What to Know About LED Lights and BAA Compliancy


Government projects are subject to a wide variety of rules, regulations, and exceptions. Even something as simple as the choice of lighting must be carefully considered to ensure compliance with all of the legal requirements. One such regulations is the BAA, which governs all products used as part of any project by the federal government of the United States, including LED lights. Additional laws have extended the BAA’s authority to many other government projects, including some of those which are administered by private individuals but receive government funds, so every project manager can benefit from some familiarity with the law.

What Is The BAA?

The Buy American Act, often abbreviated to the BAA, is a relatively old law that requires the government to favor goods made in America over the alternatives for its own uses. A product is considered American if the final product and at least half of its components are produced in the United States. That may seem simple enough, but there are plenty of exceptions and waivers that make it significantly more complicated.

The most common waivers are due to price and availability. If a product that comes from America costs at least one quarter more than an identical product from a foreign market, then the contracting officer is entitled to seek a waiver and choose the foreign product. The officer may also do so if the American product is inferior to the foreign equivalent, or if they cannot get enough of the product from American suppliers. The President also has the authority to issue a waiver as part of trade agreements with other nations. Finally, waivers may also be granted if the governing body decides that it is within the public’s interest to do so. All waivers can be restricted to specific products and industries, and none of them are automatic, so determining which waivers are available for a given project can be difficult.

What Are The Requirements For LED Lights?

LED lights are subject to the BAA, which means that most government projects need to get them from an American supplier. Individual waivers are sometimes granted due to unavailability or price, but there is no blanket waiver for the lights. There was a period when LED traffic lights were granted a waiver, but it expired in 2010 and has not been replaced.

Determining Compliance

It is usually easy to determine if an LED light meets the requirements set by the BAA. Most suppliers will advertise their BAA compliance if possible, and they can usually provide sufficient proof when requested. If the project manager has any doubt about the acceptability of a product, they should consult with an expert before making the purchase.