Evaluating Contractor Responsibility

What is the COR's role in providing assistance to the CO on other terms and conditions and responsibility evaluation?

In the process of developing prenegotiation positions on terms and conditions other than price, the CO will require the technical assistance of the COR. The positions developed will address significant variances between the requirements of the solicitation and what the offerors are providing in their proposals. The potential impact on price of each variance and all potential tradeoffs must be identified. For example, if an offeror proposes a type of material of lesser quality than required by the solicitation, the government would need to negotiate a lower price for the material, provided, of course, that the lower quality of material was acceptable to the government.

Variances can occur in areas such as contract type, lease versus purchase, financing, government property, and many other terms and conditions, such as:

The requirements documents

Quality assurance requirements

Time, place, and method of delivery or performance

Bonding or insurance requirements

Patents or rights in data

Warranty requirements.

How is contractor responsibility determined?

The CO and the contracting team, including the COR, must determine that the contractor who is selected for award is qualified and eligible to receive the award. In making this determination, the contractor's responsibility must be considered.

The contracting team must determine that the contractor being considered has:

Met, or can meet at the time of award, any special standards that apply to the procurement. (When it is necessary to ensure adequate contract performance for a particular acquisition, the CO may develop special standards of responsibility associated with unusual expertise or specialized facilities, for example. These special standards are set forth in the solicitation, identified as such, and apply to all offerors.) The CO, along with the COR and other specialists, as required, must then determine the offerors' compliance with these special standards; otherwise, the offerors are deemed nonresponsible.

Adequate financial resources to perform or the ability to obtain the needed resources.

The ability to comply with the delivery or performance schedule.

A satisfactory performance record.

A satisfactory record of integrity.

The necessary organization, experience, accounting and operational controls, and technical skills, or the ability to obtain them.

The necessary production, construction, and technical facilities or equipment, or the ability to obtain them.

Met all other qualification requirements. This means that the contractor is otherwise qualified and eligible to receive an award (e.g., not suspended or debarred from receiving government contracts because of fraud or criminal conduct).

The Preaward Survey

What is a preaward survey?

A preaward survey is an evaluation by a surveying activity of a prospective contractor's capability to perform a proposed contract. (A "surveying activity" is usually the contract administration office, but if there is no designated contract administration office, it would be another organization designated by the agency to conduct preaward surveys.)

When is a preaward survey typically conducted?

A preaward survey is normally required only when the information on hand or readily available to the CO, including information from commercial sources, is not sufficient to make a determination regarding contractor responsibility. Also, if the contemplated contract will have a fixed price at or below the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $100,000) or will involve the acquisition of commercial items, the CO should not request a preaward survey unless circumstances justify its cost. The surveying activity should always ascertain whether the prospective contractor is debarred, suspended, or otherwise ineligible before beginning a preaward survey.

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