Gotta Get Me Somma Them Prevailing Wages…

Posted on Oct 13, 2011

As we discussed the tenant improvements we need on the new building, we were told by the Port that projects over $50k are bid under a “Prevailing Wage”.  That’s not something I’d heard of before, so I’ve been doing some research.  It turns out to be a pretty hairy proposition.  Basically the state sets a wage rate for each classification of job and by stating “Prevailing Wage” as part of a bid, you’re forcing the bidders to pay their employees those wages as part of the bidding process.  If the wages are set reasonably, that would not be a big deal, right?  We got our first glimpse into what that means yesterday when talking to a flooring contractor about putting down floor coatings on the concrete.

It turns out they pay about $25/hr to their lead contractors and about $15/hr for the other workers that lay the floors.  The “prevailing wage” for those same workers is $44/hr.  So our labor costs just doubled for exactly the same job.

How frustrating.  It looks like our tenant improvement budget is going to go a lot quicker than we anticipated because of it.  It is looking likely that we’ll have to scale back on our plans since we won’t have enough money to do everything we want.  Our fingers are crossed as we wait for the plans and estimated pricing to come back from the architect.

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