The Office of Hearings and Appeals, more commonly referred to as OHA, is tasked with deciding size determination appeals that arise under the Small Business Act of 1958, as well as 13 C.F.R. parts 121 and 134. When an unsuccessful offeror raises a question, via a size protest, regarding an Awardee’s size under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code on any given solicitation, the SBA Area Office will review the protest and issue a size determination. Then, a losing party can appeal the size determination to OHA.
Affiliation is a common topic that OHA addresses. In a recent decision, OHA looked at the question of how nonprofits fit into the affiliation rules. Since a small business has to be a for-profit entity, can a small business be affiliated with a nonprofit parent company?
When a business is poised to win a federal contract award set aside for small businesses, there is always the potential for a competitor to challenge that award on the basis that the proposed winner is not actually a small business based on SBA’s size and affiliation rules. Or, if your company just lost an award, you may consider challenging that the proposed winner is a small business. Either way, it pays to know the basics behind size protests and appeals. While you could read through my recent handbook on Procedures and Pitfalls of Size Protests and Appeals (it’s a good read!), here are some key things to keep in mind when considering size protests and appeals.
As with many things, when filing a size protest with the Small Business Administration, timing is of the utmost importance! In this YouTube video, we walk you through how to file your size protest on time to avoid dismissal:
Stay tuned to the blog for more important information on size protests and government contracting! And if you think you might have a size protest and require assistance call Koprince Law– before it’s too late!
SBA regulations say that size is determined as of the date an offeror submits its initial proposal, with price. On its face, this rule seems pretty straight forward. But what happens if the initial proposal was filed six years ago? And what if the joint venture that submitted the proposal has since expired?
Following OHA’s recent logic, the proposal-date rule stands even in these unique circumstances.
As we’ve discussed in previous posts, if you want to initiate a size protest, you generally must do so within 5 business days after the contracting officer notifies you of the prospective awardee’s identity.
But what happens if, after learning that you did not receive the award, the agency does something that suggests its award decision wasn’t final–e.g., reopens discussions with offerors and seeks revised proposals? Would your size protest still be late if didn’t file within the 5-day time frame?
Take a guess. And keep reading to find out the answer!
Generally, a size protest must be filed within five business days of when the protester receives notice of the identity of the awardee. But there are some nuances to this rule, such as whether a corrective action will extend the deadline and whether the clock starts running upon notice of the prospective awardee or the actual contract award date (Hint: notice of awardee).
But when does the 5-day protest period start to run in the context of a Blanket Purchase Agreement issued under a GSA Schedule contract? A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision is a reminder that the award of a BPA does not trigger a new 5-day period to file a size protest.
If a prospective contractor wishes to file a size protest, it must act quickly: the protester ordinarily has five business days to initiate its protest. But does the deadline get extended if the agency takes corrective action in response to a bid protest?
Maybe, maybe not. A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision examines that question.