An Official Website Of The United States Government

My Favorites


Part 536 - Construction and Architect-Engineer Contracts

Part 536 - Construction and Architect-Engineer Contracts

      Subpart 536.1 - General

           536.101 Applicability.

           536.102 Definitions.

      Subpart 536.2 - Special Aspects of Contracting for Construction

           536.201 [Reserved]

           536.202 [Reserved]

           536.203 Government estimate of construction cost.

           536.204 Disclosure of the magnitude of construction projects.

           536.270 Options in construction contracting.

                536.270-1 Use of options.

                536.270-1 Solicitations.

                536.270-3 Evaluation.

                536.270-4 Exercise of options.

                536.270-5 Solicitation provisions and contract clauses.

      Subpart 536.5 - Contract Clauses

           536.506 Superintendence by the contractor.

           536.511 Use and possession prior to completion.

           536.515 Schedules for construction contracts.

           536.521 Specifications and drawings for construction.

           536.570 Authorities and limitations.

           536.571 Contractor responsibilities.

           536.572 Submittals.

           536.573 Subcontracts.

      Subpart 536.6 - Architect-Engineer Services

           536.602 Selection of firms for architect-engineer contracts.

                536.602-1 Selection criteria.

                536.602-2 Evaluation boards.

                536.602-3 Evaluation board functions.


Subpart 536.1 - General


536.101 Applicability.

This part supplements FAR 36 policies and procedures applicable to contracting for construction and architect engineer services. Contracts for construction management services are covered by FAR 37 and GSAM part  537. part  536 shall take precedence when the acquisition involves (1) construction or architect-engineer services, and (2) when the requirement is inconsistent with another part of the GSAR.


536.102 Definitions.

“Construction activity” means the organizational level of the agency that has authority and responsibility for the architectural, engineering, and other technical or administrative aspects of design and construction.

“Statutory cost limitations” means the cost limits included in the agency’s statutory authorization or annual appropriations act (by law).


Subpart 536.2 - Special Aspects of Contracting for Construction


536.201 [Reserved]


536.202 [Reserved]


536.203 Government estimate of construction cost.

      (a)  A copy of the independent Government estimate must be submitted to the contracting officer before the date and time for bid opening or the date for receipt of proposals. (See paragraphs (b) and (c).)

      (b)  Before releasing a solicitation amendment that may affect price, a revised Government estimate must be provided.

      (c)  The contracting officer may disclose cost figures in the Government estimate during negotiation, but only to the extent considered necessary for arriving at a fair and reasonable price. The overall amount of the Government estimate cannot be disclosed before award. After award, the contracting officer may reveal the independent Government estimated price, upon request, to those firms or individuals who submitted proposals.

      (d)  Use the Government estimate to evaluate offers, as a guide in conducting contract negotiations or negotiations of contract modifications, and as a tool for determining the reasonableness of prices.


536.204 Disclosure of the magnitude of construction projects.

For construction projects over $10,000,000, show the magnitude in ranges having increments of $10,000,000 (e.g.,$25,000,000 to $35,000,000). The contracting officer may show the magnitude in ranges using a multiple of $10,000,000 (e.g., $70,000,000 to $100,000,000), but the lower figure must be at least half of the higher figure.


536.270 Options in construction contracting.


536.270-1 Use of options.

      (a)  Subject to the limitations in this section, contracting officers may include options in contracts when it is in the Government's interest.

      (b) The scope of work in the base contract at award shall require the contractor to provide a discrete and fully functional deliverable. Options shall not be used to incrementally deliver work required to fulfill the requirements of the scope of work for the base contract.

      (c)  Contracting officers shall justify in writing the use of options.

      (d)  Including an option may be in the Government's interest when, in the judgment of the contracting officer:

           (1)  Additional work beyond the base contract is reasonably foreseeable

           (2)  It would not be advantageous to award a separate contract;

           (3)  It would not be advantageous to permit an additional contractor to work on the same site;

           (4)  Services arising out of or relating to the underlying construction contract may be required during or after substantial completion of the scope of work. For instance, if building equipment (e.g., mechanical and electrical equipment) will be installed under the construction contract, it may be advantageous to have the construction contractor maintain and service the equipment. In such an instance, the services performed may be included as an option to the underlying construction contract. Contracting officers shall ensure that the applicable clauses are included in any such option (e.g., Service Contract Act); or

           (5)  It is otherwise justified.

      (e) Options for construction work may provide for an economic price adjustment based on cost or price indexes of labor or materials (see FAR 16.203-4(d)). Subject to the approval of the Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA), the contracting officer may develop and insert a project-specific price adjustment clause into the solicitation.


536.270-1 Solicitations.

Solicitations containing options shall:

      (a)  Include appropriate option provisions and clauses when resulting contracts will provide for the exercise of options (see 536.270-5);

      (b) State the period within which the options may be exercised; and

      (c)  State whether the basis of evaluation is inclusive or exclusive of the options (if exclusive, see 536.270-4(c)).


536.270-3 Evaluation.

For sealed bidding that includes options:

      (a)  The low bidder for purposes of award is the responsible bidder offering the lowest aggregate price for the base bid and all options designated to be evaluated.

      (b) Before opening bids that include options, the contracting officer must determine, and record in the contract file, the amount of funds available for the project. The amount recorded must be announced at the beginning of the bid opening. This amount may be increased later when determining the items to be awarded to the low bidder if the following condition is met: the award amount of the base bid and evaluated options does not exceed the amount offered for the base bid, the evaluated options, and the same combination of items by any other responsible bidder whose bid conforms to the solicitation. This requirement prevents the displacement of the low bidder by manipulating the options to be used.


536.270-4 Exercise of options.

      (a)  The contracting officer shall exercise options in writing within the time period specified in the contract.

      (b) The contracting officer may exercise options only after determining, in writing, that all the following conditions exist:

           (1) Funds are available.

           (2) The requirement covered by the option fulfills an existing Government need.

           (3) Exercising the option is the most advantageous method of satisfying the Government's need, price and other factors considered.

           (4) The contractor is not listed in the System for Award Management Exclusions (see FAR 9.405-1).

           (5) The contractor's performance under the contract met or exceeded the Government's expectation for quality performance, unless another circumstance justifies an extended contractual relationship.

           (6) Exercising the option is in accordance with the terms of the option.

           (7) The option price is fair and reasonable, unless already determined as such (e.g., at time of award).

      (c) The contract modification, or other written document which notifies the contractor of the exercise of the option, must cite the option clause as authority. If exercising an unpriced or unevaluated option, cite the statutory authority permitting the use of other than full and open competition (see FAR 6.302).

      (d) When the contract provides for economic price adjustment and the contractor requests a revision of the price, the contracting officer shall determine the effect of the adjustment on prices under the option before the option is exercised.


536.270-5 Solicitation provisions and contract clauses.

      (a)  Insert a provision substantially the same as the provision at 552.236-74, Evaluation of Options, in solicitations for fixed-price construction contracts when the solicitation contains an option clause and options will be included in the evaluation for award purposes.

      (b) Insert a provision substantially the same as the provision at 552.236-75, Evaluation Exclusive of Options, in solicitations for fixed-price construction contracts when the solicitation includes an option clause and options will not be included in the evaluation for award purposes.

      (c) Insert a provision substantially the same as the provision at 552.236-76, Basis of Award-Sealed Bidding Construction, in solicitations for fixed-price construction contracts when contracting by sealed bidding. Use the provision with its Alternate I when the solicitation contains an option clause.

      (d) Insert a clause substantially the same as the clause at 552.236-77, Government's Right to Exercise Options, in solicitations and contracts for construction that include options.


Subpart 536.5 - Contract Clauses


536.506 Superintendence by the contractor.

Insert the clause at 552.236-6, Superintendence by the Contractor, in solicitations and contracts if construction, dismantling, demolition, or removal of improvements is contemplated.


536.511 Use and possession prior to completion.

Insert the clause at 552.236-11, Use and Possession Prior to Completion, in solicitations and contracts if construction, dismantling, demolition, or removal of improvements is contemplated.


536.515 Schedules for construction contracts.

Insert the clause at 552.236-15, Schedules for Construction Contracts, in solicitations and contracts if construction, dismantling, demolition, or removal of improvements is contemplated. Use the clause-

      (a)  With its Alternate I when the contract amount is expected to be above the simplified acquisition threshold and a design-bid-build project delivery method will be followed; or

      (b)  With its Alternate II when the contract amount is expected to be above the simplified acquisition threshold and a design-build project delivery method will be followed.


536.521 Specifications and drawings for construction.

Insert the clause at 552.236-21, Specifications and Drawings for Construction, in solicitations and contracts if construction, dismantling, demolition, or removal of improvements is contemplated. Use the clause with its Alternate I when a design-build project delivery method will be followed.


536.570 Authorities and limitations.

Insert the clause at 552.236-70, Authorities and Limitations, in solicitations and contracts if construction, dismantling, demolition, or removal of improvements is contemplated.


536.571 Contractor responsibilities.

Insert the clause at 552.236-71, Contractor Responsibilities, in solicitations and contracts if construction, dismantling, demolition, or removal of improvements is contemplated. Use the clause with its Alternate I when a design-build project delivery method will be followed.


536.572 Submittals.

Insert the clause at 552.236-72, Submittals, in solicitations and contracts if construction, dismantling, demolition, or removal of improvements is contemplated. Use the clause with its Alternate I when a design-build project delivery method will be followed.


536.573 Subcontracts.

Insert the clause at 552.236-73, Subcontracts, in solicitations and contracts if construction, dismantling, demolition, or removal of improvements is contemplated.


Subpart 536.6 - Architect-Engineer Services


536.602 Selection of firms for architect-engineer contracts.


536.602-1 Selection criteria.

      (a) FAR 36.602-1 requires that agencies include “location in the general geographical area of the project and knowledge of locality of the project” as one of several selection criteria.

           (1)  Do not use this evaluation factor as a minimum qualification requirement for determining whether a firm is eligible to compete for a proposed project.

           (2)  This factor must not exceed 5percent of the total weight of all evaluation criteria. In order to receive the maximum score for this factor, the architect-engineer firm(s) must demonstrate that at least 35 percent of the architect-engineer contract services (based on the total contract price) will be accomplished within the geographical boundaries established for the project.

           (3) Under an approved class deviation from FAR 36.602-1(a)(5), this factor does not apply to projects that the Chief Architect of GSA determines have national significance.

      (b)  The public announcement (FedBizOpps notice) for a proposed project should identify the general geographical area of the project by either:

           (1)  A radius in miles or other appropriate unit of measure.

           (2)  The Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, county(ies), state(s) surrounding the project, or other appropriate geographic boundaries.

      (c)  Architect-engineer selections under the Design Excellence Program must apply the geographical evaluation criteria in the second phase.

      (d)  The public announcement (FedBizOpps notice) must provide the number of calendar days the architect-engineer of record has to establish a production capability within the general geographical area of the project. You may allow the architect-engineer of record up to 45 calendar days after contract award to establish this production capability.


536.602-2 Evaluation boards.

      (a)  Architect-engineer evaluation board members must be experts in the fields of architecture, engineering or related design professions, such as landscape architecture, urban design and interior design, except as provided in 536.602-2(c)(5). Board members must also collectively have expertise in construction, government, and related acquisition matters.

      (b)  The majority of board members must be GSA employees. Other members may include other Federal agency employees or members of the GSA National Register of Peer Professionals who are private sector practitioners of architecture, engineering or related design professions.

      (c)  Evaluation boards must not exceed five (5) voting members. If fewer, the board must have an odd number of voting members. The voting members of the evaluation board shall include:

           (1)  One (1) highly qualified architect or a related design professional employed by GSA.

           (2)  One (1) highly qualified engineer employed by GSA.

           (3)  One (1) representative of the Chief Architect of GSA.

           (4)  For new construction and prospectus level modernization projects, one (1) private sector practitioner of architecture designated from the GSA National Register of Peer Professionals. For other types of projects this slot may be filled by another GSA design professional.

           (5)  One (1) representative of the client organization(s), at the client’s option. GSA’s policy is to afford the client organization(s) the opportunity to participate in the architect-engineer selection process. Although not mandatory, GSA strongly recommends that this voting member be a highly qualified design professional.

      (d)  A maximum of two (2) non-voting advisors may participate in all activities of the evaluation board except voting. The client organization(s) may have only one (1) non-voting advisor to the board. The GSA may also have one non-voting advisor.

      (e)  Other than you and the individuals appointed under paragraphs (c) and (d) of this subsection, there must be no other advisors, or participants in the official activities of the board.

      (f)  The selection authority officially appoints the evaluation board members. For new construction and prospectus level modernization projects, the selection authority must obtain the concurrence of the Chief Architect of GSA on the appointment of board members.

      (g)  Each board member (voting and non-voting) must sign a “Conflict of Interest Acknowledgement and Nondisclosure Agreement” (Figure 515-1) before the activities of the board commence. No person may serve as a board member if that person or any member of that person’s family has any direct financial or employment interest in any of the firms being evaluated. The board member is responsible for identifying any possible conflict of interest once you identify the competing architect-engineer firms. You determine whether to disqualify the member from the board.


536.602-3 Evaluation board functions.

      (a) The evaluation board performs the functions described in FAR 36.602-3.

      (b)  Evaluation board members who are private sector design professionals from the GSA National Register of Peer Professionals may participate in all activities of the board, including deliberations and voting. However, they must provide their individual and independent evaluation of each competing architect-engineer firm to you.

      (c)  Evaluation boards recommend, in order of preference, the most highly qualified architect-engineer firms for the specific project to the selection authority.

           (1)  Each board member is responsible individually for evaluating and rating the qualifications of each firm being considered following the established evaluation criteria.

           (2)  The Chairperson of the board must maintain the integrity of the evaluation process and ensure that the final selection report is prepared and submitted to the selection authority.

           (3)  The selection authority concurs with the recommendations from the evaluation board which lists in order of preference the most highly qualified firms. If the selection authority does not concur with the recommendation from the evaluation board, the selection authority must provide for the contract file a written explanation of the reason.