Davis-Bacon Act Wage Rates

Third Party Procurement

Frequently Asked Questions

Q = Question; A = Answer

Q. What are the rules and/or regulations for using Davis Bacon wages on a contract where the work is less than 1 month's time?

A. The Davis Bacon Act applies to federally funded contracts in excess of $2,000. There are no exceptions based on the contract period of performance. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. Can we use the BPPM Davis-Bacon Act clause or the language in 29 CFR 5.5(a)? Must the clause be a stand-alone part of the contract?

A. It is acceptable to add the Davis-Bacon Act clauses in an attachment to the contract as long as the contract clearly references the attachment. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. Where do we send payrolls to FTA as required by the Davis–Bacon Clause in the BPPM?

A. In your initial meeting with the FTA regional officials for your project (or this particular contract) make sure it is clear to whom the payrolls should be transmitted. FTA may request that you hold them on-site or at the agency for them to review and not actually transmit them. FTA may also delegate the review function to its Project Management Oversight contractor. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. I need to know what the prevailing wage is for roofers if working on a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Cheyenne, Wyoming?

A. Davis Bacon Wage Determinations for all parts of the United States are available free of charge on the Internet at the following address: http://www.wdol.gov/. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. How do we pay Holiday pay on Davis-Bacon, especially if we are already at 1 1/2 pay rate for over 40 hours before the holiday?

A. The U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for interpretation and enforcement of the Davis-Bacon Act. We would suggest you contact your regional Department of Labor office and explain the circumstances and obtain their interpretation. You can locate the regional DOL Davis Bacon office in your state at the following Internet address: http://www.dol.gov/dol/location.htm. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. We are providing vegetation clearance and lawn mowing on a federally funded project. Are Davis Bacon wages in effect?

A. You should submit this question to the government contracting officer who is administering the federal prime contract under which you are working. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. We are the Construction Manager / General Contractor on a project in Vermont and we understand that we need to comply with Davis Bacon. This is the first FTA funded project that we have worked on; we have worked on several HUD funded projects and have included with bid packages the 33 page HUD manual titled "Making Davis Bacon". It's a guide for bidders, telling them about prevailing wages requirements and the required reporting. Does FTA have a similar guide available?

A. FTA does not have a guide or manual for bidders regarding Davis Bacon Act requirements. The Department of Labor has a web page for workers and small businesses regarding employment/labor laws, and it offers assistance to the public. It is: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/. The DOL Davis Bacon web page, which also offers a compliance manual, is available at: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/dbra.htm. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. Decisions list minimum values for "rates" and "fringes" by trade. Which if any of the following are included in the definition and which are not?

A. The fringe benefits enumerated in the Davis-Bacon Act include medical or hospital care, pensions on retirement or death, compensation for injuries or illness resulting from occupational activity, or insurance to provide any of the foregoing; unemployment benefits; life insurance, disability insurance, sickness insurance, or accident insurance; vacation or holiday pay; defraying costs of apprenticeship or other similar programs; or other bona fide fringe benefits. Fringe benefits do not include benefits required by other Federal, State, or local law.

Any question concerning what type of fringe benefits is "bona fide" should be referred to the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. We are a professional corporation providing surveying services to a general contractor on a federal project. Do we have to submit certified payroll under the Davis Bacon Act?

A. The proper person to ask this question of would be the contracting officer who is administering the federal prime contract under which you are employed by the general contractor. (Answer revised September 2010)

Q. Are owners exempt from wage/fringe rates?

A. The Contracting Officer who is administering the Federal contract should be able to answer your Davis Bacon questions as they apply to that specific contract. As a general rule, the Davis Bacon Act applies to laborers and mechanics who are employed directly at the site of the work. The terms "laborers" and "mechanics" are discussed in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Part 22.401-Definitions. The FAR definition of "laborers and mechanics" are those whose duties are manual or physical in nature, as distinguished from mental or managerial. Further they must be employed at the "site of the work." This term is also defined in this section by the FAR. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. If a contract is awarded to an eligible Resident Owned Business for cleaning (to include minor repairs, such as touch up paint) public housing units, to make ready for move in of our public housing residents, to include cutting lawn in common areas and vacant units, and contract exceeds $2,000, does the Davis Bacon wage rate apply to this contract with Resident Owned Business?

A. The Davis Bacon Act applies only to construction work. It would not apply to cleaning or lawn maintenance of public housing units. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. I am shop foreman of a sheetmetal company and we are about to start a Davis Bacon project (a firehouse). Am I and the shop apprentices eligible for the prevailing wages paid on the job when we fabricate materials for said job (i.e. ductwork, fittings, breaching, etc.)?

A. The Davis Bacon Act does not apply to the manufacture or furnishing of materials, supplies, articles or equipment unless the work is conducted with and at the site of the building or construction work. Unless your fabrication work is at the site, it appears the regulation does not apply to your work. We would suggest, however, you contact your regional Department of Labor office and explain the circumstances and obtain their interpretation. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. In a solicitation, do we need to provide the actual wage sheets or can we direct potential bidders to the Davis Bacon web site?

A. It is the obligation of the contracting officer to ensure that a copy of the most current wage determination of the Department of Labor is actually included in the solicitation and the ensuing contract. The Best Practices Procurement Manual (BPPM) discusses Davis-Bacon Act wages in Section 8.1.2. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. I am a Journeymen Electrician in the state of Colorado, working on the Denver International Airport Parking Structure renovation. The web site at http://www.wdol.gov/ shows the wage at $27.91 and fringe benefits $8.67, but I am only making $25.67 with no fringe benefits. Why would I not get the higher rate?

A. If there are no Federal dollars used to fund the project you are working on, then the Davis Bacon wage rates do not apply. If you think you are on a project that is being funded by Federal dollars and your employer is not paying correct wages, you can notify the FAA contracting division. The next place to contact is the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. Are Davis Bacon wage rates required for a federal funded job that is strictly demolition?

A. The Federal interpretation of Davis Bacon and its applicability to demolition contracts is found in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at subparts 22.402(a)(1)(ii) and 37.3. The FAR interprets Davis Bacon as applying to contracts for demolition "if (demolition is) a part of the construction contract, or if construction at that site is anticipated by another contract as provided in subpart 37.3." In other words, if you anticipate there will be a future contract for construction at the site of the demolition, the Davis Bacon applies now to the demolition. If there is to be no future construction work at that site, and there is no construction work in the present contract, then Davis Bacon does not apply to the demolition contract. If you were to omit the Davis Bacon requirements from this contract when the FAR would have required Davis Bacon wages, you risk litigation and a long delay in getting the Department of Labor's decision. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. What is the definition of "construction?" Does it include things like landscape maintenance or laying asphalt? Where do I find the definition?

A. The definition of construction for the purpose of determining the applicability of the Davis-Bacon Act to federally financed work may be found in 29 CFR § 5.2. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) also incorporates the definitions of 29 CFR in FAR Subpart 22.4 - Labor Standards for Contracts Involving Construction. Although grantees are not required to follow the FAR, you may find the coverage helpful since the Federal requirements are based on the same definitions found in 29 CFR that grantees are required to follow. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. We are initiating material procurement and need to know if the Davis-Bacon Act applies to delivery personnel. Our contract is for materials only, but they will have staff off-loading the trucks. We are a new LRT system currently finalizing final design and about to enter into construction.

A. For guidance on Davis-Bacon related questions, including the applicability of the Act to any particular contract you may be considering, we would suggest you contact the Department of Labor. The DOL’s Davis-Bacon Home Page is at http://www.dol.gov/whd/contracts/dbra.htm. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. Who can I contact to determine whether or not this is a Davis-Bacon job? I am a subcontractor for temporary contract labor within the industrial base.

A. We would suggest you first find out who the Government Contracting Officer is for the prime contract and contact him or her. The CO can tell you immediately if the Davis-Bacon Act clause is in the prime contract. If it is, then the prime contractor is obligated to put the clause in its subcontracts. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. Are Davis-Bacon prevailing wages required when procuring furniture?

A. The Davis-Bacon Act prescribes that prevailing wages be paid to laborers and mechanics working on federally-funded construction contracts in excess of $2,000. The Davis-Bacon Act does not apply to the procurement of furniture. (Revised: September 2010)

Q. I am a procurement officer with Maryland Transit Administration. We are getting ready to advertise a federally funded construction contract which spans multiple counties. Do we include the wage rate determinations for each county where the work will be performed in our contract document?

A. The Federal Department of Labor (DOL) publishes wage rate determinations by State and county, and you will have to include the specific counties where the work will be done. You may access the county wage determinations for Maryland online: http://www.wdol.gov/ (Revised: September 2010)

Q. In the event that a bidder on a construction project has employees represented by a union, and the wages negotiated and agreed to by that union are lower than the DB wage rates for that same work, is the recipient obligated to pay the existing union wage rates or the higher DB wage rates?

A. The Federal regulations require that Davis–Bacon wage rates be paid for all construction project labor performed with Federal funds. There is no exception in the Act for unionized employees who agree to work for less than the prevailing Davis–Bacon wages. The Website address for the DOL department that administers the Davis–Bacon Act is http://www.dol.gov/whd/contracts/dbra.htm (Revised: September 2010)

Q. Some of the wage determinations for Colorado (Building) state that they do not include single family residences, or apartments up to and including four stories. Where do I find the wage determinations for those not included?

A. The Colorado district office of the Department of Labor can help you with this issue.

Denver Colorado District Office
US Dept. of Labor
ESA Wage & Hour Division
1999 Broadway, Suite 2445
Denver, CO 80202-5712
Phone: (720) 264-3250

(Posted: January, 2010)

Q. We were asked to submit a bid for post construction cleanup for a commercial building in Juneau County, Wisconsin. The project falls under the federal Davis Bacon job requirements. Information I have received on federal prevailing wages do not cover construction cleanup. Could you please let me know if there are any guidelines for cleaning?

A. The agency requesting bids for the clean-up work is required to insert the Davis Bacon wage rates in the Invitation for Bid (IFB), and we would suggest you ask the agency what the Davis Bacon pertinent wage rates are for that locality. There is also a Department of Labor web site where you may obtain Davis Bacon wage rates online. It is: http://www.wdol.gov/ (Posted: March, 2010)

Q. Do prevailing wage provisions apply to the procurement of rolling stock?

A. The Davis Bacon Act pertains to federally funded construction contracts over $2,000. The Act would not apply to rolling stock procurements. The FTA Best Practices Procurement Manual (BPPM) discusses Davis Bacon requirements in Section 8.1.2 - Davis Bacon Act. (Posted: October, 2010)

Q. I see that the procurement of furniture does not require Davis Bacon wages to be paid. Why? Also, do Davis Bacon wages need to be paid on the installation of the furniture on a federal installation?

A. The Davis Bacon Act applies only to construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works within the United States. Congress did not apply this law to the procurement or installation of furniture or other commercial items bought with Federal funds that are not a permanent improvement to the building itself. Installation of systems/equipment such as the electrical or heating and air conditioning systems that become a permanent part of or improvement to the building would be covered by Davis Bacon, but not items of furniture that are not permanently incorporated into the building structure. (Posted: November, 2010)

Q. I am bidding a job in Arizona in Maricopa County. It is a small residential project and I cannot find a current wage amount for bricklayers and for mason tenders. Can you help me?

A. Davis Bacon wage rates are available online at: http://www.wdol.gov/ (Posted: December, 2010)

Q. Can you please provide the Davis Bacon Rates for the Springfield, Vermont area for Electricians and Apprentices?

A. Davis Bacon wage rates are available online at: http://www.wdol.gov/ (Posted: February, 2011)

Q. I have an HVAC Company that provides work vans for my employees to drive to and from federally funded job sites as a benefit. I was told that I could not count this as benefit even though on other jobs they drive their personal vehicles. Is this factual?

A. You should direct your question to the Department of Labor since they administer the Davis Bacon Act that requires certain wage rates and fringe benefits on federal construction projects. Their toll free number for assistance is: 1-866-487-2365. The DOL web page for Davis Bacon issues is: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-dbra.htm (Posted: February, 2011)

Q. For a project in which Davis Bacon Act is required, should state or federal prevailing wage rates be used? Our agency is building a transfer hub with federal funds and as required noted Davis Bacon as an FTA contract clause in the procurement document. Our local NYS Department of Labor is telling our organization that we should be using state prevailing wage rates and our local federal DOL says that because of Davis Bacon we should be using federal rates.

A. The "Master Agreement" between your agency and FTA governs the requirements of your grant with FTA. The Master Agreement Section 15 governs your procurements under the grant and it requires compliance with FTA Procurement Circular 4220.1F. See the current Master Agreement, Section 15 - "Procurement," paragraph a (PDF).

The FTA Procurement Circular 4220.1F Chapter IV, page IV-25, paragraph (5) "Prevailing Wages," requires that grantee third party contracts at any tier exceeding $2,000 must include provisions requiring compliance with the Davis Bacon Act, including wage rates. (Posted: June, 2011)

Q. I have been working with this company for seven months now and we only work in schools installing smartboards, promethian boards, audio systems and projectors. I have checked every state that I have been sent to for work and it is sufficiently lower than government/federal jobs pay. Do the Federal wages apply to my job?

A. The Davis Bacon Act wage rates only apply to construction work that is funded by the Federal government. If you are working on schools, and non-federal money is financing the contracted work, then Davis Bacon wages will not apply. If you are working on a contract financed with Federal funds, then you should notify the government contracting officer that is administering the contract with your company or the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (1-866-487-2365). (Posted: December, 2011)

Q. What category for construction would flooring installers fall for Davis-Bacon wage tables?

A. You should contact the U.S. Department of Labor Office that administers the Davis Bacon Act: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-dbra.htm

The DOL contact phone number for Davis - Bacon questions is: (866) 487-9243. (Posted: December, 2011)

Q. Are we required by FTA to verify or audit the certified payroll? Previously we received clarification from FTA Helpline that no job site inspections were needed (see background). I have read the previous response to mean that the certification by the contractor is adequate and that any inspection or audit is an agency choice but not an FTA or DOL mandate.

A. FTA does not require a grantee to audit a contractor's certified payroll. (Posted: January, 2012)

Q. What is the minimum wage paid to a security guard working on a construction site at an airport in the state of Tennessee?

A. Davis Bacon Wage Determinations for all parts of the United States are available free of charge on the Internet at the following address: http://www.wdol.gov. (Posted: January, 2012)

Q. I have read bid specs where it says "Davis Bacon Act" applies but the prevailing wages are State wages. Wouldn't Federal wages be applicable if the bid is covered by the Davis Bacon Act?

A. If the contract is using FTA funds the Davis Bacon Act applies, and that Act requires that Federal Davis Bacon Act wages be included in the solicitation and contract. If, however, State wages are higher than Davis Bacon, the grantee will use State wage rates in those particular cases. The Davis Bacon wage rates are minimums that must be paid. (Posted: January, 2012)

Q. Amarillo City Transit is currently undergoing a Bus Stop Improvement project that involves contracting out construction work. This in turn, requires compliance with the Davis Bacon Act. According to the Federal Transit Administration's Best Practices Procurement Manual, Appendix A.1Federally Required & Other Model Contract Clauses, Section 16 (ii)(A)-"The Contractor shall submit weekly for each week in which any contract work is performed a copy of all payrolls to the City of Amarillo for transmission to the Federal Transit Administration." Where and/or Whom do we submit these payroll report to? Or, do we retain the documents for the next Triennial Review and have them readily available for submission at that time? We are making the best effort to comply by all rules set by the FTA.

A. You should contact your regional FTA Office and ask them if they want you to transmit the records to the regional office, or to hold the payroll records at your agency for later review by FTA or its Project Management Oversight contractor. (Posted: January, 2012)

Q. I have a requirement to have the security gates to our parking area replaced. Would this be considered construction?

A. We would suggest you contact the New Haven Office of the Department of Labor at (203) 773-2130. They have jurisdiction over the Davis Bacon Act and can answer your question concerning security gates. (Posted: June, 2012)

Q. In the 'Background Information' section below I have pasted an excerpt from page IV-12 of the FTA C 4220.1F as revised 4/14/2009. It states it increased the thresholds of this requirement to $2,000 and $2,500 respectively. In the very next sentence it states that an assisted contract must exceed $100,000 before these requirements are applied. Could you please clarify if this requirement is enforced at the $2k/$2.5k or $100k benchmark? Background = ...increased the wage and hour thresholds of $2,000 for construction work and $2,500 for non-construction work set forth in the Common Grant Rules to $100,000. A federally assisted contract must exceed $100,000 before these wage and hour requirements apply to that contract.

A. The section you are citing in FTA Circular 4220.1F pertains to the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act [see page IV-13, paragraph c.(1)(a)], not the Davis Bacon Act. Davis Bacon wage rates are discussed on Page IV-28, paragraph (5) ”Prevailing Wages.”

The provisions of the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (e.g., payment of overtime premiums fort work in excess of 40 hours per week) pertain to contracts in excess of $100,000. The Davis Bacon Act (including the payment of Davis Bacon wage rates) pertains to construction contracts exceeding $2,000. (Posted: January, 2013)

Q. We are looking at a project that has a total ICE of $2,884 for purchase and installation of radiant heaters. The heater estimate is $760 and the installation estimate is $1924 (remainder of estimate cost is shipping of the heaters.) Would Davis-Bacon requirements apply to this project?

A. We would recommend that you contact the U.S. Department of Labor Regional Office in Des Moines at the following address:

U.S. Department of Labor
210 Walnut St #715, Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (515) 284-4690

(Posted: November, 2013)

Q. We have an RFP in progress for the Overhaul of P40 and Top Deck Overhaul of GP40 Locomotives.

  1. Does the Davis-Bacon and Copeland Anti-Kickback clause need to be included in our FTA Required Contract Clauses document?
  2. Do we need to include Federal Prevailing or Standard Wages in the RFP?

A. The Davis Bacon Act is discussed in the FTA Best Practices Procurement Manual, Section 8.1.2 - Davis Bacon Act.

This Act applies only to contracts in excess of $2000 where Federal funds are being used for the construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or public works. Davis Bacon would not apply to the overhaul of equipment work that you describe. (Posted: November, 2013)

Q. Does the Davis-Bacon Act apply to an IDIQ contract for construction if the Not to Exceed Amount for the total contract (5 year contract) is well above the $2,000 threshold, but each individual work or task order would be under the $2,000 threshold?

A. Our opinion is that the value of each individual task order would determine if Davis Bacon wages rates are required. However, in order to be sure you are in compliance with the law for this contract we would suggest you contact the Regional U.S. Department of Labor Office for your State:

Two Pershing Square Building
2300 Main Street, Suite 1050
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 285-7233

(Posted: December, 2014)

Q. It is my understanding that the building, alteration, and/or repair of ferry vessels funded with federal funds is work performed upon "public works" within the meaning of the Davis-Bacon Act (BDA) and DBA requires grantees to physically attach a copy of the most current wage determination to the solicitation. However, since FTA's procurement rules do not allow geographical limitations, the place of performance will not be known until the shipbuilding contract is awarded. Therefore, how would we comply with this DBA requirement?

A. We would suggest you contact the Region 6 Department of Labor Office in San Francisco with your question as they administer the Davis Bacon Act. Contact information is:

Virginia Hamilton
Regional Administrator
U.S. Department of Labor/ETA
90 7th Street, Suite 17-300
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415-625-7900

(Posted: December, 2014)