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Guest Vern Edwards
9 hours ago, cdhames said:

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. 

No one can answer your questions, because:

1. we don't know anything about your office and its resources (it apparently wants 24/7 on-call emergency services, but can't provide emergency contracting), and

2. we don't know enough about your requirements.

What kind of "emergency service" are you talking about? You've mentioned a "ruptured water pipe." Just an overhead pipe or a water main? Not the same kind of emergency. What other kinds of emergency repairs. Electrical? HVAC? Elevators? What kind of facilities? Are they In a city or remote? Are they in good shape or bad? How frequently has your agency needed such emergency services in the past year?

Do you really want to award one "vehicle" (i.e., contract) under which you can order any old emergency service that might come up some time or never?

Come on, cdhames, THINK! I know that you're a beginner, but even a beginner should be able to see that no one can advise you without a lot more information. Are you asking for a complete tutorial on contracting methods and procedures? Do you want someone to tell you, start to finish, how to fulfill a requirement that you haven't described in detail? A complete contracting tutorial? No one has the time for that kind of thing. (Certainly not anyone who has a job.)

I hate to be impatient with you, but you're really not thinking and communicating like you're ready for prime time. You might as well have come up and asked, "How do I fly an airplane?"

If you've been tasked with coming up with this "vehicle" you keep asking about, you need to ask your boss for some help.

 

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14 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

Come on, cdhames, THINK! I know that you're a beginner, but even a beginner should be able to see that no one can advise you without more information. Are you asking for a complete tutorial on contracting methods and procedures? Do you want someone to tell you, start to finish, how to fulfill a requirement that you haven't described in detail? A complete contracting tutorial? No one has the time for that kind of thing.

 

Hi Vern.  I'm not really asking for a full Source Selection Plan and AP.  We're just spitballing a scenario that I haven't found a decent answer to.  I have asked this scenario among my peers in my office and haven't received an answer I think is sufficient because it doesn't address the limitations of the FAR.  I also think I've provided enough information, other than agency which you could have assumed to be DoD since I mention bases.  Other than that, what do you need?  It's a water pipe inside a facility that burst.  Let's narrow it down to just water damage.  Would that be better?  Tomorrow, someone could leave a faucet plugged and overnight a building could flood.  I've given you the dollar value, under the SAT.  I've given you the response time, 2-4 hours.  I've given you quantity and delivery: undefined. 

By the way I'm not auditioning for prime time, thank you.  Just asking a question in the beginners forum, because I'd like to learn from my fellow peers and experts.  You've said it yourself, the state of our acquisition community is aweful.  Wifcon, however, is a repository for the expertise we seem to be missing and if you'd allow us to ask questions and allow others to provide mentorship (right or wrong) that might improve the community somewhat. 

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I feel stupid because when I have an emergency at home or in the office, we just call the repair folks and they come over. I know I have to pay extra for expedited or weekend service. I have also had home warranties (a type of insurance policy) where I called the administrator and described my problem. If my problem was covered (and it usually was) then they dispatched a repairperson or service team.

I'm feeling stupid because I can't figure out where the FAR wouldn't allow a contracting activity to have a BOA with a repair service (or more than one service) that would allow for a previously negotiated premium to be paid, over and above the normal "commercial item" services that were customarily provided, for expedited service. For example, the charge is $100 per visit, plus parts. If 2-4 hour turnaround time is desired, the BOA would say that the charge is $500 per visit. The BOA would allow the services to be initiated verbally (based on authorized government person making the request) and the contracting officer would followup with the paperwork later.

Again, I feel stupid because I just thought that's how it would work.

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13 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

@cdhames

How often did you need such emergency plumbing services during the last fiscal year?

How often did the price for such services exceed $25,000 per event?

Does it matter how often it exceeds $25,000?  Let's say it exceeds $25,000, 5 times a year, which is 25% of the average total, historical data available so 20 times a year a rupture or flooding occurs inside a facility (this is just pure scenario by the way). 

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Guest Vern Edwards

Okay, 20 ruptures per year, five of which are greater than $25,000. I would handle each event as a separate simplified acquisition of a commercial item. For the acquisitions that will  exceed $25,000 we'll use the synopsis exception at FAR 5.202(a)(2). Remember that FAR Part 6 does not apply.

I'd contact at least three local small business plumbers or as many as necessary in order to find three that will informally agree to provide emergency plumbing services on call, 24/7, with a two hour response time. I'd establish a priced BPA with each plumber, providing for fair and reasonable service rates and Davis-Bacon coverage. Purchase orders would be placed with the plumbers on a rotational basis. (I'm not including repair of flooding damage.)

I'd appoint an emergency services CO (ECO) and a backup (rotate through the staff on a monthly basis) to be on-call for such emergencies. I'd arrange for the ECO to be able to issue electronic unpriced purchase orders by email (see FAR 13.302-2) with a monetary limitation. I'd arrange for a quarterly block administrative commitment of funds to obtain said services.

When an emergency occurs, the base would contact the ECO. The ECO would contact a plumber on rotation that will agree to respond within 2 to 4 hours. (If none can do so for some reason the ECO would negotiate the best response available.) The ECO would then issue an unpriced purchase order citing the administratively committed funds and incorporating the terms of the BPA. The plumber would call the ECO if the actual price will exceed the monetary limitation.

Questions?

 

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3 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

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.

Vern - We all shoot from the hip sometimes, surely you'd agree? 

If you weren't suggesting a FFP contract, I claim ignorance as to what this means in light of OP's scenario and concerns:

15 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

"Bill me once a month instead of for each purchase order."

Can you elaborate on how this could be a solution to OP?

3 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

You still want an answer to that?

 We're good.

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Guest Vern Edwards
9 hours ago, FrankJon said:

Vern - We all shoot from the hip sometimes, surely you'd agree? 

No. Go back and read the post. I wasn't proposing monthly billing as a solution. I was describing the way a Part 13 BPA works. Monthly billing instead of billing for each purchase order is what you do with a BPA. That's one of the reasons you establish a BPA. That's why they call it a charge account.

Edited by Vern Edwards
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19 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

Questions?

Vern - How does your  overall suggestion that includes rotational use of the BPA's without competitively establishing the BPA's comply with the standard that competition to the maximum extent practicable is being obtained? 

Basis for my question is a full read of this decision by GAO - http://www.wifcon.com/cgen/2949744.pdf - wherein GAO states with regard to purchase orders issued against a BPA that -

"Additionally, while DEA states that it plans to treat all competitors fairly by rotating the issuance of noncompetitive purchase orders among them, such action also does not comply with applicable competition requirements."

 

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Guest Vern Edwards

@C Culham

Carl:

Keep in mind that the requirement is for emergency services requiring a response within 2 to 4 hours and that I'm treating each event as a separate acquisition. FAR 5.202(a)(2) is applicable, so no synopsis over $25,000. There is no requirement to conduct a competition to establish a BPA.

With those facts in mind, consider:  

FAR 13.104(b):

Quote

(b) If using simplified acquisition procedures and not providing access to the notice of proposed contract action and solicitation information through the Governmentwide point of entry (GPE), maximum practicable competition ordinarily can be obtained by soliciting quotations or offers from sources within the local trade area. Unless the contract action requires synopsis pursuant to 5.101and an exception under 5.202 is not applicable, consider solicitation of at least three sources to promote competition to the maximum extent practicable. Whenever practicable, request quotations or offers from two sources not included in the previous solicitation.

FAR 13.106-1(a):

Quote

(a) Considerations. In soliciting competition, the contracting officer shall consider the guidance in 13.104 and the following before requesting quotations or offers... (iii) The urgency of the proposed purchase.

FAR 13.106-1(b):

Quote

(b) Soliciting from a single source.

(1) For purchases not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold.

(i) Contracting officers may solicit from one source if the contracting officer determines that the circumstances of the contract action deem only one source reasonably available (e.g., urgency...).

I believe that those provisions of FAR Part 13 provide me enough ammunition to justify the use of my procedure. I will explain that the BPA's serve to make the plumbers aware of my need and to get them to agree (non-contractually) to respond if we call. I can't count on getting quotes and finding a plumber at 0200 Sunday morning (or Wednesday morning, for that matter) who can and will show up within 2 to 4 hours in response to a call out of the blue. The process of getting quotes, even if possible in that situation, would only slow the response.

I will argue that the BPA's were entered into after using SAP to get competitive quotes from small businesses. The BPAs will serve to keep three plumbers on hand in order to provide some form of competition and to increase the likelihood that at least one will respond. I'm rotating purchases among the BPA holders in order to provide the plumbers an incentive to stay on hand. After each event I'd call the manager of the company that's next in the rotation and say: You're on deck. Are we good? Rotational hiring is not a contractual obligation. I won't have to rotate, and I want the plumbers to know that if anyone jacks up prices unreasonably I will drop and replace them.

My argument will be that I'm going above and beyond the strict requirements of FAR in order to ensure some competition in what otherwise might be a one source urgency situation. As for the GAO decision... I'm not worried about it in the least. I don't think it is applicable in light of the nature of the requirement. Among other things, DEA did not plead urgency.

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49 minutes ago, C Culham said:

Vern - How does your  overall suggestion that includes rotational use of the BPA's without competitively establishing the BPA's comply with the standard that competition to the maximum extent practicable is being obtained? 

Basis for my question is a full read of this decision by GAO - http://www.wifcon.com/cgen/2949744.pdf - wherein GAO states with regard to purchase orders issued against a BPA that -

"Additionally, while DEA states that it plans to treat all competitors fairly by rotating the issuance of noncompetitive purchase orders among them, such action also does not comply with applicable competition requirements."

 

The language you quoted addressed noncompetitive purchase orders issue against noncompetitive BPA's.

See the subsequent GAO decision involving the same procurement (posted earlier by Jwomack) stating that if competitive procedures are used to establish the BPAs, then orders may be rotated among the BPA holders.

In the hypothetical presented, we are dealing with simplified acquisition procedures under the SAT.  Under FAR 13.104, "maximum practicable competition" can be obtained by soliciting quotations from three sources within the local trade area.  Therefore, Vern's recommendation of soliciting and establishing priced BPAs with at least three local vendors satisfies the requirement for maximum practicable competition.  Because "competitive procedures" were used in establishing the BPAs, the orders may be rotated without additional competition.

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Guest Vern Edwards

All the BPAs do, really, is provide the requiring activity and chief of the contracting office evidence that you have a plan. You could just as easily call three plumbers, speak to the company owner or manager, establish a relationship, say that you might want to call from time to time for emergency service, say that Davis Bacon would apply, and ask if they'd respond in an emergency. If they say yes, write their names and numbers down on a sheet of paper. You could even invite each of them out to see the base. Then, when an event occurs, just call until you get somebody to come out and issue them an unpriced purchase order for the work pursuant to the single source urgency rule. Could you guarantee 2 to 4 hour response? Well, maybe 4 hours.

The BPAs are above and beyond.

What you've got to worry about is someone saying that you need to establish an emergency service "vehicle," i.e., a contract, for the service. That would be a major nuisance. Under the scenario we've been given it would be administratively much more time-consuming and costly to conduct a competition for a "vehicle" than to issue 20, or even 40, unpriced purchase orders on an ad hoc basis.

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44 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

All the BPAs do, really, is provide the requiring activity and chief of the contracting office evidence that you have a plan. You could just as easily call three plumbers, speak to the company owner or manager, establish a relationship, say that you might want to call from time to time for emergency service, say that Davis Bacon would apply, and ask if they'd respond in an emergency. If they say yes, write their names and numbers down on a sheet of paper. You could even invite each of them out to see the base. Then, when an event occurs, just call until you get somebody to come out and issue them an unpriced purchase order for the work pursuant to the single source urgency rule. Could you guarantee 2 to 4 hour response? Well, maybe 4 hours.

The BPAs are above and beyond.

What you've got to worry about is someone saying that you need to establish an emergency service "vehicle," i.e., a contract, for the service. That would be a major nuisance. Under the scenario we've been given it would be administratively much more time-consuming and costly to conduct a competition for a "vehicle" than to issue 20, or even 40, unpriced purchase orders on an ad hoc basis.

“Like”

The local  Corps of Engineers District in my city established a suite of BPA’s for various geographical areas within the District, including military installations, to perform minor construction and repair orders not exceeding $25,000. It reportedly worked very well.

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Vern - Thank you.   Not 100% convinced but see where you are going.   On the urgency matter GAO did opine in the decision an "if" with regard to single source at least by my read. In the end if me I would compete (advertise in FBO)the need for the BPA's.  Taking the time to do so makes sense to me and fits the rotational view better in my view.  But, to each their own.

1 hour ago, Vern Edwards said:

The BPAs are above and beyond.

I agree but still would offer that a firm contract would not be overkill if the OP wanted a stronger guarantee of a vendor to provide the service.  Your ECO concept could work with such a procurement instrument.

Lionel Hutz-  Appreciate your heads up but what you note is the reason I specifically mentioned "competitively" in my question.   Not that it matters but  I might have been the first to bring both Logan and Envirosolve to the forefront of the WIFCON Forum (see below) based on issues I had to address when working at an agency that was called to task by GAO for having rotational BPAs that were issued without competition.   This brings me to a thought that will probably be lost but folks like the OP in doing their research should consider the WIFCON Forum as a research tool, it is a great asset.

 If a Before Your Post would have been done the OP would have found these to help in the office "debate".

 

http://www.wifcon.com/discussion/index.php?/topic/2349-competitive-far-part-13-bpa/&tab=comments#comment-20180

 

Joel - Not sure how your example fits and no need to respond but I am guessing local COE needs were not urgent and anticipate that the BPA's as established were not competitively (FBO advertised) established.  All in all relationship to the specific needs, questions, and issues relayed by the OP leave me wondering.

Great day to all!!!!!

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3 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

I believe that those provisions of FAR Part 13 provide me enough ammunition to justify the use of my procedure.

Vern,

I agree and would add that if you had standing price quotations from the plumbers, then I don't think you would have to justify soliciting from a single source (because you wouldn't be).

Quote

 

13.103 Use of standing price quotations.

Authorized individuals do not have to obtain individual quotations for each purchase. Standing price quotations may be used if—

(a) The pricing information is current; and

(b) The Government obtains the benefit of maximum discounts before award.

 

It's customary commercial practice for plumbers to have hourly rates for emergency work.

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Guest Vern Edwards

@C Culham

I'm not surprised that you're not 100 percent convinced. Few people are 100 percent convinced by ideas that are not entirely consistent with their own.

The only real disagreement that I have with you is with regard to this:

47 minutes ago, C Culham said:

I agree but still would offer that a firm contract would not be overkill if the OP wanted a stronger guarantee of a vendor to provide the service.  Your ECO concept could work with such a procurement instrument.

Given the scenario of 20 emergencies with only five valued at more than $25,000, as chief of a contracting office I would never agree to conduct an acquisition to award a firm contract instead of a purchase order for each event. I see no merit in the notion of a stronger guarantee in this case, and if there is one concept in today's contracting world that has caused a lot of headaches, it is the idea of contract "vehicles." We have simplified acquisition procedures for a reason, and any kind of serious "guarantee" would cost a fortune. They'll get there when they get there. We're talking emergencies concerning water pipes, not ICBMs.

In any case, I'm pretty sure that cdhames's real requirement is a lot more complex than the scenario he gave me to respond to. I'm struck by the fact that so many beginners ask for suggested to solutions to poorly defined problems. He has complained about me:

On 3/29/2018 at 9:09 AM, cdhames said:

Just asking a question in the beginners forum, because I'd like to learn from my fellow peers and experts.  You've said it yourself, the state of our acquisition community is aweful.  Wifcon, however, is a repository for the expertise we seem to be missing and if you'd allow us to ask questions and allow others to provide mentorship (right or wrong) that might improve the community somewhat. 

A sign of expertise is to tell someone who asks for a suggested solution to a problem to properly define the problem to be solved. I learned that early in my career when (as a GS-05)  I went to a boss with a question about a problem and she told me to go away until I properly defined the problem. Best thing she ever did for me. I never forgot it. For one thing, it forced me to think about how one should go about properly defining a problem. A sign of amateurism is to criticize somebody who tells you to go away until you properly define the problem. Sometimes the best response to a question is to tell you that your question sucks.

Finally, I see that I have become the subject of historical searches for instances of, what, inconsistency? That's fair. But with 7,615 posts under my belt, far more than anybody else, if I were never inconsistent I would consider myself to be an idiot. (I'll bet that at least some of you know the quote from Emerson that I'm think of right now.)

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46 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

Finally, I see that I have become the subject of historical searches for instances of, what, inconsistency? That's fair. But with 7,615 posts under my belt, far more than anybody else, if I were never inconsistent I would consider myself to be an idiot. (I'll bet that at least some of you know the quote from Emerson that I'm think of right now.)

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..."

Too much consistency is a sign of stubbornness, a lack of learning/thinking, and/or a lack of adapting to changing environments.

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Well I see the Gang of Three is alive and well...

2 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

Given the scenario of 20 emergencies with only five valued at more than $25,000

Vern - You forgot one part of the scenario - possibility of a 5 year need so maybe 25 valued at $25,000 and 100 valued at who know what?   This chief of contracting thinks it has bearing.

 

2 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

Finally, I see that I have become the subject of historical searches for instances of, what, inconsistency? That's fair. But with 7,615 posts under my belt, far more than anybody else, if I were never inconsistent I would consider myself to be an idiot. (I'll bet that at least some of you know the quote from Emerson that I'm think of right now.)

.I disappointed that you want to invent what you believe my purpose is.  I could care less on what you posted in the past as it relates to this thread.  I use WIFCON as a primary research tool before I head other directions.    My search has nothing to do with inconsistency it had to do with doing the research while at the same time remembering I had post in the past on the matter of competition, BPA's as an easy way to find Logan and Envirosolve.  Nothing more nothing less.

2 hours ago, Don Mansfield said:

It's customary commercial practice for plumbers to have hourly rates for emergency work.

Don -But the hourly effort may be only part of the need and lots of variables too.  It would be very interesting to see if the plumber down the street would in fact give a standing quote for the specific scenario being discussed here. My hands on experience is that they most likely would not.

1 hour ago, Matthew Fleharty said:

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..."

Too much consistency is a sign of stubbornness, a lack of learning/thinking, and/or a lack of adapting to changing environments.

Matthew - I would appreciate it if you would hold off on any comments that are based on false impression and false information attributed to me.   You are more than welcome to ask me directly and then fashion your posts based on my direct response.   I think doing so would add value to the discussion rather than detracting from it.  Thanks! 

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Guest Vern Edwards
16 minutes ago, C Culham said:

Vern - You forgot one part of the scenario - possibility of a 5 year need so maybe 25 valued at $25,000 and 100 valued at who know what?  

I'd be happy to issue purchase orders for five years. 

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50 minutes ago, C Culham said:

Matthew - I would appreciate it if you would hold off on any comments that are based on false impression and false information attributed to me.   You are more than welcome to ask me directly and then fashion your posts based on my direct response.   I think doing so would add value to the discussion rather than detracting from it.  Thanks! 

Carl, 

Falsely assuming comments were directed at you detracts from the discussion - my comments were broad and general.  You’ll know if I’m directing a comment at you (like with this one).

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Guest Vern Edwards

Amazing how many famous threes there are:

Athos, Porthos, and Aramis

The Three Stooges

Faith, Hope, and Charity

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Snap, Crackle, and Pop

The Three Heads of Cerberus

Mario, Luigi, and Bowser

The Cavalry Trilogy

Alvin and the Chipmunks

The Kingston Trio

The Three Mesquiteers (Stony Brook, Tucson Smith, and Lullaby Joslin)

The Magi

The Three Godfathers

Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael

The Bee Gees

The Three Spirits of Christmas

The Three Men in a Boat

Kirk, Spock, and Bones

Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva

Roy Rogers, Trigger, and Bullet

(to be continued after Carl posts again)

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45 minutes ago, Don Mansfield said:

We prefer "The Three Amigos".

An honest man and

 

16 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

to be continued after Carl posts again)

a perfect example of how to achieve Platinum membership and brag about it, lordy! 

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