29 CFR § 4.131 - Furnishing services involving more than use of labor.

§ 4.131 Furnishing services involving more than use of labor.

(a) If the principal purpose of a contract is to furnish services in the performance of which service employees will be used, the Act will apply to the contract, in the absence of an exemption, even though the use or furnishing of nonlabor items may be an important element in the furnishing of the services called for by its terms. The Act is concerned with protecting the labor standards of workers engaged in performing such contracts, and is applicable if the statutory coverage test is met, regardless of the form in which the contract is drafted. The proportion of the labor cost to the total cost of the contract and the necessity of furnishing or receiving tangible nonlabor items in performing the contract obligations will be considered but are not necessarily determinative. A procurement that requires tangible items to be supplied to the Government or the contractor as a part of the service furnished is covered by the Act so long as the facts show that the contract is chiefly for services, and that the furnishing of tangible items is of secondary importance.

(b) Some examples of covered contracts illustrating these principles may be helpful. One such example is a contract for the maintenance and repair of typewriters. Such a contract may require the contractor to furnish typewriter parts, as the need arises, in performing the contract services. Since this does not change the principal purpose of the contract, which is to furnish the maintenance and repair services through the use of service employees, the contract remains subject to the Act.

(c) Another example of the application of the above principle is a contract for the recurrent supply to a Government agency of freshly laundered items on a rental basis. It is plain from the legislative history that such a contract is typical of those intended to be covered by the Act. S. Rept. 798, 89th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 2; H. Rept. 948, 89th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 2. Although tangible items owned by the contractor are provided on a rental basis for the use of the Government, the service furnished by the contractor in making them available for such use when and where they are needed, through the use of service employees who launder and deliver them, is the principal purpose of the contract.

(d) Similarly, a contract in the form of rental of equipment with operators for the plowing and reseeding of a park area is a service contract. The Act applies to it because its principal purpose is the service of plowing and reseeding, which will be performed by service employees, although as a necessary incident the contractor is required to furnish equipment. For like reasons the contracts for aerial spraying and aerial reconnaissance listed in § 4.130 are covered, even though the use of airplanes, an expensive item of equipment, is essential in performing such services. In general, contracts under which the contractor agrees to provide the Government with vehicles or equipment on a rental basis with drivers or operators for the purpose of furnishing services are covered by the Act. Such contracts are not considered contracts for furnishing equipment within the meaning of the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act. On the other hand, contracts under which the contractor provides equipment with operators for the purpose of construction of a public building or public work, such as road resurfacing or dike repair, even where the work is performed under the supervision of Government employees, would be within the exemption in section 7(1) of the Act as contracts for construction subject to the Davis-Bacon Act. (See § 4.116.)

(e) Contracts for data collection, surveys, computer services, and the like are within the general coverage of the Act even though the contractor may be required to furnish such tangible items as written reports or computer printouts, since items of this nature are considered to be of secondary importance to the services which it is the principal purpose of the contract to procure.

(f) Contracts under which the contractor receives tangible items from the Government in return for furnishing services (which items are in lieu of or in addition to monetary consideration granted by either party) are covered by the Act where the facts show that the furnishing of such services is the principal purpose of the contracts. For example, property removal or disposal contracts which involve demolition of buildings or other structures are subject to the Act when their principal purpose is dismantling and removal (and no further construction activity at the site is contemplated). However, removal or dismantling contracts whose principal purpose is sales are not covered. So-called “timber sales” contracts generally are not subject to the Act because normally the services provided under such contracts are incidental to the principal purpose of the contracts. (See also §§ 4.111(a) and 4.116(b).)

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