13 CFR § 126.801 - How does an interested party file a HUBZone status protest?

§ 126.801 How does an interested party file a HUBZone status protest?

(a) General.

(1) A HUBZone status protest is the process by which an interested party may challenge the HUBZone status of an apparent successful offeror on a HUBZone contract, including a HUBZone joint venture submitting an offer under § 126.616. SBA will also consider a protest challenging whether a HUBZone prime contractor is unduly reliant on a small, non-similarly situated entity subcontractor or if such subcontractor performs the primary and vital requirements of the contract.

(2) The protest procedures described in this part are separate from those governing size protests and appeals. All protests relating to whether a certified HUBZone small business concern is other than small for purposes of any Federal program are subject to part 121 of this chapter and must be filed in accordance with that part. If a protester protests both the size of the HUBZone small business concern and whether the concern meets the HUBZone eligibility requirements set forth in § 126.200, SBA will process the protests concurrently, under the procedures set forth in part 121 of this chapter and this part.

(3) SBA does not review issues concerning the administration of a HUBZone contract.

(b) Format and specificity.

(1) Protests must be in writing and must state all specific grounds for why the protested concern did not meet the HUBZone eligibility requirements set forth in § 126.200 at the time the concern applied for certification or at the time SBA last recertified the concern as a HUBZone small business concern. A protest merely asserting that the protested concern did not qualify as a HUBZone small business concern at the time of certification or recertification, without setting forth specific facts or allegations, is insufficient. A protest asserting that a concern was not in compliance with the HUBZone eligibility requirements at the time of offer or award will be dismissed.

(2) For a protest filed against a HUBZone joint venture, the protest must state all specific grounds for why -

(i) The HUBZone small business concern partner to the joint venture did not meet the HUBZone eligibility requirements set forth in § 126.200 at the time the concern applied for certification or at the time SBA last recertified the concern as a HUBZone small business concern; and/or

(ii) The protested HUBZone joint venture did not meet the requirements set forth in § 126.616 at the time the joint venture submitted an offer for a HUBZone contract.

(c) Filing.

(1) An interested party other than a contracting officer or SBA must submit its written protest to the contracting officer.

(2) A contracting officer and SBA must submit their protest to the D/HUB.

(3) Protestors may submit their protests by email to hzprotests@sba.gov.

(d) Timeliness.

(1) For negotiated acquisitions, an interested party must submit its protest by close of business on the fifth business day after notification by the contracting officer of the apparent successful offeror.

(2) For sealed bid acquisitions:

(i) An interested party must submit its protest by close of business on the fifth business day after bid opening, or

(ii) If the price evaluation preference was not applied at the time of bid opening, by close of business on the fifth business day from the date of identification of the apparent successful offeror.

(3) Any protest submitted after the time limits is untimely, unless it is from SBA or the CO.

(4) Any protest received prior to bid opening or notification of intended award, whichever applies, is premature.

(e) Referral to SBA. The CO must forward to SBA any non-premature protest received, notwithstanding whether he or she believes it is sufficiently specific or timely. The contracting officer must send the protest, along with a referral letter, to the D/HUB by email to hzprotests@sba.gov. The contracting officer's referral letter must include information pertaining to the solicitation that may be necessary for SBA to determine timeliness and standing, including the following:

(1) The solicitation number;

(2) The name, address, telephone number, email address, and facsimile number of the contracting officer;

(3) The type of HUBZone contract at issue (i.e., HUBZone set-aside; HUBZone sole source; full and open competition with a HUBZone price evaluation preference applied; reserve for HUBZone small business concerns under a Multiple Award Contract; or order set-aside for HUBZone small business concerns against a Multiple Award Contract);

(4) If the procurement was conducted using full and open competition with a HUBZone price evaluation preference, whether the protester's opportunity for award was affected by the preference;

(5) If the procurement was a HUBZone set-aside, whether the protester submitted an offer;

(6) Whether the protested concern was the apparent successful offeror;

(7) Whether the procurement was conducted using sealed bid or negotiated procedures;

(8) The bid opening date, if applicable;

(9) The date the protester was notified of the apparent successful offeror;

(10) The date the protest was submitted to the contracting officer;

(11) The date the protested concern submitted its initial offer or bid to the contracting activity; and

(12) Whether a contract has been awarded, and if applicable, the date of contract award and contract number.

[63 FR 31908, June 11, 1998, as amended at 69 FR 29427, May 24, 2004, 84 FR 65250, Nov. 26, 2019; 84 FR 65665, Nov. 29, 2019]