When Were Refresh 18 and 19 Released?
GSA Solicitation Refresh 18 was released late in the day on December 4, 2023. Refresh 19 was released just two days later.
What is Changing with Solicitation Refresh 18 and 19?
Many people assumed Refresh 18 would be the last refresh of the 2023 calendar year. However, just days later, GSA released Refresh 19 in order to “correct the Contracting Officer fill-in language for FAR Clause 52.204-30 Alt I.” This language correction is the only change included in Refresh 19.
Unlike Refresh 19, Refresh 18 included several updates to the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contract. In addition to Price Proposal Template (PPT) changes and the incorporation of updates as needed from FAC 2023-06 and GSAR Change 171, Refresh 18 includes the following changes:
- Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act (FASCSA) (Schedule-Wide)
- Note on TDR (Schedule-Wide)
- Sales Criteria (Schedule-Wide)
- New TAA Designated Country (Schedule-Wide)
- Joint Ventures (JVs) (Schedule-Wide)
- Products with Accessories and/or Options (Schedule-Wide)
- Prohibition of “Solely Compatible Products” (Schedule-Wide)
- Revised Sustainability Language (Schedule-Wide)
- Office Management SIN Revisions
- New Subcategory Now Eligible for OLM SIN
- New Subgroups
Refresh 18 incorporates new clauses related to the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act (FASCSA). This change, which is designed to protect the federal supply chain from attacks and vulnerabilities, impacts all GSA MAS Contractors.
As of Refresh 18, Contractors are required to monitor and comply with supply chain risk exclusion and removal orders. These exclusion and removal orders will be posted as “FASCSA Orders” on SAM.gov.
If a contractor cannot comply with an exclusion order, they must disclose that. Contractors are required to check FASCSA Orders prior to submitting a proposal for a GSA MAS Contract, and “at least once every three months, or as advised by the Contracting Officer”.
- Exclusion Orders prohibit contractors from providing or using any covered article, or any products or services produced by a source prohibited by a FASCSA order, as part of the performance of the contract.
- Removal Orders require the removal of covered articles from executive agency information systems.
- 52.204-29 Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act Orders—Representation and Disclosures (Dec 2023)
- 52.204-30 Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act Orders—Prohibition (Dec 2023) (Alt I Dec 2023)
While GSA has no new information on the expansion of Transactional Data Reporting (TDR), Refresh 18 includes a clarification note on the program. The note states:
“If a contractor opts into TDR, the entire contract is subject to TDR terms and conditions for the remainder of the contract, including any option periods.”
GSA MAS Contractors are required to maintain sales through their contract to avoid cancellation. While this requirement was suspended during COVID, it went back into effect on October 1, 2023. Refresh 18 included a few changes to the sales criteria clause, which are detailed below. These small changes could have a significant impact. Small businesses, in particular, will appreciate the longer term to meet the sales requirements.
- Change in sales requirements:
- Old Requirement: $25,000 within the first two years and $25,000 for each following year
- New Requirement: $100,000 within the first five years and $125,000 within each following five-year period
- As of Refresh 18, a GSA MAS Contract can no longer be cancelled for not meeting the sales requirements.
- Prior to Refresh 18, a GSA MAS Contract would not be extended during the option period if sales requirements were not expected to be met. As of Refresh 18, a Contracting Officer can factor sales criteria into their decision to extend, but it is not necessarily a determining factor.
Changes to the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) designated country list are few and far between. However, North Macedonia became a World Trade Organization (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) Country and, as of November 2023, was added to the TAA designated country list. See the full list and learn more about TAA.
Refresh 16 implemented a new Joint Venture policy and Refresh 17 extended that policy to existing JV GSA MAS Contractors. Now, Refresh 18 includes an adjustment to those JV requirements. The changes are highlighted below and reflected in the updated Joint Venture Solicitation Attachment here.
- Requires JVs to disclose if a JV partner is currently under an OIG audit.
- Requires small business JVs to acknowledge completion of FAR 52.212-3 dated December 2022 or later in SAM.gov.
- Removes the requirement to complete the Small Business Program Representations, which was Appendix B in the previous JV attachment.
Refresh 18 includes the addition of new language to address products with related accessories and/or options. You can review the new language below.
- Accessories are standalone items, also referred to as Related Products, that can be sold with a base item. Accessories have their own unique product information, and the base/accessory relationship is established by the offeror linking an accessory with its associated base item(s). Because accessories function similar to base items, each accessory must have supporting documentation to justify the price.
- Product options can be applied to a base item or an accessory. Options have their own part numbers, but cannot be sold independently of a base item or accessory. Options must be applied at the time of purchase, and may or may not have an associated price. Options that impact the price of a base item or accessory must have supporting documentation to justify the price.
GSA added language in Refresh 18 that prohibits products from being added to the GSA MAS Contract if they are “solely compatible with products that are prohibited for national security reasons”.
The sustainability language under Section III A. Terms and Conditions Related to Schedule Contract Administration, is getting a slight update once again. The sustainability section now includes a reference to FAR 23.103(b) and states that contractors should “refer to specific clauses in the Solicitation and are encouraged to use GSA’s Green Procurement Compilation to find sustainable acquisition requirements that apply to federal acquisitions.”
Under the Office Management Large Category, Refresh 18 includes changes to the two Special Item Numbers (SINs) as detailed below.
- SIN 518210DC, Document Conversion Services
- SIN title changed to “Document Conversion and Digitization Services”
- SIN now incorporates NARA’s Digitization Regulations for Temporary Records (36 CFR Part 1236 Subpart D) and Permanent Records (36 CFR Part 1236 Subpart E), which can be reviewed as a Category Specific Attachment under the Office Management Large Category here.
- New SIN Subgroup, “NARA-Compliant Digitization Services for Federal Records”
- SIN 518210ERM, Electronic Records Management Solutions, now includes updated versions of the documents listed below, which can be reviewed as a Category Specific Attachment under the Office Management Large Category here.
- Universal Electronic Records Management (ERM) Requirements
- Vendor Certification for Electronic Records Management Solutions
- Companies that currently hold SIN 518210ERM must re-self-certify and submit an updated GSA self-certification document by June 30, 2024.
The Order-Level Materials (OLM) SIN allows companies to offer supplies and services that directly support a GSA order, but are unknown or can’t be priced until the order level. However, the SIN is only open to GSA MAS Contractors who hold a SIN under an OLM-eligible Subcategory. Refresh 18 adds the Transportation of Things Subcategory to the list of OLM-eligible subcategories.
Some GSA SINs include optional subgroups. These subgroups are created to help agencies identify contractors that offer specific—and typically high-demand—products or services.
Contractors that offer body armor or NARA-Compliant digitization services, can now stand out to potential buyers with the addition of these two new subgroups:
- “Body Armor” Subgroup under the Protective Apparel SIN, 339113PA
- “NARA-Compliant Digitization Services for Federal Records” Subgroup under the Document Conversion Services SIN, 518210DC
- To be eligible, contractors must meet NARA’s digitization requirements for BOTH temporary records (36 CFR Part 1236 Subpart D) and permanent records (36 CFR Part 1236 Subpart E). These can be reviewed under Category Specific Attachments and Templates, Office Management here.
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