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Agreements (FAR 16.7) - What are they used for?


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Help me understand these two concepts.

Basic Agreement. Defined n FAR 16.702.  A basic agreement should be used when a substantial number of separate contracts may be awarded to a contractor during a particular period and significant recurring negotiating problems have been experienced with the contractor.

Basic Ordering Agreement.  Defined in FAR 16.703.  A basic ordering agreement may be used to expedite contracting for uncertain requirements for supplies or services when specific items, quantities, and prices are not known at the time the agreement is executed, but a substantial number of requirements for the type of supplies or services covered by the agreement are anticipated to be purchased from the contractor. 


I don't fully comprehend the purpose and use cases for these agreements, despite the plain words of the FAR.  My contracting office never uses these two types of agreements, and I have no experience with them otherwise.  I have a weak intuition that they are, like fax machines and public notice boards in the lobby, vestiges of a past contracting age. 

Are they used routinely somewhere in federal contracting?  If so, please tell me more.  What are they used for?  Why an agreement instead of (among other things) a BPA, some indefinite contract, or one of the innumerable acquisition vehicles (GWACs, Federal Supply Schedules, federal-wide IDIQs, etc.) which cover nearly everything imaginable?  A concrete example or two may help me.

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3 hours ago, General.Zhukov said:

  I have a weak intuition that they are, like fax machines and public notice boards in the lobby, vestiges of a past contracting age. 

I think you’re correct.  Lots of changes occurred with contracting when these two types were used more frequently.  

Heres an old thread that might help

I remember BOAs used many years ago in a few instances for things like depot level repairs of equipment and ship maintenance.  The government had a limited number of sources to do the work because of a variety of reasons.  So work was done on a restricted competitive basis or sole source, often using a variety of fixed price, cost reimbursement, T&M and LH types because of a wide diversity of requirements.  Those requirements were difficult to define upfront.

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I thought it would be a good idea to negotiate basic agreements to facilitate GCPC (credit card) ordering where the vendors' standard commercial terms and conditions contain things we can't agree to. Unfortunately most vendors have not been willing to negotiate their T&Cs for low-value transactions, but maybe if the agreement covered a large enough number of cardholding activities to have a high volume of low value transactions it would be worth their while.

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At least several Army Corps of Engineers Districts have established Basic Ordering Agreements with multiple small businesses to simplify and facilitate competition and award of purchase orders for small construction, repairs, emergency repairs, emergency supplies, etc. under the SAT and/or micro-purchase limits.

I suspect that most USACE Districts and Centers that support installations have used or are now using BOA’s.

DFARS and the PGI also address BOA procedures at 216.7…

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18 hours ago, General.Zhukov said:

Are they used routinely somewhere in federal contracting?

Another source besides the examples provided in the previous posts is SAM.gov - Contract Opportunities and search on the terms BOA and/or BA    Actual use examples will be found.

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Thank you all, very helpful, I think I get it better now.

As a US Army Engineer, I often dealt with little quick and unpredictable requirements that couldn't be reasonably priced in advance - so now seem suitable for an agreement - "We need 2-3 HAZMAT dump trucks to take all that contaminated soil to the remediation field.  Range control says it's our fault, so won't do it for us, and won't clear us from the range till the stuff is gone, inspection is at 10 AM tomorrow so chop chop Captain." 

You have to negotiate price for stuff like this each time, but the terms are pretty standard (license & certs, mil escort on-base, etc.). 

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