For government contractors, trying to predict how COVID-19 might affect a government project can be extraordinarily challenging task. One bidder recently attempted to provide some clarity by stating, in its bid, that COVID-19 was a “force majeure event” and that the bidder would be entitled to extra time if COVID-19 affected the project.
Unfortunately for the bidder, its effort failed: the agency rejected the bid for improperly exceeding the scope of a relevant FAR clause. The GAO then confirmed that the agency had acted properly.
A company that is nonresponsive to an Invitation for Bid (IFB), or any solicitation for that matter, will usually be rejected for consideration for award. All too often, when a nonresponsive finding is made, there is no coming back.
A recent decision from GAO shines light on what it means to be “nonresponsive” and “not responsible.” GAO confirmed that SAM registration submitting annual certifications are matters of responsibility, not responsiveness.
What is the difference? Let’s look at the two terms and their practical effect on a company’s ability to cure deficiencies.
When an agency’s invitation for bids requires the submission of a bid guarantee, a bidder’s failure to include the original bid guarantee at bid opening may render the bid nonresponsive.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that a procuring agency properly rejected a bid because the bidder provided only a copy of the required bid guarantee with the bid.
The SBA’s Certificate of Competency procedures cannot be used to cure a small business’s incomplete proposal.
In a recent bid protest decision, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims held that the procuring agency could not lawfully cure a firm’s omission of mandatory proposal information by submitting the matter to the SBA for a Certificate of Competency.
An 8(a) company failed to satisfy a solicitation’s experience and key personnel requirements, but the 8(a) company walked away with a $23.9 million contract anyway–thanks to the SBA.
The GAO’s bid protest decision in Coastal Environmental Group, Inc., B-407563, B-407563.3, B-407563.4 (Jan. 14, 2013) demonstrates the power of the SBA under its certificate of competency program to second-guess procuring agencies’ determinations with respect to corporate experience, the resumes of key personnel, and other responsibility matters.