The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, enacted on November 15, 2021, unfurled the Build America, Buy America Act. More than just words on paper, this act is a clarion call to give procurement preference on taxpayer-funded public works projects to construction materials and products produced by companies and workers in the US.
However, as is the case with most visionary endeavors, it hasn’t been without its challenges. To navigate these waters, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has provided a guiding beacon: a pre-publication of their final guidance. Once the official version graces the Federal Register, the pre-publication will retire, leaving in its stead a final document. Clock-watchers among us should mark their calendars as the guidance takes root 60 days after its grand unveiling in the Federal Register.
Glimpse into the essence of the guidance
At its core, this guidance:
- is an anthem celebrating the prioritization of US craftsmanship in our infrastructure, ensuring our federal coffers champion homegrown companies;
- categorizes intricately the essence of iron, steel, and other pivotal products, shedding light on whether they bear the authentic US hallmark;
- offers fresh perspectives on deciphering the cost dynamics of various components in the guidelines, lending more clarity to a complex landscape; and
- elucidates the processes for those seeking waivers.
The Build America, Buy America Act is not merely legislation. It’s a love letter to our nation’s heartbeat— its workers and innovators. As the OMB unveils the nuances of implementation, it’s paramount for design firms to stay attuned to the shifting sands of a revitalized “Made in America” paradigm.