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  1. Hi JI, I completely agree with you in principle, and it's the way I was taught to do a bid opening when I first started. I think however given the circumstances caution is in order. Allowing the public to participate while not allowing them in the room still meets the spirit of openness. And while this might sound cold to say, if I post it to Beta.Sam and no one protests before the opening, I should be in the clear anyway.
  2. Thanks everyone for the great responses and research, and over a weekend no less. Joel, thank you so much for that link to DOT. The state my project will be in looks like they actually use live video for their process. So all in all it sounds like I should be covered if I choose a technical solution over an in-person opening. Even if this has to be a phone only opening, I could certainly record video the opening for posterity and to provide documentation in the case of any questions or a protest. I really believe in openness but that's just not where we are right now. It might be a moot point with the travel restrictions going up across the country but I'd like to at least get the award ready to be made. Appreciate everyone!
  3. I have a bid opening coming up in a week. Obviously a public opening is not really in the cards with all that's going on. So rather than postpone this for weeks, I have an idea to live stream the opening. FAR 14.402-1 only says that the CO needs to publicly announce the date and time, personally and publicly open all bids received before that time, read them aloud, and have them recorded. While certainly that has always meant (and should in normal times) that it was a public opening people attend, I don't read the FAR to require it. The requirement in (c) can easily be put off until a later time. I think if I modify my IFB to include a link for any interested party to join via the web then I've met the requirement of (a). I would still post the abstract so it would be difficult for anyone to argue to GAO that they were harmed. There's also the technology side of things with all the firewalls to work out. I did a quick search of GAO and didn't find anything even remotely close. I would really like to hear from others though if they think I'm off base here, or if my idea is appropriate all things considered.
  4. While it's too late for this year, I will recommend the Nash&Cibinic Roundtable in DC. It's wrapping up right now, but it's been absolutely fascinating and informative.
  5. Not your exact question, but if you are going to compete for prime contracts please be prepared. In my recent experience, contracts that have failed or been troubled more often than not have been because of management, not technical, failures. It's not a reflection on the owner or mangers necessarily. But understand that contracts, especially T&M and Cost contracts have lots of demands that are placed on the contractor - legal, programmatic, and human relations wise. So more than worrying about audited rates, I would make sure that you are fully prepared for the contract management side. If you don't feel you are capable, hire a lawyer, former CO, or other dedicated contract manager if you can. Make sure your proposals are up to the challenge. Along with management of the contract, most small businesses don't get contracts because their proposals can't effectively express their technical competence to the Government evaluators. Good luck with competing for prime contracts.
  6. In some cases, it might make practical sense to have differing option periods. We recently had a contract with a 6 month base, and four one year options. The upside is now we are exercising options (and re-competing) the contract in a time that doesn't mean a September award. And while I'm open to other's experience, I've seen nothing that gives award terms an advantage over regular options. Stick with options, you can extend or end the contract easier than with award terms.
  7. On Android there isn't an app for the FAR or supplements. So I periodically download the FAR in PDF format. Get a good PDF reader, set a reminder to re-download the FAR every few months, and you'll be better off.
  8. Here's my favorite line " avoided over-reaching and over-engineering". I think that Mangers, Generals, and other important to themselves people that interfere in a project, causing delays and change orders, need to be lined up on the Washington Mall and shot. Once a year as an example to the rest. The biggest problem with the acquisition cycle, IMO, is not mainly on the contract side. Even with the added reviews were talking a few weeks. How many months are added because someone didn't like a feature, or thought it could be better, or wanted a different color? The government should do what I had to do when I built my house. The drawings are complete, we get a price from the contractor, and one last chance to make changes. After that, it would have cost me an extra $250 per change order. Start charging budgets for change orders, and they'll wind down pretty quickly. The reason that the Jeep and MRAP worked and were delivered so quickly was the urgency. There wasn't time for change orders. There wasn't time for higher ups to think that a manager is only effective when they leave their mark on everything. That's one of the biggest problems in not just acquisition, but project management in general. Design a project and build it. The F-15 seems to have done just fine getting updated throughout the years with newer technology. The same is true for every IT project ever completed. There's very little excuse for delays when the ability to change or upgrade is almost always there. And if not? Well maybe the Government should have written a better spec in the first place.
  9. You'd have to ask the CO from your agency, it likely depends on the agency and their guidelines. That said, FTR does allow for a personal vacation between TDY ending and returning, and would pay for the flight. I don't know about a month, but we (gov. employees) are allowed to stay over a few extra days and have our trip back paid for.
  10. Are you consistently seeing better pricing from XYZ than any of the competitors? I don't think this is a OCI issue. It sounds more like a defective pricing or collusion issue. But if you need the software update, what's your choice?
  11. Thank you Don, that was my thought as well. In this case it is a large service contract with a base period of three years. Without knowing that we will have funding in years 2 & 3, I believe it is proper to use sole source awards to vendors in year one until the minimum has been met. At which point all future orders would need to be competed under the fair opportunity provisions. Waiting until the end of a period of performance to satisfy the minimum makes me nervous in the shrinking fiscal environment we are currently in.
  12. I've been unable to find a definition for the word "necessary" when it is referring to an exception to fair opportunity under multiple award IDIQ contracts. Does the ability to exclude vendors from opportunity to propose only apply at the end of a period or can it refer to any period in the contract. To state it plainly, can the exception be used for sole sourcing task orders at the beginning of the contract period to satisfy the minimum guarantee before competitively awarding the rest?
  13. We have a task order that is over $10 Million dollars issued under one of our multiple award IDIQ's. Initially it was competed and awarded as a time and material, but as the project has gone on and moved from a design support to a construction phase, we're thinking that converting this to a FFP has some benefits. But now that we've started down that road, we're running into some issues. I think that I've moved past the need to further justify this award, as it was initially competed, the SOW hasn't changed, and all we are doin is changing the pricing structure. But now that we've moved into this arena, I'm worried that I should be asking for CCAP and requiring competition in my subcontracting. Under the T&M we would approve all of our subcontacts but under the FFP we wouldn't directly approve them. Instead we approve the subK's and pricing when we approve the prime contractors fixed proposed price. Am I overthinking this, or is there something I'm missing? The contract does allow for FFP orders although the majority of them are T&M using fixed rates in the IDIQ schedule, and the contractor is on board with us converting as well. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  14. Vern, I think you are correct about remediation being DBA. But sometimes we aren't actually moving dirt, remediation can be in-situ or other forms of remediation. That said, when we do CERCLA projects we apply DBA at the site level for excavation, and use SCA for the remainder of the work that isn't DBA. If we knock down a structure without the intent to replace it, my understanding is that the work is SCA. But when we dig in the dirt under or around that structure, it is DBA. And when we get rid of the dirt, if it is loaded directly onto a truck the disposal is SCA. In my case here, I can't say for certain what type of remediation will be done for each task order. Am I safe in calling this a service contract, but including Miller Act requirements in the clauses, then saying that the Miller Act may be applicable on a per-task order basis? It might make it easier on everyone to propose on the IDIQ as a service, then just apply DBA and Miller Act clauses at a site where they actually are applicable? One of the big concerns businesses had in their questions to me is how much of the contract they will be responsible for self-peforming. Since dredging is a big cost item, saying at a contract level we will expect greater than 50% to be self-performed, but on task orders where dredging is required we will drop that to 15%. It will make it more difficult for us to administer and review, but should be easier for the contractors since they would know that they only have to worry about SCA unless/until we tell them otherwise.
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