Emergency Rules

Government ontractors and small businesses should be aware of increased opportunities during the current COVID-19 national emergency. The government is permitted, during a national emergency, to set aside solicitations to allow awards “only to offerors residing or doing business primarily in the area affected by …[a] major disaster or emergency.” Contractors can verify if they fall into this category by reviewing Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.226-3(d). (Law360.com, April 13, 2020)

A national emergency declaration allows the government to (restrict) certain solicitations to small businesses in certain areas. These solicitations are either a set-aside or an evaluation preference is given to small businesses. (ibid)

During national emergencies, large contractors should look to team with small businesses, or to current teaming agreements already in place. In addition, contractors who are at the ready to produce/provide goods or services may be called on to contract with agencies to battle COVID-19. (ibid)

Micro purchase thresholds are another acquisition procedure government agencies may use during a national emergency. These allow for a simplified acquisition methodology for specific items or services required under emergency situations, such as the COVID-19 national emergency. (ibid)

State and local governments may also procure under the Stafford Act, wherein state governors request financial relief via federal grants that allow procurement under their own procedures. The Stafford Act authorizes federal contracts for “debris clearance, distribution of supplies, reconstruction, and other major disaster or emergency assistance activities.” In 2006 the Local Community Recovery Act amended the Stafford Act mandating local organizations to be given preference when using full and open competition. The FAR was also amended to align with the Local Community Recovery Act. Under the act, if a contractor does not meet all of the Recovery Act stipulations there are other factors that may be considered. (Contractors may self-certify that they are local.) (ibid)

Other streamlining acquisition procedures are available under federal supply schedule contracts, multi-agency blanket purchase agreements, and multi-agency indefinite-delivery contracts. Additionally, there is an easing of the requirement that a contractor be registered in SAM.gov at the time an offer is submitted to the government. (ibid)

The emergency declaration allows state and local governments to purchase from all GSA schedules. It also encourages accelerated payments to small business contractors.  (ibid)

Additional modified procedures to facilitate swift responses are:

  • Relaxation of qualifications requirements
  • Use of sole-source contracts
  • Use of oral requests for proposals
  • Use of letter contracts
  • Interagency acquisitions
  • Awards to small disadvantaged businesses
  • Retroactive overtime approvals
  • Waivers of bid guarantees when an emergency exists
  • Use of protest overrides where necessary for a contracting process to continue

In order to track procurements related to COVID-19, GSA added a National Interest Action (NIA) code to SAM.gov. To find information on the site, simply type COVID-19 2020 in the search bar. (ibid) Contractors can register with SAM.gov under the disaster response registry, and be sure to monitor the portals most closely aligned to the goods or services you provide.

Have questions about the many opportunities available under the current national emergency? Give us a call.

FAR Changes

With the end of the Fiscal Year looming, the push is on to exhaust agency budgets. In an effort to make acquisitions move through the process more quickly and smoothly, DOD, GSA, and NASA have issued an amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The amendment fine-tunes the  FAR and eliminates a step in the acquisition process. (Fedscoop, July 15, 2019)

Per the FAR, agencies were required to justify the best procurement approach when using GSA’s IT Schedule 70, Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts, or assisted acquisition solutions. As of June 5, the new FAR amendment allows agencies to skip that step. Agencies are now able to quickly find GSA IT category contracts and acquisition solutions. (ibid)

According to Bill Zielinski, assistant commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition services office, agencies “can now identify and quickly use GSA IT Category contracts and acquisition solutions, especially as they embark on their end-of-year IT spending and acquisition efforts.” Zielinski feels the new change to the FAR reduces the administrative burden for agencies procuring through GSA’s IT Schedule 70 or through GWACs such as 8(a) STARS 2 and Alliant 2, as well as through assisted acquisition programs. (Federal Computer Week, July 15, 2019)

Curious about the new FAR language and how it affects your GSA schedule? Give us a call and we can review it with you.

 

 

GSA’s New Rules!

GSA has issued a final rule amending the following parts of  the GSA Acquisition Regulation (GSAR):

  • Part 515, Contracting by Negotiation,
  • Part 538 Federal Supply Schedule Contracting
  • GSAR Part 552, Solicitation Provisions and Contract Clauses (GSA Interact, June 3, 2019)

The above changes were enacted to clarify, update, streamline and incorporate existing Federal Supply Schedule contract administration policies and procedures. The final rule became effective on May 23, 2019. (ibid)

Changes include the following:

  • deletion of 85 obsolete/duplicative clauses and provisions (see GSA Order ADP 29800.12B Change 100)
  • incorporation of 30 “new” clauses and provisions into GSAR.
  • reincorporation of four GSA Schedules program clauses and provisions (previously removed from GSAR in a rewrite) into GSAR.
  • updating 10 existing GSA Schedules program clauses and provisions to reflect current references and practices. (ibid)

The above changes will be part of GSA’s new Consolidated Schedule solicitation. More information to follow in the coming months.

If you have questions about the GSAR rule amendments will affect your contracts, give us a call at 301-913-5000.

 

It’s Mass Mod Time Everyone!

You knew this was coming. All GSA schedule holders are looking at refreshes this month, the last one before all 24 MAS solicitations are rolled into a single Schedule. Expect the mass modifications to accomplish the following:

  • Update proposal instructions to require order status on GSA Advantage! orders;
  • Update proposal instructions related to Section 508 Standards;
  • Incorporate new Service Contract Act (SCA) Wage Determinations;
  • Update AbilityOne “Essentially the Same” Proposal Instructions;
  • Incorporate minor updates from FAC 2019-01 as applicable (GSA Interact March 26, 2019)

Note: Individual schedules may update additional clauses or provisions to make clarifications, administrative corrections, and other required changes. (ibid)

You will have 90 days to accept the mod once GSA FAS issues them. (ibid)

GSA is hosting a listen-in only webinar on Wednesday, April 10 at 1:00 PM EST to discuss the refreshes. You can register on this link.

Nervous and shaky about this latest mass mod? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

Upcoming Events

If it’s been a while since you attended a live event, training, or a webinar, it might be time to consider checking into as updates and changes are happening. Stay ahead of the curve. Give us a call at (301) 913-5000 if we can answer questions about any of the following:

Building Maintenance and Operations Overview & DPA Training – Virtual 10/25/2018
Announcing the Building Maintenance and Operations Overview and Delegation of Procurement Authority Training. The training will provide detailed ordering procedures for the new BMO government-wide strategic sourcing contract vehicle.

 

GSA Schedule 66 Training 11-6
What’s up with Schedule 66? Drones and a whole lot more!

 

Building Maintenance and Operations Overview & DPA Training – Virtual 12/13/2018
Announcing the Building Maintenance and Operations Overview and Delegation of Procurement Authority Training. The training will provide detailed ordering procedures for the new BMO government-wide strategic sourcing contract vehicle.