If a vendor's quote to a "brand name or equal" solicitation for customized commercial equipment requests the Gov't's approval of engineering plans prior to manufacturing, does this request unnecessarily transfer the risk to the Gov't, thereby make the quote not technically acceptable?
It does, and this is where the contracting officer must make a business judgment. Does the benefit of making award to this supplier outweigh the increased risk the Government will assume by approving the engineering plans? Another consideration is whether adding a requirement to approve engineering plans violates the intent of the clause at FAR 52.211-6 (Brand Name or Equal). Paragraph (c) states: "The Contracting Officer will evaluate “equal” products on the basis of information furnished by the offeror or identified in the offer (italics added) and reasonably available to the Contracting Officer. The Contracting Officer is not responsible for locating or obtaining any information not identified in the offer." Adding an additional level of review could possibly provide another offeror with a case for claiming the Government did not evaluate the offers in accordance with this Brand Name or Equal solicitation provision.
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