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Competitive Range for Contracts SOP

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This SOP has internal roles only.

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To identify all of the most highly rated proposals eligible for discussions when contracting by negotiation in accordance with FAR Part 15.


FAR 15.306 and NIH Manual Chapter 6315-1 detail policies and procedures for establishing the competitive range.

If discussions are to be conducted when contracting by negotiation, a competitive range shall be established. The competitive range must be based on the ratings of each proposal against all of the evaluation factors set forth in Section M of the solicitation.

The competitive range includes all the most highly rated proposals. The contracting officer may determine that the number of most highly rated proposals that might otherwise be included in the competitive range exceeds the number at which an efficient competition can be conducted. Provided that the solicitation notifies offerors that the competitive range can be limited for purposes of efficiency, the contracting officer may limit the number of proposals in the competitive range to the greatest number that will permit an efficient competition. See FAR 52.215-1(f)(4).

Only proposals considered technically acceptable by the reviewers may be included in the competitive range. However, a proposal may be technically acceptable and still be excluded from the competitive range.

Offerors excluded from the competitive range may seek a debriefing before award under FAR 15.505.

Contracting Officers

  • After the technical proposal review, receive the final Technical Evaluation Report (TER) and consult with the contracting officer's representative (COR) regarding the technical merit of proposals.
  • If discussions are to be conducted, establish a competitive range based on the ratings of each proposal against all evaluation factors set forth in Section M of the solicitation. Evaluation factors routinely include, technical merit, cost, past performance, and extent of small disadvantaged business participation.
  • Prepare a written competitive range determination based on all evaluation factors, including a complete rationale for decisions to include or exclude specific proposals from the competitive range.
  • Notify offerors promptly in writing when their proposals are excluded from the competitive range or otherwise eliminated from the competition. The notice shall state the basis for the determination and that a proposal revision will not be considered. For background, see FAR 15.503(a)(1).
  • Initiate discussions with offerors in the competitive range.


See the Office of Acquisitions staff listing for the appropriate contract specialist.

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FAR 15.3, Source Selection

FAR 15.5, Preaward, Award and Postaward Notification, Protests, and Mistakes

NIH Manual Chapter 6315-1

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contracting by Negotiation SOP

Template for Competitive Range In—FPR Letter (located on OA's R: drive, Policy folder, Templates folder, under "Negotiation Phase")

Template for Notice of Elimination from Further Consideration Letter (located on OA's R: drive, Policy Folder, Templates folder, under "Negotiation Phase")

Last Updated November 13, 2014

Last Reviewed November 13, 2014