An Overview of the Davis-Bacon Act

Association of Construction and Development
July 11, 2012 — 1,312 views  

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) established the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts for contractors and subcontractors completing federally funded or assisted projects that cost over $2,000. These rules apply to professionals who perform work including the alteration, construction or repair of public buildings.

Much of this act's stipulations correspond to the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant award, which is associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A total disbursement of $4.7 billion will be provided to projects that promote the spread of broadband technologies across the country. This serves multiple purposes - improving the economy, developing the nation's broadband and creating new jobs for American citizens.

A wide range of specialists can provide assistance for public works projects. The Davis-Bacon Act helps ensure that each participant receives close to labor union wages when they complete such assignments. Understanding the key provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act is important for building professionals, as they must comply with federal regulations to avoid penalties.

Wage rate determinations

The DOL uses statewide surveys to gather payment data on wage and fringe benefit parties from construction contractors and related parties, including labor unions. This allows the DOL to define a fair wage in a specific region.

While the same methods are used to collect this information across the country, wage determinations might vary based on several factors. Typically, the DOL decides wage requirements based on locality on a county-by-county basis. For example, the wages for laborers and mechanics completing construction work on a project in Massachusetts might differ from those of staff members finishing assignments in California.

Recordkeeping regulations

Weekly certified payroll documentation with Form WH-347 must be completed by contractors, recipients, subcontractors and subrecipients. This is used to monitor the work completed by laborers and mechanics, to ensure that it falls under the scope of this act.

Possible penalties

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration will impose severe penalties on those who violate the David-Bacon Act. Offenders risk suspension or termination of the BTOP grant award. Meanwhile, contracting parties could face payment of back wages, and suspension or debarment from future contracts for up to three years.

The falsification of certified payroll records or the required kickback of wages may result in civil or criminal prosecution, potentially leading to fines or imprisonment.

Association of Construction and Development