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      Seeking Federal Funding to Upgrade Outdated Infrastructure? Follow These Six Tips to Close Compliance Gaps

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      Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Compliance Tips from Federal Funding Compliance Experts

      As utilities seek to retire outdated fossil fuel assets and increase their investment in renewable energy assets, they depend on federal grant funding to help pay for those projects. Their eligibility for grants – as well as their ability to maintain funding for the long term – hinges on their compliance with complex operational and reporting requirements, including those of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA).

      The primary purpose of the DBRA is to ensure that workers employed on government-funded construction projects receive fair wages and benefits in line with those prevailing in the local area. In addition to setting wage standards, the DBRA also requires contractors and subcontractors to maintain accurate payroll records and submit certified payroll reports to demonstrate compliance with the prevailing wage requirements. Failure to comply with the provisions of the act can result in penalties, contract termination, and debarment from future government contracts.

      At Plexos Group, our grant management experts perform Gap analyses for clients looking to maximize federal grant funding from sources including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Here’s a breakdown of the top compliance issues they find, and the strategies they help clients implement to avoid them:


      1.  Misclassification of Laborers and Mechanics

      Issue: Incorrectly classifying workers in roles that do not accurately reflect the work performed, often resulting in incorrect wage payments.

      Prevention: Carefully review the definitions of classifications provided by the Department of Labor and ensure each worker is classified according to the actual duties performed.

      2.  Failure to Pay Full Prevailing Wage, Including Fringe Benefits

      Issue: Not compensating laborers and mechanics at the required prevailing wage rate for all hours worked, including overtime.

      Prevention: Implement a robust system to regularly update wage rates and monitor compliance with wage requirements. Ensure fringe benefits are also included as per regulations. Create a form that includes details such as the date of determination, sources consulted, wage rates identified, and rationale for selecting specific rates.

      3.  Incomplete or Inaccurate Recordkeeping

      Issue: Not documenting all hours worked or failing to record hours worked in each classification accurately when an individual works in multiple classifications.

      Prevention: Use detailed timesheets that require workers to log their hours by classification daily. Regular audits of timesheets and payroll records can also help maintain accuracy.

      4.  Failure to Maintain a Copy of the Bona Fide Apprenticeship Program and Individual Registration Documents for Apprentices

      Issue: Not having accessible records of the apprenticeship program or the apprentices’ registration documents on-site or in company files.

      Prevention: Keep organized and updated records readily available for all apprentices enrolled in bona fide apprenticeship programs, including their individual registration documents.

      5.  Failure to Submit Certified Payrolls Weekly

      Issue: Not submitting payroll records that are certified as correct and complete, which is required on a weekly basis.

      Prevention: Establish routine payroll procedures that include certification to ensure timely and accurate submission of payroll records each week. Implement a standardized form for contractors and subcontractors to use that can be easily reviewed during audits. (WH 347 is recommended)

      6.  Failure to Post the Davis-Bacon Poster and Applicable Wage Determination at the Work Site

      Issue: Not displaying required information about workers' rights and wage rates prominently at the job site.

      Prevention: Always post the most current Davis-Bacon poster and applicable wage determination in a conspicuous place accessible to all workers on the site.

      Addressing these issues proactively through training, monitoring, and strict adherence to DBRA requirements can help utilities close compliance gaps, ensure accountability and responsibility of internal teams, and facilitate continuous operational improvement across an organization. Regular consultations with DBRA compliance experts can help your organization stay current with evolving labor standards and regulations and remove barriers to future funding opportunities.

      Grant Funding Compliance

      About subrena McCoy

      SubrenaMcCoySubrena McCoy draws on more than 35 years of technical and grant writing experience to help clients in Hawaii and across the country obtain and manage grant funding for transformative infrastructure projects. She synthesizes raw data and develops quick facts that enable clients to create policies and procedures for compliance with federal funding rules. Read more about Subrena here

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