I am goign to list the Salient Features and Characterisitcs for each of these beds that we want to purchase. If we get an offer proposing "equal" products, I would like to send the technical specifications to the requiring activity so they can ensure the product is "equal" to what they are requesting. Is this considered a technical evaluation? Do I need to use LPTA as my evaluation criteria or can I still price alone? I want to use price only but I am thinking because we can accept an "equal" product, then I have to use LPTA?
Do I have to use LPTA? No. The Lowest Price Technically Acceptable evaluation procedures in FAR Part 15 are typically not used for FAR Part 8 procurements. Instead, FAR 8.405-1(e) requires you to issue an RFQ and clearly state that a brand name or equal product is being solicited. FAR Subpart 11.104(b) further requires that in addition to the brand name, include a general description of those salient physical, functional, or performance characteristics of the brand name item that an “equal” item must meet to be acceptable for award. When responses are received, the lowest price product is selected for award. If an “equal” is the lowest priced, the FAR and your agency’s supplement VAAR 852.211-73 state clearly that the evaluation and determination as to equality of the product shall be the responsibility of the Government and will be based on the information furnished by the bidder or identified in the bid as well as other information reasonably available to the purchasing activity. If you are unable to determine whether the offered product is equal, consult with your requiring activity and ask them to make the determination. Document your file with all of the business and technical information used to make the “equal” decision.
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A LPTA evaluation may not be not precluded, but is probably an overkill in your situation. See FAR Sub-Part 52.211-6 -- Brand Name or Equal(Aug 1999), FAR 15.101-2 Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Source Selection and FAR Sub-Part 15.101-2 -- Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Source Selection Process.