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Part Number: 970

Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation

970.2204-1-1 Administrative controls and criteria for application of the Davis-Bacon Act in operational or maintenance activities.

(a) Particular work items falling within one or more of the following criteria normally will be classified as non-covered by the Davis-Bacon Act, hereinafter referred to in this section as the “Act.”

(1) Individual work items estimated to cost $2,000 or less. The total dollar amount of the management and operating contract is not a factor to be considered and bears no relation to individual work items classified as construction, alteration and/or repair, including painting and decorating. However, no item of work, the cost of which is estimated to be in excess of $2,000, shall be artificially divided into portions less than $2,000 for the purpose of avoiding the application of the Act.

(2) Work and services that are a part of operational and maintenance activities or which, being very closely and directly involved therewith, are more in the nature of operational activities than construction, alteration, and/or repair work. This includes work and services which would involve a material risk to continuity of operations, to life or property, or to DOE operating requirements, if performed by persons other than the contractor's regular production and maintenance forces. However, any decision that contracts or work items are non-covered for these reasons must be made by the Head of the Contracting Activity without power of delegation.

(3) Assembly, modification, setup, installation, replacement, removal, rearrangement, connection, testing, adjustment, and calibration of machinery and equipment. However, it is noted that these activities are covered if they are part of, or would be a logical part of, the construction of a facility, or if construction-type work which is not “incidental” to the overall effort is involved.

(4) Experimental development of equipment, processes, or devices, including assembly, fitting, installation, testing, reworking, and disassembly. This refers to equipment, processes, and devices which are assembled for the purpose of conducting a test or experiment. The design may be only conceptual in character, and professional personnel who are responsible for the experiment participate in the assembly. Specifically excluded from the category of experimental development are buildings and building utility services, as distinguished from temporary connections thereto. Also specifically excluded from this category is equipment to be used for continuous testing (e.g., a machine to be continuously used for testing the tensile strength of structural members).

(5) Experimental work in connection with peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This refers to equipment, processes and devices which are assembled and/or set in place and interconnected for the purpose of conducting a test or experiment. The nature of the test or experiment is such that professional personnel who are responsible for the test or experiment and/or data to be derived therefrom must, by necessity, participate in the assembly and interconnections. Specifically excluded from experimental work are buildings, building utility services, structural changes, drilling, tunneling, excavation, and back-filling work which can be performed according to customary drawings and specifications, and utility services of modifications to utility services, as distinguished from temporary connections thereto. Work in this category may be performed in mines or in other locations specifically constructed for tests or experiments.

(6) Emergency work to combat the effects of fire, flood, earthquake, equipment failure, accident, or other casualties, and to restart the operational activity following the casualty. Work which is not directly related to restarting the activity or which involves rebuilding or replacement of a structure, structural components, or equipment is excluded from this category.

(7) Decontamination, including washing, scrubbing, and scraping to remove contamination; removal of contaminated soil or other material; and painting or other resurfacing, provided that such painting or resurfacing is an integral part of the decontamination activity and performed by the employees of the contractors performing the decontamination.

(8) Burial of contaminated soil waste or contained liquid; however, initial preparatory work readying the burial ground for use (e.g., any grading or excavating that is a part of initial site preparation, fencing, drilling wells for continued monitoring of contamination, construction of guard or other office space) is covered. Work performed subsequent to burial which involves the placement of concrete or other like activity is also covered.

(b) The classification of a contract as a contract for operational or maintenance activities does not necessarily mean that all work and activities at the contract location are classifiable as outside coverage of the Act since it may be necessary to separate work which should be classified as covered. Therefore, the Heads of Contracting Activities shall establish and maintain controls for the careful scrutiny of proposed work assignments under such contracts to assure that:

(1) Contractors whose contracts do not contemplate the performance of work covered by the Act with the contractor's own forces are neither asked nor authorized to perform work within the scope of the Act. If the actual work assignments do involve covered work, the contract should be modified to include applicable provisions of the Act.

(2) Where covered work is performed by a contractor whose contract contains provisions required by the Act, such work is performed as required by law and the contract. After the contractor has been informed, as provided in paragraph (b)(3) of this subsection, that certain work is covered, the responsibilities of the Head of the Contracting Activity to assure compliance is the same as it would be if the work were being performed under a separate construction contract.

(3) Controls provided for above include consideration by the Head of the Contracting Activity and the contractor, before work is begun or contracted out, of the relation of the Act to the annual programming of work; the contractor's work orders; and work contracted out in excess of $2,000. The Head of the Contracting Activity may, if consistent with DOE's responsibilities as described in this subsection, prescribe from time to time classes of work as to which applicability or nonapplicability of the Act is clear, for which the Head of the Contracting Activity will require no further DOE determination on coverage in advance of the work. For all work, controls to be established by the Head of the Contracting Activity should provide for notification to the contractor before work is begun as to whether such work is covered. The Head of the Contracting Activity is responsible for submitting to the Wage and Hours Division, Employment Standards Administration, Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. 20210, all DOE requests for project area or installation wage determinations, or individual determinations, or extensions or modification thereto. Requests for such determinations shall be made on Standard Form 308, at least 30 calendar days before they are required for use in advertising for bids or requests for proposals.

(c) Experimental installations. Within DOE programs, a variety of experiments are conducted involving materials, fuels, coolants, and processing equipment. Certain types of situations where tests and experiments have presented coverage questions are described as follows:

(1) Set-ups of device and/or processes. The proving out of investigative findings and theories of a scientific and technical nature may require the set-up of various devices and/or processes at an early, pre-prototype stage of development. These may range from laboratory bench size to much larger set-ups. As a rule, these set-ups are made within established facilities (normally laboratories), required utility connections are made to services provided as a part of the basic facilities, and the activity as a whole falls within the functional purpose of the facility. Such set-ups are generally not covered. However, the erection of structures which are public works is covered if construction type work, other than incidental work, is involved. Preparatory work for the set-up requiring structural changes or modifications of basic utility services, as distinguished from connections thereto, is covered. The following are illustrations of non-covered set-ups of devices and/or processes:

(i) Assembly of piping and equipment within existing “hot cell” facilities for proving out a conceptual design of a chemical processing unit.

(ii) Assembly of equipment, including adaptation and modification thereof, in existing “hot cell” facilities to prove out a conceptual design for remotely controlled machining equipment.

(iii) Assembly of the first graphite pile in a stadium at Stagg Field in Chicago.

(iv) Assembly of materials and equipment for particular aspects of the direct current thermonuclear experiments to explore feasibility and to study other ramifications of the concept of high energy injection and to collect data thereon.

(2) Loops. Many experiments are carried on in equipment assemblies, called loops, in which liquids or gases are circulated under monitored and controlled conditions. For purposes of determining coverage under the Act, loops may be classed as loop facilities or as loop set-ups. Both of these classes of loops can include in-reactor loops and out-of-reactor loops. In differentiating between clearly identified loop set-ups and loop facilities, an area exists in which there have been some questions of coverage, such as certain loops at the Material Test Reactor and at Engineering Test Reactor and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory site. Upon clarification of this area, further illustrations will be added. In the meantime, the differentiation between loop set-ups and loop facilities must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the total criteria set forth in this subpart.

(i) Loop set-ups. The assembly, erection, modification, and disassembly of a loop set-up is non-covered. A noncontroversial example of a loop set-up is one which is assembled in a laboratory, e.g., Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, or Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for a particular test and thereafter disassembled. However, preparatory work for a loop set-up requiring structural changes or modifications of basic utility services as distinguished from connections thereto is covered, as are material and equipment that are installed for a loop set-up which is a permanent part of the facility or which is use for a succession of experimental programs.

(ii) Loop facilities. A loop facility differs from a loop set-up in that it is of a more permanent character. It is usually, but not always, of greater size. It normally involves the building or modification of a structure. Sometimes it is installed as a part of construction of the facility. It may be designed for use in a succession of experimental programs over a longer period of time. Examples of loop facilities are the in-reactor “K” loops at Hanford and the large Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion loop at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory site. The on-site assembly and erection of such loop facilities are covered. However, once a loop facility is completed and becomes operational, the criteria set forth in this paragraph for operational and maintenance activities apply.

(3) Reactor component experiments. Other experiments are carried on by insertion of experimental components within reactor systems without the use of a loop assembly. An example of reactor facilities erected for such experimental purposes are the special power excursion test reactors (SPETRs) at the National Reactor Test Site which are designed for studying reactor behavior and performance characteristics of certain reactor components. Such a facility may consist of a reactor vessel, pressurizing tank, coolant loops, pumps, heat exchangers, and other auxiliary equipment as needed. The facility also may include sufficient shielding to permit work on the reactor to proceed following a short period of power interruption, and buildings as needed to house the reactor and its auxiliary equipment. The erection and on-site assembly of such a reactor facility is covered, but the components whose characteristics are under study are excluded from coverage. To illustrate, one of the SPETRs planned for studies of nuclear reactor safety is designed to accommodate various internal fuel and control assemblies. The internal structure of the pressure vessel is designed so that cores of different shapes and sizes may be placed in the vessel for investigation, or the entire internal structure may be easily removed and replaced by a structure which will accept a different core design. Similarly, the control rod assembly is arranged to provide for flexibility in the removal of instrument leads and experimental assemblies from within the core.

(4) Tests or experiments in peaceful uses of nuclear energy. These tests or experiments are varied in nature and some are only in a planning stage. They consist of one or more nuclear or nonnuclear detonations for the purposes of acquiring data. The data can include seismic effects, radiation effects, amount of heat generated, amount of material moved and so forth. Some of these tests are conducted in existing mines, while others are conducted in facilities specifically constructed for the tests or experiments. In general, all work which can be performed in accordance with customary drawings and specifications, as well as other work in connection with preparation of facilities is treated as covered work. Such work includes tunneling, drilling, excavation and back-filling, erection of buildings or other structures, and installation of utilities. The installation of the nonnuclear material or nuclear device to be detonated, and the instrumentation and connection between such material or device and the instrumentation are treated as non-covered work.

(5) Tests or experiments in military uses of nuclear energy. As in 970.2204-1-1(c)(4), these tests or experiments can be varied in nature. However, under this category it is intended to include only detonation of nonnuclear material or nuclear devices. The material or devices can be detonated either underground, at ground level, or above the ground. These tests or experiments have been conducted in, on, or in connection with facilities specifically constructed for such tests or experiments. As in tests or experiments in peaceful uses of nuclear energy, all work which can be performed in accord with customary drawings and specifications, as well as other work in connection with preparation of facilities are treated as covered work. Such work includes building towers or similar structures, tunneling, drilling, excavation and backfilling, erection of buildings or other structures, and installation of utilities. The installation of the nonnuclear material or nuclear devices and instrumentation are treated as non-covered work.

(d) Construction site contiguous to an established manufacturing facility. As DOE-owned property sometimes encompasses several thousand acres of real estate, a number of separate facilities may be located in areas contiguous to each other on the same property. These facilities may be built over a period of years, and established manufacturing activities may be regularly carried on at one site at the same time that construction of another facility is underway at another site. On occasion, the regular manufacturing activities of the operating contractor at the first site may include the manufacture, assembly, and reconditioning of components and equipment which in other industries would normally be done in established commercial plants. While the manufacture of components and equipment in the manufacturing plant is non-covered, the installation of any such manufactured items on a construction job is covered.