While every federal government contractor is likely familiar with bid protests, whether directly involved in one or not, it is far less likely that those same contractors are as familiar with NAICS code appeals. This is probably due to the infrequent nature of NAICS code appeals, with roughly 20 being filed each year. However, even if so few are filed annually, they tend to have a relatively high success rate, with appeals decided on the merits being decided in favor of the Appellant about 50% of the time. Below, I will take a look at a recent NAICS code appeal to help demonstrate what the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) takes into account when reviewing NAICS code appeals, and why you, as a contractor, should review a solicitation’s classification to potentially give you a leg up.Continue reading
This matter again involves NASA and a particularly interesting government procurement, this time concerning NAICS appeals. NAICS codes, or the North American Industry Classification System codes, are how both businesses are classified by their industry and procurements are classified by what they’re for. If the procurement uses an inappropriate NAICS code, a protestor can appeal this code determination. It is important to note that some NAICS codes have “exceptions” which can affect their corresponding size standards. For example, NAICS code 541330, “Engineering,” has a size standard of $16.5 million, but, if the engineering services are for military equipment and weapons, an exception applies that balloons the size standard to $35.5 million. But, just like regular NAICS codes, these exceptions have to make sense in light of the kind of solicitation in question, leading us to this matter.Continue reading
NAICS codes are limited in what they can challenge, but can have a powerful effect on a procurement. A NAICS code appeal can challenge the size limit attached to a specific government procurement. This can level the playing field by limiting to smaller businesses, or expand the size of businesses that are able to compete. So, it’s good to know a NAICS code appeal works.Continue reading
We’ve all seen cases of agencies assigning NAICS codes to solicitations that just seem…off. But, unless a contractor can show that the code chosen was clearly erroneous, government contractors will simply have to make do with what they’ve been given. The OHA recently handed down a decision confirming this.Continue reading
Contracting officers are given significant discretion in choosing NAICS codes for procurements. But, as decision makers, they aren’t infallible. As a recent OHA case shows, using the NAICS Manual can help small business contractors challenge an incorrect NAICS code.Continue reading
Many people skip the footnotes when they read. Why not? There’s rarely anything important in them, right?
Not necessarily. In recent NAICS appeal Advanced Concepts Enterprises, Inc., SBA No. NAICS-5968 (Oct. 24, 2018), a single footnote made all the difference.
As the incumbent contractor, you’re excited to bid on the successor contract. The day it’s posted, you dash to fbo.gov, pull up the solicitation, and breathe a sigh of relief: the contract is still exclusively a small business set-aside. But wait! Under the assigned NAICS code your business doesn’t fall below the size standard.
Can the agency change the NAICS code from one iteration of the contract to another? Sure, so long as the selected NAICS code meets the regulatory standard.