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Sole-Source 8(a) A & E
By Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 07:19 pm:

We have a multi-office discussion about procuring an Environmental A/E IDIQ as a sole source 8(a) RFP. Some say it can be done and some say it's not allowed.

I've read through FAR 19, 36.6 and Brooks and did not find anything that said FAR 19.8 does not apply to A/E Acquisitions. The contract total is under the competative limit established at 19.805-1(a)(2).

Anybody have anything that specifically reflects you cannot do A/E 8(a) sole source?

By joel hoffman on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 10:00 am:

Here is advice I just received from the Corps of Engineers' proponent for A-E Contracting in Washington. I thought I'd seen something on it, recently. Just couldn't find it in a search, last night. Does this answer your question?

"We can't do a sole source 8(a) for an any type of A-E services. We got a ruling form SBA last year on that. We have to follow the Brooks Act on 8(a) A-E. That's now in EFARS 36.602(S-101). So if the environmental services are considered A-E services, you can't do a sole source 8(a). If they are not considered A-E services (i.e. focused on biological sciences), then you can do sole source." happy sails! joel hoffman

By Anonymous on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 10:59 am:


Whats an "EFARS"?

I think even if you went 8(a) sole source the firm would still have to meet the requirements of 36.602.

By Anonymous on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 01:09 pm:

I think the SBA could have read its own rules a little more generously....the following is from 13 CFR 124 et seq

Nothing in this Act or any other provision of law precludes exclusive small business set-asides for procurements of architectural and engineering services, research, development, test and evaluation, and each Federal agency is authorized to develop such set-asides to further the interests of small business in those areas.

By joel hoffman on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 08:48 pm:

Anon1. This was guidance that the Corps of Engineers received from SBA. (EFARS is the agency FAR Supplement - applicable to COE acquisition) I assume that the SBA policy is equally applicable to other agencies.

Anon2. 8(a) competitive set-asides, yes. The SBA policy, as expressed in our agency FAR Supplement, expresses the guidance received from SBA with regard to sole source 8(a) set-asides. Apparently, the basis for restrictions against non-competitive set-asides is the Brooks A-E Act. That Act, in a nutshell, states that engineering and design services shall be awarded using competitive, qualifications-based selection (QBS)procedures.

"EFARS 36.602(S-101): 8(a) and HUBZone Programs. A-E procurements reserved for the 8(a) and HUBZone programs must follow the selection procedures in the Brooks A-E Act; sole source procedures cannot be used. There must be adequate competition (such that at least three most highly qualified firms can be identified), determination of the three most highly qualified 8(a) or HUBZone firms, discussions (interviews) with the most highly qualified firms, and ranking of the most highly qualified firms. SBA approval is not required to do a competitive procurement for 8(a) A-E awards below $3,000,000."

Original Anonymous: You asked the question and said that there is some debate. Please explain what reference those arguing against sole source 8(a) contracting are citing.

Better yet. Call the SBA and find out. Seems like a novel idea... Somebody might get the bright idea to call them and ask, since the SBA will become involved at some point anyway. Why do you need to use this forum to find out what the SBA policy is? Its their program. happy sails! joel

By anon 1-09 on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 10:14 am:

Joel--- I know what you are saying--I guess the point I was attempting to make was in the first 10 words of the CFR reference I provided- especially " or any other provision of law shall preclude.....". Unless a sole source 8a is not legally considered a "small business set aside" I do not see why such an action is not permitted,but thats just my opinion..

By Original Anonymous on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 11:04 am:


I did contact the SBA and found the same information you referenced. They give 3 firms and you review 254/255 and select one to deal with.

I also found Comptroller General Decision B-193874, October 11, 1979, Vector Engineering which also reflects what the SBA says.

Problem was, a few months ago our SBA office supported award to one 8(a) without evaluating more than one firm.

The issue has now worked itself out and I am adjusting our agency manual to reflect the process when going 8(a).