NRCA addresses questions about the economic stimulus act
May 4, 2009
With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) now two months old, most
federal agencies have published their spending plans as they were required to door
at least have indicated how they plan to spend the money they were allotted.
We've been receiving a number of questions about the bill and its effects on the
roofing industry and thought it might be helpful to address some of the most common
questions. These include:
What does a company need to do to work with the federal government?
To be considered for work with the federal government, a company must be issued
a Data Universal Numbering System number from Dun & Bradstreet Inc., which can be
obtained at no cost through the company's Web site, www.dnb.com
Next, the company must register through the government's Central Contractor Registration
The company also must complete an Online Representations and Certifications Application,
which can be accomplished at orca.bpn.gov
These steps are mandatory to be considered for any government contracting.
How do I find information about ARRA-funded opportunities?
The government has established several Web sites to make information available about
work that is in the pipeline.
The first is www.recovery.gov
, which includes
information about and links to each federal agency and its spending program. Some
programs already are published and include a great deal of detail; others are still
The second is www.grants.gov
, which includes
information about and links to departments that are offering grants under the ARRA.
Some may be of interest to NRCA members; for example, the Department of Labor offers
a number of job-training grants.
For federal contract awards, federal agencies are required to publish pre-solicitation
and award notices on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site,
Also, information about loans and loan guarantees provided by the ARRA is posted
In addition, each federal agency has its own Web site, and each includes information
about ARRA funds, grant opportunities and other government-funded programs. For
example, on its Web site, www.dod.gov
, the Department
of Defense has posted a 195-page document that includes much detail about all the
ARRA energy retrofit work it intends to undertake.
Finally, a substantial portion of ARRA funding is being allocated through state
and local governments, especially in the area of energy-efficiency retrofits. Most
states have their own Web sites dedicated to ARRA funding opportunities, and they
can be found via the State Progress and Resources link on
What do I need to know about "Buy American" requirements?
On March 31, 2009, the Obama administration issued an interim regulation, still
in effect, to implement the "Buy American" restriction for federal buildings and
public works funded through the ARRA.
The new regulation applies only to federal procurement practices and not to grants
made to state and local governments, which account for a good deal of ARRA spending.
In general, the regulation applies to construction materials used under ARRA federal
procurements, but the Buy American provision will be applied consistently with international
agreements. The regulatory language on this point is fairly complex, but our understanding
is that construction contractors can choose materials from a wide variety of countries,
but somenotably China, Brazil and Indiawill be excluded without special
The regulation includes language that is specific to steel and iron "used as a construction
material," but our understanding is that the requirements are similar to those for
other construction materials.
There also is language in the regulation about "manufactured goods" used in construction,
but it applies only to the place of creation of the end product. In other words,
construction materials with components made in China, for example, can be used under
the regulation if the end product is assembled in the U.S.
What do I need to know about requirements for set-asides?
Our understanding is that set-aside rules will be developed by each agency or department.
These might include work being set aside for small businesses and minority or disadvantaged
contractors. Information about set-asides and federal contracting for small businesses
can be obtained at the U.S. Small Business Administration's Web site,
Do Davis-Bacon rates apply to ARRA projects?
All construction contractors doing work paid for by the ARRA must pay their workers
according to the prevailing wage rates established under Davis-Bacon requirements.
Where else can I go for help?
Duane Musser, NRCA's vice president of government relations, has a good deal more
information about the ARRA, and you can contact him at (800) 338-5765 or
. NRCA has also made arrangements with a Washington, D.C.,
law firm to provide assistance if necessary, subject to that firm's policies and
Also, the U.S. General Services Administration has a free online training program
and other information for government contractors on its Web site,
William A. Good, CAE
Executive Vice President