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BrianR

Open market items on FSS BPA's

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Greetings. I have a situation where I need to order items off of a mandatory (for our agency) FSS schedule. We would like to compete a BPA. However, for some unknown reason, an associated piece of equipment that is required for use of the items on the schedule are not included on the FSS contract.

FAR 8.402(f) says: "For administrative convenience, an ordering activity contracting officer may add items not on the Federal Supply Schedule (also referred to as open market items) to a Federal Supply Schedule blanket purchase agreement (BPA) or an individual task or delivery order only if— (1) All applicable acquisition regulations pertaining to the purchase of the items not on the Federal Supply Schedule have been followed (e.g., publicizing (Part 5), competition requirements (Part 6), acquisition of commercial items (Part 12), contracting methods (Parts 13, 14, and 15), and small business programs (Part 19));..."

I am having trouble understanding how we would go about competing a single FSS BPA for the items on the FSS, which by definition is set aside for FSS contractors, while at the same time conducting an "open market" competition for the items not on the FSS, resulting in a single BPA award.

Has anyone actually done this? What process did you use?

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I've always thought this subpart was oddly written, and no, I have not done this. In my past most of the items I added for administrative convenience were under the micropurchase threshold and therefore I did not run into any issues.

On a side note, have you discussed with the FSS Contractors about adding these items to their Schedule contract?

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The premise of your question is that there is "an associated piece of equipment that is required for use of the items on the schedule" but that is "not included on the FSS contract." As I see it, your option is either find a FSS contract that includes all the like items you want to purchase in a single transaction, or break up your requirement. You might want to take a look at Science Applications Int'l Corp., B-401773, Nov. 10, 2009, on the need to compete open market items.

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Or you can structure your solicitation to get quotes/offers for two pieces - the FSS portion and open market for the equipment. Then you evaluate and and make either two seperate awards or a single award off FSS combined with the open market.

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