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Fara Fasat

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About Fara Fasat

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  1. FWIW, I think you're making too much of the sub's business into your business. In 25+ years doing this, I have dealt with all the major primes and hundreds of smaller. I have seen all of their standard terms and non-standard terms. With the exception of a FAR clause that specifically requires it, none of them require the sub to separately confirm or verify their compliance with any flowdown clause. My company is also a major prime, and we don't do it. There are some that might require some monitoring of a sub, like the counterfeit parts clause, but certainly not EEO, AA, etc.
  2. Where in that clause do you see a requirement to provide proof to you of enrollment within 30 days? Unless I'm missing it, even the prime is not required to provide proof (and to whom, the CO?). Why do you consider it the prime's job to verify that your sub enrolled in E-Verify? Do you require your subs to verify to you that they have filed their EEO reports; have AA plans; notify their employees of rights under the NLRA; etc, just to name a few other mandatory flowdown clauses?
  3. That may be, although I interpreted sjst1 as saying that they required the FC identification in the subcontract itself, outside of 52.222-54. We'll have to see what sjst1 says.
  4. Why are you, as the prime, making it your business to tell your sub how to register in E-Verify? Why are you making their identification a condition of entering into a subcontract with your company? The clause requires you to flow it down to your subs. You've done that. It doesn't tell you to verify how your sub registers, or to ride herd on your subs to make sure they properly (according to you) identify themselves. If the subcontract contains that clause, it becomes the sub's contractual responsibility to register in E-Verify. You completed your contractual obligation by inserting the clause in the subcontract. Don't make subcontracting more difficult than it needs to be.
  5. content of fire alarm system

    Thanks. Still has some subjectivity, but I think we can say that if something is specified to go with the system (such as a certain type of wire) then it can be included in the single-item 'system' for purposes of the BAA. Now, since you introduced it , are you saying that a sprinkler system falls within the category of 'emergency life safety systems'? I hadn't thought about it before because my concern was the alarm system, but I agree it should. However, note that its purpose is different from that of the examples in the FAR. Its purpose is to suppress a fire, even in non-occupied structures, whereas the FAR examples warn people and help in their evacuation, hence 'life' safety. Nevertheless, a sprinkler system saves lives too, so I would include it.
  6. content of fire alarm system

    Just checked with someone who works with fire systems. He says that while the listed items are good indicators of what comprises the 'system', it is not completely accurate. One manufacturer might list wire for a system, but another might not - sometimes the wire specifications are in the installation instructions. So the listing does not definitively answer what is in the system for the FAR's 'single item' definition. Conduit, boxes, etc, usually are not listed. Back to the drawing board? Any answer from your friend? It remains an important question, because the inclusion of wire, conduit, boxes, etc, can make the difference in the 50% US content. One argument I've heard is that the system is useless if it is not connected, so of course the wire and conduit and other elements are part of the system.
  7. content of fire alarm system

    That sounds right. I don't know the details of the UL approval process, but I believe that products are tested and then listed for a particular fire system. If you don't use a product on the list, the system will not get approved. If a specific wire is listed for a system, then only that wire can be used. Wouldn't mind hearing from your friend though.
  8. content of fire alarm system

    Joel, I sent a reply to your message. Thanks. As for COTS, I'm not confused about the definition. I fully agree that each of the components - alarms, panel, etc, are usually COTS items. The problem is that special definition for an emergency system. If we are to treat the whole system as a single item, then it is that single item that is delivered to the government. Accordingly, it is that single item that must meet the COTS definition. I don't think you can jump back and forth and treat the system as a single item for BAA purposes, but then look at the individual components for COTS purposes. That would be like breaking down a unique military item and saying that if each component is COTS, then the end item is COTS as well. It certainly would be easier if we could do that, but I just don't think you can have it both ways like that.
  9. content of fire alarm system

    Joel, what then do you think the FAR means when it says that the entire system is "evaluated as a single and distinct construction material...."? Your post above seems to be saying that each item in the system (control panel, detectors, strobes, pull-boxes, etc) is an item of construction material, rather than the whole system being one item.
  10. content of fire alarm system

    Todd - thank you for taking the time to answer, as people usually avoid BAA/TAA issues. Summarizing your answer, you seem to be saying that the wire, conduit, etc, are necessary, and therefor part of the overall system. That means they are included in the calculations for the 50% content test. However, regarding your COTS statement: I think it is very unlikely that a fire alarm system could be COTS. Since it is, by definition, a single item of construction material, it is unlikely that that item would be sold to the government, without modification, in the same form in which it is sold in the commercial marketplace. What are the odds that the same system configuration would be sold to the government as in a commercial building, let alone in substantial quantities?
  11. Fara, is your question related to a specific solicitation or a question in general? If specific, I'd recommend that you ask the government contracting office for clarification. I haven't found any specific official clarification or definition but a "system", such as a telecommunications system or telephone system or building electrical system, generally incorporates the wiring  and conduit that connect the switches,  devices, distribution boxes, etc. 

    i do know a couple of friends that own or work for fire protection installation and maintenance companies. I can ask them how this has been interpreted. You could also ask your contacts at those type firms. 

    1. Fara Fasat

      Fara Fasat


      Thanks for the response. This is not for a specific contract. We are trying to prepare training for a large network of system designers and installers (several hundred) and this is a common question.

      I would appreciate your checking with some of your contracts. It's an important issue, but as you already know, there is no answer in the FAR, and I have been unable to find any cases or other guidance. I don't want to wait until an inspector finds a system noncompliant.

    2. joel hoffman

      joel hoffman

      Fara, I will try to check with my Construction contact tomorrow. 

  12. For construction contracts under the Buy American Act (BAA), construction material must be domestic, which means it must be made in the US and have at least 50% US content; otherwise it will be be subject to the evaluation penalty. Under the Trade Agreements Act (TAA), construction material must either be domestic or be made in a TAA country. Therefore under both, construction material must meet the domestic definition. HOWEVER, emergency life safety systems, such as fire alarm systems, are treated as a single item no matter how the individual products are brought to the construction site (see definition of domestic construction material in FAR Part 25). Therefore, it is the content of the entire system that must be at least 50% US. Question: what is included in the system for purposes of calculating the content? Is it just the working components of the system, such as control panels, alarms, detectors, annunciators, strobes, etc? Or does it include incidental things like wire, conduit, boxes, etc, that are used to connect and install the system? This is an important issue, because inclusion of those incidental products could make the difference in meeting the 50% test.
  13. solicit as noncommercial; award as commercial?

    sorry that's 52.212-4.
  14. solicit as noncommercial; award as commercial?

    True, but they've already started down the wrong path. The question is how do you get on the right path? I'm not government, so I don't know if the lengthy and complicated process cited above is correct, or whether they just don't want to bother (or admit it's commercial). If it's actually that complicated, then I suspect their answer will be to reject the commercial item justification. So - can a solicitation that starts off on an SF33 be awarded as a commercial item by deleting the inapplicable clauses (and probably adding 542.212-4)? If not, can this simply be cancelled and re-solicited under Part 12 without the lengthy process above?
  15. Background: solicitation was issued on SF33 as a noncommercial item. Apparently no market research was conducted, as the solicitation is for ... a switch. The buyer apparently believes that because it goes on a military aircraft, it cannot be commercial. Contractor submits a proposal along with a commercial item justification, and wants the contract awarded as a commercial item contract, with only the clauses and requirements that apply to commercial items. Buyer says this can't be done - a change would have to be made the military database; it would take several months because it has to be approved through the Navy, Airforce...etc; it has to go through all the military branches engineering department for approval to change this part number; and so on. Question: if the contractor proposes the item as a commercial item and satisfactorily justifies it, can a contract be awarded that deletes the clauses that are inapplicable to commercial item acquisitions?