“Educating the Government Contracting Community”

JV's Experience without Consideration of the Business Entities Forming the JV is Reasonable Contract Requirement

In a recent bid protest decision, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to consider whether the evaluation of a joint venture’s relevant experience was a valid and reasonable agency requirement. In Aljucar, Anvil-Incus & Co. (B-408936, January 2, 2014), the RFP at issue expressly noted that the “joint ventures offerors must have proven experience and performance under an existing team arrangement and “informed offerors that the joint venture itself—and not the individual business entities forming the joint venture—must satisfy the RFP’s relevant experience requirement.” Aljucar, Anvil-Incus & Company argued that the requirement was unduly restrictive of competition and protested the RFP before the closing time for submissions of proposals.

GAO, however, sided with the agency. In the decision, GAO stated at the outset that “where a protester challenges a specification or requirement as unduly restrictive of competition, the procuring agency has the responsibility of establishing that the specification or requirement is reasonably necessary to meet the agency’s needs.” Applying that standard, GAO found that the agency’s requirement that was, in fact, necessary where market research showed that “newly-formed joint ventures (that is, joint ventures without a proven “track record” of experience) could pose significant performance risks” and given the “complexity of the integrated service requirements being procured,” it was reasonable for the agency to require that joint ventures demonstrate a “proven record of experience working together as an entity.”


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