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Vern Edwards

Official FAR Site

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The official website for the FAR run by GSA, acquisition.gov, has undergone a major redesign. It now includes links to all agency FAR supplements.

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I appreciate that they added more prominent links to SAM, eSRS, and other systems. My go-to for the regs remains the Hill AFB FARSite. The barebones design (obviously intended for 56k dial-up or early broadband connections) loads almost instantly, which is appreciated in a crunch.

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One feature about the Hill AFB site I like and I don't see here is the ability to search the FAR and my agency's supplemental at the same time. Here, it looks like you'd have to do two separate searches (unless your agency is GSA and uses the GSAM). Seems short-sited of them to incorporate a single search engine for the FAR and GSAM but if you're from another agency you have to do a separate search using the other tab.

Now to be honest, I haven't spent a lot of time on the new site, but I didn't see a way to search (for example) the FAR and DFARS at the same time.

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The funny thing is that my peers don't use the search engine to find a rule. They know the regulation well enough to find anything in a few minutes without the search engine.

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I credit my CON 090 professors for making us memorize the titles and corresponding numbers to all 53 parts of the FAR. When I started, I just scanned through all 53 parts until I found what I wanted. After CON 090, even if I didn't know the exact subpart, I knew I could find IDIQs under 16, negotiated contracts at 15, small business programs at 19, foreign acquisitions at 25, and so on.

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Vern - I imagine there are very few people that are truly your "peers". For the rest of us, and those new to contracting, the search feature is an important part of the site.

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Carl, thanks for the link. I just provided it to my staff. However, I think there are some sneaky contracting people playing that scatter game. The high score is 10.1 seconds from the same person ten times in a row.

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Desparado:

What I tell people is that the CFR and each title within it is organized topically. In Title 48 of the CFR, the FAR, the 53 parts are really 53 topics. Each subpart, section, and subsection is a subtopic. By memorizing the names of the FAR parts you are memorizing what topics are covered in FAR and where they are covered.

Most people work with only a few parts and subparts of the FAR. No one needs to know the whole thing. What I tell people is that they should know which parts affect their work and that they should know those parts thoroughly. They should read decisions and any secondary references, like Briefing Papers or Public Contract Law Journal, that pertain. In time, you won't need a search engine.

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Monthly subscription publication of Thomson Reuters. Each issue addresses a specific topic in Government contracting, such as contract pricing arrangements, foreign corrupt practices act, small business issues, etc. Current issue is about deciding whether or not to protest. Most authors are attorneys in private practice.

http://legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Newsletter/Briefing-Papers/p/100029501

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These type subscriptions are expensive for individuals but are priceless for professionals. All organizations that perform contracting should maintain subscriptions and a library. Briefing Papers maintains an excellent index system for topical issues. Every USACE legal office that I ever visited had a law Library that contained many years of these type pubs. I suppose they have converted over to on-line or other electronic systems. I look back and wonder why few of the contracting staff seemed to visit our law libraries.

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Thanks, while it would be nice to get these in our contracting shop, i dont see that happening anytime soon. but good to know of other sources out there and i will check with our attorneys to see what they have.

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It's possible that your local COE RE/Area office might have access to some pubs. The District Office in Baltimore certainly ought to have a law library or other resources. If you work for the Army, they should be very cooperative.

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Has anyone noticed any discrepancies between the acquisition.gov and FARSite versions?

The FARSite version has two paragraphs for (d) under 8.404. The second (a deviation) may result from DoD Class Deviation 2014-O0011 at 8.403, but I'm not sure. Further, the wording and inclusion of that deviation is odd for the FAR (versus DFARS). Is the FARSite inappropriately and/or unclearly inserting DoD information into the FAR?

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illzoni,

On the FARSite, the programmers insert the language of DoD class deviations into the FAR and DFARS. These are in blue font and are not actually contained in the official FAR and DFARS. They are just there to provide a heads up to DoD personnel (the FARSite is managed by the Air Force).

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Has anyone noticed any discrepancies between the acquisition.gov and FARSite versions?

The FARSite version has two paragraphs for (d) under 8.404. The second (a deviation) may result from DoD Class Deviation 2014-O0011 at 8.403, but I'm not sure. Further, the wording and inclusion of that deviation is odd for the FAR (versus DFARS). Is the FARSite inappropriately and/or unclearly inserting DoD information into the FAR?

I don't know if I would call them discrepancies, but I have noticed differences. For example, compare FAR 8.405-6. On the Air Force site it is titled, "Limited Sources". On the acquisition.gov site it is titled, "Limiting Sources". Similarly, see FAR 8.405-6©(2)(i) which, on the Air Force site, says, "...and specific identification of the document as a “Limited Source Justification.”" On the acqusition.gov site it reads, "...and specific identification of the document as a “Limited-Sources Justification.”". Those are just a couple of small variances I have noted. I like the Air Force site better, as the font is larger, which is easier on my old eyes.

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jtolli,

You have a serious eye for details!

There was some debate here about the applicability of the DoD Class Deviation in our agency (not DoD) and folks with some authority were stating it was per the FAR and citing the FARSite version. Don's explanation makes perfect sense and I've attempted to enlighten others here. Wish me luck. ;-)

Thanks again.

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illzoni,

The only reason I caught those differences is because there was some debate at my agency as to whether a Limited Source(s) Justification should be labeled a "Limited Source Justification" or "Limited Sources Justification". Yeah, I know it is minor, and there are much bigger things to worry about, but it was just something that came up one day, and I discovered the difference between the two websites. It does make you wonder if there are other differences however, and if maybe they may be more significant. I know of no one who uses the acquisition.gov website for FAR research, and everyone I know uses the Air Force site. Even when I went to DAU training, they gave us the reference to the Air Force site.

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