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41 U.S. Code § 3306 - Planning and solicitation requirements

(a) Planning and Specifications.—
(1) Preparing for procurement.—In preparing for the procurement of property or services, an executive agency shall—
specify its needs and solicit bids or proposals in a manner designed to achieve full and open competition for the procurement;
use advance procurement planning and market research; and
develop specifications in the manner necessary to obtain full and open competition with due regard to the nature of the property or services to be acquired.
(2) Requirements of specifications.—Each solicitation under this division shall include specifications that—
consistent with this division, permit full and open competition; and
include restrictive provisions or conditions only to the extent necessary to satisfy the needs of the executive agency or as authorized by law.
(3) Types of specifications.—For the purposes of paragraphs (1) and (2), the type of specification included in a solicitation shall depend on the nature of the needs of the executive agency and the market available to satisfy those needs. Subject to those needs, specifications may be stated in terms of—
function, so that a variety of products or services may qualify;
performance, including specifications of the range of acceptable characteristics or of the minimum acceptable standards; or
design requirements.
(b) Contents of Solicitation.—In addition to the specifications described in subsection (a), each solicitation for sealed bids or competitive proposals (other than for a procurement for commercial products or commercial services using special simplified procedures or a purchase for an amount not greater than the simplified acquisition threshold) shall at a minimum include—
(1) a statement of—
all significant factors and significant subfactors that the executive agency reasonably expects to consider in evaluating sealed bids (including price) or competitive proposals (including cost or price, cost-related or price-related factors and subfactors, and noncost-related or nonprice-related factors and subfactors); and
the relative importance assigned to each of those factors and subfactors; and
(A) in the case of sealed bids—
a statement that sealed bids will be evaluated without discussions with the bidders; and
the time and place for the opening of the sealed bids; or
(B) in the case of competitive proposals—
either a statement that the proposals are intended to be evaluated with, and the award made after, discussions with the offerors, or a statement that the proposals are intended to be evaluated, and the award made, without discussions with the offerors (other than discussions conducted for the purpose of minor clarification) unless discussions are determined to be necessary; and
the time and place for submission of proposals.
(c) Evaluation Factors.—
(1) In general.—In prescribing the evaluation factors to be included in each solicitation for competitive proposals, an executive agency shall—
establish clearly the relative importance assigned to the evaluation factors and subfactors, including the quality of the product or services to be provided (including technical capability, management capability, prior experience, and past performance of the offeror);
except as provided in paragraph (3), include cost or price to the Federal Government as an evaluation factor that must be considered in the evaluation of proposals; and
(C) except as provided in paragraph (3), disclose to offerors whether all evaluation factors other than cost or price, when combined, are—
significantly more important than cost or price;
approximately equal in importance to cost or price; or
significantly less important than cost or price.
(2) Restriction on implementing regulations.—
Regulations implementing paragraph (1)(C) may not define the terms “significantly more important” and “significantly less important” as specific numeric weights that would be applied uniformly to all solicitations or a class of solicitations.
(3) Exceptions for certain indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity multiple-award contracts and certain federal supply schedule contracts for services acquired on an hourly rate.—If an executive agency issues a solicitation for one or more contracts for services to be acquired on an hourly rate basis under the authority of sections 4103 and 4106 of this title or section 152(3) of this title and section 501(b) of title 40 and the executive agency intends to make a contract award to each qualifying offeror and the contract or contracts will feature individually competed task or delivery orders based on hourly rates—
the contracting officer need not consider price as an evaluation factor for contract award; and
if, pursuant to subparagraph (A), price is not considered as an evaluation factor for contract award, cost or price to the Federal Government shall be considered in conjunction with the issuance pursuant to sections 4106(c) and 152(3) of this title of any task or delivery order under any contract resulting from the solicitation.
(4) Definition.—In paragraph (3), the term “qualifying offeror” means an offeror that—
is determined to be a responsible source;
submits a proposal that conforms to the requirements of the solicitation;
meets all technical requirements; and
is otherwise eligible for award.
(d) Additional Information in Solicitation.—This section does not prohibit an executive agency from—
providing additional information in a solicitation, including numeric weights for all evaluation factors and subfactors on a case-by-case basis; or
stating in a solicitation that award will be made to the offeror that meets the solicitation’s mandatory requirements at the lowest cost or price.
(e) Limitation on Evaluation of Purchase Options.—
An executive agency, in issuing a solicitation for a contract to be awarded using sealed bid procedures, may not include in the solicitation a clause providing for the evaluation of prices for options to purchase additional property or services under the contract unless the executive agency has determined that there is a reasonable likelihood that the options will be exercised.
(f) Authorization of Telecommuting for Federal Contractors.—
(1) Definition.—
In this subsection, the term “executive agency” has the meaning given that term in section 133 of this title.
(2) Federal acquisition regulation to allow telecommuting.—
The Federal Acquisition Regulation issued in accordance with sections 1121(b) and 1303(a)(1) of this title shall permit telecommuting by employees of Federal Government contractors in the performance of contracts entered into with executive agencies.
(3) Scope of allowance.—The Federal Acquisition Regulation at a minimum shall provide that a solicitation for the acquisition of property or services may not set forth any requirement or evaluation criteria that would—
render an offeror ineligible to enter into a contract on the basis of the inclusion of a plan of the offeror to allow the offeror’s employees to telecommute, unless the contracting officer concerned first determines that the requirements of the agency, including security requirements, cannot be met if telecommuting is allowed and documents in writing the basis for the determination; or
reduce the scoring of an offer on the basis of the inclusion in the offer of a plan of the offeror to allow the offeror’s employees to telecommute, unless the contracting officer concerned first determines that the requirements of the agency, including security requirements, would be adversely impacted if telecommuting is allowed and documents in writing the basis for the determination.
(Pub. L. 111–350, § 3, Jan. 4, 2011, 124 Stat. 3752; Pub. L. 115–232, div. A, title VIII, §§ 836(b)(9), 876, Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 1861, 1907.)

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)



June 30, 1949, ch. 288, title III, § 303A, as added Pub. L. 98–369, title VII, § 2711(a)(2), July 18, 1984, 98 Stat. 1178; Pub. L. 103–355, title I, §§ 1061(a), (b), 1062, title IV, § 4402(b), Oct. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 3266, 3267, 3348; Pub. L. 104–106, title XLII, § 4202(b)(2), Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 653.


41:253a note.

Pub. L. 108–136, title XIV, § 1428, Nov. 24, 2003, 117 Stat. 1670.

In subsection (f)(2), the words “Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council shall amend” are omitted as obsolete.

Editorial Notes

2018—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 115–232, § 836(b)(9), substituted “commercial products or commercial services” for “commercial items” in introductory provisions.

Subsec. (c)(1)(B), (C). Pub. L. 115–232, § 876(1), inserted “except as provided in paragraph (3),” after subpar. designation.

Subsec. (c)(3), (4). Pub. L. 115–232, § 876(2), added pars. (3) and (4).

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 2018 Amendment

Amendment by section 836(b)(9) of Pub. L. 115–232 effective Jan. 1, 2020, subject to a savings provision, see section 836(h) of Pub. L. 115–232, set out as an Effective Date of 2018 Amendment; Savings Provision note under section 453b of Title 6, Domestic Security.