Does the 6% design fee apply to A/E task orders for studies with no follow on construction?
The question is not whether there is a follow on construction project. The question may be whether or not your requirement necessarily meets the definition of an architect and engineering (A&E) requirement.
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IAW FAR 2.101, "Architect-engineer services," as defined in 40 U.S.C. 1102, means--
(1) Professional services of an architectural or engineering nature, as defined by State law, if applicable, that are required to be performed or approved by a person licensed, registered, or certified to provide those services;
(2) Professional services of an architectural or engineering nature performed by contract that are associated with research, planning, development, design, construction, alteration, or repair of real property; and
(3) Those other professional services of an architectural or engineering nature, or incidental services, that members of the architectural and engineering professions (and individuals in their employ) may logically or justifiably perform, including studies, investigations, surveying and mapping, tests, evaluations, consultations, comprehensive planning, program management, conceptual designs, plans and specifications, value engineering, construction phase services, soils engineering, drawing reviews, preparation of operating and maintenance manuals, and other related services.
Once a requirement has been determined to meet the definition of A&E requirement, a decision then must be made as to which portion of the total effort is subject to the 41 U.S. C. 254, design fee limitation of 6%. If none of the effort is determined to be design services (actual production of plans and specifications), then it is feasible that no part of the study costs are subject to the 6% fee limitation.
I would recommend a contracting officer's determination and finding document be prepared to justify both of these positions.