A “similarly situated entity” cannot be an ostensible subcontractor under the SBA’s affiliation rules.
In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals confirmed that changes made to the SBA’s size regulations in 2016 exempt similarly situated entities from ostensible subcontractor affiliation.
So you’ve teamed with an ineligible incumbent contractor to bid on some government work and, to try and maintain continuity, the incumbent would like to retain project management functions. “No big deal,” you think, “I’ll just create a management position to oversee the project manager.”
Actually, it could be a big deal if you’re trying to avoid ostensible subcontractor affiliation. Among the four key factors for determining ostensible subcontractor affiliation is whether the management previously served with the subcontractor under the incumbent contract. And according to a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision, creating a figurehead management position to oversee the project manager won’t negate this indicia of ostensible subcontractor affiliation.
The GAO lacks jurisdiction to consider a challenge to a contract awardee’s size status, including questions of whether the awardee is affiliated with its subcontractor under the ostensible subcontractor rule.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that it will not adjudicate an allegation of ostensible subcontractor affiliation.
Under the SBA’s ostensible subcontractor affiliation rule, hiring incumbent employees can be evidence of affiliation, but the importance of that staffing plan in an affiliation analysis depends on what role the incumbent contractor will play in the awardee’s performance of the contract.
In a recent size appeal decision, the awardee proposed to hire 85% of its personnel from the incumbent contractor, but the incumbent wasn’t proposed as a subcontractor–in fact, the incumbent was the company protesting the awardee’s small business size. Under these circumstances, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held, the awardee’s hiring of incumbent employees did not establish ostensible subcontractor affiliation.
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.
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.
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.