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Unveiling the power of ‘Build America, Buy America Act’: Ultimate guide for lighting manufacturers!

Aug 25, 2023 9:00:22 AM


build america buy america act

The purpose of making and enforcing laws is to improve people's lives and the smooth operation of society. One such law, the Buy American and Build America Act, is changing the lighting industry. This government law, which is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, changes how manufacturers get their materials, make their products, and help the American economy. It is necessary to learn about the basic ideas and rules and the significance of the Build America, Buy America Act in the lighting industry. Lighting manufacturers are making adjustments to their business strategies in order to comply with the standards of the Build America, Buy America Act. They are expanding their domestic sourcing, forming partnerships with regional suppliers, and implementing cutting-edge production practices. Some businesses are expanding their product lines to include fixtures that are consistent with regulations and are obtained domestically. This proactive response demonstrates their desire to help American industry and adhere to the Act's goals of economic growth and job creation. This article will first explain this law and then delve into its impact on lighting manufacturers.

What is the Build America, Buy America Act?

The Build America, Buy America Act was signed into law on November 15, 2021, as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which is designated as Pub. L. No. 117-58. This Act, with provisions outlined in sections 70901-52 of Pub. L. No. 117-58, is designed to strengthen Made in America Laws and promote the use of domestically produced goods and materials in federal infrastructure projects. One of its main goals is to support the American industrial base, enhance national security, and create high-paying jobs.

A significant requirement of the Act is that it mandates covered Federal agencies to ensure, within 180 days (about 6 months) after the enactment of the IIJA (no later than May 14, 2022), that any Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure projects, including deficient programs, only allocates funds for projects where all the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used are produced within the United States. This is intended to establish a preference for domestic content procurement in federally funded infrastructure projects, effectively bolstering the use of services, goods, products, and materials produced within the United States.

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What is the Build American, Buy America Act’s requirements?

The Build America, Buy America Act, which became law on November 15, 2021, as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, emphasizes the utilization of domestically produced services, goods, products, and materials in federal projects. Iron, steel, manufactured goods, and construction materials used in projects receiving federal funding must be produced in the United States, per this law. To ensure compliance, agencies, and offices were required by May 14, 2022, to incorporate a BABAA preference into USDA Financial Assistance awards and funding amendments. The Act allows exceptions granted by the head of a federal agency, with a public review period of 15 days for proposed waivers to be posted online for public input. This Act aims to strengthen the use of American-made resources in infrastructure endeavors.

When can Build America, Buy America Act waivers be granted?

The Build America, Buy America Act includes provisions for waivers under specific circumstances. When utilizing USDA funds for infrastructure-related purposes such as construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair, adherence to BABAA regulations is required. However, waiver options are available in certain cases. USDA agencies oversee the waiver process, which may be pursued for one of three exceptions: public interest, non-availability, or unreasonable cost. Waivers are typically tailored to specific products and projects.

According to BABAA's section 70914(c), FEMA has the authority to grant waivers for the "Buy America" preference within an infrastructure program if certain conditions are met. These conditions include cases where applying the domestic content procurement preference goes against the public interest (public interest waiver), where certain types of materials are not adequately produced in the United States (non-availability waiver), or when using domestically produced materials would increase the project's overall cost by more than 25 percent (unreasonable cost waiver). These waiver provisions allow for flexibility while ensuring that the Act's goals are still met.

What is the significance of the Build America, Buy America Act for lighting manufacturers?

The Build America, Buy America Act holds considerable significance for the lighting industry as it aims to promote American-made manufacturing, stimulate the economy, and strengthen local communities. This legislation requires that lighting manufacturers adhere to sourcing and production standards that prioritize domestic materials and products. This emphasis on utilizing American resources not only aligns with the Act's goals but also underscores the lighting industry's role in contributing to national economic growth.

For lighting manufacturers, the Act translates into a renewed focus on domestically sourced materials, fostering job creation, and supporting local businesses. By mandating the use of American iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials for federally funded projects, the Act encourages lighting manufacturers to invest in their supply chains and manufacturing processes within the United States. This, in turn, contributes to job retention and creation, promoting a skilled workforce, and bolstering the local economy.

The Act's stringent requirements, including the Cost of Components Test, prompt lighting manufacturers to explore innovative solutions and partnerships to achieve compliance. The challenge lies in meeting the stipulated threshold, particularly for components like LEDs and power supplies that often originate from offshore sources. Manufacturers are compelled to strategically source materials, innovate production techniques, and explore collaborations to maintain compliance while ensuring product quality and affordability.

In addition, the significance of the Buy American requirements in relation to lighting components funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) cannot be overlooked. It mentions that certain LED lighting components that have not undergone "substantial transformation" in the United States may be disqualified from use in ARRA-funded projects under the Buy American requirements.

In essence, the Build America, Buy America Act serves as a catalyst for lighting manufacturers to redefine their manufacturing practices, enhance supply chain resilience, and contribute to the nation's economic vitality. By embracing these requirements, lighting manufacturers play a pivotal role in realizing the Act's objectives of supporting American industries, job growth, and infrastructure development.


To conclude, the Build America, Buy America Act, enacted as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, focuses on prioritizing the utilization of domestically produced materials and goods in federal infrastructure projects, aiming to boost American industries, lighting industry, safeguard national security interests, and facilitate the creation of well-paying jobs.

The XtraLight Team

The XtraLight Team

The resident LED lighting experts of XtraLight Manufacturing pull from their 30+ years of experience in the lighting industry to bring you up to date news and information about the LED lighting industry.