Steel manufacturing trade groups lauded the news that the new Infrastructure Bill includes a provision stating all iron and steel used in projects outlined in the bill must be produced in the United States. Metal Center News reported this week, “The guidance further requires all manufactured products in the project must be produced domestically. The product itself must be manufactured here, and the components of the product must represent 55 percent or more of the total cost of the product. All construction materials must also be manufactured in the U.S.”

According to a White House memo, projects funded by the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package must only use iron and steel produced in the U.S starting May 14. The requirement includes all manufacturing processes for the metals, from initial melting stage thru application of coatings. The announcement also includes a process to waive those requirements if domestic materials are not reasonably available or would raise the cost of the project by more than 25%. (Source: Construction Dive)

Steel Manufacturers Association‘s President Philip K. Bell expressed, “This announcement demonstrates the administration’s commitment to ensure that federally funded infrastructure projects are built with steel made by Americans for Americans. Clarification and strong enforcement of Buy America domestic procurement preferences will lead to an infrastructure that is made with the cleanest, lowest-carbon-intensity steel in the world.”

Additionally, Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), comments, “We appreciate the commitment of the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that all federally funded infrastructure and public works projects use iron, steel and other products that are made in America. As some federal programs do not apply Buy America requirements for the procurement of iron and steel products, we are pleased that today’s initiative begins the process to remedy this situation by providing clear guidance to federal agencies for adopting appropriate Buy America requirements for all federally-funded infrastructure projects.”

These two voices of the iron and steel industry are joining forces at the end of next month for the AISI 2022 General Meeting AND SMA 2022 Annual Members Conference, meeting in Washington, DC, May 24-26. Their joint conference will have AISI and SMA member company CEO’s, Cabinet officials, members of Congress as well as industry and market experts in attendance. For more information, click HERE.

While steel manufacturing trade groups are pleased by the news, according to Construction Dive, the news has some “construction association executives questioning whether the rules will add to already soaring construction costs and high inflation.” According to a JLL construction report. materials costs increased 21.2% from February 2021 to February 2022 and those costs are expected to increase another 8% to 12% over the next year. Stephen E. Sandherr, Associated General Contractors of America CEO, is leery, saying “new guidance will ultimately undermine infrastructure spending benefits.”