Domestic Steel Measure Becomes Law (Senate Bill 11)

Kegler Brown Construction Alert

As a result of the promises of the leaders of the Ohio House and Senate and the Governor to provide help to the Ohio steel industry, this Bill moved on a "fast track basis" through the Ohio General Assembly and was signed into law on an emergency basis on March 29, 2001. The hastily prepared Bill is quite troubling to the construction industry and perhaps poses a significant risk to your company. The Bill imposes a substantial penalty on anyone who knowingly or otherwise uses foreign "load bearing structural steel" on any Ohio public construction project. While this requirement of utilizing only "domestic steel" should be set forth in the State's specifications made available to bidders, the law imposes a penalty even if the provision is not contained in the specifications. The penalty for non-compliance is 1 ½ times the value of the foreign steel — a draconian penalty that would be enough to put many companies out of business.

You are strongly encouraged to take all efforts necessary to insure that no foreign "load bearing structural steel" finds its way onto your public construction projects, including receiving certifications from your steel subcontractors and suppliers.

As metal studs might arguably be considered "load bearing structural steel," drywall contractors also should be aware of this risk. Although not legally binding, Ohio's Department of Administrative Services says its "focus" will be on building structural steel framing, as opposed to ornamental steel, light gauge steel framing, reinforcing steel and other systems, which include limited "structural" steel, the origin of which is usually difficult or impossible to determine.