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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?
Does the multiple award preference at FAR 16.504 apply to sole source awards pursuant to FAR Subpart 19.8? My contracting office has been requested to issue a solicitation sole source to an 8(a) firm for a single award IDIQ services contract. I know that authority for sole source contracts is found at FAR 6.302-5(b )(4) and FAR Subpart 19.8. However, my reading is that for IDIQ contracts, FAR 16.504 still applies. Hence the multiple award preference described FAR 16.504( c) would still apply and as such, in order to pursue a single award IDIQ, the Contracting Officer would have to document the file with a determination that a single award is most appropriate, giving consideration to the content provided at FAR 16.504( c)(1)(ii). The requirements are not for manufacturing, will not exceed $4M total, and are not for advisory and assistance services. My inclination is to push for a competitive procurement, perhaps an 8(a) or other small business set-aside if the market research supports it.