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    When in Phase II of a two phase construction contract (after offerors have been eliminated in the first phase) is it acceptable to go into communications with one offeror if their responsibility comes into question after doing a responsibility determination?


    In accordance with FAR 15.306 -- Exchanges With Offerors After Receipt of Proposals (a) (1) Clarifications and award without discussions, the contracting officer may conduct clarifications with offerors. Clarifications are "limited exchanges, between the Government and offerors that may occur when award without discussions is contemplated." Under paragraph (2) "If award will be made without conducting discussions, offerors may be given the opportunity to clarify certain aspects of proposals (e.g., the relevance of an offeror’s past performance information and adverse past performance information to which the offeror has not previously had an opportunity to respond) or to resolve minor or clerical errors."
    In your situation the contracting officer has some "adverse past performance information which the offeror has not had an opportunity to respond." Therefore, allowing the offeror to respond would be a clarification and so would not constitute a communication which would require development of a competitive range and then discussions.

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