By Alexander Major

A year ago, we advised our readers of the interim rule intended to emphasize competition under GSA Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contracts and FSS Blanket Purchase Agreements (“BPAs”) here. To recap, the March 2011 interim rule imposed a requirement for varying degrees of competition for orders above the FAR’s $3,000 Micropurchase Threshold depending on the type of order being placed (i.e., with or without a statement of work (“SOW”) or placed under a multiple award BPA). The final rule becomes effective April 2, 2012.

The final rule varies very little from the interim rule, with minor changes focusing on BPAs. The final rule:

  1. Corrects a previous error, which had established $100 million as to the threshold that would trigger a contracting officer’s obligation to document the agency’s determination for a single award BPA. The corrected trigger is $103 million;
  2. Requires that the ordering activity determine, in connection with BPAs for hourly-rate services, that the total price is “reasonable” and requires further that the determination be documented in the file; and
  3. Eliminates the interim rule’s requirement, under single-award BPAs, that the contracting officer’s annual determination must first be approved by the ordering activity’s competition advocate before the exercise of an option to extend the BPA. Although lessening oversight over massive sole source contracting actions, the Board believed the interim rule’s approval requirement was “too stringent a requirement for the exercise of an option, which is generally within the contracting officer’s authority.”

This updated matrix, prepared by Jonathan Aronie, co-author with John Chierichella of the GSA Schedule Handbook (West 2011), provides a useful summary of the new rules.