While the White House Office of Management and Budget continues to rush implementation of new domestic manufacturing requirements for construction materials—aluminum, copper, lumber, glass, fiber optic cables, plastics and more—on direct federal and federally assisted construction contracts, AGC calls for a thoughtful study of existing supply chains, opportunity for public comment on draft standards and sufficient time for education of federal, state and local officials who will be charged with enforcement.
On May 23, AGC responded to a White House Office of Budget and Management request for information on how to expand domestic manufacturing requirements to construction materials broadly. This RFI comes as a result of new requirements included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Buy America, Build America Act. Among other things, AGC called for a thoughtful study of existing supply chains, opportunity for public comment on draft standards and sufficient time for education of federal, state and local officials who will be charged with enforcement.
The materials under consideration that contractors would be limited to using on direct federal and federally assisted construction contracts include but are not limited to: non-ferrous metals, plastic and polymer-based products, glass (including fiber optic glass), lumber and drywall.
Although OMB called on the inclusion of these new requirements in new contract awards issued on or after May 14, the agency has not yet issued any final definition of what a “construction material” is (or is not) or how to distinguish between a “construction material” or “manufactured product” under the requirement. The White House’s moves have left contractors, as well as many state, local and federal construction procurement agencies similarly confused.
Understandably, federal government agencies like the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Environmental Protection Agency have or are seeking to issue six-month delays of these requirements with AGC support. AGC will shortly provide more information on the who, what, where, when and how of these new requirements, as the situation remains very fluid.