The SBA’s ostensible subcontractor rule can be a minefield for small prime contractors, who must be careful to avoid risk factors for affiliation with their large subcontractors.
But not every small prime need worry about ostensible subcontractor affiliation. As a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision confirms, the ostensible subcontractor rule does not apply to procurements for manufactured products.
As we discussed, in late 2019 the SBA issued a proposed rule that would make a number of significant changes to the Mentor/Protégé programs and other small business contracting rules. Well, the SBA will soon issue its final rule on these changes, so make sure you are aware of the new rules.
In my legal career representing hundreds of small businesses in government contracting, few topics have caused as much confusion as the limitations on how much work can be subcontracted on small business set-aside contracts and sole source contracts (like 8(a) Program direct awards).
Earlier, working with my friends at Govology, I put together step-by-step compliance guides for service contractors, construction contractors, manufacturers, and nonmanufacturers. Each guide is written in plain English and includes examples to help demonstrate how the SBA’s limitations on subcontracting rule (13 C.F.R. 125.6) works in practice.
Here’s where to find my limitations on subcontracting guides:
GAO recently dismissed a protest to an awardee’s eligibility under the applicable size standard. The protester argued that the agency should have known that the awardee exceeded the nonmanufacturer rule’s 500-employee maximum. After extensive briefing from both parties and from the SBA itself, GAO found that the awardee’s proposal didn’t raise any issues and that it was really up to the SBA to decide the size issues anyway.
The SBA said recently that it intends to issue a class waiver of the Nonmanufacturer Rule for laptop and tablet computers, freeing up small businesses to resell these products in bulk to the federal government.
The SBA recently announced its intent in the Federal Register, giving the public the opportunity to comment early in the New Year.