basis and a prequalification pursuant to this process shall be valid for one calendar year following the date of initial prequalification.
(d) Any public entity requiring prospective bidders on a public works project to prequalify pursuant to this section shall establish a process that will allow prospective bidders to dispute their proposed prequalification rating prior to the closing time for receipt of bids. The appeal process shall include the following:
(1) Upon request of the prospective bidder, the public entity shall provide notification to the prospective bidder in writing of the basis for the prospective bidder’s disqualification and any supporting evidence that has been received from others or adduced as a result of an investigation by the public entity.
(2) The prospective bidder shall be given the opportunity to rebut any evidence used as a basis for disqualification and to present evidence to the public entity as to why the prospective bidder should be found qualified.
(3) If the prospective bidder chooses not to avail itself of this process, the proposed prequalification rating may be adopted without further proceedings.
(e) For the purposes of subdivision (a), a financial statement shall not be required from a contractor who has qualified as a Small Business Administration entity pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) of Section 14837 of the Government Code, when the bid is no more than 25 percent of the qualifying amount provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) of Section 14837 of the Government Code.
(f) Nothing in this section shall preclude an awarding agency from prequalifying or disqualifying a subcontractor. The disqualification of a subcontractor by an awarding agency does not disqualify an otherwise prequalified contractor.