GSA announces new small-business RFP

The General Services Administration released the final solicitation for the 8(a) FAST2 governmentwide acquisition contract for information technology. Up to $15 billion in task orders will be made over the seven-year life of the contract.

Orders may be awarded on a sole source basis up to $3 million. Requests for proposals will be issued for orders over $3 million.

"The original FAST contract was a great success for both our 8(a) vendor partners and GSA, and we look forward to providing more opportunities for 8(a) businesses under FAST2," said Donna Bennett, commissioner of GSA's Federal Supply Service.

The 8(a) FAST GWAC is an offshoot of the former Federal Acquisition Services for Technology program of GSA's Federal Technology Service. More than 11,500 orders, worth $1.6 billion, have been placed with small, disadvantaged 8(a) firms since contracts under the first 8(a) FAST GWAC were awarded in 1997, according to GSA. Those contracts will expire Oct. 31, 2004.

One major change from the first FAST 8(a) GWAC is an expansion of functional areas from one to eight: application development; computer-aided design, engineering and manufacturing services; network design; computer operations and support; data processing and hosting; imaging; contingency planning; disaster preparedness and recovery; information assurance; Internet publishing and broadcasting; call centers; distance learning; and point-to-point telecommunications.

"We wanted to give more opportunities to small businesses," said Mary Parks, director of GSA's small business governmentwide acquisition center in Kansas City, Mo. The chosen areas are "where we thought we had the most small businesses," she said.

The contract term under FAST2 is three years, with two, two-year option periods. Before option years are awarded, contractors will have to re-represent their business size status and 8(a) program eligibility. If a contractor is no longer small or does not recertify itself, the option will not be exercised, according to the solicitation.

Unlike the first FAST contract, GSA will periodically add new vendors after some drop off the vehicle because they are no longer small, Parks said.

"As we have to recertify businesses and they are no longer small, they will lose the ability to hold a contract. With open seasons we can replenish the vendor pool. That is a major difference," Parks said. "If someone is not 8(a) certified at the [solicitation] closing date, they would be prime candidates [for later addition]."

Solicitation No. 6FG-03-RAV-0002, posted Aug. 8, can be downloaded from www.fedbizopps.gov. Bidders must obtain 8(a) certification from the Small Business Administration before Sept. 10, the closing date of the solicitation. Questions may be submitted by e-mail to 8a@gsa.gov.


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