You may have noticed that SBA issued a final rule last week that created sweeping changes to the SBA’s 8(a) Program regulations, but along with that, SBA made sure to slip in a change to the ostensible subcontractor rule that has been a sticking point for many contractors when facing affiliation concerns. With this final rule, SBA will update the regulations to provide contractors certain ways to defend against potential ostensible subcontractor rule affiliation, depending on the type of contract at issue. This represents a shift in thinking, related to how to combat allegations brought under this affiliation rule and could present some new wrinkles for contractors to consider when setting up subcontracting arrangements.Continue reading
SBA has issued a final rule updating some of its rules relating to the 8(a) Program. The final rule will have an impact on some aspects of ownership and control requirements for the 8(a) Program, including providing some flexibility for change of ownership and making some 8(a) set-aside processes a little cleaner. The rule would also allow for populated joint ventures between similarly situated joint venture members.
We wrote about the proposed rule last year. Below are some of the key takeaways from the final rule and any changes from the proposed rule.Continue reading
Teaming agreements are a great tool for establishing the prime-subcontractor relationship to jointly pursue government contracts. They can protect the parties’ rights, set performance expectations, demonstrate regulatory compliance, and reduce the likelihood of disputes down the line. But no matter how common teaming agreements have become, many still find them to be a bit of a mystery. This is probably because teaming agreements are neither required nor defined by SBA’s regulations or the FAR; and they have no regulatory-required content. But that doesn’t stop procuring agencies from requiring submission of teaming agreements with proposed teaming partners (especially where the offeror requests consideration of its proposed subcontractor’s past performance, experience, and/or capabilities). So, it is beneficial to know some of the “basics” of teaming agreements: what they are, why you should have one, and what should be included.Continue reading
In a recent decision, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) examined a company that received two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant awards. The SBA Area Office had determined that the awardee was not an eligible small business due to ostensible subcontractor affiliation and other reasons. This decision is an important reminder for SBIR candidates on how they should structure subcontracting teams, as SBA will examine SBIR awardee eligibility.Continue reading
SBA’s Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA) recently said that the SBA Area Office should have informed the protested concern of the issues its adverse size determination focused on before ruling against the concern’s size eligibility on that basis. In addition to its lesson on due process, OHA also took this opportunity to distinguish totality of the circumstances affiliation (the basis on which the Area Office found affiliation here) from ostensible subcontractor affiliation (the basis for affiliation alleged in the size protest). OHA vacated and remanded the Area Office’s decision.Continue reading
The ostensible subcontractor rule says that, for a small business or socioeconomic set-aside such as 8(a), the small business prime contractor must perform the primary and vital parts of the contract and can’t be unduly reliant on a subcontractor. If the small business is found to violate the rule, the size of the small prime contractor and the large subcontractor are grouped for size purposes, which can result in loss of award. But the ostensible subcontractor rule is different from SBA’s joint venture rules, because SBA rules (and other federal law) distinguish between a prime-sub team and a joint venture. In a recent decision, OHA reversed a determination that a small business prime was affiliated with a subcontractor where the Area Office mixed up the analysis of the ostensible subcontractor rule and the joint venture rules.Continue reading
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.Continue reading