13 CFR § 124.501 - What general provisions apply to the award of 8(a) contracts?
(a) Pursuant to section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, SBA is authorized to enter into all types of contracts with other Federal agencies regardless of the place of performance, including contracts to furnish equipment, supplies, services, leased real property, or materials to them or to perform construction work for them, and to contract the performance of these contracts to qualified Participants. This includes set-asides, partial set-asides and reserves of Multiple Award Contracts and set-asides of orders issued against Multiple Award Contracts. Where practicable, simplified acquisition procedures should be used for 8(a) contracts at or below the simplified acquisition threshold. Where appropriate, SBA will delegate the contract execution function to procuring activities. In order to receive and retain a delegation of SBA's contract execution and review functions, a procuring activity must report all 8(a) contract awards, modifications, and options to SBA.
(b) 8(a) contracts may either be sole source awards or awards won through competition with other Participants. In addition, for multiple award contracts not set aside for the 8(a) BD program, a procuring agency may set aside specific orders to be competed only among eligible 8(a) Participants, regardless of the place of performance. Such an order may be awarded as an 8(a) award where the order was offered to and accepted by SBA as an 8(a) award and the order specifies that the performance of work and/or non-manufacturer rule requirements apply as appropriate.
(c) Admission into the 8(a) BD program does not guarantee that a Participant will receive 8(a) contracts.
(d) A requirement for possible award may be identified by SBA, a particular Participant or the procuring activity itself. SBA will submit the capability statements provided to SBA annually under § 124.403 to appropriate procuring activities for the purpose of matching requirements with Participants.
(e) Participants should market their capabilities to appropriate procuring activities to increase their prospects of receiving sole source 8(a) contracts.
(f) An 8(a) participant that identifies a requirement that appears suitable for award through the 8(a) BD program may request SBA to contact the procuring activity to request that the requirement be offered to the 8(a) BD program.
(g) Before a Participant may be awarded either a sole source or competitive 8(a) contract, SBA must determine that the Participant is eligible for award. SBA will determine eligibility at the time of its acceptance of the underlying requirement into the 8(a) BD program for a sole source 8(a) contract, and after the apparent successful offeror is identified for a competitive 8(a) contract. Eligibility is based on 8(a) BD program criteria, including whether the Participant:
(1) Qualifies as a small business under the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to the requirement;
(2) Is in compliance with any applicable competitive business mix targets established or remedial measure imposed by § 124.509 that does not include the denial of future sole source 8(a) contracts;
(3) Complies with the continued eligibility reporting requirements set forth in § 124.112(b);
(4) Has a bona fide place of business in the applicable geographic area if the procurement is for construction;
(6) Has complied with the provisions of § 124.513(c) and (d) if it is seeking a sole source 8(a) award through a joint venture; and
(7) Can demonstrate that it, together with any similarly situated entity, will meet the limitations on subcontracting provisions set forth in § 124.510.
(h) For a sole source 8(a) procurement, a concern must be a current Participant in the 8(a) BD program at the time of award. If a firm's term of participation in the 8(a) BD program ends (or the firm otherwise exits the program) before a sole source 8(a) contract can be awarded, award cannot be made to that firm. This applies equally to sole source orders issued under multiple award contracts. For a competitive 8(a) procurement, a firm must be a current Participant eligible for award of the contract on the initial date specified for receipt of offers contained in the solicitation as provided in § 124.507(d).
(i) A Participant must certify that it qualifies as a small business under the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to each 8(a) contract. 8(a) BD program personnel will verify size prior to award of an 8(a) contract. If the Participant is not verified as small, it may request a formal size determination from the appropriate General Contracting Area Office under part 121 of this title.
(j) Any person or entity that misrepresents its status as a “small business concern owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals” in order to obtain any 8(a) contracting opportunity will be subject to possible criminal, civil and administrative penalties, including those imposed by section 16(d) of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 645(d).
(k) In order to be awarded a sole source or competitive 8(a) construction contract, a Participant must have a bona fide place of business within the applicable geographic location determined by SBA. This will generally be the geographic area serviced by the SBA district office, a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), a contiguous county (whether in the same or different state), or the geographical area serviced by a contiguous SBA district office to where the work will be performed. SBA may determine that a Participant with a bona fide place of business anywhere within the state (if the state is serviced by more than one SBA district office), one or more other SBA district offices (in the same or another state), or another nearby area is eligible for the award of an 8(a) construction contract.
(1) A Participant may have bona fide places of business in more than one location.
(2) In order for a Participant to establish a bona fide place of business in a particular geographic location, the SBA district office serving the geographic area of that location must determine if the location in fact qualifies as a bona fide place of business under SBA's requirements.
(i) A Participant must submit a request for a bona fide business determination to the SBA district office servicing it. Such request may, but need not, relate to a specific 8(a) requirement. In order to apply to a specific competitive 8(a) solicitation, such request must be submitted at least 20 working days before initial offers that include price are due.
(ii) The servicing district office will immediately forward the request to the SBA district office serving the geographic area of the particular location for processing. Within 10 working days of receipt of the submission, the reviewing district office will conduct a site visit, if practicable. If not practicable, the reviewing district office will contact the Participant within such 10-day period to inform the Participant that the reviewing office has received the request and may ask for additional documentation to support the request.
(iii) In connection with a specific competitive solicitation, the reviewing office will make a determination whether or not the Participant has a bona fide place of business in its geographical area within 5 working days of a site visit or within 15 working days of its receipt of the request from the servicing district office if a site visit is not practical in that timeframe. If the request is not related to a specific procurement, the reviewing office will make a determination within 30 working days of its receipt of the request from the servicing district office, if practicable.
(A) Where SBA does not provide a determination within the identified time limit, a Participant may presume that SBA has approved its request for a bona fide place of business and submit an offer for a competitive 8(a) procurement that requires a bona fide place of business in the requested area.
(B) In order to be eligible for award, SBA must approve the bona fide place of business prior to award. If SBA has not provided a determination prior to the time that a Participant is identified as the apparent successful offeror, SBA will make the bona fide place of business determination as part of the eligibility determination set forth in paragraph (g)(4) of this section within 5 days of receiving a procuring activity's request for an eligibility determination, unless the procuring activity grants additional time for review. If, due to deficiencies in a Participant's request, SBA cannot make a determination, and the procuring activity does not grant additional time for review, SBA will be unable to verify the Participant's eligibility for award and the Participant will be ineligible for award.
(3) The effective date of a bona fide place of business is the date that the evidence (paperwork) shows that the business in fact regularly maintained its business at the new geographic location.
(4) Except as provided in paragraph (k)(2)(iii) of this section, in order for a Participant to be eligible to submit an offer for an 8(a) procurement limited to a specific geographic area, it must receive from SBA a determination that it has a bona fide place of business within that area prior to submitting its offer for the procurement.
(5) Once a Participant has established a bona fide place of business, the Participant may change the location of the recognized office without prior SBA approval. However, the Participant must notify SBA and provide documentation demonstrating an office at that new location within 30 days after the move. Failure to timely notify SBA will render the Participant ineligible for new 8(a) construction procurements limited to that geographic area.