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Construction Management Department, College of Technology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green OH 43403, USA


In 1997, the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 102 which established the Ohio School Facilities Commission as a separate agency to oversee the rebuilding projects of the public schools in Ohio. The bill also exempted the construction contractors from paying prevailing wages on these projects on the hypothesis that this exemption would lower the construction cost. The purpose of this study is to investigate this hypothesis through the statistical analysis of 8,093 bids received from the years 2000 through 2007 for the schools’ construction. Union contractors who paid their workers union wages and non-union contractors who did not pay prevailing wages bid these projects. The hypothesis, that prevailing wage laws increased the construction cost, was tested by comparing the bids/ SF (square foot) from both groups (union and nonunion) for the different construction trades. The study indicated that there was statistical significant difference between the bids/square foot for union contractors and the bids/square foot for non-union contractors for only the following trades: earthwork, existing conditions, plumbing, electrical and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). The averages of bids/SF from the union contractors were higher than those from the non-union contractors for earthwork, existing conditions and plumbing works, and the opposite for electrical and HVAC works. There was no statistical significant difference in the bids from the communications, concrete, conveying equipment, electronic safety and security, equipment, finishes, fire suppression, furnishings, masonry, openings, structural steel, thermal and moisture protection, plastics and composites and wood works.


Prevailing wages, union, non-union, construction bids, construction trades.

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