40 CFR 35.6555 - Competition.
The recipient must conduct all procurement transactions in a manner providing maximum full and open competition.
(a)Restrictions on competition. Inappropriate restrictions on competition include the following:
(1) Placing unreasonable requirements on firms in order for them to qualify to do business;
(2) Requiring unnecessary experience and excessive bonding requirements;
(3) Noncompetitive pricing practices between firms or between affiliated companies;
(4) Noncompetitive awards to consultants that are on retainer contracts;
(5) Organizational conflicts of interest;
(6) Specifying only a “brand name” product, instead of allowing “an equal” product to be offered and describing the performance of other relevant requirements of the procurement; and
(7) Any arbitrary action in the procurement process.
(b)Geographic and Indian Tribe preferences -
(1)Geographic. When conducting a procurement, the recipient must prohibit the use of statutorily or administratively imposed in-State or local geographical preferences in evaluating bids or proposals. However, nothing in this section preempts State licensing laws. In addition, when contracting for architectural and engineering (A/E) services, the recipient may use geographic location as a selection criterion, provided that when geographic location is used, its application leaves an appropriate number of qualified firms, given the nature and size of the project, to compete for the contract.
(c)Written specifications. The recipient's written specifications must include a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements and the qualitative nature of the material, product or service to be procured.
(1) This description must not contain features which unduly restrict competition, unless the features are necessary to:
(i) Test or demonstrate a specific thing;
(ii) Provide for necessary interchangeability of parts and equipment; or
(iii) Promote innovative technologies.
(2) The recipient must avoid the use of detailed product specifications if at all possible.
(d)Public notice. When soliciting bids or proposals, the recipient must allow sufficient time (generally 30 calendar days) between public notice of the proposed project and the deadline for receipt of bids or proposals. The recipient must publish the public notice in professional journals, newspapers, or publications of general circulation over a reasonable area.
(e)Prequalified lists. Recipients may use prequalified lists of persons, firms, or products to acquire goods and services. The list must be current and include enough qualified sources to ensure maximum open and free competition. Recipients must not preclude potential bidders from qualifying during the solicitation period.