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Prevailing wage questions

GWGW Member Posts: 2,583
I'm in Mass, I have a job that started out as a privately owned entity, but becasue of some funding I need to get familiarized with the stage wage stuff. It's been about 20 years since I did a prevailing wage job; I recall getting extremely frustrated with the rate my helper was supposed to get paid, or something about the years he was a helper, or some madness like that.

Anyway, can anyone offer me a helping hand on this? Does each town have their own rate? I ask becasue the asbestos abatement guy (that i am supposed to hire) said that was the case.

I looked on for a web site yet that seemed like a dead end, there was some log-in required.

Anyway, we just want to replace a boiler, and hire the asbestos person.

Thanks for the help, Gary
Gary Wilson

Wilson Services, Inc

Northampton, MA


  • gennadygennady Member Posts: 680
    edited August 2013
    prewailing wages

    I did PW jobs for over 10 years, hospitals, housing authority, schools, you name it. Almost went bankrupt. Decided to get out of it in 2009, and concentrate on boiler work we always did. Somehow all those public work turn out to be at best break even. Amount of regulations, stupidity and lack of competency of people in charge is mind boggling. I 've seen excellent companies put out of business at will of people in charge. Steer away from those projects, they are burial ground for honest and competent contractors. This is not about how much you pay, it is about completely different culture.
    Gennady Tsakh

    Absolute Mechanical Co. Inc.
  • RichRich Member Posts: 2,243
    In New Jersey

    the collective bargaining rates differ from County to county with some larger urban areas or individual Cities having different rates than the rest of the county .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC 732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey , Eastern Pa .
    Consultation , Design & Installation
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,584
    If I read your question correctly......

    You are looking for information on the Davis Bacon Wage Act.

    Google that and see what comes up. They have a list of prevailing wages for all trades.

    If you are a family owned small business enterprise, I think you are exempt from the DBWA provisions,

    It was originally developed way back when the interstate highway systems were being built and was an effort on the unions part to level the playing field. Any time Federal funding is used (and in some cities) you are required to comply to DBWA, including reporting hours worked, wages paid etc. There are two scales here in Denver. Commercial and Residential.

    My cousin, one of the largest brick contractors in Denver refuses to do Federally funded work because his guys get into a fist fight every time one comes up, wanting to get the work....

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 11,380
    The Davis-Bacon reporting requirements

    are a deal-breaker for us. They can effectively double the amount of time needed to complete the job, and of course we don't get paid for the extra time. So any time government funding is involved, we do not get involved. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • GWGW Member Posts: 2,583

    For the most part I am ignorant in these matters.So, our country (states, counties, cities, towns) has financial issues and we are required to hike up the pricing to follow the rules? Love it!!!
    Gary Wilson

    Wilson Services, Inc

    Northampton, MA
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,922
    My take on prevailing wages

    They are in place to make sure the man turning the wrench gets paid a decent wage. If one can not afford to pay their help the prevailing wage for your region you need to reevaluate what you are charging. We do both private, state, and federal work. I have found many people bidding and doing work that requires Davis Bacon either can not do basic math or are lying about what they are paying their workers.   In Mass it is divided by county and the rates are available from who ever is handing out the checks for the work.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • GWGW Member Posts: 2,583

    I believe my math skills are at least average, I just want to know what to pay my guys. The entity needing the boiler has no clue on this, so their nice new gas meter bracket will sit there until this mess gets worked out. 
    Gary Wilson

    Wilson Services, Inc

    Northampton, MA
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,922
    I have complete faith in your math Gary

    I was speak to the trade in general not to you personally. The entity paying is required to have the wage rates in print on hand. The town hall of whatever town you are working in should have it on file too as the rates are the same for any project they have going too.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,517

    Interesting stuff Charlie.

    Reading through the list it really is just gauge of who has the stronger union. Tilesetter and masons are making 75% more than electricians?

    No offense but this comes from the land of politically appointed toll collector making over 100K and A required policeman at every construction project near a roadway. Keep in mind he will never leave his car or attempt to direct traffic, he is just there to right you a ticket after you run over the workers.

    Funny Stuff!
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Interesting indeed

    and you're right -- with the exception of the divers and tunnel guys, the masons are pretty much on top of the heap.

    Comparing the various (and insanely segregated) job classifications, I'd have to say the relative pay scales bear little resemblance to market-driven ones.
  • Paul PolletsPaul Pollets Member Posts: 3,022
    How does it increase jobtime?

    Why does a prevailing wage job double the completion time?
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,922
    Has anyone thought this way,

    Maybe the "over paid" are not over paid. Maybe the rest of us are underpaid? I am not union, but I know if it was not for unions we would not have weekends, 40 hour work weeks, an end to child labor, and we would be working for the same wages as those flipping burgers.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    edited August 2013

    And yes Charlie is Right on track with his statement.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    edited August 2013

    You are correct. Its really about what trade can bring a project to its knees if their contract is up, and decide to strike if negotiations are not favorable.

    Example would be a highway project, and operators decide to strike. Pretty much dead in the water. So they get crazy clauses like if they fire up their machine, and it rains to where you can not work (dirt work) they get 8 hours pay.
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