Editor's Notes

Prevailing wage statutes mandate payment of stipulated minimum “prevailing” wage rates on public works projects. State labor departments establish labor categories and determine rates that will apply to workers performing the same function on the same project. However, the wage rate coverage is not always as uniform as one might think.


The highest court in Massachusetts addressed a situation in which highway field surveyors employed by construction contractors were paid more than highway field surveyors employed by an engineering services contractor. The surveyors performed the same functions on the same projects. The construction contracts had been competitively bid and the engineering contract had been procured under a procedure pertaining to professional services. Were the different wage rates permissible?


The second case in this issue involved an architect’s grant to a client of a nonexclusive license to use preliminary design schematics prepared by the architect. Did the right to “reproduce” the schematics give the project owner, then working with a different architect, the right to use the schematics to create a derivative work?


The third case arose under a federal road construction contract. Did the government-furnished information have to establish the presence of rock as a known fact in order to defend the contractor’s differing site condition claim? Or, were indications that made the presence of rock reasonably foreseeable sufficient? 




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