13 CFR § 121.404 - When is the size status of a business concern determined?

§ 121.404 When is the size status of a business concern determined?

(a) Time of size. SBA determines the size status of a concern, including its affiliates, as of the date the concern submits a written self-certification that it is small to the procuring activity as part of its initial offer or response which includes price.

(1) Multiple award contracts. With respect to Multiple Award Contracts, orders issued against a Multiple Award Contract, and Blanket Purchase Agreements issued against a Multiple Award Contract:

(i) Single NAICS. If a single NAICS code is assigned as set forth in § 121.402(c)(1)(i), SBA determines size status for the underlying Multiple Award Contract at the time of initial offer (or other formal response to a solicitation), which includes price, based upon the size standard set forth in the solicitation for the Multiple Award Contract, unless the concern was required to recertify under paragraph (g)(1), (2), or (3) of this section.

(A) Unrestricted Multiple Award Contracts. For an unrestricted Multiple Award Contract, if a business concern (including a joint venture) is small at the time of offer and contract-level recertification for the Multiple Award Contract, it is small for goaling purposes for each order issued against the contract, unless a contracting officer requests a size recertification for a specific order or Blanket Purchase Agreement. Except for orders and Blanket Purchase Agreements issued under any Federal Supply Schedule contract, if an order or a Blanket Purchase Agreement under an unrestricted Multiple Award Contract is set-aside exclusively for small business (i.e., small business set-aside, 8(a) small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, or women-owned small business), a concern must recertify its size status and qualify as a small business at the time it submits its initial offer, which includes price, for the particular order or Blanket Purchase Agreement. However, where the underlying Multiple Award Contract has been awarded to a pool of concerns for which small business status is required, if an order or a Blanket Purchase Agreement under that Multiple Award Contract is set-aside exclusively for concerns in the small business pool, concerns need not recertify their status as small business concerns (unless a contracting officer requests size certifications with respect to a specific order or Blanket Purchase Agreement).

(B) Set-aside Multiple Award Contracts. For a Multiple Award Contract that is set aside for small business (i.e., small business set-aside, 8(a) small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, or women-owned small business), if a business concern (including a joint venture) is small at the time of offer and contract-level recertification for the Multiple Award Contract, it is small for each order or Blanket Purchase Agreement issued against the contract, unless a contracting officer requests a size recertification for a specific order or Blanket Purchase Agreement.

(ii) Multiple NAICS. If multiple NAICS codes are assigned as set forth in § 121.402(c)(1)(ii), SBA determines size status at the time a business concern submits its initial offer (or other formal response to a solicitation) which includes price for a Multiple Award Contract based upon the size standard set forth for each discrete category (e.g., CLIN, SIN, Sector, FA or equivalent) for which the business concern submits an offer and represents that it qualifies as small for the Multiple Award Contract, unless the business concern was required to recertify under paragraph (g)(1), (2), or (3) of this section. If the business concern (including a joint venture) submits an offer for the entire Multiple Award Contract, SBA will determine whether it meets the size standard for each discrete category (CLIN, SIN, Sector, FA or equivalent).

(A) Unrestricted Multiple Award Contracts. For an unrestricted Multiple Award Contract, if a business concern (including a joint venture) is small at the time of offer and contract-level recertification for discrete categories on the Multiple Award Contract, it is small for goaling purposes for each order issued against any of those categories, unless a contracting officer requests a size recertification for a specific order or Blanket Purchase Agreement. Except for orders or Blanket Purchase Agreements issued under any Federal Supply Schedule contract, if an order or Blanket Purchase Agreement for a discrete category under an unrestricted Multiple Award Contract is set-aside exclusively for small business (i.e., small business set, 8(a) small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, or women-owned small business), a concern must recertify its size status and qualify as a small business at the time it submits its initial offer, which includes price, for the particular order or Agreement. However, where the underlying Multiple Award Contract for discrete categories has been awarded to a pool of concerns for which small business status is required, if an order or a Blanket Purchase Agreement under that Multiple Award Contract is set-aside exclusively for concerns in the small business pool, concerns need not recertify their status as small business concerns (unless a contracting officer requests size certifications with respect to a specific order or Blanket Purchase Agreement).

(B) Set-aside Multiple Award Contracts. For a Multiple Award Contract that is set aside for small business (i.e., small business set-aside, 8(a) small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, or women-owned small business), if a business concern (including a joint venture) is small at the time of offer and contract-level recertification for discrete categories on the Multiple Award Contract, it is small for each order or Agreement issued against any of those categories, unless a contracting officer requests a size recertification for a specific order or Blanket Purchase.

(iii) SBA will determine size at the time of initial offer (or other formal response to a solicitation), which includes price, for an order or Agreement issued against a Multiple Award Contract if the contracting officer requests a new size certification for the order or Agreement.

(iv) For an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), Multiple Award Contract, where concerns are not required to submit price as part of the offer for the IDIQ contract, size will be determined as of the date of initial offer, which may not include price.

(2) Agreements. With respect to “Agreements” including Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) (except for BPAs issued against a GSA Schedule Contract), Basic Agreements, Basic Ordering Agreements, or any other Agreement that a contracting officer sets aside or reserves awards to any type of small business, a concern must qualify as small at the time of its initial offer (or other formal response to a solicitation), which includes price, for the Agreement. Because an Agreement is not a contract, the concern must also qualify as small for each order issued pursuant to the Agreement in order to be considered small for the order and for an agency to receive small business goaling credit for the order.

(b) Eligibility for SBA programs. A concern applying to be certified as a Participant in SBA's 8(a) Business Development program (under part 124, subpart A, of this chapter), as a HUBZone small business (under part 126 of this chapter), or as a women-owned small business concern (under part 127 of this chapter) must qualify as a small business for its primary industry classification as of the date of its application and, where applicable, the date the SBA program office requests a formal size determination in connection with a concern that otherwise appears eligible for program certification.

(c) Certificates of competency. The size status of an applicant for a Certificate of Competency (COC) relating to an unrestricted procurement is determined as of the date of the concern's application for the COC.

(d) Nonmanufacturer rule, ostensible subcontractor rule, and joint venture agreements. Compliance with the nonmanufacturer rule set forth in § 121.406(b)(1), the ostensible subcontractor rule set forth in § 121.103(h)(2), and the joint venture agreement requirements in § 124.513(c) and (d), § 125.8(b) and (c), § 125.18(b)(2) and (3), § 126.616(c) and (d), or § 127.506(c) and (d) of this chapter, as appropriate, is determined as of the date of the final proposal revision for negotiated acquisitions and final bid for sealed bidding.

(e) Subcontracting. For subcontracting purposes, a concern must qualify as small as of the date that it certifies that it is small for the subcontract. The applicable size standard is that which is set forth in § 121.410 and which is in effect at the time the concern self-certifies that it is small for the subcontract. A prime contractor may rely on the self-certification of subcontractor provided it does not have a reason to doubt the concern's self-certification.

(f) Two-step procurements. For purposes of architect-engineering, design/build or two-step sealed bidding procurements, a concern must qualify as small as of the date that it certifies that it is small as part of its initial bid or proposal (which may or may not include price).

(g) Effect of size certification and recertification. A concern that represents itself as a small business and qualifies as small at the time it submits its initial offer (or other formal response to a solicitation) which includes price is generally considered to be a small business throughout the life of that contract. Similarly, a concern that represents itself as a small business and qualifies as small after a required recertification under paragraph (g)(1), (2), or (3) of this section is generally considered to be a small business throughout the life of that contract. Where a concern grows to be other than small, the procuring agency may exercise options and still count the award as an award to a small business, except that a required recertification as other than small under paragraph (g)(1), (2), or (3) of this section changes the firm's status for future options and orders. The following exceptions apply to this paragraph (g):

(1) Within 30 days of an approved contract novation, a contractor must recertify its small business size status to the procuring agency, or inform the procuring agency that it is other than small. If the contractor is other than small, the agency can no longer count the options or orders issued pursuant to the contract, from that point forward, towards its small business goals.

(2)

(i) In the case of a merger, sale, or acquisition, where contract novation is not required, the contractor must, within 30 days of the transaction becoming final, recertify its small business size status to the procuring agency, or inform the procuring agency that it is other than small. If the contractor is other than small, the agency can no longer count the options or orders issued pursuant to the contract, from that point forward, towards its small business goals. The agency and the contractor must immediately revise all applicable Federal contract databases to reflect the new size status.

(ii) Recertification is required:

(A) When a concern, or an affiliate of the concern, acquires or is acquired by another concern;

(B) From both the acquired concern and the acquiring concern if each has been awarded a contract as a small business; and

(C) In the context of a joint venture that has been awarded a contract or order as a small business, from any partner to the joint venture that has been acquired, is acquiring, or has merged with another business entity.

(iii) If the merger, sale or acquisition occurs after offer but prior to award, the offeror must recertify its size to the contracting officer prior to award. If the merger, sale or acquisition (including agreements in principal) occurs within 180 days of the date of an offer and the offeror is unable to recertify as small, it will not be eligible as a small business to receive the award of the contract. If the merger, sale or acquisition (including agreements in principal) occurs more than 180 days after the date of an offer, award can be made, but it will not count as an award to small business.

(iv) Recertification is not required when the ownership of a concern that is at least 51% owned by an entity (i.e., tribe, Alaska Native Corporation, or Community Development Corporation) changes to or from a wholly-owned business concern of the same entity, as long as the ultimate owner remains that entity.

Example 1 to paragraph (g)(2)(iii).
Indian Tribe X owns 100% of small business ABC. ABC wins an award for a small business set-aside contract. In year two of contract performance, X changes the ownership of ABC so that X owns 100% of a holding company XYZ, Inc., which in turn owns 100% of ABC. This restructuring does not require ABC to recertify its status as a small business because it continues to be 100% owned (indirectly rather than directly) by Indian Tribe X.

(3) For the purposes of contracts (including Multiple Award Contracts) with durations of more than five years (including options), a contracting officer must request that a business concern recertify its small business size status no more than 120 days prior to the end of the fifth year of the contract, and no more than 120 days prior to exercising any option thereafter. If the contractor certifies that it is other than small, the agency can no longer count the options or orders issued pursuant to the contract towards its small business prime contracting goals. A contracting officer may also request size recertification, as he or she deems appropriate, prior to the 120-day point in the fifth year of a long-term multiple award contract. The agency and the contractor must immediately revise all applicable Federal contract databases to reflect the new size status.

(i) A business concern that certified itself as other than small, either initially or prior to an option being exercised, may recertify itself as small for a subsequent option period if it meets the applicable size standard.

(ii) Re-certification does not change the terms and conditions of the contract. The limitations on subcontracting, non-manufacturer and subcontracting plan requirements in effect at the time of contract award remain in effect throughout the life of the contract. However, a contracting officer may require a subcontracting plan if a prime contractor's size status changes from small to other than small as a result of a size recertification.

(iii) A request for a size re-certification shall include the size standard in effect at the time of re-certification that corresponds to the NAICS code that that was initially assigned to the contract.

(iv) A contracting officer must assign a NAICS code and size standard to each order under a long-term contract. The NAICS code and size standard assigned to an order must correspond to a NAICS code and size standard assigned to the underlying long-term contract and must be assigned in accordance with §§ 121.402(b) and (c). A concern will be considered small for that order only if it certified itself as small under the same or lower size standard.

(v) Where the contracting officer explicitly requires concerns to recertify their size status in response to a solicitation for an order, SBA will determine size as of the date the concern submits its self-representation as part of its response to the solicitation for the order.

(4) The requirements in paragraphs (g)(1), (2), and (3) of this section apply to Multiple Award Contracts. However, if the Multiple Award Contract was set-aside for small businesses, partially set-aside for small businesses, or reserved for small business, then in the case of a contract novation, or merger or acquisition where no novation is required, where the resulting contractor is now other than small, the agency cannot count any new or pending orders issued pursuant to the contract, from that point forward, towards its small business goals. This includes set-asides, partial set-asides, and reserves for 8(a) BD Participants, certified HUBZone small business concerns, SDVO SBCs, and ED/WOSBs.

(5) If during contract performance a subcontractor that is not a similarly situated entity performs primary and vital requirements of a contract, the contractor and its ostensible subcontractor will be treated as joint venturers. See § 121.103(h)(4).

(h) Follow-on contracts. A follow-on or renewal contract is a new contracting action. As such, size is determined as of the date the concern submits a written self-certification that it is small to the procuring agency as part of its initial offer including price for the follow-on or renewal contract.

[69 FR 29205, May 21, 2004, as amended at 71 FR 19813, Apr. 18, 2006; 71 FR 66443, Nov. 15, 2006; 76 FR 5683, Feb. 2, 2011; 76 FR 8252, Feb. 11, 2011; 78 FR 42403, July 16, 2013; 78 FR 38817, June 28, 2013; 78 FR 61131, Oct. 2, 2013; 81 FR 34259, May 31, 2016; 81 FR 48578, July 25, 2016; 83 FR 12851, Mar. 26, 2018; 84 FR 65239, Nov. 26, 2019; 84 FR 65661, Nov. 29, 2019; 85 FR 66180, Oct. 16, 2020; 85 FR 72917, Nov. 16, 2020; 86 FR 2959, Jan. 14, 2021; 86 FR 10732, Feb. 23, 2021; 86 FR 38538, July 22, 2021]

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