Awarding Agencies' Responsibilities

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  • Expand/collapse What are the responsibilities of awarding agencies contracting for public works?

    Public agencies, in awarding a contract, must determine whether that contract involves "public work" and communicate that to the employers in the bid specifications and contracts. Employers are not responsible for making the legal determination of whether a contract does or does not meet the definition of a "public works" contract. The law does not allow public agencies to place this burden upon the employer. For example, it is insufficient to state, "Contractors shall comply with the prevailing wage law, if applicable." Agencies should seek the advice of legal counsel regarding when a contract is for public work. Before acting on advice that a contract is not for public work, agencies should contact the Prevailing Wage Office for a determination of the applicability of the statute.

  • Expand/collapse What provisions must be made for prevailing wage?

    An awarding agency’s bid specifications and contracts for public work must contain a provision stating the required prevailing rates of pay and stipulate that workers shall receive no less than the prevailing rate of wage. Those bid and contract documents must also contain: 

    (1) a list of the applicable prevailing wage rates, or

    (2) the URL to the Department of Labor & Industries prevailing wage rates pages, and

    • Identify the exact wage publication date to use (e.g., “Use October 14, 2010 rates.”);
    • State the county in which the public works project is located;
    • Specify that a copy of the applicable wage rates is available for viewing in your office; and,
    • Explain that your agency will mail a hard copy of the applicable wage rates upon request.

    Whether you use method (1) or (2) above, be sure to retain a printed version of the rates as part of your records.

  • Expand/collapse What are public building service maintenance contract requirements?

    Public building service maintenance (janitorial) contracts of more than one year duration must include wage language recognizing the potential for future variance in applicable prevailing wages each year after the first year of the contract.

  • Expand/collapse What are awarding agency requirements when disbursing public funds?

    Agencies may not make any payments where employers have not submitted an Intent form that has been approved by the Industrial Statistician. Agencies may not release retainage until all employers have submitted an Affidavit form that has been certified by the Industrial Statistician. The requirement to submit these forms should also be stated in the contract.

  • Expand/collapse What are turnkey projects (lessee/lessor relationships between public and private parties)?

    Prevailing wages must be paid for any work, construction, alteration, repair or improvement, other than ordinary maintenance, that the state or a municipality causes to be performed by a private party through a contract to rent, lease, or purchase at least fifty percent of the project by one or more state agencies or municipalities.

    • It is the responsibility of the awarding agency to make an accurate determination as to whether the entire project falls within RCW 39.04.260 prior to entering into a lease relationship for space in a privately owned building. The determination is based on whether the awarding agency is causing the work to be performed and when at least fifty percent of the leased space is going to be occupied by one or more public agencies. If RCW 39.04.260 applies, all work performed in conjunction with the project is covered, not just the tenant improvements, and the project is subject to all provisions of RCW 39.12.
    • Should the awarding agency fail to comply with all the provisions of RCW 39.04.260 and RCW 39.12.040, the awarding agency can be held responsible for any unpaid prevailing wages.

  • Expand/collapse What are the contract administration requirements?

    Though not legally required, the awarding agency should do the following to ensure compliance with the Public Works Act.

    • Inspect job site on a routine or periodic basis to verify compliance. These inspections should include checking to see that a copy of the Intent is posted at the job site. Workers should be randomly interviewed to verify that prevailing wages are received. Apprentice workers should be asked to show their registration cards.
    • Check references when empowered to select the lowest responsible bidder. The department can advise an agency regarding an employer's history of wage claims. Check the Contractor Debarment List to find out if a contractor is debarred from bidding on public works projects.
    • Verify Contractor Registration status.
    • Verify Workers' Comp Premium Status. Find out whether a contractor or other employer has an industrial insurance (workers' compensation) account with L&I and that their premiums are up to date.

Check to see if:

For more details about awarding agency responsibilities:

See these State Laws (RCWs):
- RCW 39.04.010, RCW 39.12.020, RCW 39.12.030, RCW 39.12.040, RCW 39.12.042, RCW 39.04.260.
See these Agency Rules (WACs):
- WAC 296-127-023

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