NAICS Code Appeals: A Quick Timeliness Reminder

If you Google the simple phrase “10 days,” the top result is the IMDb page for the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.   I haven’t seen this 2003 Matthew McConaughey/Kate Hudson romantic comedy, and Lord willing, never will (though I recall that my 80-something grandmother thoroughly enjoyed it).

Even though NAICS code appeals didn’t pop up first on the Google rankings, actors with a penchant for the Texas Longhorns aren’t the only thing that can be lost in 10 days.   If you want to file a NAICS code appeal with the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals, act quickly.  Under the SBA OHA regulations, NAICS code appeals must be filed and served within 10 days after the issuance of the solicitation.  Any later, and you will lose your right to appeal, as one would-be appellant recently learned.

In NAICS Appeal of Hummingbird Solutions, SBA No. NAICS-5334 (2012) , the Army issued a solicitation on February 16, 2012, and designated it with NAICS code 541519 (Other Computer Related Services), with a corresponding $25 million size standard.  On March 12, 2012, Hummingbird Solutions filed a NAICS code appeal, arguing that the correct NAICS code was either 541611 or 541614, both of which carried much smaller size standards.

Unfortunately for Hummingbird, its appeal was too late.  Based on the February 16 issuance of the solicitation, Hummingbird had to file its NAICS code appeal no later than February 27.  Instead, it filed some two weeks after the ten-day deadline expired.  SBA OHA dismissed the NAICS code appeal as untimely.

The Hummingbird Solutions case is a good reminder that the clock for a NAICS code appeal starts ticking when the solicitation is issued.  Unlike pre-award GAO bid protests challenging solicitation defects, the deadline for submitting a NAICS code appeal does not extend until the due date for proposals, but only runs 10 days, even if proposals are not due for weeks (or months) later.

Keep the 10-day deadline in mind, or you could wind up like Hummingbird Solutions, stuck with a NAICS code you don’t believe is correct–and eating a tub of Chunky Monkey while watching a romantic comedy to console yourself.

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