ACMA believes composite building materials should remain a sub-category within polymers to avoid confusion with other products seen in the marketplace that are described as “composite” but do not fit the intended definition created by the IIJA. The association based this interpretation on the text of the IIJA itself. It lists “plastic and polymer-based products (including polyvinylchloride, composite building materials and polymers used in fiber optic cables)” as one category of construction materials. Other materials sometimes referred to as a “composite” in the marketplace – such as reinforced concrete, medium density fiber board or composite lumber – would not fit within the definition created in the bill.
At the same time, composites can be distinguished from other plastic and polymer products based on the combination of polymers and reinforcing fibers. In ACMA’s comments we note FRP composites are “products made with combinations of polymer and reinforcing fiber, where the polymer and fiber remain as distinct components but the combination results in properties not found in the individual materials, such as high strength combined with low weight.”
The Biden Administration draft guidance also creates a test for determining if composites will be considered made in the United States or not. Under the proposed test, “all manufacturing processes, from initial combination of constituent materials until the composite material is in a form in which it is delivered to the work site” should occur in the United States.
This would mean composites manufacturers could source inputs from outside the United States, if necessary, if the manufacturing process of combining them into a composite product occurs in the United States.
ACMA believes that the IIJA will provide real opportunities for our manufacturers to supply products to infrastructure projects in the years ahead. We will continue to monitor and weigh in on the implementation of this landmark bill whenever possible.
Dan Neumann is vice president of government relations at ACMA. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.