Construction Project Guidance for Buy America?

construction guidance

President Hoover signed the Buy American Act in 1933. The Buy America Act (Surface Transportation Assistance Act) was signed in January 1983 by President Reagan.

In 2021, President Biden signed the IIJA (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), aka Build America, Buy America. The document had elements that were unclear to many – if not most – construction project stakeholders and manufacturing contractors.

The Build America, Buy America Act requires all federal agencies…to ensure…that no federal financial assistance for “infrastructure” projects is provided “unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.”BABAA

In February 2023, the White House announced updates by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to “clarify requirements and provide consistent, government-wide guidance” regarding construction materials. The proposed guidance states a product qualifies as made in the U.S.A. if its domestic-made or mined components are greater than 55% of the total cost of all components.

This was followed by the Federal Highway Administration’s Buy America waiver for electric vehicle charger components including steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials effective March 23, 2023.

In addition to defining the “cost of components,” the guidance requests a more detailed interpretation of:

  • Other construction material standards
    • Brick
    • Coatings
    • Engineered wood
  • Construction materials definitions
  • Definitions of “predominantly iron/steel” items
  • How to distinguish between product categories
  • Definition of composite building materials
  • Elements of fiber optic cables/optical fiber
  • Standards: optical fiber/optic glass
  • Excluded aggregates/materials
  • Clarification of guidance sections
  • Burden reduction for participants

Comments and questions can be emailed to [email protected].

The Construction History Society (CHS) says construction history is the way we have built the world around us; it includes much more than stories of structures and the evolution of construction materials. The way we build has changed rapidly just within the last decade.

If you’re challenged by keeping up with your area’s ongoing construction industry developments, you’re not alone. But we have suggestions that can enable you to make better, knowledge-based business decisions every day. Let our marketing pros clarify how building permit data works. Contact Construction Monitor.

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