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Federal Acquisition Regulation; Improvements in Contracting for Architect-Engineer Services

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCIES:

Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) have adopted as final, without change, an interim rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement Section 1427(b) of the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 (Title XIV of Public Law 108-136). This final rule emphasizes the requirement to place orders for architect-engineer services consistent with the FAR and reiterates that such orders shall not be placed under General Services Administration (GSA) multiple award schedule (MAS) contracts and Governmentwide task and delivery order contracts unless the contracts were awarded using the procedures as stated in the FAR.

DATES:

Effective Date: September 30, 2005.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

The FAR Secretariat at (202) 501-4755 for information pertaining to status or publication schedules. For clarification of content, contact Ms. Cecelia Davis, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 219-0202. Please cite FAC 2005-06, FAR case 2004-001.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

This final rule constitutes the implementation in the FAR of Section 1427 of the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 (Title XIV of Public Law 108-136) to ensure that the requirements of the Brooks Architect-Engineers Act (40 U.S.C. 1102 et seq.) are not circumvented through the placement of orders under GSA MAS contracts and Governmentwide task and delivery order contracts that were not awarded using FAR Subpart 36.6 procedures. An order cannot be issued consistent with FAR Subpart 36.6, as currently required by FAR 16.500(d), unless the basic underlying contract was awarded using the Brooks Architect-Engineers Act procedures. This final rule amends FAR parts 2, 8, 16, and 36 to ensure appropriate procedures are followed when ordering architect-engineer services. The interim rule was published in the Federal Register at 70 FR 11737, March 9, 2005. The Councils received comments in response to the interim rule from seven (7) respondents

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Summary of the Public Comments

The comments were organized into three groups as follows:

1. Clarification on the Brooks Act Citation (40 U.S.C. 1102).

Comment: Two commenters indicated that they were unable to find any relation of 40 U.S.C. 1102 with Architect-Engineer Services and requested clarification.

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Response: The Councils clarify that the Brooks Act was recently re-codified by Congress and is now identified under 40 U.S.C. 1101 et seq. and the definition of architect-engineer services is defined under 40 U.S.C. 1102.

2. Support interim rule but it does not go far enough. Recommend changes in the definition.

Comment: One commenter requested that in each place where the term “architect-engineer” is used in the rule, it be replaced with the term “architectural and engineering (including surveying and mapping) services.” Another commenter requested that all mapping and surveying be subjected to qualification based selection in conformance with the Brooks Act.

Response: The Councils considered these recommendations to be beyond the scope of the rule. In addition, the Councils have already addressed the issue of the procurement of mapping services in FAR case 2004-023, published in the Federal Register at 70 FR 20329, April 19, 2005.

3. Address how GSA plans to prevent violation when Agencies use the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program.

Comment: Four commenters indicated that they have concerns with the proper use of the MAS program and asked that GSA indicate how it plans to eliminate the violations.

Response: GSA has indicated to the Councils that it supports the use of the qualifications based selection (QBS) process for the procurement of A/E services for public projects as mandated by the Brooks Architect-Engineer Act of 1972 (Public Law 92-582, 40 U.S.C. 1102 et seq.), and it does not condone any violation of the Brooks Act. To ensure that the ordering agencies are fully aware of the statutory requirement, GSA has indicated that it has taken various steps to state that the GSA MAS Program may not be used to acquire services that are subject to the procedures of FAR Subpart 36.6. These steps include adding information to the online and classroom training, refining the scope of MAS contracts, adding a notice to GSA portal and MAS brochures, adding new FAQ's on the website, and conducting a customer compliance survey. GSA also plans on conducting reviews of task orders for scope compliance and A/E services will be part of the reviews.

This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration certify that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., because this rule only clarifies an already existing requirement that architectural and engineering services be procured using the procedures at FAR Subpart 36.6.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 2, 8, 16, and 36

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Dated: September 22, 2005.

Julia B. Wise,

Director, Contract Policy Division.

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Interim Rule Adopted as Final Without Change

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Accordingly, the interim rule amending

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[FR Doc. 05-19469 Filed 9-29-05; 8:45 am]

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