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Would love some input here from any knowledgeable folks about this. If an agency intends to issue a single solicitation for multiple A-E services IDIQ contracts, is that a "multiple award" as defined under FAR 16.505 and does the fair opportunity process apply at the task order level? FAR 16.5 exempts AE IDC's from the statutory multiple award preference, I get that. And the Brooks A-E Act as implemented by FAR 36.6 applies, i get that too. But by logic, if one solicitation results in multiple IDC's it seems that's a "multiple award" situation. And as for Fair Opportunity, I'd think the most appropriate COA would be to articulate in the synopsis how the agency will provide fair opportunity at the task order level by selecting the best A-E for each particulat task order SOW (using competency/qualifications criteria not price). In my experience this issue is consistently something that is discussed inconclusively, since, to me at least, the FAR is a bit convoluted on the topic. The DFARS used to have instruction under citation 216.505-70 (it was ¶(a)(4) I believe) that specificially exempted A-E contracts from fair opportunity under the IDIQ ordering process--however sometime in 2012 or 2013 that content was removed. The USACE's Architect-Engineering Contracting Guide (EP 715-1-7), which was updated in 2012 states at page 4-9 that the Contracting Officer must document the file as to why a particular contractor is selected. Although that's not policy that applies to any non-USACE contracting agencies, they are considered to be one of the premiere A-E contracting agencies across the federal Government. The EP also provides a standard synopsis template (appendix O) that states verbatim, "If multiple IDCs, state method to be used to allocate task orders among contracts when two or more IDCs contain the same or similar scopes of work such that a particular task order might be awarded under more than one IDC. See FAR 16.505 for guidance." Anyone have any experience with this issue?
Outside of an acquisition following Brooks Act procedures (40 U.S.C. 1101-1104), is there a permissible method for contracting for service contractors to perform on-site engineering reviews, construction phase inspections, preparation &/or review of As-Built drawings, or similar services? I view these items as “services of an architectural or engineering nature, or incidental services, that members of the architectural and engineering professions (and individuals in their employ) may logically or justifiably perform, including studies, investigations, surveying and mapping, tests, evaluations, consultations, comprehensive planning, program management, conceptual designs, plans and specifications, value engineering, construction phase services, soils engineering, drawing reviews, preparation of operating and maintenance manuals, and other related services." FAR 2.101; 40 U.S.C 1102(2)(C ). Accordingly, it is my position that they must be procured by qualifications based selection under the Brooks Act, FAR 36.602-1 and applicable agency FAR supplements. That said, I’ve noted some single award Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity Contracts (IDIQs) for services (that it has been suggested I use) where “engineering technicians” and “design & construction project managers” are acquired for in-house/on-site support via IDIQ Task Orders. On making inquiries with the PCOs for these contracts, they have acknowledged to me that their IDIQs were either competed under FAR 15, or were direct awards under the 8(a) program. Under both scenarios, I am also of the understanding that specific selection criteria from FAR 36.6 were not utilized, even in the case of the FAR 15 procurement’s tradeoff analysis. Additionally, if engineering related services are acquired to provide on-site government support (but not through the statutory authorization of the Brooks Act), does the government convert an otherwise authorized service acquisition into a contract for personal services under FAR 37.104? Any thoughts would be appreciated.