Davis-Bacon and Related Acts
Questions and Answers
1) What is the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA)?
The Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) was enacted by Congress on March 3, 1931, to assure local workers a fair wage and to provide local contractors a fair opportunity to compete for local federal government contracts.
In general, the DBA, as amended, requires that each contract over $2,000 to which the United States or the District of Columbia is a party for the construction, alteration, and/or repair (including painting or decorating) of public buildings or public works shall contain a clause setting forth the minimum wages to be paid to various classifications of laborers and mechanics employed under the contract. (The Davis Bacon Act is incorporated under 23 U.S.C. 113 as a Davis-Bacon related act statute and is applicable to construction of Federal-aid highways funded with Federal-aid funding. See the discussion on Applicability to Federal-aid Highway projects, questions 7 and 8.)
Contractors and subcontractors are required to pay their laborers and mechanics employed directly upon the “site of the work” no less than the locally prevailing wage and fringe benefit rates for corresponding work on similar projects in the area “regardless of any contractual relationship which may be alleged to exist.” The Department of Labor determines and sets the prevailing wage rates. The geographical scope of the DBA is limited, by its terms, to the 50 States and the District of Columbia.
2) What do the terms “buildings or works” in the Davis-Bacon Act refer to?
The terms “building or work” refer to any construction activity as distinguished from manufacturing, furnishing of materials, or servicing and maintenance work. The terms include, without limitation, buildings, structures, and other facilities on which construction type improvements are performed. Some of the construction type improvements are related to facilities, such as: bridges, dams, plants, highways, parkways, streets, subways, tunnels, sewers, mains, power lines, pumping stations, heavy generators, railways, airports, terminals, docks, piers, wharves, ways, lighthouses, buoys, jetties, breakwaters, levees, canals, dredging, shoring, rehabilitation and reactivation of plants, scaffolding, drilling, blasting, excavating, clearing, and landscaping.
3) What do the terms “construction, prosecution, completion, or repair” in the Davis-Bacon Act refer to?
The terms “construction, prosecution, completion, or repair” refer to all types of work done on a particular building or work at the site thereof, including work at a facility which is deemed a part of the site of the work, including without limitation:
- Altering, remodeling, installation (where appropriate) on the site of the building or work on items fabricated off-site;
- Painting and decorating;
- Manufacturing or furnishing of materials, articles, supplies or equipment on the site of the building or work; and
- Transportation between the site of the work and a facility which is dedicated to the construction of the building or work and deemed part of the site of the work, such as:
- Project office.
- Tool yards.
- Batch plants.
- Borrow pits, etc.
4) Is the manufacturing or furnishing of materials, articles, supplies or equipment covered under the Davis-Bacon Act?
The requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act apply to construction, alteration, and/or repair (including painting or decorating) of public buildings or public works. Only when the manufacturing or furnishing of materials, articles, supplies or equipment is conducted in connection with and at the “site of the work” called for in the contract, are those activities covered under the Davis-Bacon Act.
5) What is the minimum contract size/threshold for the prevailing wage rate requirements to apply?
The minimum contract size/threshold for the prevailing wage rate requirements to apply is over $2,000.
6) Does the minimum contract size/threshold for the prevailing wage rate requirements apply to the contractor and/or subcontractors on a project?
The minimum contract size/threshold of $2,000 only applies to the prime contractor. All related subcontractors on the project are covered under the DBA regardless of the size of the subcontract.
Consulting Services We Provide
- Review public works preconstruction contracts
- Monitor DIR contractor/subcontractor certified payrolls
- Audit labor classification for each worker employed
- Review DIR pre-DAS 140/142 submissions
- Review CAC training fund contributions form CAC-2
- Review DIR Fringe Benefits Statement PW-26
- Monitor DIR wage determinations
- Audit fringe benefits allowances
- Review DIR holiday payment requirements
- Audit DIR travel & subsistence requirements
- Caltrans Labor Compliance
- County of Sacramento Labor Compliance
- City of Los Angeles Labor Compliance
- Los Angeles Unified School District Labor Compliance
- Federal Davis-Bacon Project Monitoring
- Federal DBE Implementation & Review
- Federal FAA AIP Goal Setting
- DIR & Davis-Bacon Training
- DIR Civil Wage Penalty Review
- Local-Hire Review (e.g., San Francisco)
- Skilled and Trained Workforce
Give us a call to discuss your labor compliance requirements.
This email is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice
or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances.