Build America, Buy America Act Award Term

The Build America, Buy America Act (BABA). Pub. L. No. 117-58, §§ 70901-52, requires Federal agencies to ensure none of the funds made available for a Federal financial assistance award for infrastructure may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recipients and subrecipients are prohibited from obligating and expending funds (federal and non-federal, including third-party gifts) under this award for an infrastructure project unless: 

(1)    all iron and steel used in the project are produced in the United States—this means all manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States; 

(2)   all manufactured products used in the project are produced in the United States—this means the manufactured product was manufactured in the United States; and the cost of the components of the manufactured product that are mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States is greater than 55 percent of the total cost of all components of the manufactured product, unless another standard for determining the minimum amount of domestic content of the manufactured product has been established under applicable law or regulation; and 

 (3)   all construction materials, excluding cement and cementitious materials, aggregates such as stone, sand, or gravel, or aggregate binding agents or additives, are manufactured in the United States—this means that all manufacturing processes for the construction material occurred in the United States. 

The Buy America preference applies only to articles, materials, and supplies that are consumed in, incorporated into, or affixed to an infrastructure project. As such, the Buy America preference does not apply to tools, equipment, and supplies, such as temporary scaffolding, brought to the construction site and removed at or before the completion of the infrastructure project. The Buy America preference does not apply to equipment and furnishings, such as movable chairs, desks, and portable computer equipment, that are used at or within the finished infrastructure project but are not an integral part of the structure or permanently affixed to the infrastructure project. 

Waivers

When necessary, recipients may apply for, and NEH may grant, a waiver from these requirements. NEH may waive the domestic content procurement preference when it determines that one of the following exceptions applies:

Individual Waivers

  • The types of iron, steel, manufactured products, or construction materials are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities or of a satisfactory quality; or
  • The inclusion of iron, steel, manufactured products, or construction materials produced in the United States will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent.

General Applicability Waivers

Instructions for submitting waiver requests are available at  Notice of Build America, Buy America Act and Waiver Requests. Individual waiver requests are subject to public comment periods of no less than 15 days and review by NEH and the Made in America Office.

NEH Office of Grant Management
May 13, 2022