FAR 15.1 covers Source Selection Process and Techniques. FAR 15.101 covers the Best Value Continuum which provide guidance on when agencies should consider the Tradeoff process (Best Value) or Lowest Priced Technically Acceptable (LPTA) Source Selection.

Best Value should always be used when the deliverable requirements are not clearly defined, and there may be a risk of contractor performance. The tradeoff process allows tradeoffs between price and non-price factors, the tradeoff should justify the tradeoff in price.

The selection committee or contracting officer will determine if tradeoff process is appropriate and when that decision is made, the following apply:

  • All evaluation factors and significant subfactors that will affect contract award and their relative importance shall be clearly stated in the solicitation; and
  • The solicitation shall state whether all evaluation factors other than cost or price, when combined, are significantly more important than, approximately equal to, or significantly less important than cost or price.

When the tradeoff process is used, pay specific attention to the evaluation factors and how those items are evaluated. If you are unsuccessful in your bid, when appropriate, request a full debriefing.

Recently, John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 made sweeping federal changes that limit the use of LPTA, especially on complex professional and IT solutions. These restrictions should increase the number of best value opportunities available, See our blog here.

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