(a) Before setting aside an acquisition under this paragraph, refer to 19.203(b). If the contracting officer does not proceed with the small business set-aside and purchases on an unrestricted basis, the contracting officer shall include in the contract file the reason for this unrestricted purchase. If the contracting officer receives only one acceptable offer from a responsible small business concern in response to a set-aside, the contracting officer should make an award to that firm. If the contracting officer receives no acceptable offers from responsible small business concerns, the set-aside shall be withdrawn and the requirement, if still valid, shall be resolicited on an unrestricted basis. The small business reservation does not preclude the award of a contract as described in 19.203.
(b) Before setting aside an acquisition under this paragraph, refer to 19.203(c). The contracting officer shall set aside any acquisition over $150,000 for small business participation when there is a reasonable expectation that:
(1) Offers will be obtained from at least two responsible small business concerns offering the products of different small business concerns (see paragraph (c) of this section); and
(2) Award will be made at fair market prices. Total small business set-asides shall not be made unless such a reasonable expectation exists (see 19.502-3 as to partial set-asides). Although past acquisition history of an item or similar items is always important, it is not the only factor to be considered in determining whether a reasonable expectation exists. In making R&D small business set-asides, there must also be a reasonable expectation of obtaining from small businesses the best scientific and technological sources consistent with the demands of the proposed acquisition for the best mix of cost, performances, and schedules.
(c) For small business set-asides other than for construction or services, any concern proposing to furnish a product that it did not itself manufacture must furnish the product of a small business manufacturer unless the SBA has granted either a waiver or exception to the nonmanufacturer rule (see 19.102(f)). In industries where the SBA finds that there are no small business manufacturers, it may issue a waiver to the nonmanufacturer rule (see 19.102(f) (4) and (5)). In addition, SBA has excepted procurements processed under simplified acquisition procedures (see part 13), where the anticipated cost of the procurement will not exceed $25,000, from the nonmanufacturer rule. Waivers permit small businesses to provide any firm's product. The exception permits small businesses to provide any domestic firm's product. In both of these cases, the contracting officer's determination in paragraph (b)(1) of this subsection or the decision not to set aside a procurement reserved for small business under paragraph (a) of this subsection will be based on the expectation of receiving offers from at least two responsible small businesses, including nonmanufacturers, offering the products of different concerns.