Can Experience be an evaluation factor in a two step bid for evaluating proposals?. PS we are not evaluating past performance.
Per FAR 14.5; Step One should be for technical evaluations. As used in this context, the word “technical’’ has a broad connotation and includes, among other things, the engineering approach, special manufacturing processes, and special testing techniques. It is the proper step for clarification of questions relating to technical requirements. Conformity to the technical requirements is resolved in this step, but not responsibility as defined in 9.1.
Responsibility is required prior to award on all awards per FAR 9.1. This should be performed after technical evaluations are conducted and prior to awarding.
See below exerts from FAR 14.5 and 9.1 for more indepth explanation.
***Subpart 14.5 -- Two-Step Sealed Bidding
14.501 -- General.
Two-step sealed bidding is a combination of competitive procedures designed to obtain the benefits of sealed bidding when adequate specifications are not available. An objective is to permit the development of a sufficiently descriptive and not unduly restrictive statement of the Government’s requirements, including an adequate technical data package, so that subsequent acquisitions may be made by conventional sealed bidding. This method is especially useful in acquisitions requiring technical proposals, particularly those for complex items. It is conducted in two steps:
(a) Step one consists of the request for, submission, evaluation, and (if necessary) discussion of a technical proposal. No pricing is involved. The objective is to determine the acceptability of the supplies or services offered. As used in this context, the word “technical’’ has a broad connotation and includes, among other things, the engineering approach, special manufacturing processes, and special testing techniques. It is the proper step for clarification of questions relating to technical requirements. Conformity to the technical requirements is resolved in this step, but not responsibility as defined in 9.1.
14.503 -- Procedures.
14.503-1 -- Step One.
(1) Evaluations shall be based on the criteria in the request for proposals but not consideration of responsibility as defined in 9.1, Proposals, shall be categorized as --
(ii) Reasonably susceptible of being made acceptable; or
***9.104-1 -- General Standards.
To be determined responsible, a prospective contractor must --
(a) Have adequate financial resources to perform the contract, or the ability to obtain them (see 9.104-3(a));
(b) Be able to comply with the required or proposed delivery or performance schedule, taking into consideration all existing commercial and governmental business commitments;
(c) Have a satisfactory performance record (see 9.104-3(b) and Subpart 42.15). A prospective contractor shall not be determined responsible or nonresponsible solely on the basis of a lack of relevant performance history, except as provided in 9.104-2;
(d) Have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics (for example, see Subpart 42.15);
(e) Have the necessary organization, experience, accounting and operational controls, and technical skills, or the ability to obtain them (including, as appropriate, such elements as production control procedures, property control systems, quality assurance measures, and safety programs applicable to materials to be produced or services to be performed by the prospective contractor and subcontractors). (See 9.104-3 (a).)
(f) Have the necessary production, construction, and technical equipment and facilities, or the ability to obtain them (see 9.104-3(a)); and
(g) Be otherwise qualified and eligible to receive an award under applicable laws and regulations (see also inverted domestic corporation prohibition at 9.108).
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