Through the Small Business Administration (SBA), women-owned small businesses (WOSB) have a great opportunity to procure government contracts. In sections one, two, and three, our Houston construction law attorneys caught you up to speed on eligibility requirements and how to become a certified WOSB. In this final section, we will discuss how contracting officers select WOSBs for projects.
WOSB Set Aside Requirements
The SBA has the right to set aside federal contracts under their authority if the bidder is in compliance with the following requirements:
- The business is classified as a WOSB.
- The services of the contract are in an industry that is underrepresented by WOSBs.
- The “rule of two” applies meaning that the contracting officer believes that at least two WOSBs have submitted acceptable bids on the project; however, recent legislation also allows contracting officers to award WOSBs with a sole source contract.
- The bid meets all necessary requirements and the contract doesn’t exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing projects and over $4 million for all other industry contracts.
- The contract is granted to an awardee at a “fair and reasonable price.”
Fulfilling Project Requirements
Before a WOSB is awarded a project, the contracting officer will verify their eligibility as a WOSB. If the appropriate documentation wasn’t provided to the contracting officer, they have a right to protest the status of the WOSB and the project will not be awarded to this entity. Further, the WOSB will undergo an eligibility examination conducted by the SBA.
If a WOSB is selected for the project, they are required to perform a significant portion of the work on the project. For construction work, the WOSB must perform at least 15 percent of the contract with their own employees. For specialty construction contracts, the WOSB must perform 25 percent of the work. For more information on project requirements, please visit the SBA website.
Protests and Misrepresentation
Unfortunately, with the great opportunity for WOSBs to work on set aside government contracts, there is a prevalent issue of fraudulent contractors applying as a women-owned or minority-owned business in order to procure contracts. An “interested party” in the bidding process has the right to challenge the status of a WOSB. In the event that an ineligible company was improperly awarded a contract, there are various penalties that the fraudulent contractor could face including indefinite suspension from working with that federal agency or federal prosecution.
If you are eligible to work on WOSB federal contracting opportunities, contact a Houston construction law attorney. Our law firm can help you locate contracting opportunities and assist you with any of the bid process requirements.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.