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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. 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?
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Joel, you have it correct. It is for remediation of hazardous material that is the water or shorelines. Dredging will likely be a big component, but I say likely because we may also do excavation "in the dry". In addition to the remediation, there is some testing, disposal of hazardous material, and restoration work. The restoration work may be complicated native plant restoration, it may mean droping stones along a bank. That's my problem, I don't know at this point. I said I'm not worried about DBA/SCA because my plan is to have the contractors propose their IDIQ rates based on SCA for Hazmat removal. Since this contract will cover 8 states and all the Great Lakes (including Canada potentially), it would be impossible to include all the DBA rates. DBA will be pulled and applicable at the task order level when we ask for the fixed price proposals. So for my contract, what I am thinking of doing is calling this a service, but including most or all of the Part 36 construction clauses as well. But doing this raised a couple of questions. Do I tell the Ktrs (small business set aside) that they will be responsible for 15% of the work or 50%? Do I need to determine at each task order level how much will be construction that would make things like OFCCP notification necessary? Can I just paint a broad stroke and say everything will follow the construction requirements even if they may not be necessary? I don't want to do extra work, but sometimes it is easier to send out too much information that not enough. Thanks everyone that has chimed in so far, it has been a helpful read. And please let me know if I am leaving anything out from my description.
  13. Thanks, I am using 562910 as my NAICS code, because the purpose isn't only excavating soil. It will likely be the biggest component, but it isn't the only thing we may be doing under the contract. I think my best bet is to use Part 36 clauses, with Service clauses as appropriate. Since the majority of money will be in the construction portion, I think I'll be safer calling it a construction contract.
  14. I'm hoping someone here can help me. I'm working on a requirement for an IDIQ that will allow us to perform environmental dredging. We will be taking dirt out, but usually replacing it with something else. So I'm confused here if this should be considered Construction or Service. We are not altering property in the typical sense that we will make an improvement to the site, unless you consider removing toxic soil and replacing it with clean soil an improvement. There will be dredging on many sites but there is also a good deal of other work that my agency typically would consider a service. I'm hoping that I'm just having a moment that is blocking my ability to come up with the answer. Any help would be appreciated. I'm not concerned with DBA/SCA, but this will matter for clauses and how we define small business requirements under the limitation on subcontracting provisions.
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