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A pure Davis-Bacon project is easy to spot because the main contract is between the prime contractor and the U.S. Department of XXXX. The work is performed on a military base (Department of Defense), for a federal penitentiary or courthouse (Department of Justice), the U.S. Post Office, or The Army Corp of Engineers, etc.

Prevailing wage gets more complicated if there is both Federal and state or local funding in a project. In those instances the contractor must compare the Davis-Bacon wages and requirements against the State prevailing wage laws and requirements to make sure that the more restrictive of the two is properly paid. The process gets even more confusing if a mixed-use project (residential and commercial) is being built.

Contractors who work consistently in the public works arena generally have a better understanding of the rules and constant changes that occur. Yet, with changes and updates occurring regularly, even an experienced contractor can be caught unawares. A contractor who infrequently does public contracts work will often run afoul of the prevailing wage requirements. There is no substitute for good educational review of prevailing wage requirements on a regular basis and the assistance of a good attorney who understands this area of the law.

The information above is brought to you by: Deborah Wilder’s “What Every Contractor Should Know About Prevailing Wages”

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