There are not many people or organizations that can say they anticipated the spread of this pandemic disease that is confining million to their homes as part of stay in place orders and self quarantines.
Though the FAR Council did not foresee that the coronavirus and COVID-19 would trap contractors in their homes, it did anticipate that from time to time events completely out of the control of contractors may conspire to affect the performance of contracts—though perhaps not to this magnitude.
A quick update on a proposed FAR rule that will put in place restrictions on use of lowest-price, technically acceptable (LPTA) solicitations in non-DOD agencies, as mandated in the 2019 NDAA. There are a few differences from the similar rule that recently went into effect for DOD.
But for HUBZone Program participants, the proposed rule and DoD deviation contain a glaring problem: a requirement that the HUBZone member of a joint venture take sole responsibility for meeting the applicable limitations on subcontracting. This requirement, which doesn’t apply to joint venturers in other socioeconomic programs, is unfair to HUBZones, and at odds with SBA regulations.
Earlier this week, the FAR Council issued a proposed rule to conform the FAR to the SBA’s regulation governing limitations on subcontracting. But the DoD isn’t waiting around while the FAR Council finishes the process.
The DoD has issued a comprehensive FAR deviation, effective immediately. The DoD’s FAR deviation will, effectively, temporarily conform the DoD’s use of the FAR to the SBA’s regulation while the FAR Council works on a final rule.
In last week’s edition of the SmallGovConWeek In Review, we referenced a FAR update that has important ramifications for prospective small business government contractors. This rule is potentially important enough that we figured it deserved its own stand-alone SmallGovCon post.
So what’s so important about this new rule? In a nutshell, it clarifies that offerors must be registered in SAM at the time of bid submission to be considered for an award.
At least a couple times a month, I’m asked when the FAR’s limitations on subcontracting provisions will be updated to correspond with SBA regulations adopted in 2016, and underlying statutory changes adopted way back in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.
Well, now it seems that the FAR updates may take longer than I’d hoped. In its most recent “Open Cases” update, the FAR Council says that it’s made a switch in the procedure that will be used to implement the changes to the limitations on subcontracting–and that switch will likely delay the implementation of those changes by several months.
Civilian agencies may issue class deviations to quickly implement provisions of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act increasing the micro-purchase threshold to $10,000 and the simplified acquisition threshold to $250,000.
In a memorandum for civilian agencies issued on February 16, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council says that agencies may elect to adopt interim authority allowing their Contracting Officers to take advantage of these higher thresholds, even as the FAR Council goes through the formal process of codifying those changes.