In response to an August 20, 2013, letter from AGC, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has provided clarification on the application of the Davis-Bacon Act to survey crew workers. Due to widespread confusion among construction contractors, AGC’s letter requested a withdrawal and reissuance of All Agency Memorandum (AAM) 212. The AAM, regarding the application of the Davis-Bacon Act to survey crews, was issued by WHD on March 23, 2013.
While it did not withdraw and reissue the AAM, WHD provided clarification and additional guidance for determining which members of surveys crews are to be considered laborers and mechanics, and therefore, covered by the Davis-Bacon Act. According to the letter, survey crew members are considered laborers and mechanics and are covered by the Davis-Bacon Act on covered projects when they:
- Perform primarily physical and/or manual duties (50% or more is considered primary);
- Perform this work while employed by a contractor or subcontractor;
- Perform this work immediately prior to or during actual construction;
- Perform this work in direct support of construction crews; and
- Perform this work on the “site of the work.”
To further explain, the letter states that survey crew members are generally not covered when:
- Surveying work is performed during the design phase in which construction projects are envisioned and engineering plans are developed by architectural and engineering firms;
- Survey crew members are not employed by a construction contractor or subcontractor; or when the worker is exempt under Sec. 541 of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
To make the appropriate determinations of coverage, it is important that contractors not consider job titles alone but, instead, evaluate actual job duties along with each of the determining requirements associated with the work that is being performed. Because survey crew classifications typically have not been listed in Davis-Bacon general wage determinations, contractors that determine they have covered survey crew workers will need to request a prevailing wage rate from the contracting agency through the conformance process, should one not be listed on the wage determination. WHD advises that the request should include information describing the duties of the workers on the project.
For additional information on the Davis-Bacon Act, visit AGC’s Labor & Topical Resources webpage. The primary category is “Compensation” and the secondary category is “Davis-Bacon & Related Acts.”