Governing Contracts and Acquisitions
Departmental acquisition activities are governed by the Federal
Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and the HUD Acquisition Regulation
(HUDAR). The FAR is codified as Chapter 1 of Title 48, Code of Federal
Regulations. The FAR implements various statutes and regulations,
such as those dealing with small business and fair labor practices,
which impact upon the contracting process. The HUDAR implements
and supplements the FAR and is codified as Chapter 24 of Title 48,
Code of Federal Regulations. The objectives of the regulations are
to: ensure efficient and cost effective expenditures of government
funds, optimize the opportunity for attainment of program objectives,
obtain adequate and effective competition in acquisitions, assure
impartial, equitable, and thorough evaluation of bids and proposals,
select the best proposals, negotiate fair and reasonable contracts,
and achieve effective administration of contracts.
firm wishing to do business with HUD should have ready access to
the FAR and HUDAR . The FAR is accessible on the Internet at: http://www.arnet.gov/far
copies may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402, telephone (202)
512-1800. The HUDAR is available on HUD's contracting web site at
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Business Opportunities (FBO) – Reference FAR Subpart 5.2
Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) is the public medium by which
U.S. Government agencies, including HUD, identify proposed contract
actions and contract awards. At the FBO web site government buyers
publicize their business opportunities and commercial vendors seeking
Federal markets for products and services can search, monitor and
retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire Federal contracting
community. The FBO affords companies the opportunity to selectively
and efficiently participate in the contracting process with vendor
notification. Visit the web site at www.fedbizopps.gov
and sign up to receive procurement announcements by e-mail. Note
that contracting officers need not comply with publication requirements
when exemptions detailed in the FAR, parts 5.202(a)(1), (a)(4) through
(a)(9), or (a)(11) apply, or when oral or electronic solicitations
are used. A few examples of advertisement exemptions include contract
actions from unsolicited proposals, statutorily mandated programs
such as, purchases from the blind or severely handicapped, Section
8(a) awards, and purchases made under unusual and compelling urgency.
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System at the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
easy way to monitor contractual opportunities is available through
the Minority Business Development Agency OMBDA) of the Department
of Commerce. Registering at the MBDA web site, www.mbda.gov,
gives access to several tools and services including, a Resource
Locator, Business Plan Write, and Phoenix system. The Phoenix system
matches minority-owned firms’ products and services with upcoming
federal and non-federal requirements and notifies firms of the opportunity
by e-mail or fax.
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contracting offices are no longer maintaining a bidders list. Instead,
all HUD contracting opportunities expected to exceed $25,000 are
posted on HUD's web page at the following URL:
most of HUD's contracting opportunities are advertised in FedBizOpps
prior to solicitation, prospective contractors are encouraged to
develop a general awareness of HUD's program and acquisition requirements.
The Department, like most Federal agencies, publishes its annual
procurement forecast which announces anticipated contracting opportunities
for that fiscal year. The Procurement Forecast is available via
the Internet at the contracting home page. The forecast will indicate
if a procurement will be 8(a), small business set-aside, HUBZone
set-aside or full and open competition. Contracting website information
is updated daily.
to the FedBizOpps "Vendor Notification Service"
free subscription service is provided by FedBizOpps to give you
information about Governmentwide contracting opportunities. As a
subscriber to this mailing list, you will automatically receive
a daily email notification whenever new solicitations and amendments
are posted to FedBizOpps. To subscribe to the FedBizOpps "Vendor
Notification Service", go to: http://www.fedbizopps.gov/EPSVendorRegistration.html
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are generally grouped into two broad categories: fixed-price contracts
and cost-reimbursement contracts. Variations on these two broad
categories range from firm fixed-price, in which the contractor
has full responsibility for the performance costs and resulting
profit, to cost-plus-fixed-fee, in which the contractor has minimal
responsibility for the performance costs and the negotiated fee
(profit) is fixed. In between these extremes are various incentive
contracts, tailored to the uncertainties involved in contract performance.
Contract types are discussed in detail in the FAR, Part 16.
the procurement is a "sealed bid," only two types of contracts can
be used: (1) firm fixed-price, or (2) fixed-price with economic
the procurement is "negotiated," the contracting officer is allowed
considerable latitude in selecting the appropriate contract type.
Two primary factors that will be considered are: (1) the amount
of responsibility placed on the contractor and (2) the amount and
nature of profit incentive offered to the contractor for achieving
or exceeding specified standards or goals. Purchase orders are often
used for simplified acquisitions. A purchase order is actually an
offer from the government to buy something from a vendor, typically
in response to an oral quotation or a written request for a quotation.
It is not a binding contract unless the vendor accepts the order
in writing or performs the required work. The purchase order spells
out everything the Government and the vendor must know to complete
a transaction. This includes the products or services required,
their prices, when and where they are to be delivered, the originating
and billing offices, contract and acquisition numbers, and other
under $2,500 are referred to as "micro-purchases". Micro-purchases
may be made by using the governmentwide commercial purchase card.
Micro-purchases are unique in that they may be awarded without soliciting
competitive quotations, as long as (1) the contracting officer considers
the price to be reasonable and (2) to the extent practicable, the
micro-purchases are distributed equitably among qualified suppliers.
a government-wide commercial purchase card makes getting paid quick
Tip: Since the Federal government's use of credit cards is increasing
both in volume and thresholds, make sure your firm accepts credit
card purchases. The Federal government charge card program is know
as "GSA SMARTPAY". If your company already accepts charge cards,
no additional steps are necessary. If not, contact a local bank
or a GSA SMARTPAY contractor (American Express (800) 686-5493 ext.
7991, Citibank (888) 241-1514, First National Bank of Chicago (312)
732-7828, Nations Bank (800) 999-5189 ext. 7991, Mellon Bank (800)
424-3004, or US Bank (800) 408-0101). Information is also available
from GSA at http://www.pub.fss.gsa.gov./services/gsa-smartpay.
who accept credit card purchases are paid earlier than other payment
options that come under the Prompt Payment Act. The Government-wide
commercial purchase card contractor guarantees payment and the vendor
does not have to prepare a paper invoice.
Between $2,500 and $24,999
worth from $2,500 to $24,999 generally are handled in one of two
ways. The first is through quotations. The contracting office may
solicit oral quotations from potential suppliers. The second option
is written quotations. The contracting office normally solicits
written quotations through Standard Form 18: Request for Quotation.
This procedure is generally used if unusual specifications or a
large number of different items are involved or if oral quotes are
Between $25,000 and $100,000
between $25,000 and $100,000 are reserved for exclusive participation
of small businesses if the contracting officer is able to obtain
offers from two or more small businesses that are competitive with
regard to price, quality, and delivery.
over $100,000 are generally full and open competition contracts
unless the contracting officer determines that a set-aside for small,
8(a) or HUBZone businesses is appropriate.
Supply Schedule (Reference FAR Subpart 8.4)
to initiating acquisitions from commercial sources, the Contracting
Officer must determine whether or not the required supplies or services
are available from a Federal Supply Schedule established by the
General Services Administration (GSA) or as a common stock item
at a GSA supply depot. Federal agencies' use of schedule purchases
has been increasing geometrically over the past few years and there
is no dollar limit associated with an agency's purchases. Since
all prices are negotiated with GSA, an agency's contracting officers
have the discretion of selecting the products or services which
best fit their agency's needs and are encouraged to look for small
businesses when purchasing from the schedule. Firms interested in
doing business as a Federal Supply Services contractor should contact
the Washington DC Area GSA Business Service Center at (703) 305-5600.
Tip: If you are not already on the General Service Administration's
(GSA) Federal Supply Schedule (FSS), apply to get on the schedule
since the federal agencies' use of the schedule for purchases is
increasing. To keep current on FSS information or determine if you
potentially qualify to apply as a GSA schedule contractor, call
GSA at (703) 305-5600 or access the homepage at http://www.fss.gsa.gov.
blanket purchase agreement (BPA) is an agreement between the Government
and a supplier allowing repetitive purchases during a specified
period. If a Government office is going to make several purchases
of a product or service, a contracting office may write a BPA.
procedure cuts down on paper-work and speeds up procurement. A contracting
officer usually issues BPAs to a number of different suppliers for
the same types of products or services. This gives Government offices
greater flexibility and choice in making their purchases.
Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC)
GWAC refers to a contract awarded by a particular federal agency
for a particular product or service such as systems engineering.
Other federal agencies are able to use the existing contract for
products or services within the parameters of the statement-of-work
by transferring funds to the host agency. There are several advantages
to using GWACs. It saves time since the competition phase of the
procurement has already been satisfied; GWACs' fee structure can
be less than those charged under the GSA schedule; and an agency
can receive credit for contracts it awards to small, minority and
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good way to gain experience and establish a past performance record
is to become a subcontractor to current government prime contractors.
As a subcontractor, you will learn more about federal contracting
policies and procedures, make valuable contacts and increase your
skills in marketing to the federal government.
Law 915-507 requires that all prime contracts over $500,000 awarded
to large businesses have a subcontracting plan which makes maximum
use of small businesses as subcontractors. Prior to contract award,
HUD and the prime contractor negotiate subcontracting goals for
each of the small business categories. Small businesses are encouraged
to identify their capabilities to major prime contractors who identify
a subcontracting plan administrator. Firms interested in subcontracting
opportunities can send company capability statements to and meet
with the subcontract plan administrator. A listing of HUD prime
contractors who offer subcontracting opportunities is available
at the following URL:
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