Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

Recommended Posts

How would one structure a long-term emergency services vehicle for the remediation/restoration of facilities (for example a water pipe rupturing)?  The contractor would need to arrive within 2-4 hours after notification and immediately begin restoration service.  Let's say an incident occurs on a Saturday and base services are not available (other than to shut off the flow of water). 

The only way I can think of doing this would be foregoing the "long-term" portion and single sourcing a BPA to a vendor 12 months at a time.  Anyone have experience under a similar requirement?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 112
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

By experience.  The BPA route lacks the ability to unilaterally order the emergency services that either a indefinite delivery requirements or single award IDIQ contract would allow.  The contractor under a BPA would usually respond but there were times when he/she would not and caused the need and extra effort to go beyond the BPA.

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, cdhames said:

How would one structure a long-term emergency services vehicle for the remediation/restoration of facilities (for example a water pipe rupturing)?

A requirements contract seems appropriate for the situation you've described.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That would be the natural assumption since both delivery and quantity are unknown (assuming single award).  The problem is that TO's couldn't be consistently issued with a 2-4 hour response time.  What if something broke on a Saturday or at Midnight?  The contractor is going to be required to be on call 24/7 to meet the 2-4 hour window but how do you issue a TO against it?  Do you park money on an annual TO? 

I don't think a C type service contract would be appropriate either (disregarding that fact that quantity and delivery are an unknown).  What kind of unit of issue would you use?  We've just been debating the scenario back and forth and no one's been able to propose a good answer.  Someone suggested a 5 year BPA to meet the "long-term" requirement but as in the IDV example, you either do a single award with J&A (assuming FAR 13.5 above SAT) to comply with the emergency nature and 2-4 hour response time, or are compelled to get competition which you would then be unable to comply with the 2-4 hour response time. 

Thoughts?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're muddling together a lot of different concepts and potentially making this more complicated than it needs to be. Going back to the requirements contract suggestion, why couldn't a 2-4 hour window be written into the terms of the contract? Any potential awardee would need to show that it is capable of providing 24/7 standby support within a specific window. The consideration for this is the promise that the Government will go directly to that contractor when a need arises. In the solicitation for the work, you would provide the historical workload for these services so that contractors have the data to assess risk and provide sound pricing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some agencies permit program ordering officers who can place orders against a vehicle up to a certain amount (I believe in my last agency it was $150k) using their GPC.

That got me thinking: Couldn't many of these services be done for less than the $2,500 micro-purchase threshold? Even if the price goes over that amount, wouldn't this be enough to start work and buy a CO time to cut a PO to finish the job? You may not need to set up a contract or ordering vehicle at all.

Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, cdhames said:

well, let's assume historical workload and pricing wouldn't be a concern.  Under a Requirements contract, how would you award a TO within 4 hours starting at 12AM on a Saturday?

I assume there's an on-site Government representative at midnight on Saturday. The contracting officer could delegate authority to that representative to issue task orders orally.   

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, cdhames said:

How would one structure a long-term emergency services vehicle for the remediation/restoration of facilities (for example a water pipe rupturing)? 

Competitive, multiple award BPA so competition won’t be required at the call level.  And it would give you an out in case someone refuses a call.  To offer the most flexibility as related to ordering, a CO could park money on a call.  If annual funds are used, don’t overestimate the call amount unless you don’t mind losing the surplus.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, jwomack said:

Competitive, multiple award BPA so competition won’t be required at the call level.  And it would give you an out in case someone refuses a call.  To offer the most flexibility as related to ordering, a CO could park money on a call.  If annual funds are used, don’t overestimate the call amount unless you don’t mind losing the surplus.

1. Why would awarding multiple BPAs on a competitive basis relieve you from any competition requirements for purchases made under those BPAs?

2. What do you mean by "a CO could park money on a call"? Do you mean the CO could obligate funds in excess of what's currently required in anticipation of future work?

Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  Having a competitive process to get one of the BPAs in the first place is what satisfies the competition requirement.  Competition can be at the BPA level or call level if the solicitation says that's how the BPA will operate.  There is no requirement to have competition at both points.

2.  CO could place a call (obligate the funds) for a group of anticipated needs.  Then authorize others to place non-obligating work orders under that call.

Link to post
Share on other sites

See B-294974.6 https://www.gao.gov/decisions/bidpro/2949746.pdf

"Statutory requirement to obtain maximum practicable competition in simplified acquisitions is met where agency uses competitive procedures in establishing blanket purchase agreements (BPA) with multiple vendors; under those circumstances, there is no requirement that the agency conduct a further competition among the BPA holders in connection with each individual purchase order subsequently issued under the BPAs."

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

jwomack,

I remember that case now, thanks.

I think you're #2 would result in the violation of the Recording statute (31 U.S.C. 1501). The CO would be overrecording the obligation for the work that was anticipated, but not yet identified or ordered. The Government wouldn't have any liability unless and until it ordered the anticipated work. That would not be a definite liability. From pp. 7-55 & 7-56 of the GAO Redbook:

Quote

 

[T]he core attribute of an obligation recordable under 31 U.S.C. § 1501 is that it creates a definite legal liability on the part of the federal government. While the precise amount of the liability may be undefined initially, an “obligational event,” reflecting a definite liability, may occur even though the amount of the liability at that time is undefined. A “contingent liability” is fundamentally different. In contrast to a definite liability, a contingent liability does not create an obligation unless and until the contingency materializes.

Contingent liabilities take different forms depending on the circumstances. However, whatever form it takes, a contingent liability by definition lacks the definiteness that is essential to the concept of an obligation. Thus, GAO defines a “contingent liability” generically as “[a]n existing condition, situation, or set of circumstances that poses the possibility of a loss to an agency that will ultimately be resolved when one or more events occur or fail to occur.”

 

What you propose would be similar to obligating funds at award for anticipated changes or obligating the amount for award fee before it has been earned. It's common practice, but that doesn't make it legal. I don't know what agency you work for, but DoD requires that funds be "committed" (i.e., administratively reserved) to cover expected future obligations (see DoD FMR Volume 3, Chapter 8). 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jwomack said:

And it would give you an out in case someone refuses a call.

Whether a competitive BPA as suggested or a requirements as suggested for the former what do you do with a contractor who refuses, once, twice or more, kick them to the BPA curb?   For the latter if you want a guarantee that they will be available you will pay for it but you retain the unilateral right to order.  Their failure to honor the TO would mean T4D for the contract.

So you need to decide what you want an economical and simple tool where the contractor can always refuse at anytime and you have to start dialing for dollars for someone who will meet your need or a firm contract that requires performance.  You insist on need to respond but how the heck do you do the dialing on Sunday or Midnight when multiple vendors just do not answer the phone?  The ability of a firm contract (requirements or ???) establishes and provides a better guarantee that the contractor will set up an adequate response system.

On the funding issue I do not get it.  You either have money budgeted for the anticipated repairs or you do not and it should just be sitting there for the commitment when the BPA call or requirements TO is issued.  If the money is really the issue, which again escapes me, but if it is then do a Time and Materials contract that demands the response.

 

I have paraphrased the FAR below and added emphasis......

 

BPA - A blanket purchase agreement (BPA) is a simplified method of filling anticipated repetitive needs for supplies or services by establishing “charge accounts” with qualified sources of supply.

BPAs should be established for use by an organization responsible for providing supplies for its own operations or for other offices, installations, projects, or functions. Such organizations, for example, may be organized supply points, separate independent or detached field parties, or one-person posts or activities.

The use of BPAs does not exempt an agency from the responsibility for keeping obligations and expenditures within available funds.

 

The following are circumstances under which contracting officers may establish BPAs:

There is a wide variety of items in a broad class of supplies or services that are generally purchased, but the exact items, quantities, and delivery requirements are not known in advance and may vary considerably.

There is a need to provide commercial sources of supply for one or more offices or projects in a given area that do not have or need authority to purchase otherwise.

The use of this procedure would avoid the writing of numerous purchase orders.

There is no existing requirements contract for the same supply or service that the contracting activity is required to use.

Requirements -  Application.  (1) A requirements contract may be appropriate for acquiring any supplies or services when the Government anticipates recurring requirements but cannot predetermine the precise quantities of supplies or services that designated Government activities will need during a definite period.

Time and Materials - Application. A time-and-materials contract may be used only when it is not possible at the time of placing the contract to estimate accurately the extent or duration of the work or to anticipate costs with any reasonable degree of confidence. See 12.207(b) for the use of time-and-material contracts for certain commercial services.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards
Quote

The only way I can think of doing this would be foregoing the "long-term" portion and single sourcing a BPA to a vendor 12 months at a time. 

A FAR Part 13 BPA is nothing but a charge account---a paper and labor-saving billing agreement for when you expect to issue a lot of repetitive purchase orders. A BPA is not a contractual agreement. It is not a contracting "vehicle." It does not involve a binding commitment of any kind to do anything.

And you don't need a "competitive process" to establish a Part 13 BPA, because the establishment of a BPA is not an acquisition. You don't "single source" a BPA, either. A BPA does not establish a source. At best, it identifies a potential source.

Fifteen posts in response to the opener. Sixteen if you count this one, all in an attempt to sort out someone's thinking about one of the simplest of all no-brainer ideas: "Bill me once a month instead of for each purchase order."

Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 2:08 PM, cdhames said:

How would one structure a long-term emergency services vehicle for the remediation/restoration of facilities (for example a water pipe rupturing)? 

 

21 hours ago, cdhames said:

What if something broke on a Saturday or at Midnight? 

 

21 hours ago, cdhames said:

The contractor is going to be required to be on call 24/7 to meet the 2-4 hour window but how do you issue a TO against it? 

 

21 hours ago, cdhames said:

Do you park money on an annual TO?

 

19 hours ago, cdhames said:

Under a Requirements contract, how would you award a TO within 4 hours starting at 12AM on a Saturday?

It seems that these were the questions of the OP which have been attempted to be answered.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

Fifteen posts in response to the opener. Sixteen if you count this one, all in an attempt to sort out someone's thinking about one of the simplest of all no-brainer ideas: "Bill me once a month instead of for each purchase order."

So, to be clear, Vern, you once awarded a FFP contract for 24/7 ad hoc emergency services, and it worked out? That's wonderful.

Is it unreasonable for others to question that this will always result in the best arrangement?

Is your example one that might require actual experience in that specific situation to know what may or may not work?

Might there be other reasonable perspectives from the lesser 1102s who posted prior to you, or are they without merit now that you've given the authoritative response? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards
32 minutes ago, FrankJon said:

So, to be clear, Vern, you once awarded a FFP contract for 24/7 ad hoc services, and it worked out? That's wonderful.

Is it unreasonable for others to question that this will always result in the best arrangement?

@FrankJon

Where did you get the idea that I ever did that or suggested doing it? You must not have had your coffee before you read my post. That, or you were on other drugs.

If it were me, I'd rely on credit card micro-purchases, unpriced purchase orders, a requirements contract, or all of the foregoing, depending on the nature and history of the requirement. When I was a base contracting officer, before credit cards, we had emergency COs on-call from their homes to take care of such problems that couldn't be handled by base civil engineering personnel. 

Seven of the response posts were about BPAs. My complaint is that the OP (and at least one of the respondents) apparently thought a BPA would work, and somebody should have explained that a BPA is just a non-binding billing arrangement, sometimes with a nonbinding "call" feature (although FAR does not mention the latter).

Your suggestion of a requirements contract was pretty good, although it might have been accompanied with more explanation. But a requirements contract might not have been necessary or appropriate, depending on the nature of the requirement.

What seemed to bother the OP was that the agency might need someone for something in the middle of the night and he/she couldn't figure out how to "structure" a way to do it. There are a bunch of ways, but which is best depends on the nature of the agency's need. You might need different arrangements for electrical and plumbing, etc.

The fact is that a single contract, 24/7, 2-4 hour response time, all-purpose, on-call service might not be readily available, depending on the nature of the requirement.

Quote

Might there be other reasonable perspectives from the lesser 1102s who posted prior to you, or are they without merit now that you've given the authoritative response? 

You still want an answer to that?

Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 5:22 AM, FrankJon said:

A requirements contract seems appropriate for the situation you've described.

How would a requirements contract be appropriate in this situation?  Wouldn't an agency still have to issue a task order within 2-4 hours (midnight, Saturday)?

13 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

And you don't need a "competitive process" to establish a Part 13 BPA, because the establishment of a BPA is not an acquisition. You don't "single source" a BPA, either. A BPA does not establish a source. At best, it identifies a potential source.

I understand this, but I still have to comply with FAR 13.303-5(c) and (d) which would take time.  I think my question remains, how do you craft an agreement, or contracting "vehicle" that allows for execution within 2-4 hours on a Saturday at midnight when the delivery and quantity are undefined?  Let's continue to use the example of a water pipe bursting at midnight, and assume remediation is required immediately. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...