The Federal Government Contracts & Procurement Blog

Recently on the blog, I covered one of the major risks encountered by construction contractors – subsurface or unexpected physical conditions discovered after the work begins (commonly known as  Differing Site Conditions under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.236-2). In that post, I explained that a government contractor that uncovers a Differing Site Condition on a federal project must take three basic steps: (1) Properly document the condition (2) Notify the government, and (3) Preserve the…
Bid protests at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have spawned a distinct area of the law.  With multiple evaluation schemes to consider, there are an ever-growing number of strategies for disappointed offerors to challenge alleged agency procurement errors. Just like there are best practices for bid protests, there are also strategies to avoid at all costs.  Chief among the arguments a protester should steer clear of is “mere disagreement” with the agency. In a nut shell, “mere…
For federal contractors, affirmative action plan (AAP) audits may be just around the corner. The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs sent 750 courtesy scheduling announcement letters (CSAL’s) last week to federal contractors, notifying them that their affirmative action plans (AAP) may be audited. This latest round of notifications, which supplements the 1,000 CSAL’s sent out earlier this year, alerts federal contractors that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be…
  As I’ve covered here before, low-priced, technically acceptable procurements (LPTA) shine a light on a contractor’s ability to provide the required services at the lowest possible cost to the government.  Leave your style points at home.  It is all about getting lean to win the award. But when the evaluation is that simple, is there any room to challenge an LPTA award decision?  The answer is Yes — and a recent GAO protest offers…
Federal procurements often include a competitive range of offerors seeking the contract award.  The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) competitive range procedure offers the agency an incremental stage in the competition where it can pare down a large pool of offerors into a narrow group consisting of only those proposals with a reasonable chance of receiving the award. But what qualifications are used to determine the offerors included in the competitive range?  And can you protest…
Here we go again.  Back in March, I discussed the impact of the brief government shutdowns in January and February and risks associated with what could have been (had the stand-off gone on much longer). Today, news from the White House and Capitol Hill raises concerns over another possible shutdown in September (when the government will run out of money without action by Congress and the President). In light of this uncertainty, I thought…
I recently had the opportunity to present an online CLE for LawLine on Risk Management in Government Contracting. This is my second time presenting a course for LawLine (I previously taught a course on Small Business Compliance). Risk Management is a broad topic that can mean different things to different people. In this course, I decided to focus on practical steps that contractors can take to develop a corporate Culture of Compliance. There…
In today’s Federal marketplace, it is very common to see solicitations that give the Agency the option of entering into discussions with offerors.  The primary objective of discussions is to maximize competition and, in turn, the Agency’s ability to obtain the best possible value. Once it makes the decision to enter into discussions, the Agency must do so in good faith and with all offerors remaining in the competition.  Further, the discussions themselves must be “meaningful” –…
Two pieces of advice I often provide to government contractors are: 1.When responding to a solicitation, give the government precisely what it asks for – right down to the letter.  This includes providing the information in the correct section of your proposal.  The agency will not play hide-and-seek; and 2.  If you think there is something askew with a procurement or award decision – act fast.  There are lots of different deadlines enforced by
Please see the following link for Fox Rothschild LLP’s Federal Contractors’ Guide to Small Business Administration Set-Aside Contracts, Size Standards, Size Protests, and Affiliation.  http://www.foxrothschild.com/douglas-p-hibshman/publications/federal-contractors-guide-to-small-business-administration-set-aside-contracts-size-standards-size-protests-and-affiliation/ The federal government sets aside a significant portion of its procurement dollars each year for purchasing goods and services from small businesses.  Small business set-aside procurements and small business contract awards (“Set-Aside Procurements” and “Set-Aside Contracts,” respectively) provide substantial opportunities for a certified small business concern (SBC) to compete for and…