The Build America Buy America Act, which was enacted as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on November 15, 2021, is an important piece of legislation that aims to promote domestic manufacturing and procurement by requiring that all iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in covered infrastructure projects be produced in the United States.
This is an expansion of the previous Buy American Act, which requires that the federal government purchases domestic goods and services for all procurements over a certain dollar threshold and aims to promote American-made goods and support domestic industries. As a result, it is essential that contractors, suppliers, and other stakeholders involved in federal transportation projects are familiar with the requirements of the Act and understand how to comply with them.
Here are the requirements of the Build America Buy America Act:
- Domestic content requirements: The Build America Buy America Act requires that all steel, iron, and manufactured goods used in federal transportation projects be produced in the United States. The legislation sets a domestic content requirement of 100%, meaning that any product or material used in these projects must be entirely made in the U.S. This requirement applies to all covered infrastructure projects that receive federal financial assistance after May 14, 2022.
- Waiver process: Like the Buy America Act, the Build America Buy America Act allows for waivers to be granted in certain circumstances. Waivers may be granted if there are no domestic sources for a particular product or if the cost of using domestic materials would be significantly higher than using foreign materials. The waiver process is generally more stringent under the Build America Buy America Act than under the Buy America Act. For example, waivers must be reviewed and approved by a senior official at the relevant federal agency, and the decision must be posted on a public website.
- Certification and documentation: Contractors and suppliers working on federal transportation projects must provide certification that their products and materials comply with the domestic content requirements of the Build America Buy America Act. They must also provide documentation showing the origin of the materials used in their products, as well as evidence of compliance with other federal regulations and safety standards. This documentation must be submitted to the relevant federal agency, and failure to provide accurate and complete documentation may result in penalties.
- Penalties for non-compliance: Contractors and suppliers who do not comply with the Build America Buy America Act may face penalties, including fines and possible disqualification from future federal contracts. In addition, the government may withhold payments or terminate contracts if it is found that a contractor or supplier has violated the requirements of the Act. The penalties for non-compliance with the Build America Buy America Act are generally more severe than those for non-compliance with the Buy America Act.
- Reporting and oversight: The Build America Buy America Act also includes provisions for reporting and oversight to ensure that federal transportation projects are in compliance with the law. Federal agencies are required to report on their use of domestic materials and products in their projects, and the Act also creates an oversight board to monitor compliance and investigate potential violations. The oversight board will have the authority to conduct audits and investigations, issue subpoenas, and impose penalties for violations.
Here are some of the ways ACE can help:
- We can help identify Buy American Act requirements for a project and provide a full summary. We can work with contractors, subs, and suppliers to produce a comprehensive list of products and sources, ensuring that all products and materials used in the project are domestically produced.
- We can assist in researching alternative products and their sources to help identify domestic options that meet project specifications and comply with Buy American Act requirements.
- We can manage the process of obtaining exceptions to the Buy American requirements, which can be complex and time-consuming.
- We can review and/or manage the submittal process to ensure compliance with Buy American Act requirements, including certification and documentation of domestic content and compliance with federal regulations and safety standards.
- We can help complete required compliance forms, such as the Buy America certification form and the American Iron and Steel certification form.
By partnering with us, contractors and suppliers can be confident that they are meeting all Buy America Act and Build America Buy America Act requirements and avoiding costly penalties or disqualification from future federal contracts. Our team of professionals can provide guidance and support throughout the procurement process, from identifying domestic sources for products and materials to ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations and standards. Contact us today to learn more!