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HUD   >   Program Offices   >   Chief Procurement Officer   >   Frequently Asked Contracting Questions
Frequently Asked Contracting Questions

The following are the answers to a few of the more common questions we receive about contracting here at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The questions and answers presented here are not meant to be all-inclusive.

If you have questions regarding a specific contract, please contact the appropriate HUD contracting office.


 

 -   What types of services and supplies does HUD buy?
 -   What type of things does HUD NOT buy?
 -   What opportunities are there to become a HUD contractor right now?
 -   How do I get a product HUD "approved"?
 -   What about contracting opportunities with HUD's funding recipients?
 -   Is "Public Housing" owned by the Federal Government?
 -   What qualities is HUD looking for in a contractor?
 -   Why should I consider becoming a HUD contractor?
 -   Should I expect a lot of red-tape?
 -   How does HUD find good contractors?
 -   How can I compete for HUD Contracts?
 -   What is FedBizOpps?
 -   What is a "Solicitation"?
 -   What are "Simplified Acquisition Procedures"?
 -   What is "Sealed Bidding"?
 -   What is "Negotiated Contracting"?
 -   What is meant by "8(a)"?
 -   How can I tell if my business is "Small"?
 -   What if I have a question about the award of a task or delivery order?



What types of services and supplies does HUD buy?

Typical Headquarters Office Procurements

While this list is not all inclusive, it does represent the typical types of purchases made by our Headquarters office for services and goods.

  • Information Technology Software development and systems maintenance.
  • Information Technology Hardware/office automation equipment and systems maintenance.
  • Program management support services
  • Administrative/management support services.
  • Advertising for the sale of HUD properties.
  • Mortgage accounting/claims processing.
  • Professional/technical services.
  • Technical assistance to HUD program recipients.
  • HUD building operations and maintenance.
  • Audio/Video services.
  • Evaluation of HUD's programs.
  • Training.
  • Special Studies and analysis.
  • GSA schedule purchases.

Typical Field Office Procurements

While this list is not all inclusive, it does represent the typical types of purchases made by our field offices last year.

Under its Single Family and Multi Family Real Estate Owned Programs, HUD manages and sells single family and multifamily properties. These programs provide great opportunities for you to do business with HUD in several areas.

We enter into contracts with private firms to manage and/or operate properties owned by or in the custody of HUD (Secretary held).

HUD and its property management contractors also contract for a variety of related services, such as:

  • Property cleaning/debris removal.
  • Lawn maintenance.
  • Snow removal.
  • Defective paint removal.
  • Plumbing.
  • Board and Secure.
  • Electrical repairs.
  • Heating/Vacuum/Air Conditioning.
  • Roofing.
  • Appraisals.
  • Advertising.
  • Real estate closing services.
  • General Repairs and maintenance.
  • Painting.
  • Renovation.
  • Floor coverings.
  • Concrete Repairs/Paving.

In addition to contracting for services on HUD-owned and Secretary-held real estate, we contract with firms to perform many Mortgage Insurance Processing services. Some of these services include:

  • Appraisals.
  • Architectural reviews/compliance inspections.
  • Mortgage credit analysis.
  • Underwriting analysis.
  • Construction inspections.
  • Review of owner financial statements.
  • Comprehensive building inspections.
  • Field review of appraisals.
  • Mortgage insurance endorsement processing.
  • Title services.
  • Architectural compliance inspections.
  • Construction cost analysis.
  • Reviews of project occupancy.
  • Data Entry.

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What type of things does HUD NOT buy?

Often, when people think of HUD, they think of buildings. It seems logical then that HUD would purchase a significant amount of construction and Architect/ Engineering (A&E) services. However, this is not the case. While we do occasionally contract for these services, it is only in relatively small amounts. Nonetheless, whenever we do contract for these services and the cost is expected to exceed $25,000, you will find it posted on our "Current Contracting Opportunities" page at this site. On the other hand, Public and Indian Housing Authorities purchase construction and A&E services quite often. If you provide these type of services, you might want to contact a local Housing Authority to see what opportunities there might be.

Also, like most Federal Agencies, the largest percentage of our supplies and products are purchased through the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). If you provide a product, chances are pretty good that our friends at GSA would like to talk with you. Show me possible business opportunities with GSA.

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What opportunities are there for me to become a HUD contractor right now?

See current contracting opportunities and download solicitations.

In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) SUB-Net serves as a public host for Governmentwide subcontracting opportunities. The SUB-Net allows large businesses to post a description of the services required for a particular solicitation and their point of contact information for interested subcontractors.

Small Businesses are encouraged to frequently visit the SUB-Net website to determine if there are any available subcontracting opportunities for which they would like to compete.

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How do I get a product HUD "approved"?

The Minimum Property Standards (MPS) establish certain minimum standards for buildings constructed under HUD housing programs. This includes new single family homes, multi-family housing and health care type facilities.

HUD manages the Technical Suitability of Products Program from its Headquarters in Washington, DC. The telephone number is (202) 708-6423; FAX number (202) 708-4213. HUD's Office of Housing is responsible for Manufactured Housing and Construction Standards - the latter function establishes the "FHA approval" re certain buidling supplies.

The mailing address is:

Manufactured Housing and Standards Division
Office of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs,
Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th St. SW, Room 9154
Washington, D.C. 20410-8000

You can get much more information online.

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What about contracting opportunities with HUD's funding recipients?

HUD provides significant amounts of funding to Public and Indian Housing Agencies for construction work (both new and renovation) and for management improvement activities. Much of this work is performed by private contractors. Interested contractors should contact local housing authorities directly for information concerning their current and planned contracting opportunities. See a list of Public Housing Agencies

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Is "Public Housing" owned by the Federal Government?

Properties called "public housing", located in different locations around the country, are not owned by the Federal government. They are owned by local public housing agencies (PHAs). PHAs are local governmental agencies created by State law. Normally when a locality desires to provide housing for low income persons, they create a PHA, also know or referred to as a housing authority.

Typically, State law provides the Chief Executive Officer of the locality with the authority to appoint a Board of Commissioners. The Board then hires an Executive Director, who in turn hires staff for the authority, typically establishing personnel policies and procedures similar to the locality. The authority comes to the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for funds to add units to its inventory, based on appropriations from Congress.

Generally, PHAs are limited in how much they can collect to 30% of the resident's income in rent. This is usually insufficient to meet operating costs, so Congress appropriates amounts to provide operating subsidies to make up the difference. Congress also appropriates funds to enable PHAs to modernize their developments.

Public housing originated with the passage of the U. S. Housing Act of 1937 and has operated continuously since then. Today there are approximately 3,400 local PHAs around the country that own and operate approximately 1.3 million units. Information about the funds to operate specific PHAs would be available directly from them or HUD's Field Office.

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What qualities is HUD looking for in a contractor?

We are looking for top-notch companies that are recognized for their proven ability and high-quality performance. If you can demonstrate that you can do the job in a timely, professional, cost-effective manner, and your company has a good track record of success in providing the types of services we need, then you are the type of contractor we are looking for!

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Why should I consider becoming a HUD contractor?

Working with HUD offers new opportunities to use your know-how, develop and expand new markets, and help upgrade the nation's housing supply! We make sure that a fair portion of our contracts go to small or small disadvantaged businesses and women-owned small businesses. We also actively participate in the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 8(a) program. This policy helps promote economic growth for our nation, since small businesses generate the majority of new jobs.

Find out more about HUD's Small Business Programs.

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Should I expect a lot of red-tape?

As you may know, the Federal Government is currently streamlining its procurement procedures through the implementation of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA). As a result, we are moving more in the direction of a commercial buyer!

HUD buys supplies and services through a variety of contracting procedures governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). These procedures help ensure that we get good quality and value for our money, are fair to competitors, and make the taxpayers' dollar go as far as possible. Now, there is some good news!

Here at HUD, we are continuously looking for new and innovative approaches to how we buy supplies and services. The basic procurement methods we currently use are:

  • Simplified Acquisition Procedures. A quicker and easier method for procurements under $100,000.
  • Sealed Bidding. Awarding a contract to the responsive and responsible bidder offering the lowest price.
  • Negotiation. Awarding a contract through discussion and negotiation when price is not the determining factor or when factors other than price (i.e., technical expertise) must be considered.

If you are more interested and want to learn about the contracting rules the Government follows, see the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

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How does HUD find good contractors?

To get the most for HUD's contracting dollar, we look for as much competition as possible for our contracts. That means that we are always looking for new, qualified "sources" (i.e., offerors and bidders). We get these sources:

  • by placing notices of upcoming contracting opportunities on our Home Page and on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) internet site, and
  • through recommendations and references from our technical and program experts.

In addition, to get the word out, we actively participate in local trade fairs and establish networking partnerships with local community organizations for small business concerns. In fact, you may have seen us at one of these events!

See HUD's current contracting opportunities

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How can I compete for HUD contracts?

The best way to compete for a HUD contract is to provide high-quality supplies or services at good market prices, and have a successful track-record of good performance. The best place to start is to submit a bid or proposal for one of our solicitations and let us know about you and your company!

We post every current solicitation over $25,000 to this web-site. Take a look through the list of contracting opportunities. If you see something that sounds like it is right up your alley, download the solicitation document and submit a bid/proposal to us.

See current contracting opportunities and download solicitations.

Please Note: Once you receive a copy of the solicitation, please read it carefully and submit the information requested. Your bid or proposal should be competitive with the marketplace. It will be evaluated by a team of technical experts in accordance with the evaluation criteria explained in the solicitation package.

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What is "FedBizOpps"?

Federal Business Opportunities, or FedBizOpps for short, is the government wide single-point-of-entry on the internet for all Federal government contracting opportunities. It lists all major Federal government solicitations, contract awards, subcontracting opportunities, surplus property sales and foreign business opportunities. FedBizOpps is where HUD and the rest of the Federal government must announce their proposed contracts expected to exceed $25,000. Persons who want to do business with the government should visit the FedBizOpps site often. It is a very good way to keep fully informed of Federal contracting opportunities.

You can access FedBizOpps free of charge online.

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What is a "Solicitation"?

A solicitation is the document we use to describe a proposed contract and to explain how to compete for it. The type of solicitation we use depends on the procurement method being utilized.

If Simplified Acquisition Procedures are used, the solicitation document is called a "Request for Quotations", or RFQ for short. In some instances, price quotations will be solicited verbally (e.g., over the telephone) and no written document will be used.

If the Sealed Bidding method is used, the solicitation document is called an "Invitation for Bids", or IFB for short.

If the Negotiation method is used, the solicitation document is called a "Request for Proposals", or RFP for short.

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What are "Simplified Acquisition Procedures"?

Simplified Acquisition Procedures is the new term the Government uses for what used to be known as Small Purchasing. These are simple, streamlined methods for making individual purchases that do not exceed $100,000.

Purchases over $2,500 but not exceeding $100,000 are reserved exclusively for small businesses. Purchases under $2,500 may be made from either large or small businesses, and usually are made with a Government credit card.

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What is "Sealed Bidding"?

HUD uses the Sealed Bidding method when price is the primary factor in determining contract award. This method does not allow any discussions or negotiations between HUD and the bidders concerning either the work requirement or the price.

When using the Sealed Bidding method we will issue an Invitation for Bids (IFB), stating our exact requirements. Once bids are received on a specified date, they are publicly opened and read. A contract is then awarded to the responsible bidder who submitted the lowest, responsive bid.

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What is "Negotiated Contracting"?

Negotiated Contracting is used when price is not the determining factor in contract award, or when factors other than price (i.e., technical expertise) must be considered.

HUD uses two methods of Negotiated Contracting:

  • Tradeoff, where the contract is awarded to the offeror who's proposal represents the best value, considering technical ability and price.
  • Lowest-Priced Technically-Acceptable, where contract award is made to the lowest-price offered among those that meet specified minimum technical requirements.

When using the negotiated method, we will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP). Once your proposal is received, it will be evaluated by a panel of technical experts using only the evaluation factors specified in the RFP.

Contract award may sometimes be made without discussions or negotiations. Normally however, a competitive range is determined based on the technical evaluation results. Discussions are then held with the offerors in the competitive range and each offeror is given an opportunity to submit final proposal revisions.

Offers submitted in response to an RFP are confidential and are not released outside the evaluation panel.

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What is meant by "8(a)"?

"8(a)" refers to Section 8(a) of the U.S. Small Business Act. It authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to enter into contracts with other Federal Government agencies. The SBA then subcontracts the actual performance of the work to small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The objective of the 8(a) program is to assist eligible small firms to become independently competitive.

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How can I tell if my business is "Small"

Small businesses are defined by size standards established by the Federal Government. Individual standards are expressed as "Standardized Industrial Classification", or "SIC" codes for each business category. Sizes are expressed in terms of the number of employees you have or your annual proceeds. The Government determines if a business is large or small by comparing it to the size standards for the SIC code that applies to the proposed goods or services to be bought under the contract.

The SIC Codes are published in Part 19 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

Show me the FAR.

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What if I have a question about the award of a task or delivery order?

General questions about task or delivery order contracts should be directed to the cognizant contracting office. Questions about a specific task or delivery order award should be directed the cognizant contracting officer. If you currently have a task or delivery order HUD contract and have questions about, or disagree with the award of a specific task or delivery order, you may also contact the cognizant Task and Delivery Order Ombudsman.

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