BPA Frequently Asked Questions
Some ordering offices are issuing GSA Schedule BPAs for millions of dollars. Is there a dollar amount too large for GSA Schedule BPA procedures? Is there a limit on the dollar value of an order placed against a BPA?
There is no limitation on the total dollar value of a GSA Schedule BPA. In addition, with the elimination of maximum order limitations and the implementation of maximum order thresholds, contractors may now accept “any size” order, including any size order under a BPA. In accordance with FAR 8.404, in addition to seeking price reductions for orders over the maximum order threshold, ordering offices may seek price reductions when establishing BPAs to fill recurring requirements. Based upon the potential volume of orders under BPAs, ordering offices may be able to obtain greater discounts (lower GSA Schedule contract prices), regardless of the size of individual orders.
Can agencies join together to establish GSA Schedule BPAs?
Yes. Multiple agencies may combine their requirements in an effort to obtain better discounts under a Cooperative GSA Schedule BPA. Agencies should consolidate their requirements before the Cooperative GSA Schedule BPA is established. In order to ensure that the “best value” is obtained under the BPA, the Cooperative GSA Schedule BPA should reflect the consolidated requirements of all users and contain an estimated dollar value of the total requirement. The Cooperative GSA Schedule BPA should also identify all users and contain the signatures of all participating agencies.
In establishing a GSA Schedule BPA is there a requirement to solicit more than one source, or can the BPA be negotiated with one specific GSA Schedule contractor?
When establishing a BPA, an ordering office must first follow the Ordering Procedures For Services (Requiring A Statement of Work) or the Ordering Procedures For Services And Products Not Requiring A Statement Of Work in FAR 8.404. The net result of following these ordering procedures is that for a requirement exceeding the micro-purchase threshold, an ordering office does solicit more than one source prior to establishing a BPA.
What cost or pricing information does GSA require to establish a GSA Schedule contract? If cost or pricing information is used as the basis for award of a GSA Schedule contract, do ordering offices need this information to establish GSA Schedule BPAs?
GSA evaluates GSA Schedule offers in accordance with procedures in the FAR and the General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM). GSA Contracting Officers determine that prices are fair and reasonable, prior to the award of a GSA Schedule contract, by comparing the prices or discounts that a company offers the government with the prices or discounts that the company offers to its own commercial customers. This negotiation objective is commonly known as “most favored customer” pricing. Since GSA has already determined that prices under GSA Schedule contracts are fair and reasonable, ordering offices do not need to make a separate determination of fair and reasonable pricing and, therefore, do not need to obtain cost or pricing information to establish a GSA Schedule BPA.
If our office issues the BPA, can our field offices also have ordering authority?
Yes, as long as the authorized signatures are listed on the BPA.
If we need additional products not offered on FSS, can we request these additions on our blanket purchase agreement or do we request through the GSA contracting officer the addition of these products to the FSS?
Open market items can be added to delivery orders as stated in question number 1. However, customers may also contact the GSA Contracting Office and request that items be added to the FSS contract.
Does GSA need to approve our BPAs if awarded to FSS vendors?
Must the local PCO termination go through GSA, and if so, how long of a process would this be?
The customer can terminate or cancel any order placed with a schedule contractor. GSA does not get involved in this process. FAR 8.405-4 gives guidance on FSS delinquent performance, 8.405-5 provides guidance on FSS termination for default, and 8.405-6 provides guidance on FSS termination for convenience.
Is there a limit on the BPA period under a Federal Supply Schedule?
Yes. The BPA cannot exceed the Federal Supply Schedule contract period. Customers are reminded that annual review should be performed to make certain the BPA still represents a “best value”.
When a BPA is established under a Team Arrangement, can the Team Leader report the Industrial Funding Fee for the entire team?
No. Each team member must report their own sales, in accordance with the terms and conditions of their Federal Supply Schedule contract.
Is there a limit on the dollar value of an order placed against an established Schedule BPA?
No. The maximum order limitation requirement has been removed from MAS procedures. In accordance with FAR 8.404(b)(3) the maximum order threshold represents the point where it is advantageous for customers to seek a price reduction. If fact, for orders exceeding the maximum order threshold, after a customer reviews the pricelist(s) or GSA Advantage!, the FAR instructs customers to generally seek price reductions from schedule contractor(s) appearing to provide the best (considering price and other factors) before placing the order.
What is the difference between "traditional" Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR ) Part 13, Simplified Acquisition Procedures, and BPAs established under the GSA Federal Supply Schedules Program in accordance with
Although the objective of both “traditional” BPAs and GSA Schedule BPAs (also known as Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) BPAs) is to provide a simplified method of fulfilling anticipated repetitive needs for services and products, “traditional” BPAs are subject to the requirements of FAR Part 13. With the exception of FAR 13.303-2(c), which states that “BPAs may be established with GSA Federal Supply Schedule contractors…,” FAR Part 13 does not apply to MAS BPAs. FAR 8.404 also states that ordering offices may establish BPAs when following the ordering procedures for the MAS Program.
When an ordering office establishes a BPA against a GSA Schedule contract, do orders placed under the BPA meet Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) requirements for full and open competition?
In accordance with FAR 6.102(d)(3), use of the Multiple Award Schedules Program is considered a “competitive procedure” under the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 (CICA) when the MAS ordering procedures are followed; i.e., the Ordering Procedures For Services And Products Not Requiring A Statement Of Work in FAR 8.404 and the Ordering Procedures For Services (Requiring A Statement of Work). Thus, when an MAS BPA is established as a result of compliance with MAS ordering procedures, any order placed against the BPA meets CICA requirements.
What is GSA's policy regarding adding supplies/services to MAS delivery orders, where those supplies/services are not under MAS contract?
As stated in the ATA Defense Industries case of June 27, 1997 – GSA’s procedures satisfy the requirement of the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 (CICA) since the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract prices have been competitively awarded based on price negotiations and evaluations prior to award of the FSS contract. However, GSA has not negotiated or evaluated prices for products and services that are not listed in the FSS contract. Therefore, customers must purchase “incidental” open market items using appropriate competitive procedures. Customers should use competitive procedures or combinations of competitive procedures that are best suited under the circumstances of the procurement to assure they obtain the lowest overall aggregate price. (This decision is consistent with previous GAO decisions covering incidental items.) After a customer complies with requirement of full and open competition for the incidental item it may be placed on the delivery order for administrative convenience.
Traditional Blanket Purchase Agreements have supplies and services with prices for each listed. It sounds like these newly "evolved" BPAs don
FAR 8.404 states use of the Multiple Award Schedules program meets the competition requirements of the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 (CICA), this would therefore, include the use of MAS BPA
If our office issues a BPA, can our field offices also have ordering authority?
Yes. A GSA Schedule BPA can be set up so that the customer’s field offices may place orders under the BPA directly with GSA Schedule contractors. In order for these field offices to participate in the BPA, the BPA must list the authorized offices and corresponding points of contact.
Is there a time limit on the length of a BPA established under a GSA Schedule contract?
A BPA cannot exceed the GSA Schedule contract period. GSA Schedule contracts have a base contract period of five years with three five-year option periods. If GSA exercises an option to extend the term of the GSA Schedule contract, the BPA can be extended as well. Annual reviews must be conducted to determine whether the BPA is still considered a best value.
When a BPA is established under a Contractor Team Arrangement, can the team leader report the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) for the entire team?
Contractor Teaming FAQs
No. In accordance with the terms and conditions of each GSA Schedule contract, each team member must report its own GSA Schedule sales and Industrial Funding Fee (IFF).
Are all products offered through Federal Supply Schedules compliant with the Buy American Act and Trade Agreements Act?
Some agencies are issuing BPAs against schedules for multi-million dollar amounts. Is there a dollar amount too large for MAS/BPA procedures?
No. The maximum order limitation requirement has been removed from MAS procedures. FAR 8.404 (b) (3) states that agencies may find it advantageous to request a price reduction where the ordering agency finds that a schedule product is available elsewhere at a lower price, or where the quantity of an individual order clearly indicates the potential for obtaining a reduced price. Note that on Federal Supply Schedule contracts, the GSA Contracting Officer has already determined the prices to be fair and reasonable on the total value of the contract.
Are MAS/BPAs being used in place of the IDIQ government-wide acquisition contracts like Desktop V, with decentralized ordering by several agencies?
A BPA should not be used to establish a government-wide IDIQ. Multiple agencies may, however, consolidate their requirements in an effort to obtain better discounts under a Schedule BPA. To assure they obtain the best value the BPA should reflect the consolidated requirements of all users, and include an estimated quantity. If a BPA is set up for multi-agency use, all agencies should sign the BPA. Multiple Award Schedule contractors provide a large variety of commercially available products and services at prices equal to or better than their most favored customer prices. A cooperative multiple award schedule blanket purchase agreement is an excellent way for agencies to fulfill recurring needs quickly and cost effectively with schedule contractors.
Would GSA be willing to negotiate less than the 3/4 percent industrial funding fee for MAS/BPAs?
GSA recovers a 0.75% industrial funding fee for all orders placed under multiple award schedule contracts, including blanket purchase agreements. GSA must recover this fee on orders placed with FSS schedules, because, in 1995 Congress started phasing out appropriations so the agency can be self supporting. The 0.75% fee covers the spectrum of administrative costs to manage the program from market research, procurement planning, solicitation issuance, evaluation of proposals, negotiations and award, contract administration, marketing, publications, etc. This fee may be added to the final negotiated prices.
When we establish a BPA is there a requirement to solicit more than one source or can we negotiate with one specific vendor?
When establishing a BPA the customer must follow the ordering procedures in FAR 8.404, which state, for orders above $2500 the customer must review 3 price lists or use GSA Advantage and make a best value selection. Once this selection process is completed and the BPA is established orders are simply placed against the BPA – no further documentation or justification is required. If an agency requirement in excess of the micro-purchasing threshold is defined so as to require a particular brand-name, product, or a feature of a product peculiar to one manufacturer, thereby precluding consideration of a product manufactured by another company, the ordering office shall include an explanation in the file as to why the particular brand-name product or feature is essential to satisfy the agency
What cost and pricing information do you require to establish a Federal Supply Schedule contract? If cost and pricing data is used as a basis for award of an FSS contract, do we need this information to establish a MAS/BPA?
The evaluation of an MAS offer is in accordance with FAR and GSAR procedures. Those regulations specify under what circumstances cost and pricing data is required. The GSA Contracting Officer has evaluated the Multiple Award Schedule offer prior to award, and determined the prices to be fair and reasonable. This determination is partially based upon the contractor
When establishing a GSA Schedule BPA, can the terms and conditions of the GSA Schedule contract be modified? For example, if the GSA Schedule contract has a delivery time of 60 days from receipt of order, but the ordering office needs delivery in 30 days,
Generally, the alteration or tailoring of GSA Schedule contract terms and conditions to meet the needs of individual procurements is not permitted. Such tailoring may violate the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 (CICA) and alter the scope of the contract. In the case of delivery times, however, GSA Schedule contracts provide for various expedited delivery terms. An ordering office may find that the GSA Schedule contracts already contain the expedited delivery it requires, or the ordering office may contact GSA Schedule contractors to request the desired delivery time. Additional clauses that change the scope of a GSA Schedule contract cannot be added to a BPA. However, special provisions
If we need additional services/products not offered on GSA Schedule contracts, can we add such services/products to our BPA or do we submit a request to the GSA Contracting Officers
The FAR has been amended to incorporate policies that address the handling of open market items. Note: Open market items are also known as incidental items, noncontract items, non-Schedule items, and items not on a GSA Federal Supply Schedule contract. In accordance with FAR 8.401(d), for administrative convenience, an ordering agency contracting officer may add items not on the GSA Schedule contract i.e., open market items to a GSA Schedule BPA or an individual task or delivery order only if:
- All applicable acquisition regulations pertaining to the purchase of the items not on the GSA Schedule contract have been followed (e.g., publicizing (Part 5), competition requirements (Part 6), acquisition of commercial items (Part 12), contracting methods (Parts 13, 14, and 15), and small business programs (Part 19));
- The ordering agency contracting officer has determined the prices for the items not on the GSA Schedule contract are fair and reasonable;
- The items are clearly labeled on the order as items not on GSA Schedule contract; and
- All clauses applicable to items not on the GSA Schedule contract are included in the order.
Under the terms of GSA Schedule contracts, contractors have the ability to submit modifications to add services/products to their contracts. Ordering offices may contact GSA Schedule contractors to request that open market items be added to their GSA Schedule contracts.
Regarding a multiple award schedule blanket purchase agreement, can we modify terms and conditions of the Federal Supply Schedule contract (e.g., FSS requires 60 day delivery from receipt of order, but we want a 30 day requirements)?
FSS contracts provide various expedited delivery terms. Generally, the alteration of or tailoring of a Federal Supply Schedule contract terms and conditions to meet the needs of individual procurements are not permitted. Such tailoring may violate the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 (CICA) and alter the scope of the contract. Tailoring for a special requirement is permitted only if appropriate and the schedule contract allows for it. For example, FSS contracts provide various expedited delivery terms. A customer may be able to obtain faster delivery for special requirements.