This is the third in our series on Preaward Surveys of Prospective Government Contractors. There are six forms (SF Forms 1403 through 1408) the Government uses to provide a structured approach to determining whether prospective contractors are capable of performing whatever work they are bidding on. Not everything is applicable in every case. For example, on a competitive award of a fixed price construction contract with progress payments based on work performed, the Government might be interested in financial capability and bonding capacity. The Government however probably won't be too interested in whether the prospective contractor has an accounting system that is adequate for cost reimbursable contracts.
SF Form 1404 is used to assess a prospective contractor's technical capabilities and expertise. The first part of the form requires narrative answers to three questions:
- For key personnel who will be involved with the prospective contract, list names, qualifications/experience and length of affiliation with prospective contractor;
- Evaluate technical capabilities with respect to the requires of the proposal contract or item classifications
- Description of any technical capabilities which the prospective contractor lacks and any comments of the prospective contractor's efforts to obtain the needed technical capabilities.
Prospective contractors should attempt to review this narrative section prior to the surveyor sending it on to the requester to ensure its accuracy and completeness. Sometimes surveyors don't want to show or disclose it but contractors should try anyway. Their success in getting an award might hinge on this write up.
The form also requires that the surveyor assess whether the prospective contractor understands specifications, drawings, exhibits, and technical data requirements. Here again, it is critically important for the contractor to ensure the accuracy of these assessments.
As you can see, there is a lot of judgement required of the Government surveyor when completing this form and contractors must ensure that whatever judgment is exerted, is based on complete knowledge of the facts.
Finally, the form requires the surveyor to make one of three recommendation; complete award, partial award, or no award.
Tomorrow, SF Form 1405, Production.