Published date: 03/09/2021
One of the more common questions on Davis-Bacon covered projects that we hear about involves trucking. Trucking? Don’t Davis-Bacon requirements just apply to construction work?
Well, my friends, this is one area of the Davis-Bacon Act (or DBA for short) where it gets a little nuanced and you need to dive a little deeper.
What’s the Difference Between Truck Drivers, Teamsters, and Owner-Operators?
First off, let’s get terminology out of the way. Truck drivers can be defined as someone who drives a truck. However, in the world of DBA, they can also be called: drivers, operators, owner-operators, teamsters, and truckers.
On construction projects, truckers perform a variety of tasks – from delivering construction rebar from a dedicated materials yard down the street to the actual site of work, to hauling equipment from one part of the job to another, to moving dirt across different locations on the construction site.
Since we are on the topic of truck drivers, it would be remiss not to mention material suppliers in this conversation. What are material suppliers, you ask? Material suppliers are typically vendors who supply materials and deliver them to the construction site. Let’s take, for example, an affordable housing project that is covered by DBA requirements. One of the vendors contracted is a window manufacturer called Will’s Windows. Will’s manufactures windows and delivers them to the construction site, and thus, would be classified as a material supplier.
Now let’s get down to brass tacks. Are truckers covered by DBA? What about material suppliers? Do they need to be paid prevailing wages, too?
Drivers employed by a contractor (including those employed by subcontractors) who perform work at the project site, like driving a truck for the purpose of moving equipment from one area to another, are considered to be covered under DBA.
Truck drivers who drop off or pick up materials, like drivers employed by Will’s Windows, can also be covered under DBA, but only if the time spent is not de minimis.
What’s de minimis? It’s a term used to define work that’s too trivial or minor to merit consideration. Another way to put it is if the trucker only spends a few minutes dropping off materials, like the windows mentioned above, then leaves the project site, that truck driver would not be subject to prevailing wages. However, if our truck driver delivers the windows, unloads them from his truck, carries the windows to the building being constructed, and prepares the windows for installation, he could be covered under DBA and prevailing wage requirements could apply.
What Are the Key Takeaways Here?
If you are the prime contractor on the project, it would be a good idea to keep tabs on all vendors, including material suppliers. Know what type of work these drivers are performing on the site of work and how much time is spent, because this will help you determine if these truckers need to be paid prevailing wages. If these drivers are overlooked for whatever reason, unfortunately, as the prime contractor, you would still be responsible for ensuring they are getting paid the correct wages, if applicable.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to have a solid understanding of DBA requirements in general. To build your knowledge of DBA and understand how/when prevailing wage requirements apply to truck drivers, you can enroll in classes through our LCPtracker Academy programs.
For a full list of courses or more information, please visit www.lcptracker.com/academy.