Distinguishing Between PCA and SCA

  • The PCA applies to federal contracts in excess of $15,000 for the manufacture or furnishing of materials, supplies, articles or equipment.
  • Contracts principally for remanufacturing of equipment that is so extensive as to be equivalent to manufacturing are subject to PCA (not SCA).
  • Manufacturing is deemed to include remanufacturing, and PCA applies when certain criteria are met. Thus, PCA applies to:
    1. Major overhaul, in a facility owned or operated by the contractor, of an item, equipment, or materiel that is degraded or inoperable and which is required to be substantially torn down into its individual component parts to be reworked, rehabilitated, altered, and/or replaced, and reassembled (usually commingling the disassembled parts with inventory parts) to furnish a rebuilt item or piece of equipment restored to its original life expectancy or nearly so by manufacturing processes similar to those used in manufacturing the item or equipment; or,
    2. Major modification, in a facility owned or operated by the contractor, of an item, equipment, or materiel that is wholly or partially obsolete, and is required to be substantially torn down, have outmoded parts replaced, and then be rebuilt or reassembled, so that the contract work results in a substantially modified item in a usable and serviceable condition.
  • Manufacturing does not include the repair of damaged or broken equipment that does not require such complete teardown, overhaul and rebuild of the item(s), equipment, or materiel. 29 C.F.R. § 4.117(b)(3).
  • In contrast with PCA application to manufacturing, including remanufacturing, SCA covers contracts for periodic and routine maintenance, preservation, care, adjustment, upkeep, or servicing of equipment to keep it in usable, serviceable, working order. 29 C.F.R. § 4.117(b)(3).
    1. Such contracts typically are billed on an hourly rate basis - labor plus materials and parts.
    2. A contract principally for work listed at 29 C.F.R. § 4.117(b)(3) is subject to SCA (not PCA). Examples of such work include:
      1. repair of an automobile, truck, other vehicle, aerospace, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, ground powered industrial or vehicular equipment; and inspecting , testing, calibration, painting, packaging, lubrication, tune-up, or replacement of internal parts of such equipment;
      2. repair of electronic equipment or appliances; inspecting, testing, calibration, painting, packaging, lubrication, tune-up, or replacement of internal parts of equipment (if not exempt under 29 C.F.R. § 4.123(e)); and reupholstering, reconditioning, repairing, and refinishing furniture.
      3. WHD may decide on application of SCA or PCA to a similar type of contract not addressed in 29 C.F.R. § 4.117(b)(1)-(3) on a case-by-case basis. 29 C.F.R. § 4.117(b)(4).
  • "Any work required to be done in accordance" with PCA provisions is exempt from SCA requirements.
    1. This SCA exemption, at 41 U.S.C. § 6702(b)(2), applies to "work", i.e., specifications or requirements, rather than "contracts," subject to the PCA.
    2. The purpose of the SCA exemption of work subject to the PCA is to eliminate possible overlapping of the differing labor standards of the two laws.
    3. If the principal purpose of a contract is the manufacture or furnishing of materials, supplies, etc., rather than the furnishing of services of the character referred to in the SCA, there is no overlap because such a contract is covered by PCA and is not covered by the SCA. 29 C.F.R. § 4.117(a).
  • PCA applicability to work under an SCA contract
    1. A procurement that requires tangible items to be supplied to the Government or the contractor as a part of the service furnished is covered by SCA so long as the contract is chiefly for services and the furnishing of such tangible items is of secondary importance. 29 C.F.R. § 4.131(a). (The use or furnishing of such items may be an important element in the furnishing of the services called for by the contract.)
    2. On the other hand, if as a matter of convenience in procurement, the service specifications are combined in a single contract document with specifications for the procurement of different or unrelated items, and the principal purpose of the contract is for services warranting SCA coverage, SCA would apply to the service specifications but PCA would apply to specifications, if any, requiring the manufacture or furnishing of materials, supplies, articles or equipment to the Government. 29 C.F.R. § 4.132.


  • An important coverage concern is distinguishing DBA and SCA work under federal contracts. This is particularly important because federal contracting agencies are responsible to designate application of DBA and SCA requirements to different work under single contracts. The potential for cost adjustment changes for the agency, as well as administrative inconvenience for the agency and its contractor(s), also may result from failure to apply the DBA and SCA labor standards appropriately.
    1. Routine and recurring maintenance work is covered by SCA and typically involves the activity of keeping something in such a condition that it may be continuously utilized.
    2. By contrast, DBA typically covers activities such as rehabilitation or restoration of a facility.
    3. Determining whether the activity is continuous in nature (SCA), as opposed to a single incident repair or replacement job (DBA), will often resolve the SCA/DBA coverage question.
  • SCA covered maintenance work vs. DBA repair work:
    1. SCA covered maintenance work - Work is typically scheduled, routine, and recurring. The workers are typically engaged in performing ongoing activities needed to keep something in such a condition that it may be continuously utilized. Thus, the SCA, rather than the DBA, will normally apply when the:
      1. Activities are continuous in nature (such as daily or weekly);
    2. DBA repair work - Typically covers activities such as the restoration of a facility by replacement, overhaul, or reprocessing of constituent parts or materials. Thus, the DBA, rather than the SCA, will normally apply when the:
      1. Activity is a one-time fix to something not functioning;
      2. Activity involves a service or repair order that generally takes 32 or more work hours to perform, such as for repair of a particular building component; or
      3. Activity involves the alteration, relocation, or rearrangement of architectural and structural components of a facility that affects the structural strength, stability, safety, capacity, efficiency, or usefulness of the facility.
  • An important factor in determining coverage is whether the activity is undertaken as part of a construction project. For example:
    1. DBA applies when cleanup, landscaping, carpet laying, and drapery installation activities are undertaken as an integral part of or in conjunction with new construction, such as under a construction contract where they precede and are conditional to acceptance of a building or public work by the owner.
    2. The SCA applies when the same activities are performed after the construction contractor and subcontractors have finished, left the site and the contracting agency has accepted the building.
  • Demolition work 29 C.F.R. § 4.116(b):
    1. SCA applies where the contract is for the demolition or dismantling of buildings or other structures, and does not contemplate further construction activity at the site;
    2. DBA applies where contract is for demolition and/or clearing of the site and contemplates subsequent construction of a public building or public work at the same location.
    3. AAM No. 190 discusses the application of these labor standards to demolition contracts.
  • Exploratory drilling and well drilling:
    1. SCA applies when the drilling is for a purpose other than part of construction, such as exploratory drilling to obtain data to be used in engineering studies. 29 C.F.R. § 4.130(a)(16).
    2. SCA may apply to a federal contract for drilling to obtain data to be used in planning of a construction project that has not been authorized or for which no funds have been appropriated.
    3. DBA applies to drilling holes for wells and other structures and improvements that fall within the term "work" as defined by 29 C.F.R. § 5.2(i).

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.

© 2009-2020 GroupOne Company. All Rights Reserved.