Ostensible Subcontractor Rule: SBA OHA Confirms “Four Key Factors” To Avoid

In determining whether a prime contractor and subcontractor are affiliated under the ostensible subcontractor rule, the SBA is supposed to consider the totality of the relationship between the parties.  But when it comes to determining whether the ostensible subcontractor rule has been violated, not all components of the prime/subcontractor relationship are created equal.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals confirmed that there are “four key factors” that are strongly suggestive of ostensible subcontractor affiliation–especially if the subcontractor will perform a large percentage of the overall contract work.

Continue reading

Ostensible Subcontractor Affiliation Can’t Be “Fixed” After Final Proposals

Affiliation under the ostensible subcontractor rule is determined at the time of proposal submission–and can’t be “fixed” by later changes.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearing and Appeals confirmed that a contractor’s affiliation with its proposed subcontractor could not be mitigated by changes in subcontracting relationships after final proposals were submitted.

Continue reading

Ostensible Subcontractor Affiliation: Beware These “Four Key Factors,” Says SBA OHA

Ostensible subcontractor affiliation can arise for many reasons–but a small business may be in grave danger of affiliation with its subcontractor when four specific factors are present.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that a small prime contractor was unusually reliant on its large subcontractor where “four key factors” indicated that the small prime contractor was bringing little to the table but its small business status.

Continue reading

Ostensible Subcontractor Rule: Management Alone Wasn’t Enough

The prime contractor’s management of a contract wasn’t enough to avoid ostensible subcontractor affiliation where the subcontractor would provide the labor, equipment, and facilities for performing the work.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals confirmed that, where the subcontractor will provide the goods or services that the agency “actually seeks to acquire,” the subcontractor may be deemed an ostensible subcontractor under the SBA’s affiliation rules.

Continue reading

Ostensible Subcontractor Rule: Hiring Subcontractor’s Project Manager Didn’t Create Affiliation

Ostensible subcontractor affiliation was not created when the small prime contractor proposed to hire its subcontractor’s current employee to serve as the prime contractor’s project manager.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that, where the prime contractor would retain supervision and control of contract performance, the prime contractor was not dependent on its subcontractor for contract management.

Continue reading

Ostensible Subcontractor Affiliation: SBA Must Review Final Proposal

To determine whether ostensible subcontractor affiliation exists between a prime contractor and its subcontractor, the SBA must use the prime contractor’s final proposal revision.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals overturned an SBA Area Office affiliation determination that did not contemplate an offeror’s final proposal.

Continue reading

8(a)’s Unapproved Mentor-Protege Arrangement Leads To Affiliation

An 8(a) small business was found to be affiliated with its large subcontractor under the ostensible subcontractor rule based in part on the fact that the large subcontractor was providing mentoring services to the small business–even though the SBA had rejected a proposed mentor-protege agreement between the companies.

The recent decision of the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals in Size Appeal of Brown & Pipkins LLC, SBA No. SIZ-5621 (2014) is a warning to 8(a) firms about the potential dangers of accepting mentoring services outside the confines of a SBA-approved mentor-protege agreement.

Continue reading