Text: H.R.2779 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 104-289 (10/11/1996)




[104th Congress Public Law 289]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


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[DOCID: f:publ289.104]


[[Page 110 STAT. 3411]]

Public Law 104-289
104th Congress

                                 An Act


 
   <<NOTE: Oct. 11, 1996 -  [H.R. 2779]>> To provide for appropriate 
     implementation of the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 in Federal 
             construction projects, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Savings in 
Construction Act of 1996.>> 

<<NOTE: 15 USC 205a note.>> SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Savings in Construction Act of 
1996''.

<<NOTE: 15 USC 205a note.>> SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:
            (1) The Metric Conversion Act of 1975 was enacted in order 
        to set forth the policy of the United States to convert to the 
        metric system. Section 3 of that Act requires that each Federal 
        agency use the metric system of measurements in its procurement, 
        grants, and other business-related activities, unless that use 
        is likely to cause significant cost or loss of markets to United 
        States firms, such as when foreign competitors are producing 
        competing products in non-metric units.
            (2) In accordance with that Act and Executive Order 12770, 
        of July 25, 1991, Federal agencies increasingly construct new 
        Federal buildings in round metric dimensions. As a result, 
        companies that wish to bid on Federal construction projects 
        increasingly are asked to supply materials or products in round 
        metric dimensions.
            (3) While the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 currently 
        provides an exemption to metric usage when impractical or when 
        such usage will cause economic inefficiencies, amendments are 
        warranted to ensure that the use of specific metric components 
        in metric construction projects do not increase the cost of 
        Federal buildings to the taxpayers.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    Section 4 of the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (15 U.S.C. 205c) is 
amended--
            (1) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (3);
            (2) by striking ``Commerce.'' in paragraph (4) and inserting 
        ``Commerce;''; and
            (3) by inserting after paragraph (4) the following:
            ``(5) `full and open competition' has the same meaning as 
        defined in section 403(6) of title 41, United States Code;
            ``(6) `total installed price' means the price of purchasing 
        a product or material, trimming or otherwise altering some or 
        all of that product or material, if necessary to fit with

[[Page 110 STAT. 3412]]

        other building components, and then installing that product or 
        material into a Federal facility;
            ``(7) `hard-metric' means measurement, design, and 
        manufacture using the metric system of measurement, but does not 
        include measurement, design, and manufacture using English 
        system measurement units which are subsequently reexpressed in 
        the metric system of measurement;
            ``(8) `cost or pricing data or price analysis' has the 
        meaning given such terms in section 304A of the Federal Property 
        and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 254b); and
            ``(9) `Federal facility' means any public building (as 
        defined under section 13 of the Public Buildings Act of 1959 (40 
        U.S.C. 612) and shall include any Federal building or 
        construction project--
                    ``(A) on lands in the public domain;
                    ``(B) on lands used in connection with Federal 
                programs for agriculture research, recreation, and 
                conservation programs;
                    ``(C) on or used in connection with river, harbor, 
                flood control, reclamation, or power projects;
                    ``(D) on or used in connection with housing and 
                residential projects;
                    ``(E) on military installations (including any fort, 
                camp, post, naval training station, airfield, proving 
                ground, military supply depot, military school, or any 
                similar facility of the Department of Defense);
                    ``(F) on installations of the Department of Veteran 
                Affairs used for hospital or domiciliary purposes; or
                    ``(G) on lands used in connection with Federal 
                prisons,
        but does not include (i) any Federal building or construction 
        project the exclusion of which the President deems to be 
        justified in the public interest, or (ii) any construction 
        project or building owned or controlled by a State government, 
        local government, Indian tribe, or any private entity.''.

SEC. 4. IMPLEMENTATION IN ACQUISITION OF FEDERAL FACILITIES.

    (a) The Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (15 U.S.C. 205 et seq.) is 
amended by inserting after section 13 the following new section:

<<NOTE: 15 USC 205l.>> ``SEC. 14. IMPLEMENTATION IN ACQUISITION OF 
            CONSTRUCTION 
            SERVICES AND MATERIALS FOR FEDERAL FACILITIES.

    ``(a) In General.--Construction services and materials for Federal 
facilities shall be procured in accordance with the policies and 
procedures set forth in chapter 137 of title 10, United States Code, 
section 2377 of title 10, United States Code, title III of the Federal 
Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 251 et 
seq.), and section 3(2) of this Act. Determination of a design method 
shall be based upon preliminary market research as required under 
section 2377(c) of title 10, United States Code, and section 314B(c) of 
the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 
264b(c)). If the requirements of this Act conflict with the provisions 
of section 2377 of title 10, United States Code, or section 314B of the 
Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, then the 
provisions of 2377 or 314B shall take precedence.
    ``(b) Concrete Masonry Units.--In carrying out the policy set forth 
in section 3 (with particular emphasis on the policy set forth in 
paragraph (2) of that section) a Federal agency may require

[[Page 110 STAT. 3413]]

that specifications for the acquisition of structures or systems of 
concrete masonry be expressed under the metric system of measurement, 
but may not incorporate specifications, that can only be satisfied by 
hard-metric versions of concrete masonry units, in a solicitation for 
design or construction of a Federal facility within the United States or 
its territories, or a portion of said Federal facility, unless the head 
of the agency determines in writing that--
            ``(1) hard-metric specifications are necessary in a contract 
        for the repair or replacement of parts of Federal facilities in 
        existence or under construction upon the effective date of the 
        Savings in Construction Act of 1996; or
            ``(2) the following 2 criteria are met:
                    ``(A) the application requires hard-metric concrete 
                masonry units to coordinate dimensionally into 100 
                millimeter building modules; and
                    ``(B) the total installed price of hard-metric 
                concrete masonry units is estimated to be equal to or 
                less than the total installed price of using non-hard-
                metric concrete masonry units. Total installed price 
                estimates shall be based, to the extent available, on 
                cost or pricing data or price analysis, using actual 
                hard-metric and non-hard-metric offers received for 
                comparable existing projects. The head of the agency 
                shall include in the writing required in this subsection 
                an explanation of the factors used to develop the price 
                estimates.

    ``(c) Recessed Lighting Fixtures.--In carrying out the policy set 
forth in section 3 (with particular emphasis on the policy set forth in 
paragraph (2) of that section) a Federal agency may require that 
specifications for the acquisition of structures or systems of recessed 
lighting fixtures be expressed under the metric system of measurement, 
but may not incorporate specifications, that can only be satisfied by 
hard-metric versions of recessed lighting fixtures, in a solicitation 
for design or construction of a Federal facility within the United 
States or its territories unless the head of the agency determines in 
writing that--
            ``(1) the predominant voluntary industry consensus 
        standards include the use of hard-metric for the items 
        specified; or
            ``(2) hard-metric specifications are necessary in a contract 
        for the repair or replacement of parts of Federal facilities in 
        existence or under construction upon the effective date of the 
        Savings in Construction Act of 1996; or
            ``(3) the following 2 criteria are met:
                    ``(A) the application requires hard-metric recessed 
                lighting fixtures to coordinate dimensionally into 100 
                millimeter building modules; and
                    ``(B) the total installed price of hard-metric 
                recessed lighting fixtures is estimated to be equal to 
                or less than the total installed price of using non-
                hard-metric recessed lighting fixtures. Total installed 
                price estimates shall be based, to the extent available, 
                on cost or pricing data or price analysis, using actual 
                hard-metric and non-hard-metric offers received for 
                comparable existing projects. The head of the agency 
                shall include in the writing required in this subsection 
                an explanation of the factors used to develop the price 
                estimates.

[[Page 110 STAT. 3414]]

    ``(d) Limitation.--The provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this 
section shall not apply to Federal contracts to acquire construction 
products for the construction of facilities outside of the United States 
and its territories.
    ``(e) Expiration.--The provisions contained in subsections (b) and 
(c) of this section shall expire 10 years from the effective date of the 
Savings in Construction Act of 1996.''.

SEC. 5. OMBUDSMAN.

    Section 14 of the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, as added by section 
4 of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new 
subsection:
<<NOTE: Contracts.>>     ``(f) Agency Ombudsman.--(1) The head of each 
executive agency that awards construction contracts within the United 
States and its territories shall designate a senior agency official to 
serve as a construction metrication ombudsman who shall be responsible 
for reviewing and responding to complaints from prospective bidders, 
subcontractors, suppliers, or their designated representatives related 
to--
            ``(A) guidance or regulations issued by the agency on the 
        use of the metric system of measurement in contracts for the 
        construction of Federal buildings; and
            ``(B) the use of the metric system of measurement for 
        services and materials required for incorporation in individual 
        projects to construct Federal buildings.

The construction metrication ombudsman shall be independent of the 
contracting officer for construction contracts.
    ``(2) The ombudsman shall be responsible for ensuring that the 
agency is not implementing the metric system of measurement in a manner 
that is impractical or is likely to cause significant inefficiencies or 
loss of markets to United States firms in violation of the policy stated 
in section 3(2), or is otherwise inconsistent with guidance issued by 
the Secretary of Commerce in consultation with the Interagency Council 
on Metric Policy while ensuring that the goals of the Metric Conversion 
Act of 1975 are observed.
    ``(3) The ombudsman shall respond to each complaint in writing 
within 60 days and make a recommendation to the head of the executive 
agency for an appropriate resolution thereto. In such a recommendation, 
the ombudsman shall consider--
            ``(A) whether the agency is adequately applying the policies 
        and procedures in this section;
            ``(B) whether the availability of hard-metric products and 
        services from United States firms is sufficient to ensure full 
        and open competition; and
            ``(C) the total installed price to the Federal Government.

    ``(4) After the head of the agency has rendered a decision regarding 
a recommendation of the ombudsman, the ombudsman shall be responsible 
for communicating the decision to all appropriate policy, design, 
planning, procurement, and notifying personnel in the agency. The 
ombudsman shall conduct appropriate monitoring as required to ensure the 
decision is implemented, and may submit further recommendations, as 
needed. The head of the agency's decision on the ombudsman's 
recommendations, and any supporting documentation, shall be provided to 
affected parties and made available to the public in a timely manner.

[[Page 110 STAT. 3415]]

    ``(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede the 
bid protest process established under subchapter V of chapter 35 of 
title 31, United States Code.''.

<<NOTE: 15 USC 205c note.>> SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE AND MISCELLANEOUS 
            PROVISIONS.

    (a) Effective Date.--This Act and the amendments made by this Act 
shall take effect 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
    (b) Savings Provisions.--This Act shall not apply to contracts 
awarded and solicitations issued on or before the effective date of this 
Act, unless the head of a Federal agency makes a written determination 
in his or her sole discretion that it would be in the public interest to 
apply one or more provisions of this Act or its amendments to these 
existing contracts or solicitations.

    Approved October 11, 1996.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 2779 (H.R. 4233):
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HOUSE REPORTS: No. 104-639 (Comm. on Science).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 142 (1996):
            July 23, considered and passed House.
            Sept. 28, considered and passed Senate, amended. House 
                concurred in Senate amendment.

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