SBA OHA: Contracting Officer Can’t Extend Size Appeal Deadline

When you hear “15 days,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps, you pay your employees every 15 days. Maybe your birthday or favorite holiday happens to be in 15 days. Or if you’re like me, you might think that 15 days is two days fewer than Thirteen Daysa great movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Whatever your brain conjures up, don’t forget this: 15 days is the time limit to appeal an SBA size determination. Period. And nothing the contracting officer says can change it.

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5 Things You Should Know: SBIR/STTR Programs

Beyond set-aside procurements, the government bolsters small businesses by encouraging their participation in federally-funded research. Two key programs exist: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. Ultimately, the government hopes that participating small businesses will commercialize technologies developed with federal research dollars. While the two programs are similar, a key feature distinguishes them: the STTR Program requires a small business to partner with a qualified research institution.

SBA has issued regulations and directives that govern these two programs. Here are five things you should know about the SBIR/STTR Programs.

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GAO: Bid Was Responsive Despite Missing Information Regarding Buy American Act Exception

The Buy American Act generally requires construction contractors to use domestically-made materials, unless an exception applies. One important exception allows contractors to use foreign-produced materials when the cost of domestic material is six percent more expensive. To quality under this exception, however, a contractor must provide certain information outlined by the FAR with its bid.

But what if a contractor doesn’t provide every piece of required information? Is its proposal automatically doomed as non-responsive? Not necessarily. A recent case shows that offerors may have some wiggle-room.

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Get Your Novation Before Filing a Bid Protest with GAO

Only an “interested party” can bring a GAO bid protest. This generally means that a protester must be “an actual or prospective bidder or offeror” with a “direct economic interest” in the contract’s award.

You might ask: is there such a thing as an offeror without a direct economic interest in the outcome of the contract award? It can happen–and a novation may be relevant. In a recent case, GAO held that a pending novation meant that the protester didn’t meet the standard necessary to file a protest.

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5 Things You Should Know: Adding Wage Rates to Davis-Bacon Act Wage Determinations

For federal construction projects in the United States exceeding $2,000, the Davis-Bacon Act requires contractors to pay their “laborers and mechanics” the “prevailing wage.” Typically, a federal construction contract will incorporate a wage determination which outlines the prevailing wages for the workers expected for the project. But what if you discover that you need another type of worker not listed on the wage determination?

Here are five things you should know about adding wage rates to an existing DBA wage determination.

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A Pre-Award Protest Probably Isn’t the Place to Raise Suspicions of Wage Violations

Let’s suppose you’re a contractor that provides services to the federal government. Typically, your contract will require you to pay your employees the prevailing wage rates promulgated under the Service Contract Act.

What if you suspect that, under previous contracts, your competitors failed to pay their employees the mandated prevailing rates? Can you use a pre-award bid protest to obligate a procuring agency to police possible ongoing non-compliance through solicitation provisions? If you say yes, perhaps you should keep reading.

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Don’t Overlook the Seemingly Perfunctory in Your Proposal: CAGE Codes

As our readers well know, a good proposal for a federal government procurement is an exercise in persuasive writing. You muster your creative powers to convince the source selection authority that you offer the best product or service, that your price is competitive, and that your past performance is stellar. So you invest heavily in your proposal writers; you review your proposal repeatedly to polish and ensure that it compels; you agonize.

But while the artistic portion of your proposal is, without dispute, extraordinarily important, don’t neglect the seemingly mundane–like CAGE codes. Get that wrong, and GAO just might sustain your competitor’s protest.

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