Subpart 19.8 Contracting with the Small Business Administration (The 8(a) Program)
(a) Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(a)) established a program that authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to enter into all types of contracts with other agencies and award subcontracts for performing those contracts to firms eligible for program participation. The SBA’s subcontractors are referred to as “8(a) contractors.”
(b) Contracts may be awarded to the SBA for performance by eligible 8(a) firms on either a sole source or competitive basis.
(c) When, acting under the authority of the program, the SBA certifies to an agency that the SBA is competent and responsible to perform a specific contract, the contracting officer is authorized, in the contracting officer’s discretion, to award the contract to the SBA based upon mutually agreeable terms and conditions.
(d) The SBA refers to this program as the 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program.
(e) The contracting officer shall comply with 19.203 before deciding to offer an acquisition to a small business concern under the 8(a) Program. For acquisitions above the simplified acquisition threshold, the contracting officer shall consider 8(a) set-asides or sole source awards before considering small business set-asides.
(f) When SBA has delegated its 8(a) Program contract execution authority to an agency, the contracting officer must refer to its agency supplement or other policy directives for appropriate guidance.
19.802 Selecting concerns for the 8(a) Program.
Selecting concerns for the 8(a) Program is the responsibility of the SBA and is based on the criteria established in 13 CFR 124.101-112.
19.803 Selecting acquisitions for the 8(a) Program.
Through their cooperative efforts, the SBA and an agency match the agency’s requirements with the capabilities of 8(a) concerns to establish a basis for the agency to contract with the SBA under the program. Selection is initiated in one of three ways
(a) The SBA advises an agency contracting activity through a search letter of an 8(a) firm’s capabilities and asks the agency to identify acquisitions to support the firm’s business plans. In these instances, the SBA will provide at least the following information in order to enable the agency to match an acquisition to the firm’s capabilities:
(1) Identification of the concern and its owners.
(2) Background information on the concern, including any and all information pertaining to the concern’s technical ability and capacity to perform.
(3) The firm’s present production capacity and related facilities.
(4) The extent to which contracting assistance is needed in the present and the future, described in terms that will enable the agency to relate the concern’s plans to present and future agency requirements.
(5) If construction is involved, the request shall also include the following:
(i) The concern’s capabilities in and qualifications for accomplishing various categories of maintenance, repair, alteration, and construction work in specific categories such as mechanical, electrical, heating and air conditioning, demolition, building, painting, paving, earth work, waterfront work, and general construction work.
(ii) The concern’s capacity in each construction category in terms of estimated dollar value (e.g., electrical, up to $100,000).
(b) The SBA identifies a specific requirement for a particular 8(a) firm or firms and asks the agency contracting activity to offer the acquisition to the 8(a) Program for the firm(s). In these instances, in addition to the information in paragraph (a) of this section, the SBA will provide
(1) A clear identification of the acquisition sought; e.g., project name or number;
(2) A statement as to how any additional needed equipment and real property will be provided in order to ensure that the firm will be fully capable of satisfying the agency’s requirements;
(3) If construction, information as to the bonding capability of the firm(s); and
(i) If sole source request
(A) The reasons why the firm is considered suitable for this particular acquisition; e.g., previous contracts for the same or similar supply or service; and
(B) A statement that the firm is eligible in terms of NAICS code, business support levels, and business activity targets; or
(ii) If competitive, a statement that at least two 8(a) firms are considered capable of satisfying the agency’s requirements and a statement that the firms are also eligible in terms of the NAICS code, business support levels, and business activity targets. If requested by the contracting activity, SBA will identify at least two such firms and provide information concerning the firms’ capabilities.
(c) Agencies may also review other proposed acquisitions for the purpose of identifying requirements which may be offered to the SBA. Where agencies independently, or through the self marketing efforts of an 8(a) firm, identify a requirement for the 8(a) Program, they may offer on behalf of a specific 8(a) firm, for the 8(a) Program in general, or for 8(a) competition.
19.804 Evaluation, offering, and acceptance.
19.804-1 Agency evaluation.
In determining the extent to which a requirement should be offered in support of the 8(a) Program, the agency should evaluate
(a) Its current and future plans to acquire the specific items or work that 8(a) contractors are seeking to provide, identified in terms of
(1) Quantities required or the number of construction projects planned; and
(2) Performance or delivery requirements, including required monthly production rates, when applicable;
(b) Its current and future plans to acquire items or work similar in nature and complexity to that specified in the business plan;
(c) Problems encountered in previous acquisitions of the items or work from the 8(a) contractors and/or other contractors;
(d) The impact of any delay in delivery;
(e) Whether the items or work have previously been acquired using small business set-asides; and
(f) Any other pertinent information about known 8(a) contractors, the items, or the work. This includes any information concerning the firms’ capabilities. When necessary, the contracting agency shall make an independent review of the factors in 19.803(a) and other aspects of the firms’ capabilities which would ensure the satisfactory performance of the requirement being considered for commitment to the 8(a) Program.
19.804-2 Agency offering.
(a) After completing its evaluation, the agency must notify the SBA of the extent of its plans to place 8(a) contracts with the SBA for specific quantities of items or work. The notification must identify the time frames within which prime contract and subcontract actions must be completed in order for the agency to meet its responsibilities. The notification must also contain the following information applicable to each prospective contract:
(1) A description of the work to be performed or items to be delivered, and a copy of the statement of work, if available.
(2) The estimated period of performance.
(3) The NAICS code that applies to the principal nature of the acquisition.
(4) The anticipated dollar value of the requirement, including options, if any.
(5) Any special restrictions or geographical limitations on the requirement (for construction, include the location of the work to be performed).
(6) Any special capabilities or disciplines needed for contract performance.
(7) The type of contract anticipated.
(8) The acquisition history, if any, of the requirement, including the names and addresses of any small business contractors that have performed this requirement during the previous 24 months.
(9) A statement that prior to the offering no solicitation for the specific acquisition has been issued as a small business, HUBZone, service-disabled veteran-owned small business set-aside, or a set-aside under the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program, and that no other public communication (such as a notice through the Governmentwide point of entry (GPE)) has been made showing the contracting agency’s clear intention to set-aside the acquisition for small business, HUBZone small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns, or a set-aside under the WOSB Program.
(10) Identification of any particular 8(a) concern designated for consideration, including a brief justification, such as
(i) The 8(a) concern, through its own efforts, marketed the requirement and caused it to be reserved for the 8(a) Program; or
(ii) The acquisition is a follow-on or renewal contract and the nominated concern is the incumbent.
(11) Bonding requirements, if applicable.
(12) Identification of all SBA field offices that have asked for the acquisition for the 8(a) Program.
(13) A request, if appropriate, that a requirement with an estimated contract value under the applicable competitive threshold be awarded as an 8(a) competitive contract (see 19.805-1(d)).
(14) A request, if appropriate, that a requirement with a contract value over the applicable competitive threshold be awarded as a sole source contract (see 19.805-1(b)).
(15) Any other pertinent and reasonably available data.
(b)(1) An agency offering a construction requirement for which no specific offeror is nominated should submit it to the SBA District Office for the geographical area where the work is to be performed.
(2) An agency offering a construction requirement on behalf of a specific offeror should submit it to the SBA District Office servicing that concern.
(3) Sole source requirements, other than construction, should be forwarded directly to the district office that services the nominated firm. If the contracting officer is not nominating a specific firm, the offering letter should be forwarded to the district office servicing the geographical area in which the contracting office is located.
(c) All requirements for 8(a) competition, other than construction, should be forwarded to the district office servicing the geographical area in which the contracting office is located. All requirements for 8(a) construction competition should be forwarded to the district office servicing the geographical area in which all or the major portion of the construction is to be performed. All requirements, including construction, must be synopsized through the GPE. For construction, the synopsis must include the geographical area of the competition set forth in the SBA’s acceptance letter.
19.804-3 SBA acceptance.
(a) Upon receipt of the contracting agency’s offer, the SBA will determine whether to accept the requirement for the 8(a) Program. The SBA’s decision whether to accept the requirement will be transmitted to the contracting agency in writing within 10 working days of receipt of the offer if the contract is likely to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold and within 2 days of receipt if the contract is at or below the simplified acquisition threshold. The contracting agency may grant an extension of these time periods. If SBA does not respond to an offering letter within 10 days, the contracting activity may seek SBA’s acceptance through the Associate Administrator.
(b) If the acquisition is accepted as a sole source, the SBA will advise the contracting activity of the 8(a) firm selected for negotiation. Generally, the SBA will accept a contracting activity’s recommended source.
(c) For acquisitions not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, when the contracting activity makes an offer to the 8(a) Program on behalf of a specific 8(a) firm and does not receive a reply to its offer within 2 days, the contracting activity may assume the offer is accepted and proceed with award of an 8(a) contract.
(d) As part of the acceptance process, SBA will review the appropriateness of the NAICS code designation assigned to the requirement by the contracting activity.
(1) SBA will not challenge the NAICS code assigned to the requirement by the contracting activity if it is reasonable, even though other NAICS codes may also be reasonable.
(2) If SBA and the contracting activity are unable to agree on a NAICS code designation for the requirement, SBA may refuse to accept the requirement for the 8(a) Program, appeal the contracting officer’s determination to the head of the agency pursuant to 19.810, or appeal the NAICS code designation to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals under Subpart C of 13 CFR Part 134.
19.804-4 Repetitive acquisitions.
In order for repetitive acquisitions to be awarded through the 8(a) Program, there must be separate offers and acceptances. This allows the SBA to determine
(a) Whether the requirement should be a competitive 8(a) award;
(b) A nominated firm’s eligibility, whether or not it is the same firm that performed the previous contract;
(c) The effect that contract award would have on the equitable distribution of 8(a) contracts; and
(d) Whether the requirement should continue under the 8(a) Program.
19.804-5 Basic ordering agreements.
(a) The contracting activity must offer, and SBA must accept, each order under a basic ordering agreement (BOA) in addition to offering and accepting the BOA itself.
(b) SBA will not accept for award on a sole-source basis any order that would cause the total dollar amount of orders issued under a specific BOA to exceed the competitive threshold amount in 19.805-1.
(c) Once an 8(a) concern’s program term expires, the concern otherwise exits the 8(a) Program, or becomes other than small for the NAICS code assigned under the BOA, SBA will not accept new orders for the concern.
19.804-6 Indefinite delivery contracts.
(a) Separate offers and acceptances must not be made for individual orders under multiple award, Federal Supply Schedule (FSS), multi-agency contracts or Governmentwide acquisition contracts. SBA’s acceptance of the original contract is valid for the term of the contract.
(b) The requirements of 19.805-1 of this part do not apply to individual orders that exceed the competitive threshold as long as the original contract was competed.
(c) An 8(a) concern may continue to accept new orders under a multiple award, Federal Supply Schedule (FSS), multi-agency contract or Governmentwide acquisition contract even after a concern’s program term expires, the concern otherwise exits the 8(a) Program, or the concern becomes other than small for the NAICS code assigned under the contract.
19.805 Competitive 8(a).
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, an acquisition offered to the SBA under the 8(a) Program shall be awarded on the basis of competition limited to eligible 8(a) firms if
(1) There is a reasonable expectation that at least two eligible and responsible 8(a) firms will submit offers and that award can be made at a fair market price; and
(2) The anticipated total value of the contract, including options, will exceed $7 million for acquisitions assigned manufacturing North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes and $4 million for all other acquisitions.
(b) Where an acquisition exceeds the competitive threshold, the SBA may accept the requirement for a sole source 8(a) award if
(1) There is not a reasonable expectation that at least two eligible and responsible 8(a) firms will submit offers at a fair market price; or
(2) SBA accepts the requirement on behalf of a concern owned by an Indian tribe or an Alaska Native Corporation.
(c) A proposed 8(a) requirement with an estimated value exceeding the applicable competitive threshold amount shall not be divided into several requirements for lesser amounts in order to use 8(a) sole source procedures for award to a single firm.
(d) The SBA Associate Administrator for 8(a) Business Development (AA/BD) may approve an agency request for a competitive 8(a) award below the competitive thresholds. Such requests will be approved only on a limited basis and will be primarily granted where technical competitions are appropriate or where a large number of responsible 8(a) firms are available for competition. In determining whether a request to compete below the threshold will be approved, the AA/BD will, in part, consider the extent to which the requesting agency is supporting the 8(a) Program on a noncompetitive basis. The agency may include recommendations for competition below the threshold in the offering letter or by separate correspondence to the AA/BD.
(a) Offers shall be solicited from those sources identified in accordance with 19.804-3.
(b) The SBA will determine the eligibility of the firms for award of the contract. Eligibility will be determined by the SBA as of the time of submission of initial offers which include price. Eligibility is based on Section 8(a) Program criteria.
(1) In sealed bid acquisitions, upon receipt of offers, the contracting officer will provide the SBA a copy of the solicitation, the estimated fair market price, and a list of offerors ranked in the order of their standing for award (i.e., first low, second low, etc.) with the total evaluated price for each offer, differentiating between basic requirements and any options. The SBA will consider the eligibility of the first low offeror. If the first low offeror is not determined to be eligible, the SBA will consider the eligibility of the next low offeror until an eligible offeror is identified. The SBA will determine the eligibility of the firms and advise the contracting officer within 5 working days after its receipt of the list of bidders. Once eligibility has been established by the SBA, the successful offeror will be determined by the contracting activity in accordance with normal contracting procedures.
(2) In negotiated acquisition, the SBA will determine eligibility when the successful offeror has been established by the agency and the contract transmitted for signature unless a referral has been made under 19.809, in which case the SBA will determine eligibility at that point.
(c) In any case in which a firm is determined to be ineligible, the SBA will notify the firm of that determination.
(d) The eligibility of an 8(a) firm for a competitive 8(a) award may not be challenged or protested by another 8(a) firm or any other party as part of a solicitation or proposed contract award. Any party with information concerning the eligibility of an 8(a) firm to continue participation in the 8(a) Program may submit such information to the SBA in accordance with 13 CFR 124.517.
19.806 Pricing the 8(a) contract.
(a) The contracting officer shall price the 8(a) contract in accordance with Subpart 15.4. If required by Subpart 15.4, the SBA shall obtain certified cost or pricing data from the 8(a) contractor. If the SBA requests audit assistance to determine the proposed price to be fair and reasonable in a sole source acquisition, the contracting activity shall furnish it to the extent it is available.
(b) An 8(a) contract, sole source or competitive, may not be awarded if the price of the contract results in a cost to the contracting agency which exceeds a fair market price.
(c) If requested by the SBA, the contracting officer shall make available the data used to estimate the fair market price within 10 working days.
(d) The negotiated contract price and the estimated fair market price are subject to the concurrence of the SBA. In the event of a disagreement between the contracting officer and the SBA, the SBA may appeal in accordance with 19.810.
19.807 Estimating fair market price.
(a) The contracting officer shall estimate the fair market price of the work to be performed by the 8(a) contractor.
(b) In estimating the fair market price for an acquisition other than those covered in paragraph (c) of this section, the contracting officer shall use cost or price analysis and consider commercial prices for similar products and services, available in-house cost estimates, data (including certified cost or pricing data) submitted by the SBA or the 8(a) contractor, and data obtained from any other Government agency.
(c) In estimating a fair market price for a repeat purchase, the contracting officer shall consider recent award prices for the same items or work if there is comparability in quantities, conditions, terms, and performance times. The estimated price should be adjusted to reflect differences in specifications, plans, transportation costs, packaging and packing costs, and other circumstances. Price indices may be used as guides to determine the changes in labor and material costs. Comparison of commercial prices for similar items may also be used.
19.808 Contract negotiation.
19.808-1 Sole source.
(a) The SBA may not accept for negotiation a sole-source 8(a) contract that exceeds $22 million unless the requesting agency has completed a justification in accordance with the requirements of 6.303.
(b) The SBA is responsible for initiating negotiations with the agency within the time established by the agency. If the SBA does not initiate negotiations within the agreed time and the agency cannot allow additional time, the agency may, after notifying the SBA, proceed with the acquisition from other sources.
(c) The SBA should participate, whenever practicable, in negotiating the contracting terms. When mutually agreeable, the SBA may authorize the contracting activity to negotiate directly with the 8(a) contractor. Whether or not direct negotiations take place, the SBA is responsible for approving the resulting contract before award.
In competitive 8(a) acquisitions subject to Part 15, the contracting officer conducts negotiations directly with the competing 8(a) firms. Conducting competitive negotiations among 8(a) firms prior to SBA’s formal acceptance of the acquisition for the 8(a) Program may be grounds for SBA’s not accepting the acquisition for the 8(a) Program.
19.809 Preaward considerations.
The contracting officer should request a preaward survey of the 8(a) contractor whenever considered useful. If the results of the preaward survey or other information available to the contracting officer raise substantial doubt as to the firm’s ability to perform, the contracting officer must refer the matter to SBA for Certificate of Competency consideration under Subpart 19.6.
19.810 SBA appeals.
(a) The SBA Administrator may submit the following matters for determination to the agency head if the SBA and the contracting officer fail to agree on them:
(1) The decision not to make a particular acquisition available for award under the 8(a) Program.
(2) A contracting officer’s decision to reject a specific 8(a) firm for award of an 8(a) contract after SBA’s acceptance of the requirement for the 8(a) Program.
(3) The terms and conditions of a proposed 8(a) contract, including the contracting activity’s NAICS code designation and estimate of the fair market price.
(b) Notification of a proposed appeal to the agency head by the SBA must be received by the contracting officer within 5 working days after the SBA is formally notified of the contracting officer’s decision. The SBA will provide the agency Director for Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization a copy of this notification of the intent to appeal. The SBA must send the written appeal to the head of the contracting activity within 15 working days of SBA’s notification of intent to appeal or the contracting activity may consider the appeal withdrawn. Pending issuance of a decision by the agency head, the contracting officer must suspend action on the acquisition. The contracting officer need not suspend action on the acquisition if the contracting officer makes a written determination that urgent and compelling circumstances that significantly affect the interests of the United States will not permit waiting for a decision.
(c) If the SBA appeal is denied, the decision of the agency head shall specify the reasons for the denial, including the reasons why the selected firm was determined incapable of performance, if appropriate. The decision shall be made a part of the contract file.
19.811 Preparing the contracts.
19.811-1 Sole source.
(a) The contract to be awarded by the agency to the SBA shall be prepared in accordance with agency procedures and in the same detail as would be required in a contract with a business concern. The contracting officer shall use the Standard Form 26 as the award form, except for construction contracts, in which case the Standard Form 1442 shall be used as required in 36.701(a).
(b) The agency shall prepare the contract that the SBA will award to the 8(a) contractor in accordance with agency procedures, as if the agency were awarding the contract directly to the 8(a) contractor, except for the following:
(2) Appropriate clauses shall be included, as necessary, to reflect that the contract is between the SBA and the 8(a) contractor.
(3) The following items shall be inserted by the SBA:
(i) The SBA contract number.
(ii) The effective date.
(iii) The typed name of the SBA’s contracting officer.
(iv) The signature of the SBA’s contracting officer.
(v) The date signed.
(4) The SBA will obtain the signature of the 8(a) contractor prior to signing and returning the prime contract to the contracting officer for signature. The SBA will make every effort to obtain signatures and return the contract, and any subsequent bilateral modification, to the contracting officer within a maximum of 10 working days.
(c) Except in procurements where the SBA will make advance payments to its 8(a) contractor, the agency contracting officer may, as an alternative to the procedures in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection, use a single contract document for both the prime contract between the agency and the SBA and its 8(a) contractor. The single contract document shall contain the information in paragraphs (b) (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection. Appropriate blocks on the Standard Form (SF) 26 or 1442 will be asterisked and a continuation sheet appended as a tripartite agreement which includes the following:
(1) Agency acquisition office, prime contract number, name of agency contracting officer and lines for signature, date signed, and effective date.
(2) The SBA office, the SBA contract number, name of the SBA contracting officer, and lines for signature and date signed.
(3) Name and lines for the 8(a) subcontractor’s signature and date signed.
(d) For acquisitions not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, the contracting officer may use the alternative procedures in paragraph (c) of this subsection with the appropriate simplified acquisition forms.
(a) The contract will be prepared in accordance with 14.408-1(d), except that appropriate blocks on the Standard Form 26 or 1442 will be asterisked and a continuation sheet appended as a tripartite agreement which includes the following:
(1) The agency contracting activity, prime contract number, name of agency contracting officer, and lines for signature, date signed, and effective date.
(2) The SBA office, the SBA subcontract number, name of the SBA contracting officer and lines for signature and date signed.
(b) The process for obtaining signatures shall be as specified in 19.811-1(b)(4).
19.811-3 Contract clauses.
(a) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 52.219-11, Special 8(a) Contract Conditions, in contracts between the SBA and the agency when the acquisition is accomplished using the procedures of 19.811-1(a) and (b).
(b) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 52.219-12, Special 8(a) Subcontract Conditions, in contracts between the SBA and its 8(a) contractor when the acquisition is accomplished using the procedures of 19.811-1(a) and (b).
(c) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 52.219-17, Section 8(a) Award, in competitive solicitations and contracts when the acquisition is accomplished using the procedures of 19.805 and in sole source awards which utilize the alternative procedure in 19.811-1(c).
(d) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 52.219-18, Notification of Competition Limited to Eligible 8(a) Concerns, in competitive solicitations and contracts when the acquisition is accomplished using the procedures of 19.805.
(2) The clause at 52.219-18 with its Alternate II will be used when the acquisition is for a product in a class for which the Small Business Administration has waived the nonmanufacturer rule (see 19.102(f)(4) and (5)).
(e) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 52.219-14, Limitations on Subcontracting, in any solicitation and contract resulting from this subpart. This includes multiple-award contracts when orders may be set aside for 8(a) concerns as described in 8.405-5 and 16.505(b)(2)(i)(F).
19.812 Contract administration.
(a) The contracting officer shall assign contract administration functions, as required, based on the location of the 8(a) contractor (see Federal Directory of Contract Administration Services Components (available via the Internet at https://pubapp.dcma.mil/CASD/main.jsp)).
(b) The agency shall distribute copies of the contract(s) in accordance with Part 4. All contracts and modifications, if any, shall be distributed to both the SBA and the firm in accordance with the timeframes set forth in 4.201.
(c) To the extent consistent with the contracting activity’s capability and resources, 8(a) contractors furnishing requirements shall be afforded production and technical assistance, including, when appropriate, identification of causes of deficiencies in their products and suggested corrective action to make such products acceptable.
(d) An 8(a) contract, whether in the base or an option year, must be terminated for convenience if the 8(a) concern to which it was awarded transfers ownership or control of the firm or if the contract is transferred or novated for any reason to another firm, unless the Administrator of the SBA waives the requirement for contract termination (13 CFR 124.515). The Administrator may waive the termination requirement only if certain conditions exist. Moreover, a waiver of the requirement for termination is permitted only if the 8(a) firm’s request for waiver is made to the SBA prior to the actual relinquishment of ownership or control, except in the case of death or incapacity where the waiver must be submitted within 60 days after such an occurrence. The clauses in the contract entitled “Special 8(a) Contract Conditions” and “Special 8(a) Subcontract Conditions” require the SBA and the 8(a) subcontractor to notify the contracting officer when ownership of the firm is being transferred. When the contracting officer receives information that an 8(a) contractor is planning to transfer ownership or control to another firm, the contracting officer must take action immediately to preserve the option of waiving the termination requirement. The contracting officer should determine the timing of the proposed transfer and its effect on contract performance and mission support. If the contracting officer determines that the SBA does not intend to waive the termination requirement, and termination of the contract would severely impair attainment of the agency’s program objectives or mission, the contracting officer should immediately notify the SBA in writing that the agency is requesting a waiver. Within 15 business days thereafter, or such longer period as agreed to by the agency and the SBA, the agency head must either confirm or withdraw the request for waiver. Unless a waiver is approved by the SBA, the contracting officer must terminate the contract for convenience upon receipt of a written request by the SBA. This requirement for a convenience termination does not affect the Government’s right to terminate for default if the cause for termination of an 8(a) contract is other than the transfer of ownership or control.