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Department of Labor Rules Survey Crew Members Subject to Davis-Bacon Act

June 21, 2013 Written by: Written by Mike Rogers, Chief Compliance Officer


Recently the Department of Labor ruled that members of survey crews are now subject to the construction prevailing wage law known as the Davis-Bacon Act, reversing 50 years of precedent. The ruling was issued at the request of the Operating Engineers Union.

In essence, the ruling previously stated that surveyors were covered by the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act only when they were engaged in physical labor: “clearing brush and sharpening stakes.”  When doing survey work, the surveyors had been exempt from Davis-Bacon.

The ruling expands the department’s mandated “prevailing rate” of wages on federally-funded contracts for construction to surveying technicians engaged in:

“laying off distances and angles to locate construction lines and other layout measurements. This includes the setting of stakes, the determination of grades and levels, and other work which is performed as an aid to the crafts which are engaged in the actual physical construction of projects,” and classifies such workers as “laborers or mechanics.”