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GOOD: Section B CLINs Referencing Section C Paragraphs


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Let's start there.  In your RFP's model contract, you state what you want priced where.  It's the fundamental best way for the CO to set a level playing field for adequate price competition.

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(c) Standards for exceptions from certified cost or pricing data requirements

(1) Adequate price competition.

(i) A price is based on adequate price competition when—

(A) Two or more responsible offerors, competing independently, submit priced offers that satisfy the Government's expressed requirement;

(B) Award will be made to the offeror whose proposal represents the best value (see 2.101) where price is a substantial factor in source selection; and

(C) There is no finding that the price of the otherwise successful offeror is unreasonable. Any finding that the price is unreasonable must be supported by a statement of the facts and approved at a level above the contracting officer.

Picture a BAD CO that thoughtlessly does not do this.  For lack of the guidance in the RFP, one offeror includes a major cost in a CLIN with a unit rate of "Lot", and another includes that same major cost in a CLIN with a unit rate of "Month".  The POP is a year, so one offeror assumed a heap of financial risk over that year.  The other is at risk for no more than 30 days at a time.  How does the CO confidently tell the boss, "There is no finding that the price of the otherwise successful offeror is unreasonable?"  It's an apples-to-oranges comparison.

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Deleted. My question was clarified below by RJ_Walther. 

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On 6/14/2024 at 11:28 AM, Voyager said:

For lack of the guidance in the RFP, one offeror includes a major cost in a CLIN with a unit rate of "Lot", and another includes that same major cost in a CLIN with a unit rate of "Month". 

While I haven't seen the choice of unit of issue left up to offerors, I have definitely seen tasks on a service contract that aren't clearly mapped to the CLINs, especially where some tasks (or parts of tasks) are fixed price and others are cost reimbursable or T&M. For example a maintenance contract including both fixed price preventive maintenance and CR/T&M for corrective maintenance with ambiguity on whether some or all materials to be provided to perform the tasks are fixed or reimbursable.

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My scenario was that the CO gave the CLIN a unit rate but no cross-reference to Section C in its CLIN description.  That would leave each offeror to make a potentially disparate build-up of the same CLIN, affecting overall price term comparisons.  One offer could be riskier than the other due to financing needs.

On 6/20/2024 at 11:38 AM, RJ_Walther said:

especially where some tasks (or parts of tasks) are fixed price and others are cost reimbursable or T&M

Your example is even more intriguing and common, so thank you for contributing.  The CO gives the CLIN a contract type but no cross-reference to Section C in its CLIN description.  This as a major shortcoming in the combination-of-types (commonly and incorrectly called a "hybrid") contract.  There are many predominately FFP contracts reported in FPDS with their risks shared by Taxpayers to the degree the firmness of the fixed price is almost meaningless.  If you want to avoid this, write better, more specific contracts wherever specifics affect the business deal.

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