Over the last 10 fiscal years, federal agencies have increased their spending on construction contracts, leading to obligations of almost $54 billion in fiscal year 2010. When awarding contracts, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires agencies to consider firms' performance records to help ensure that taxpayer dollars go to capable contractors. The FAR also provides agencies with broad discretion in deciding how they will consider firms' prior experience, which refers to whether the firms have done similar work before, and past performance, which describes how well they have done that work. As construction firms without prior federal contracting experience seek to gain entry into the federal marketplace, some may regard the consideration of these factors as an impediment. In response to your request for information on the consideration of prior experience and past performance, we reviewed (1) how selected agencies consider prior experience and past performance in awarding construction contracts and (2) the resources available to assist firms in gaining entry to the federal marketplace.
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