Is there a need to do a technical evaluation to determine the most highly qualified firm or can price be the only factor used to determine the award of the task order?
I have provided the primary applicable U.S.C. and FAR references below.
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Selection and award of architect engineering services contracts is governed by 40 U.S.C. Chapter 11 and FAR Subpart 36.6. 40 U.S.C. Chapter takes precedence over all other potentially conflicting statutory or regulatory requirements. This is reiterated by the statement in FAR 36.101(b) below. If there are in conflicts in other parts of the FAR with FAR Part 36, then FAR Part 36 takes precedent and that included A&E policy and procedure contained in FAR Subpart 36.6. Simply stated, the "most highly qualified" A&E firm is selected, even from among the A&E contractors with IDIQ contracts, and negotiations are conducted with that single contractor alone. There is no price competition under Fair Opportunity in selection of A&E contractors for task order awards.. Therefore, a technical evaluation must always be completed to determine the "most highly qualified firm" and price can never be the factor used to determine the award of an A&E task order.
The ordering clauses referenced in FAR 16.506 are not applicable to A&E contracts as indicated in FAR Subpart 52.3 Provisions and Clauses Matrix. In addition, 40 U.S.C. chapter 11 takes precedence over Fair Opportunity.
I recommend that you contact your contracts attorney on this issue prior to moving forward.