These three are usually the only app protest forums. See 31 U.S.C. §3551 However, specific issues related to the awarding of federal contracts are challenged with other authorities and not with bidding protest forums. See 13 C.F.R. §121.1001 (Size limits for small businesses challenged with the SBA). See e.B. Phoenix Scientific Corp., B-286817 (February 22, 2001) („The scope of the restrictions on bundled markets in the CICA is much broader than the scope of the restrictions against consolidation under the Small Business Act. For example, contrary to the CICA`s limitations, the consolidation provisions of the Small Business Act do not apply to large firms` arguments that separate parts of consolidated government procurement should be divided on the basis of competition. . There is also a difference in the format required to justify bundling. The Small Business Act requires organizations to demonstrate „measurable benefits“ to justify group purchases. . In contrast, the CICA allows applications to contain restrictive terms and conditions only to the extent necessary to meet the needs of the organization.
»). The number of bulk contracts awarded by federal agencies has reached its highest level in 10 years, hurting small businesses, according to a recent report by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The problem with bundling is that several tasks are crammed into individual contracts, which prevents small businesses from submitting bids. This practice began to flourish after Congress passed the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act in the mid-1990s. Know the rules An example of a consolidation: Your company offers landscaping services at a local military base. Nine months before your contract expires, you`ll learn that contract staff are in the planning stage of a new RFP looking for a contractor to perform almost all of the base`s construction services, including building maintenance, janitorial, laundry, food, and, yes, landscaping services. While you`ve been an exemplary contractor with an excellent track record, your company has no chance of winning the contract as it has no experience beyond landscaping services. What can you do? Unfortunately, if you decide to put on the gloves, your struggle could be costly and end up in front of an examiner or court. The decision to consolidate is usually the result of a long process of agency meetings and discussions. There is now a special examination in this area, and increasingly these decisions are being made after careful consideration and justification. (This is, of course, a generalization.) In most cases, it is unlikely that a company will change the spirit that was invented. On the other hand, if you know the rules, you`ll be in a better position to influence decisions before the final decisions have been made.
Definition/grouping procedure First of all, it is necessary to examine whether or not the new market falls within the definition of „bundling“. Bulk selling is defined as „the consolidation of two or more government procurement requirements for goods or services previously supplied or provided under separate small contracts in a tender for a single contract that is unlikely to lend itself to a small business“. In determining whether the individual contract is „inappropriate“ for a small business, a number of factors are considered, including the nature of the performance requirements, the size of the contract, and the geographic distribution of service locations. 15 United States C Article 632 (o) (2); FAR 2,101; 13 CFR 125.2(d). Given this definition, an important threshold question is whether two or more initial procurement requirements have been consolidated in the new contract. The answer is not always obvious. This was the subject of a recent hearing before the General Accounting Office (GAO). There, the agency argued that nine original container leases constituted a „procurement requirement“ because, among other things, they all included the same general service.
The GAO acknowledged that, while two or more previous contracts may in some cases constitute a procurement requirement, the nine contracts in this case were too different to be considered a single requirement. Gao concluded that the definition had been met and spoke in favor of the protester. TRS Research, B-290644, September 13, 2002, www.gao.gov/decisions/bidpro/290644.htm. An important note to be drawn from the case is that bundling is not just the consolidation of disparate and independent goods and services into a contract – the „classic“ way of looking at it. Consolidation may include the consolidation of identical or similar goods and services. In the example above, a new multi-entity landscaping contract that bundles services provided under smaller landscaping contracts could be considered a consolidation if a small business is unlikely to win. Overall, the GAO tends to investigate agencies in cluster cases. When organizations win, they typically do so for one of three reasons: requires that the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) be „modified“ to collect data on bulk contract requests worth more than $5 million. See also Tyler Constr. Group, 83 Fed.
Cl. at 94 et seq. (agency indicating reductions in construction costs and time savings); CYIOS, Inc., B-402728.3 (July 13, 2012) (an organization that notes savings of $5 million over the life of the contract, as well as better accountability and more effective coordination of tasks); U. Electrodynamics, Inc., B-403516, B-403516.2 (November 12, 2010) (agency offering better quality of service, reduced overall costs, volume discounts, reduced contractor overhead and reduced market volatility); B2 Brokers et al., B-298651 (November 27, 2006) (organization that notes contract savings as well as increased on-time delivery and improved visibility during transportation); S&K Elec., B-282167 (June 10, 1999) (agency that notes „significant technical advantages“ as well as savings); The Urban Group, Inc.; McSwain & Assoc., Inc., B-281352, B-281353 (January 28, 1999) (agency with respect to cost savings and quality improvement); Aalco Forwarding, Inc., B-277241.12; B-277241.13 (29 December 1997) (Body that identifies superior services, reduction of administrative burdens and introduction of best business practices). (iii) the geographical distribution of the places of performance of the contract; or (1) the consolidation of two or more requirements for supplies or services previously provided or provided under separate small contracts into a single call for contracts that is unlikely to be awarded to a small business because – See e.B. JXM, Inc., B-402643 (June 25, 2010) („[The demonstrator] has not identified two or more separate small contracts, which have been combined, [it] has also not demonstrated that the resulting scope is not appropriate for the award to a small undertaking. The Urban Group, Inc., B-281352, B-281353 (January 28, 1999) (similar). However, the combination of new requirements could constitute a consolidation that violates the CICA. See notes 9 to 10 and accompanying text. Procurement activities have sometimes claimed that the construction requirements themselves are new requirements or that adding a new requirement to previously executed requirements means that there is no consolidation. See e.B.
Tyler Constr. Group, 83 Fed. Cl. at 100-101 (agency that claims that construction requirements are new requirements); Nautical Eng`g, Inc., B-309955 (November 7, 2007) (The Agency claims that there was no consolidation due to the addition of a new requirement, planning services, to the requirements for the maintenance and repair of dry and dry docks, which the Agency admitted to have been consolidated). No court or administrative tribunal seems to have confirmed these proposed „groupage“ constructions. In Tyler Construction, the Tribunal found that even if the consolidation had taken place, it would have been necessary and justified. 83 Fed. Cl. to 103.
Similarly, the GAO in Nautical Engineering concluded that any consolidation was justified because the government would measurably reap significant benefits from the bulk call. .