U.S. Department of Commerce


Research & Development 2014
(R&D 2014)

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RFP Questions and Answers

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UPDATED: January 23, 2009
      (go to most recent Q&As)


Vendor's questions pertaining to the R&D 2014 solicitation are answered below.

As a reminder, offerors must submit all questions concerning this solicitation in writing via the R&D email address acq.r&d.2014@census.gov or by using the questions form. Questions must be received no later than fifteen (15) calendar days after the issuance date of the solicitation.



(posted 12/2/08)

  1. QUESTION:   Can we propose on a subset of a technical area?

  2. ANSWER:   No. As stated in Section C.4 of the RFP "Contractor(s) may propose and receive awards in one or more of the technical areas; however, they may not offer on a subset of an area."


(posted 12/5/08)

  1. QUESTION:   Please clarify the key personnel required for the Survey Engineering technical area. For example, the key personnel table in Section L.21.2 (p. 128) does not include positions for Senior Mathematical Statistician and Senior Statistical Programmer, whereas the tables in Section B.8.7 (p. 7) and Section C.6.7 (p. 26) do include these positions.

  2. ANSWER:   Section L.21.2, Item 3. Resumes for Key Personnel, has been amended to include the positions for Senior Mathematical Statistician and Senior Statistical Programmer under Survey Engineering. Refer to Amendment 1 of the solicitation posted on this website.


  3. QUESTION:   Please verify the section references in Table 4 ("Similar Experience Matrix -- Survey Engineering") in Section J, Attachment 2 (p. 92). For example, the first reference is "C.4.4.a", whereas it seems the reference should be "C.5.4.a".

  4. ANSWER:   Table four in Section J, Attachment 2 has been amended to correct the references to C.5.4.a through C.5.4.f. Refer to Amendment 1 of the solicitation posted on this website.


  5. QUESTION:   If an offeror is submitting proposals under multiple domains and some of the past performance references are the same, should questionnaires be sent out to the references multiple times – one for each domain being bid – or will one questionnaire response from a reference be sufficient for all domains being bid. We feel it is an imposition to ask clients to fill out multiple questionnaires with the same information.

  6. ANSWER:   Form 1, The Past Performance Survey, in Section J, Attachment 4 has been amended to include the following:

    Offeror is submitting proposal(s) in the following technical area(s): ______________________ (to be completed by Offeror before sending form to reference).

    If any references submitted are for more than one technical area, the Government will provide a copy to the evaluators in all technical areas listed on this form. Refer to Amendment 1 of the solicitation posted on this website for the amended form.


  7. QUESTION:   Are there anticipated to be any Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI) concerns that would preclude a contractor that is doing contract work on the R&D 2014 Survey Engineering Technical Area effort from bidding on future 2020 US Census contracts?

    If there is a potential Organization Conflict of Interest (OCI) for any specific task orders on the R&D 2014 Survey Engineering Technical Area, will the Government include an assessment as part of the task order, that there is or is not a OCI associated with the work on that task order and possible future contract opportunities associated with the 2020 US Census?

  8. ANSWER:   Attachment 1 in Section J has been amended to include the following statement:

    If, as a condition of an award for a task order, the Contractor's eligibility for future awards of contracts or other task orders will be restricted, or the contractor must agree to some other restraint because of a conflict of interest, the Task Order Request for Proposal will clearly specify the nature and duration of the restraint. Refer to Amendment 1 of the solicitation posted on this website.


  9. QUESTION:   We would like to have our Census Technical Manager from the 2007 Research and Development contract submit a Past Performance Survey (Section J, Attachment 4) for the 2014 Research and Development solicitation.

    What is the process for having our Technical Manager submit the Past Performance Survey?

  10. ANSWER:   The process is the same as it would be for any other client. Please submit the form to the past performance reference (in this case, the Contracting Officer's Technical Representative on the 2007 Research and Development contract) and the reference (in this case, the Government) will complete the form and return it to the appropriate person identified on the form.


  11. QUESTION:   Can a key personnel position be split across two persons if their qualitative and quantitative skills are complimentary (e.g., senior social scientist/methodologist)?

  12. ANSWER:   Yes, more than one person can be proposed for a key personnel position.


  13. QUESTION:   Can a translation service/firm be considered as a “translator” (in order to optimize the capacity for working across multiple languages)?

  14. ANSWER:   Yes, a translation service/firm can be used to obtain the services of a translator.


  15. QUESTION:   Are there any limitations on bidding non-US citizens who are legal permanent residents (i.e., holding a green card) for any of the technical areas?

  16. ANSWER:   There are special security requirements for non-US citizens. Please refer to the security clauses in H.2.1. of the solicitation for a description of these requirements.


  17. QUESTION:   Is it mandatory to provide a letter of commitment identifying by name all key personnel listed under each of the five (5) tasks on which EES chooses to respond? If it is not necessary to provide a letter of commitment identifying all key personnel by name, for which key positions is a letter of commitment identifying specific personnel by name required? For non-managerial key positions, is it allowable to submit a statement of our commitment to provide the necessary personnel and resources without identifying personnel by name prior to award?

  18. ANSWER:   Yes, as stated in L.21.2, Item 3. Resumes for Key Personnel, the Offeror shall provide a letter of commitment for the key personnel and the letter of commitment shall include the name of each person whose resume is provided. Please note that Amendment 1 to the solicitation (posted on this website) amended this section to include the positions for Senior Mathematical Statistician and Senior Statistical Programmer under Survey Engineering.


  19. QUESTION:   Attachment 4 is supposed to be given to the offeror's references, and the government indicates that it would be best if the references emailed in the completed forms. Since the attachment is available only in PDF format, though, it would not be easy for the references to fill out this form and email it back. If the attachment were available in Word format it would be much easier to fill out, it would be much easier to email, and the responses would be typed instead of handwritten.

    Section K would also be much easier for offerors to fill out if it were available in Word format. Finally, a Word format Section A (SF33) would also be easier.

  20. ANSWER:   As requested, Section J, Attachment 4 (as revised in Amendment 1), Section K, and Section A are all now available on the website in word format.


(posted 12/12/08)

  1. QUESTION:   Can staff be proposed for two or more positions within a task area if they are qualified in each (e.g., principal researcher and project manager)?

  2. ANSWER:   Yes, staff can be proposed for two or more positions within a task area if they are qualified in both areas.


  3. QUESTION:   Is there a limit on the number of individuals proposed for each position within a task area?

  4. ANSWER:   The RFP only requires one person for each position, except for the Sr. Computer Specialist in the Survey Engineering Technical area which requires three individuals. However, if you want to propose additional individuals, you may do so.


  5. QUESTION:   Can the invoicing schedule include monthly invoicing during a task order or does the government require a different type of invoicing schedule?

  6. ANSWER:   Yes, the invoicing schedule will include monthly invoicing during task orders.


  7. QUESTION:   Will task orders be issued within only one technical area, or is it possible for task orders to be issued in more than one technical area? For example, can a task order for evaluation be issued under technical area 2 and technical area 5?

  8. ANSWER:   It is possible for a task order to be issued in more than one technical area.


  9. QUESTION:   Please clarify the position of Translator under the Methodological Research area. This position is not marked with an asterisk, indicating Key Personnel, in Section C. p. 26 of 147, but is listed under Key Personnel in Section H, p. 54 of 147.

  10. ANSWER:   Section C.6.6, Item 6. has been amended to add an asterisk for the position of Translator under the Methodological Research area to indicate that this position is considered to be Key Personnel as listed correctly in Section H. Refer to Amendment 2 of the solicitation posted on this website.


  11. QUESTION:   Proposal Evaluation Board: Is there one Evaluation Board for all five areas or are there separate Evaluation Boards for each area?

  12. ANSWER:   There are separate technical evaluation teams for each technical area. There is one source evaluation board that will oversee and review all the results of the evaluation teams. Section M.3.a. has been amended to add this additional information. Refer to Amendment 2 of the solicitation posted on this website.


  13. QUESTION:   Will all bidders who meet the technical and budget requirements of the RFP be required to make an oral presentation to Census staff? And if so, how many presenters would be expected to attend?

  14. ANSWER:   Oral presentations are not planned at this time. If a need arises to have oral presentations, a determination of who should attend will be made at that time.


  15. QUESTION:   On the footnote at page 94 of the RFP, in the past performance, it's written that we should include at least 1 contract of the proposed subcontractors when using subcontractors. Does this mean that we should still submit at least 3 but no more than 5 past performances including this subcontractor's contract? There is no reference about how the subcontractor sends out the past performance questionnaire and we'd like to have further instructions about this.

  16. ANSWER:   As stated in the footnote on page 94, a separate form must be completed for at least 3 but no more than 5 of the most recent similar contracts. If you are proposing to use subcontractors, as stated in the footnote, at least 1 but no more than 2 forms must be completed for each proposed subcontractor. Also stated in the footnote, a Past Performance Survey (Attachment 4 of Section J) must be forwarded to the customers listed on the Similar Experience Reference Forms (Attachment 3) for completion and returned to the Contracting Officer. The proposed subcontractor(s) would send out the Past Performance Survey(s) (Attachment 4) according to the instructions stated in Attachment 4 in the same manner the Offeror would send the form to its clients.


  17. QUESTION:   Page 33 of the RFP says monthly progress reports are due on the 10th of every month. Is this due date negotiable? For instance, could it be modified to the 14th of every month?

  18. ANSWER:   Section F.7.1 and F.9 were amended to change the due date for the Monthly Progress Reports from "Ten (10) calendar days after the end of each month" to "Ten (10) calendar days after the end of each month or at a date agreed to during negotiations of a task order." Refer to Amendment 2 of the solicitation posted on this website.


  19. QUESTION:   Does Section L.17 of the RFP establish the expectation that the government will require bidders to provide oral presentations?

  20. ANSWER:   Oral presentations are not planned at this time.


  21. QUESTION:   If discussions are necessary, is attendance of all key personnel required to be in person, or is by phone acceptable for a portion of the key person attendees?

  22. ANSWER:   As stated in Section L.17, attendance at the discussion period can be by phone or in person.


  23. QUESTION:   Should offerors provide a list of labor category rates that incorporates their subcontractor rates or should offerors list their rates separate from their subcontractor rates?

  24. ANSWER:   Yes, the list of proposed fully-loaded labor rates should include fully-loaded rates for any subcontractor labor categories proposed.


  25. QUESTION:   Would it be acceptable to the Government if the offeror's electronic submission is in PDF format instead of Word 97 and/or Excel 97 formats?

  26. ANSWER:   No, please submit the proposal in the format(s) described in Section L.10 of the proposal.


  27. QUESTION:   Would the Government send a copy of Attachment 6, Small Business Subcontracting Plan, and section K, Representations and Certifications, in Word format?

  28. ANSWER:   Section K was posted on the website in Word format with Amendment 1. Section J, Attachment 6 is now available in Word format (see Amendment No. 2 posted on this website).


  29. QUESTION:   Page 127, Similar experiences, item b states that Similar Experience References are needed from the Offeror's major subcontractors. Please define what is meant by the term major.

  30. ANSWER:   Section L.21.2.1.b) has been amended to change the third sentence to read:

    And at least one (1), no more than two (2), Similar Experience References are needed from the Offeror's proposed subcontractors that they are teaming with (if subcontractors are proposed).


  31. QUESTION:   Although each technical area contract will have a Project Director, Project Manager, and Project Administrator, will it be necessary that each of these individuals play a role on every task order?

  32. ANSWER:   Yes, we want these key personnel to play a role in each task order. It is desirable to have individuals in these three positions with the knowledge and experience to support all task orders. However, we understand that the Project Manager and Project Administrator may change depending on the needs of the individual task orders. Please refer to Section H.11.2, Replacement of Key Personnel, for the required procedures that must be followed when changing Key Personnel.


  33. QUESTION:   Are indirect costs allowed on travel and other ODCs?

  34. ANSWER:   Yes.


  35. QUESTION:   H.12 indicates that changes in support personnel must be approved by the Census Bureau. Does this requirement apply to interviewers and other temporary employees?

  36. ANSWER:   All contract personnel need to be approved by the Census Bureau and adhere to appropriate background investigations. Refer to the security clauses in Section H of the RFP.


  37. QUESTION:   Reference: Section L.21.2.1.(b) on page 127 - This section states, "Similar Experience Reference(s): The Offeror shall select the most relevant experiences from the Similar Experience Matrix and report them as references on the forms in Attachment 3 and any others that the Offeror believes demonstrate similar experience in the pertinent technical area(s). The Offeror shall provide at least three (3), no more than five (5) relevant Similar Experience References, using the form provided in Section J, Attachment 3. And at least one (1), no more than two (2), Similar Experience References are needed from the Offeror's major subcontractors (if subcontractors are proposed)."

  38. What is the Government's definition of a "major Subcontractor"?

    ANSWER:   Section L.21.2.1.b) has been amended to change the third sentence to read:

    And at least one (1), no more than two (2), Similar Experience References are needed from the Offeror's proposed subcontractors that they are teaming with (if subcontractors are proposed).


  39. QUESTION:   Comments: 1. Pages 23-24 of 147-the RFP indicates each technical area will have three positions in common: Project Director, Project Manager, and Project Administrator. It is clear that the Project Director is at the technical area IDIQ contract level and is responsible for all task orders issued to a successful contractor in a particular technical area. Is that also the case for the Project Manager and/or the Project Administrator positions, or are they positions at the task order level only?

  40. ANSWER:   It is desirable to have individuals in these three positions with the knowledge and experience to support all task orders. However, we understand that the Project Manager and Project Administrator may change depending on the needs of the individual task orders. Please refer to Section H.11.2, Replacement of Key Personnel, for the required procedures that must be followed when changing Key Personnel.


  41. QUESTION:   On page 100 of 147-the resume outline indicates (3) references for each proposed key person. Are you looking for project or professional references?

  42. ANSWER:   We want references that demonstrate the individual's knowledge and experience on projects similar to the ones outlined in the RFP.


  43. QUESTION:   With regard to the MAF/TIGER enhancements, will we be primarily assessing the needs to the users at the Census Bureau or looking at it from a broader perspective of other organizations ability to download and use the census data-in other words-assessing the systems compatibility with the technology used at other government and research organizations.

  44. ANSWER:   The Census Bureau's research and development needs will be decided and defined on a task order basis. Both Census Bureau and user needs are within scope of this RFP.


  45. QUESTION:   Data Collection and Capture-Do you want the data gathered from hard-to-reach populations (e.g., homeless) and populations that statistically do not use technology as much (e.g., seniors) or focus only on those who are more likely to use technology (college students and corporate executives)?

  46. ANSWER:   The Census Bureau's research and development needs will be decided and defined on a task order basis. Data collection and capture of all populations are within scope of this RFP.


  47. QUESTION:   Data Tabulation-Do you want qualitative data processing software assessed or only quantitative? Does this include survey software?

  48. ANSWER:   The Census Bureau's research and development needs will be decided and defined on a task order basis. Census and survey data processing and tabulation is within scope of this RFP.


  49. QUESTION:   Information Technology Accessibility-Do you want to assess voice activated software for those with physical disabilities? What about other disabilities such as color blindness?

  50. ANSWER:   The Census Bureau's research and development needs will be decided and defined on a task order basis. Information Technology accessibility is within scope of this RFP.


  51. QUESTION:   How do you want to gather the data for the survey engineering tasks --- by phone, in-person interviews, surveys etc.?

  52. ANSWER:   The Census Bureau's research and development needs will be decided and defined on a task order basis. All data collection modes are within scope of this RFP.


  53. QUESTION:   Data Review Systems-Are we pilot testing any new systems?

  54. ANSWER:   The Census Bureau's research and development needs will be decided and defined on a task order basis. Pilot testing of new systems are within scope of this RFP.


  55. QUESTION:   Pages 23-24 of 147-the RFP indicates each technical area will have three positions in common: Project Director, Project Manager, and Project Administrator. It is clear that the Project Director is at the technical area IDIQ contract level and is responsible for all task orders issued to a successful contractor in a particular technical area. Is that also the case for the Project Manager and/or the Project Administrator positions, or are they positions at the task order level only?

  56. ANSWER:   It is desirable to have individuals in these three positions with the knowledge and experience to support all task orders. However, we understand that the Project Manager and Project Administrator may change depending on the needs of the individual task orders. Please refer to Section H.11.2, Replacement of Key Personnel, for the required procedures that must be followed when changing Key Personnel.


  57. QUESTION:   On page 100 of 147-the resume outline indicates (3) references for each proposed key person. Are you looking for project or professional of references?

  58. ANSWER:   We want references that demonstrate the individual's knowledge and experience on projects similar to the ones outlined in the RFP.


  59. QUESTION:   Our firm works on many large task orders under IDIQ contracts. For these projects, the most knowledgeable person regarding our performance is the Technical Task Manager and not the official Contracting Officer's Technical Representative. For such projects, may we give the Past Performance Survey form to the appropriate Technical Task Manager or must we give it to the COTR as indicated by the RFP?

  60. ANSWER:   Either the COTR or technical manager can complete the past performance survey form.


  61. QUESTION:   May we use large individual task orders as reference projects for the Similar Experience Matrix and the Similar Experience References?

  62. ANSWER:   Yes.


  63. QUESTION:   Page 135 of the RFP indicates that fonts must be no smaller than 12 point, while the footnote on Attachment 5 says that, for the resumes, fonts must be large enough to be legible. Please confirm that a font smaller than 12 point may be used for the resumes.

  64. ANSWER:   Section J, Attachment 5, Resume Outline, was amended to change the footnote at the bottom of the page to read:

    Use no more than three (3) pages per person and use a 12 point font.

    Refer to Amendment No. 2 posted on this website.


  65. QUESTION:   Within one technical area, can the same person be proposed both as Project Director or Project Manager AND in one of the Key Personnel positions? We are a small firm with highly experienced and specialized group of people, but we often wear several hats in a project.

  66. ANSWER:   Yes. Please demonstrate their knowledge and experience that qualifies them for each of the positions.


  67. QUESTION:   Can you please confirm that the most recent Amendment received on December 5, 2008 contains the correct "Section C" of the RFP, rather than one issued earlier? We want to be sure we are using the most recent document.

  68. ANSWER:   There have been minor revisions to Section C as a result of questions. Amendment No. 2 posted on this website has the latest version attached.


  69. QUESTION:   Regarding the due date for the Past Performance references, since Monday, Jan. 5 follows a holiday weekend, is it possible to extend this date to Friday, Jan. 9?

  70. ANSWER:   Section J, Attachment 4 has been amended to change the due date for the Past Performance Surveys from January 5, 2009 to January 9, 2009. Amendment No. 2 posted on this website has the latest version attached.


  71. QUESTION:   It is unclear to me what is to be delivered on January 5th. Is Volume I due in electronic format only with the paper version to accompany Volumes II and III on January 12th or are both the paper and electronic versions of Volume I due on January 5th?

  72. ANSWER:   All Volumes of the proposal (electronic and paper versions) are due on January 12, 2009. The Past Performance Surveys, Section J, Attachment 4, were due on January 5, 2009 but the due date for these forms only (Past Performance Reference Surveys) has been extended to January 9, 2009. Refer to Amendment No. 2 posted on this website.


  73. QUESTION:   The lists of key personnel for Survey Engineering on pages 26, 54 and 128 of the RFP do not agree. Please clarify which Key Personnel positions are expected for the Survey Engineering area.

  74. ANSWER:   Section L.21.2.3, Resumes for Key Personnel, was amended to change the key personnel for Survey Engineering to read as follows:

    For Survey Engineering:

          Senior Computer Specialist (for this category, resumes for 3 individuals are required)
          Senior Subject Matter Specialist/Researcher
          Senior Mathematical Statistician
          Senior Statistical Programmer

    Refer to Amendment No. 2 posted on this website. No changes were required to pages 26 and 54 of the RFP.


  75. QUESTION:   Additional labor categories: Please clarify the final sentence in the paragraph above the first labor classification table that says "Other labor categories may be added if applicable and necessary to perform the scope of work under a specific Task Order." Should we add categories for junior staff to these rate tables or wait until responding to a specific Task Order to augment the labor categories to include more junior staff, e.g. an economist who would work under the direction of the senior economist?

  76. ANSWER:   As stated in the RFP, other labor categories may be added at the task order level. If an offeror wants to propose additional labor categories at the IDIQ level, the RFP does not prohibit this.


  77. QUESTION:   Are the Project Director, Project Manager, and Project Administrator to be the same individuals for the duration of the contract across all technical areas being bid, or can each technical area have its own Project Director, Project Manager, and Project Administrator?

  78. ANSWER:   Yes, each technical area can have its own Project Director, Project Manager and Project Administrator based on the different expertise required. If individuals are proposed in more than one technical area, the offeror should demonstrate their varied expertise.


  79. QUESTION:   The instructions for Section J Attachment 2, Similar Experience Matrix, indicate that the offeror is to provide a list of "all contracts or agreements ... where the work performed is relevant to the technical area under consideration." In the matrix itself, the column where the contract list appears is headed "reference." In the instructions for Section J Attachment 3, Similar Experience Reference Form, call for information on three to five most recent similar contracts. Is there a one-to-one correspondence between the references of the matrix and the similar experience references or are the similar experience references a subset of a potentially longer list of relevant work to be presented in the matrix?

  80. ANSWER:   The similar experience references are a subset of the potentially longer list of relevant work to be presented in the matrix. The purpose of the longer list of references in Attachment 2, Similar Experience Matrix, is to provide the offeror the opportunity to demonstrate their breath and depth of experience.


(posted 12/19/08)

  1. QUESTION:   The holiday season creates large schedule conflicts with proposal resource availability in small businesses. The extension for references is much appreciated, could the January 12th date be extended as well to accommodate small business resources?

  2. ANSWER:   Yes, we have extended the due date for receipt of proposals to January 26, 2009 by 3:00 PM Eastern Time. See amendment 003 posted on this website.

  3. QUESTION:   Is it acceptable to cite Census Bureau personnel as resume references?

  4. ANSWER:   Yes, you may cite Census Bureau personnel as references on resumes.

  5. QUESTION:   In preparing our responses and references we have found the current 3 to 5 year requirement on references restrict our ability to demonstrate the significant contracts/tasking performed for the 2000 decennial census. Can these restrictions please be eased to permit use of these references? (R&D 2002 work)

  6. ANSWER:   The Request for Proposals has been amended so offerors can include references within the past ten years as opposed to the previous time constraint of five years. See amendment 003 posted on this website which modifies the RFP to reflect this change.

  7. QUESTION:   Is the Offeror required to electronically submit the entire cost proposal or are just the budget pages required in Excel format?

  8. ANSWER:   All volumes of all proposals must be submitted electronically; however only the spreadsheets are required to be submitted in Excel format. Section L of the RFP has been amended to reflect this clarification. See Amendment 003 posted on this website.

  9. QUESTION:   What is meant by "The proposal pages shall be numbered along the left margin," as stated in #5 on Page 135 of 147 of the RFP.

  10. ANSWER:   The proposal pages shall be prepared according to Page 135, #5. This paragraph contains specific instructions for page numbering, margins etc. Please follow these instructions when preparing your proposal.

  11. QUESTION:   On page 78 of 147 of the RFP, Section III, Technical Proposal Instructions, Bullet 2 says "not to exceed 15 pages in length." This differs from Page 136, Format Matrix, which says Sections I and II of Volume II Technical Proposal are not to exceed 10 pages each. Which is correct?

  12. ANSWER:   Page 78 of the RFP is part of Section J, Attachment 1 which is the template for a Request for Proposal for a Task Order. Please follow the Format Matrix on page 136 and all directions in Section L of the RFP when preparing proposals in response to the IDIQ contract.

  13. QUESTION:   Are offerors expected to provide dollar values as requested by sections 3 (Acquisition Cost) and 4 (Subcontracting Goals) of the Small Business Subcontracting Plan Template (Section J, Attachment 6), or are percentage goals sufficient? If offerors are expected to provide dollar values as requested by sections 3 and 4 of the Small Business Subcontracting Plan Template, what dollar figure should we use as the total dollar value of the acquisition?

  14. ANSWER:   No, offerors are not expected to provide dollar values in Sections 3 and 4 to Attachment 6 in Section J when submitting a proposal for the IDIQ contract. Please provide percentage goals based on the nature of the work and the examples described in Section C of the RFP for the technical area you are proposing on.

  15. QUESTION:   Page 101 of the RFP states " DOC expects all proposed subcontracting plans to consider the following small business goals at a minimum: Small Business 51.50%. Does that mean that an awardee under one of the Full and Open Competition Technical Areas is expected to subcontract out to small businesses 51.5% of the total dollars of the awarded contracts?

  16. ANSWER:   As stated in the plan, the Department of Commerce wants offerors to consider the goals listed on page 101. The goals listed are not mandatory requirements and offerors should propose goals that are realistic and feasible. The Government will evaluate the proposed goals and the feasibility of the offeror's plan to successfully implement them.

  17. QUESTION:   Are the goals expected to be met on each Task Order awarded, or as an aggregate over the total Task Orders adwarded to that awardee?

  18. ANSWER:   The goals are expected to be met on each Task Order awarded over $550,000. If there is a reason why the goal cannot be met on a particular Task Order, the Contractor shall submit a written justification to explain why the goal cannot be met. The Government realizes that some Task Orders, by the nature of the work or the urgency of the requirement, may limit subcontracting possibilities; however, by the end of the period of performance of the IDIQ contract, the Contractor is expected to meet the proposed goal as an aggregate. See Amendment 003 posted on the website which modifies the RFP to reflect this answer.

  19. QUESTION:   Can businesses with NAICS code 541511 satisfy small business requirements?

  20. ANSWER:   Yes, you can be designated a small business under this NAICS code.

  21. QUESTION:   What will happen if despite best efforts, the actual dollars subcontracted out does not meet the stated goals?

  22. ANSWER:   As stated in the sample of a Task Order Request for Proposals, Section J, Attachment 1 of the RFP on page 85, the evaluation of whether the Contractor has met their subcontracting goals (as stated in the negotiated subcontracting plans) and compliance of the submission of all required subcontracting reports will be part of the past performance evaluation when awarding Task Orders. In addition, as listed in Section I of the RFP, the IDIQ contracts will contain FAR Clause 52.219-16 Liquidated Damages - Subcontracting Plan.

  23. QUESTION:   Should the SB subcontracting goals be based on "percentage of total contract value" (RFP Section J, Attachment 6, section 4, page 103) or "percentage of total planned subcontracting" (RFP provision L.21.3 (3), pages. 130-131)?

  24. ANSWER:   The proposed subcontracting goals should be based on percentage of the total contract value and the RFP has been amended to correct the language in Section L. Refer to Amendment 003 posted on this website.

  25. QUESTION:   Should offerors submit a Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan (RFP provision H-23, page 65) or a SB Participation Plan (RFP provision L.21.3 (3), pages. 130 and 131?

  26. ANSWER:   Section L.21.3.3 of the RFP has been amended to delete any reference to a Subcontract Participation Plan. H.23.1 has been amended to revise the name of the Subcontracting Plan from "Small Business and Small Disadvantaged Business Subcontracting Plan" to "Small Business Subcontracting Plan" to be consistent with the Department of Commerce Template. Refer to Amendment Number 003 posted on this website.

  27. QUESTION:   On Page 131 Small Business utilization percentages are requested. If a single Small Business qualifies for more than one category, may we count them for each category in which they are classified? Also on page 131, Small Business utilization. Does the contractor need to provide a small business for each classification?

  28. ANSWER:   Yes, you may count a small business for each category they are classified in. Yes, offerors need to provide a small business for each classification on page 131 except for 8(a) because there is no subcontracting goal for 8(a) through the SBA Business Development Program.

  29. QUESTION:   Are certain business classifications weighted higher than others for Small Business utilization percentages?

  30. ANSWER:   No, certain business classifications will not be weighted higher than others. The proposals will be evaluated strictly based on the evaluation criteria described in Section M of the RFP.

  31. QUESTION:   Section J, Attachment 6, Section 4: The minimum Small Business goals stated in the subcontracting plan template seem to require 51.5% small business participation of the "total dollar value of the acquisition." Typically the small business participation goal is a percentage of the total expected subcontracting dollars as opposed to the total contract dollars. Section L.21.3.3 covering the subcontracting plan requirements does not offer any clarification as it seems to contain conflicting information and the percentage goals have been left blank. Please clarify what the small business participation goals are and whether they are a percentage of the total expected contract dollars or total planned subcontracting dollars for any resultant contract.

  32. ANSWER:   The proposed subcontracting goals should be based on percentage of the total contract value and the RFP has been amended to correct the language in Section L. Section J, Attachment 6 is an outline which can be used. The Department of Commerce wants offerors to consider the goals listed on page 101. The goals listed are not mandatory requirements and offerors should propose goals that are realistic and feasible. The Government will evaluate the proposed goals and the feasibility of the offeror's plan to successfully implement them. Section L was also amended to add the Department of Commerce goals which are in Section J, Attachment 6. Refer to Amendment 003 posted on this website.

  33. QUESTION:   Section J, Attachment 6: The subcontracting plan template requires that the plan be completed in terms of dollars and percentages. However, the only cost information to be provided by offerors will be their fixed fully loaded hourly labor rates. Without a total estimated contract value it will not be possible to insert dollar values into the subcontract plan template and therefore not possible to fill in some of the calculated percentages on the template. Please issue a revised subcontracting plan template that is suitable for this particular acquisition.

  34. ANSWER:   Offerors are not expected to provide dollar values in subcontracting plan when submitting a proposal for the IDIQ contract. Please note that as stated in the first paragraph of Section J, Attachment 6 and as stated in Section L.21.3.3 on page 131 of the RFP, Attachment 6 is an outline which can be used. The template meets the minimum requirements of Section 8(d) of the Small Business Act, as amended, and FAR Subpart 19.7. An offeror may use another type of format for submitting a subcontracting plan; however, failure to include essential information prescribed in FAR 19.7 may cause a delay in acceptance of an offer.


(posted 12/23/08)

  1. QUESTION:   RFP Section L.21.2 states that "Past performance information contained in the Past Performance Surveys (Section J, Attachment 4) must be submitted separately from your proposal to the address specified in paragraph L.10 or by electronic mail to acq.r&d.2014@census.gov by January 9, 2009." In our preparation to release the questionnaires to our Past Performance Reference Points of Contact, we have found that many of our official Points of Contact are not available to complete and return the questionnaires by the Government’s due date because of leave schedules. The questionnaires would have to be completed by our customers between the Christmas and New Year holidays when many people take leave. In addition, since our references are Government employees, the availability of our reference contacts are directly impacted by end of year "use or lose" leave. Therefore, we request an extension to the Past Performance Questionnaire due date to January 19, 2009. This will allow time for our references whom have taken leave during the end of year holiday period to return to the office, complete the questionnaires and submit them to the Census Contracting Officer. If the extension is not granted, our proposal could be negatively impacted due to circumstances beyond our control.

  2. QUESTION:   In discussions with reference points of contact, we’ve run into a very similar and concerning series of responses with regard to the holiday (Chanukah, Christmas and New Years). Many of our official contacts are simply unavailable to turn around and submit the questionnaires by the required due date. Most are taking vacations and of those many are in use or lose situations (Government employees). We respectfully request an extension to the Past Performance Questionnaire submission date to January 19 or 22 nd , 2009, providing our references that are taking time off for the holiday season time to come back, complete the required questionnaires and submit them.

  3. ANSWER (for 69 and 70):   In response to the above questions/comments, Section J, Attachment 4, Past Performance Survey, and Section L.21.2, Volume I: Past Performance, Similar Experience and Key Personnel, were amended to change the due date of the Past Performance Survey from January 9, 2009 to January 21, 2009. Refer to Amendment 004 posted on this website.


(posted 1/7/09)

  1. QUESTION:   With the extension of the proposal due date, should we assume that the Award Date is extended to 1 July 2009? And if so, should we also assume an adjustment of the Base and Option Years to be 1 July – 30 Jun?

  2. ANSWER:   No, the anticipated award date of June 1, 2009 has not been changed.


(posted 1/14/09)

  1. QUESTION:   What is the maximum size of the files that can be submitted electronically at one submission?

  2. ANSWER:   The maximum allowable size for an incoming e-mail (with attachments) is 50 MB. Offerors who need to send multiple documents should make sure that each e-mail transmission does not exceed the 50 MB threshold. For example, if a vendor needs to send two documents, each of which was 30 MB in size, they should send two separate e-mails, attaching the first document to the first message, and the second document to the second message. If an offeror tries to send a message that is more than 50 MB in size, a delivery failure report will be sent.

  3. QUESTION:   We are having some concerns about the requirement that Excel files be able to be extracted from the proposal into Excel. Usually for a combined document the Excel file is a picture, not an active file. If we include the Excel file picture in the proposal, when Census extracts it you will not have the formulas. If you want the formulas, we have to send the Excel file separately, and not as part of a Word document. Please advise.

  4. ANSWER:   As stated in Section L.10 of the RFP, please make sure that any spreadsheets submitted are Excel spreadsheets or can be read by Excel. All narratives should be Word documents or documents that can be read by Word. If you send a combined document, please also attach the spreadsheets in an Excel file as required by the RFP.

  5. QUESTION:   This question is in reference to the Similar Experience Matrix (Attachment 2, Table 3). On page 127, 1a of the RFP, it states "No alterations shall be made to the template. Offerors shall use only the allotted space for each numbered item.

    The provided matrixes include only 10 rows each. Does this mean only 10 references can be included in each matrix?

  6. ANSWER:   In accordance with the RFP, no alterations shall be made to the template. As stated in the Instructions for the Similar Experience Matrix Forms, if there is not enough room in the table, provide the requested information on a separate sheet of paper annotated appropriately. Offerors are NOT limited to only 10 references for the Similar Experience Matrix.

  7. QUESTION:   Section L.21.2 (b) states "The Offeror shall provide at least three (3), no more than five (5) relevant Similar Experience References, using the form provided in Section J, Attachment 3. And at least one (1), no more than two (2), Similar Experience References are needed from the Offeror’s proposed subcontractors that they are teaming with (if subcontractors are proposed)."

    Does the "Offeror" stated above refer to the prime offeror? i.e. in the instance of a team of three members can each member produce one past performance each and meet the minimum of at least 3 past performances?

  8. ANSWER:   The RFP clearly states in Section L..21.2 that Offerors shall submit written descriptions for any Federal, State, or Local Government, or commercial contracts, which are consistent in size and complexity to the RFP. The Similar Experience References and Past Performance Surveys are for any Federal, State, or Local Government or commercial contracts your company has worked on. Past performance of individuals at your company will be reflected on the resumes for Key Personnel which are also required by Section L.21.2 of the RFP.

    The word "Offeror" appearing throughout the RFP refers to the prime contractor.

  9. QUESTION:   Section J, Attachment 3, Item 9 states that "(If government, provide the information for the Contracting Officer and the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative)"

    Should each Past Performance Survey be sent only to the COTR/Technical Manager OR to BOTH the CO AND the COTR/Technical Manager?

  10. ANSWER:   Attachments 3 and 4 in Section J are separate forms. The statement above in Attachment 3 does not apply to Attachment 4. Offerors should send the Past Performance Surveys to individuals (one individual per survey) that they believe can best evaluate their performance, which in most cases, would be the technical representative.


(posted 1/20/09)

  1. QUESTION:   With regard to the hourly rate for each of the labor categories in the price proposal, we assume that the RFP requires only one proposed rate for each labor category. Is this assumption correct? If so, how should we reconcile the different rates of the different teaming partners for a same labor category?

  2. ANSWER:   Yes, the RFP requires one proposed rate for each labor category. The Government does not participate in or offer advice on any decisions between teaming partners, including reconciling different labor rates.

  3. QUESTION:   Page 134 of the RFP discusses Conflict of Interest Avoidance. Should the Conflict of Interest Avoidance section of the proposal be included in Tab C of Volume III? If not, where should it be located?

  4. ANSWER:   As noted in the Format Matrix of Proposal Requirements in Section L.22.1 of the solicitation, Conflict of Interest Information should be placed in Tab D of Volume III.


(posted 1/23/09)

  1. QUESTION:   Is there any way the Census is able to receive PDF documentation in a final electronic file of a proposal? Our audited financial statements are only available two ways - PDF or paper. I do not have another choice of electronic format to submit them in.

  2. ANSWER:   Section L.10 of the RFP only places specific requirements on the electronic submission of narratives and spreadsheets.

  3. QUESTION:   For Volume III, does each subcontractor need to submit their three-year financial statements, or is that requirement only for the prime contractor?

  4. ANSWER:   As stated in L.21.4.B.2, subcontractors are required to submit audited annual reports to stockholders for the last three fiscal years. Please refer to Section L.21.4.B.2 for a list of items required for Tab C of Volume III.

  5. QUESTION:   For Volume III, do we need to submit the complete Reps and Certs (about 30 pages), or do we just need to submit the completed paragraph C of FAR 52.204-8? If we need to submit the complete document of Reps and Certs, do subcontractors need to do so?

  6. ANSWER:   As stated in L.21.4.B.1, the offeror shall copy and complete paragraph (c) of FAR provision 52.204-8 and include this as part of the proposal. This shall be included in Tab B of Volume III.



Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Acquisition Division Last Revised: October 15, 2012