[Protest of VA Procurement Procedures]

B-209547: May 23, 1983

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An association protested the Veteran Administration's (VA) use of standard competitive procedures in a procurement for data collection, contending that the services should have been procured under the Brooks Act's procedures for procuring architectural and engineering (A-E) services. The protester also argued that, if A-E services were not in fact required, the specifications were unduly restrictive of competition. VA stated that the services required were only for data collection and that needed A-E services would be conducted in-house. The protester argued that a substantial portion of the required services were A-E in nature as defined by the act. GAO held that, although A-E services may be part of a procurement, the required A-E services must constitute a major portion of the work, and it must be performed by a professionally licensed and qualified A-E firm. The contracting officer has broad discretion to determine the A-E status of a procurement and GAO will not disturb the determination unless the procurement unreasonably and clearly circumvents the act. GAO also held that VA use of the term engineer did not restrict competition. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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