One area that we intend to cover with great interest here at the Fox Rothschild Federal Government Contracts and Procurement Blog is the dealings of the Small Business Administration (“SBA”). The SBA is the federal agency that promulgates the rules and regulations for small businesses across the country that do work with and for the government. Today, we’ll be looking at a particular area of SBA jurisdiction – small business size protests.
In addressing the topic previously, we explained that SBA size challenges can be an incredibly powerful tool used to assert that a small business set-aside contract was awarded to an other-than-small business. Size protests have a low initiation threshold (that is, they can be filed based on inexact evidence), but quick turnaround times. Specifically, size protests generally must be filed within five business days of bid opening (for non-negotiated procurements) or from the date the protestor receives notice of the identity of the contract awardee (for negotiated procurements). Failure to file within the five-day time frame results in the automatic dismissal of the protest by the SBA.
In a recent decision (Strata-G Solutions, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5563), the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals (“OHA”) clarified the timing of SBA size protests for one particular type of government contract – long term contracts (i.e., contracts with performance periods of more than five years).
For long term contracts, OHA clarified that there are actually three junctures when the SBA regulations permit a size protest to be filed:
• At the time the long-term contract is initially awarded;
• At the time an option on the contract is exercised; and
• In response to a contracting officer’s request for size certifications in connection with an individual order.
We’ll continue to cover interesting news, notes, and tidbits on the SBA moving forward. In the meantime, if there are any small business topics you’d like to see covered on the Blog, please reach out and let me know.