After a period during which it seemed that the start of the recompete could be some time off, all of a sudden there appears to be a sense of urgency at HUD. At the recent NCSHA meeting HUD expressed the goal to have the new PBCAs in place this coming Fall/Winter. HUD says that the current ACCs run through June and that they have the authority to extend them.
Under procurement rules it can be difficult to amend contracts so one thing HUD is doing is analyzing the PBCA tasks with an eye to deciding if some pieces may need to stay with HUD so that they can change quickly if rules change. It is also possible that some functions will be given to a contractor who is not a PBCA. So, in the end, it is possible that the PBCA tasks could be covered by three different entities.
Procurements are very formal processes covered by the FAR– Federal Acquisition Regulations–and the HUDAR–HUDs supplement to them. HUD is very limited in how it can communicate and all communications must be open to all. One thing that will be happening is one or more Industry Days where potential bidders can express their points of view on the procurement including what they can bring to the award should they win. HUD looks that these communications as helping them decide on the weights given to the various pieces of the proposal in the scoring.
HUD will not be able to limit the procurement to HFAs only—it may even be open to anyone whether or not a PHA. HUD is also discussing whether or not to divide the country into regions (one thought was 5 regions) so that there would only be 5 contracts in the end. However no decisions have been made on that point yet.
Lawyers from Cohen Mohr presented on the procurement rules and the protest rules. Their slides will be posted on their web site in the near future.
Under the rules it is possible to have a 6-month cycle from publication of the solicitation through the award. It is also possible that the deadline for a bid could be as short as 30 days from the solicitation. There are two types of procurement–an Invitation for Bid and a Request for Proposals (RFP). The Invitation is a sealed bid process and the winner is always the low cost bidder assuming they meet the other requirements. The lawyers think it likely that HUD will go with an RFP as it is more flexible and allows an award to the entity that gives best value as opposed to the lowest price. Again, their guess is that HUD will go with what is called a firm fixed price and do multiple awards—possibly one per state. However there are many types of RFPs.
The solicitation must be published at www.fedbizopps.gov and could also be published on the HUD web site. If you are bidding, it is critical to read and understand every word of the documents including those incorporated by reference. A failure to check a box that is required can disqualify a bid as can getting a bid in one minute late. The rules are VERY strict and inflexible.
On the positive side HUD must answer any pre-bid questions timely and publicly. So, if in doubt about what something means, ask quickly. You can also protest bid terms if you feel that they are unfair to you. HUD must respond and could also amend the bid if necessary. Post award protests can’t be based on things that were ambiguous and that you failed to ask about or protest before submitting your proposal.
HDS is committed to reviewing the bid and identifying any technical need that may help with your response either in terms of HDS capabilities or data that could be pulled. We will be communicating to you here and in the MyHDS Forum. We encourage you to reach out to us and advise of any reporting or other technical assistance we can provide that will allow your data to tell the story. It may also be important to point out how you not only successfully manage the program on behalf of HUD and the constituency but also how the proceeds from this program further promotes other affordable housing programs. We encourage communication with each other in the HDS Forums on MyHDS and to coordinate efforts with us.
The recompete promises to be a new and very interesting experience for all involved.