The Federal Government Contracts & Procurement Blog

Contractors who have filed or have considered filing a Bid Protest based on a mistake by an agency know that they have very little time to recognize an issue and take action before the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Typically, a protest challenging the award of a contract must be filed within 10 days (calendar, not business) of when a protester knows or should know of the basis of the protest. GAO routinely dismisses untimely protests…
At the end of 2018, the President signed the Small Business Runway Extension Act.  Without much fanfare, the Act delivers a major shakeup to the Federal small business community. Before the Act, a business would determine its size by calculating its average annual receipts over the three most recently completed fiscal years.  With the stroke of a pen, those average annual receipts are now measured over a five year period. Perhaps predictably, lots of ink…
One of the primary benefits offered by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) mentor-protégé programs is the ability to operate outside the normal rules governing affiliation.  Generally speaking, SBA allows mentors to provide assistance (including technical, management, and financial assistance) to their protégé firms without fear of creating affiliation.  That is, so long as the assistance provided is consistent with the mentor-protégé agreement, it cannot be used as the basis for a finding of affiliation. However, some…
Traditionally, disputes that rise to the level of an appeal before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) (or other board of contract appeals) follow a similar path: ·       The contractor and the Government enter into a written contract ·       The contractor performs the contract, but believes that it is entitled to recover additional costs or damages in connection with its performance and files a claim ·       The Government denies the claim in a…
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…