Is there any situation were this would be alright?
Yes, there are situations where this type action is authorized and architect-engineer (A&E) service acquisitions is one such action. A&E acquisitions are conducted in accordance with the "Selection of Architects-Engineers statute" formally known as the Brooks Act. The statute is implemented in FAR Subpart 36.6, DFARS Subpart 236.6 and Agency FAR Supplements. The GPE publication of an A&E requirement is an announce of the
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Governments intent to select contractors but is also the request for interested potential contractors to either submit or update their firm's SF 330. The publication is not a solicitation in the sense of FAR Parts 13, 14, or 15 since no contractor cost/price proposal is allowed at this point. I would call the announcement a synopsis/request for SF330.
The following FAR/DFARS references apply.
FAR 36.601-1 -- Public Announcement. The Government shall publicly announce all requirements for architect-engineer services and negotiate contracts for these services based on the demonstrated competence and qualifications of prospective contractors to perform the services at fair and reasonable prices. (See 40 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.).
FAR 36.603 -- Collecting Data on and Appraising Firms Qualifications. (b) Qualifications data. To be considered for architect-engineer contracts, a firm must file with the appropriate office or board the Standard Form 330, "Architect-Engineer Qualifications," Part II, and when applicable, the SF 330, Part I.
DFARS 236.602-1 Selection criteria. (a) Establish the evaluation criteria before making the public announcement required by FAR 5.205(d) and include the criteria and their relative order of importance in the announcement. Follow the procedures at PGI 236.602-1(a).
FAR 5.205(d) Architect-engineering services. Contracting officers must publish notices of intent to contract for architect-engineering services as follows:
(1) Except when exempted by 5.202, contracting officers must transmit to the GPE a synopsis of each proposed contract action for which the total fee (including phases and options) is expected to exceed $25,000.
(2) When the total fee is expected to exceed $15,000 but not exceed $25,000,the contracting officer must comply with 5.101(a)(2). When the proposed contract action is not required to be synopsized under paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the contracting officer must display a notice of the solicitation or a copy of the solicitation in a public place at the contracting office. Other optional publicizing methods are authorized in accordance with 5.101(b).
FAR 5.207(c)(13) (13) For Architect-Engineer projects and other projects for which the supply or service codes are insufficient, provide brief details with respect to: location, scope of services required, cost range and limitations, type of contract, estimated starting and completion dates, and any significant evaluation factors.