Recently we have been seeing more and more of these issues come up as GSA Schedule vendors have vehicles entering in the last option period of their contracts and losing out on opportunities to compete on BPA’s since BPA’s and orders cannot extend beyond the expiration date of the underlying GSA contract unless there are option periods remaining under the GSA contract that, if exercised, would cover the BPA’s/order’s period of performance. Below is some recent FAQ guidance regarding the work around solution for GSA Schedule holders:
Award of Overlapping FSS Contracts (Contract Continuity Initiative)
Q1. What is an overlapping or continuous contract and why is it needed?
Many of the FSS program’s oldest and most successful contractors are now approaching the end of their 20-year contract periods. While this achievement is a direct result of the success of the FSS program overall, it has also created several challenges.
First, Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) and orders cannot extend beyond the expiration date of the underlying FSS contract unless there are option periods remaining under the FSS contract that, if exercised, would cover the BPA’s/order’s period of performance. For example, an ordering activity cannot establish a one-year BPA with a contractor if only six months remain on the underlying FSS contract (with no remaining option periods). At the order level, an order can be placed up until the very last day of the Schedule contract, but no order option periods can be exercised once the underlying Schedule contract has expired.
GSA’s solution for this situation is to allow for the award of overlapping or continuous contracts. These are – in essence – duplicate FSS contracts for the same items (i.e., two Schedule 70 contracts with different periods of performance).
The administration of two FSS contracts is not mandatory and not all contractors are in a position that necessitates holding continuous contracts. Each contractor will have to make this determination for itself.
Q2. What has changed to make this possible?
Previously, pursuant to clause A-FSS-11 Consideration of Offers under Standing Solicitation (DEC 2000), a current FSS contractor was only able to submit a new offer up to nine months prior to the expiration date of its existing contract. A contractor can now submit an offer for a new contract for the same Schedule as early as Year 14 under its existing FSS contract. Clause A-FSS-11 Consideration of Offers under Standing Solicitation has been updated to accommodate this flexibility.
Q3. How does a continuous contract work?
Typically, the award of a new contract will result in the cancellation of the existing contract upon award. However, if the contractor has one or more active BPAs or orders under its existing contract (or has submitted quotes for either and is awaiting an award decision), it is eligible for the award of a new contract that is allowed to overlap and run alongside the existing one. This is referred to as holding continuous contracts.
Holding continuous contracts enables the FSS contractor to complete work under BPAs and orders awarded via the existing contract, while utilizing the new contract for new business opportunities. A contractor that wishes to hold continuous contracts must –
● Indicate with its offer that it wishes to hold continuous contracts, along with a listing of all active submitted quotes, established BPAs, and awarded orders under the existing contract. For each, the contractor must include the ordering activity name and point of contact, RFQ/BPA/order number, dollar value, and period of performance (including options). This information can be uploaded in eOffer as an “Other (optional – offeror defined)” document.
● Assist the FSS contracting officer in determining the proper cancellation date for the existing contract. The existing contract is to be cancelled the day after the final day of the ordering period for the active BPA or order (including options). In situations where multiple BPAs and/or orders are active, the cancellation date should be based on the last remaining BPA or order.
● Agree not to use the existing contract to compete for new business opportunities
FAQs: Streamlined Offer Requirements for Successful FSS Contractors
Q1. What does it mean when you say “streamlined offer requirements”?
The FSS program now offers a streamlined process and set of requirements for historically successful FSS contractors submitting an offer for a new contract under the same Schedule.
Q2. What is streamlined about the new process?
In an effort to make the offer process less burdensome while still complying with Federal Acquisition Regulations, the following requirements were eliminated or reduced to the greatest extent possible:
● Readiness Assessment
● Financial Statements
● Corporate Experience
● Open Ratings Report
● Relevant Project Experience
In the future, systems modifications will allow removal of the Pathway to Success Training.
Contractors are instructed to complete inapplicable text boxes with “Not Applicable” and to submit a blank document with “Not Applicable” at the top for any “required” uploads that do not apply to streamlined offers.
Q3. How do I know if I am an eligible “successful FSS contractor”?
A successful FSS contractor, and thus a contractor who is eligible to submit a streamlined offer, is defined as a contractor that –
● Has, at a minimum, started Year 14 under its existing contract
● Is proposing the same Special Item Numbers (SINs) as those awarded under its existing contract
● Has met the minimum sales requirements under its existing contract
● Has a demonstrated pattern of satisfactory past performance under its existing contract