Contrary to a common misconception, a contractor need not list the solicitation’s NAICS code in its SAM profile in order to qualify for contract award.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that the government may award a contract to a small business even if the awardee does not list the solicitation’s NAICS code in its SAM profile.
The GAO’s decision in High Plains Computing, Inc. d/b/a HPC Solutions, B-409736.2 (Dec. 22, 2014) involved a Social Security Administration procurement for video teleconferencing support services. The solicitation was issued as an 8(a) set-aside under NAICS code 517919.
After reviewing competitive proposals, the agency awarded the contract to National Cable Contracting, LLC. An unsuccessful competitor, High Plans Computing d/b/a HPC Solutions, filed a GAO bid protest. HPC contended, in part, that NCC was ineligible for award because NCC did not list NAICS code 517919 on its SAM profile.
The GAO noted that it had examined a similar question in 2007 under the old ORCA system. In the 2007 case, the agency made award to a firm even though the firm’s ORCA profile did not contain the solicitation’s NAICS code. The GAO upheld the agency’s decision because “there was no apparent statutory or regulatory requirement for the NAICS code in a solicitation to be listed in an offeror’s ORCA entries, and because the record showed that the contracting officer had a reasonable basis to conclude that the firm was eligible for award under the solicitation’s size standard.”
The GAO wrote that the circumstances in this case were “essentially identical” to those in the prior decision. “In particular,” the GAO continued, “HPC has failed to identify a statute or regulation requiring that the NAICS code in the solicitation be listed in an offeror’s SAM record, and the record shows that the contracting officer had a reasonable basis to believe that NCC was eligible for award under the solicitation’s size standard.” The GAO denied HPC’s protest.
In my experience, there is a good deal of confusion–among contractors and government officials alike–regarding the listing of NAICS codes on an offeror’s SAM profile. As the High Plains Computing case demonstrates, an offeror is not ineligible for award simply because it does not list the solicitation’s NAICS code on its SAM profile.