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Title 41Subtitle CChapter 101Subchapter E → Part 101-29


Title 41: Public Contracts and Property Management


PART 101-29—FEDERAL PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS


Contents
§101-29.000   Scope of part.

Subpart 101-29.1—General

§101-29.101   Federal product descriptions.
§101-29.102   Use of metric system of measurement in Federal product descriptions.

Subpart 101-29.2—Definitions

§101-29.201   Specification.
§101-29.202   Standard.
§101-29.203   Federal specification.
§101-29.204   Interim Federal specification.
§101-29.205   Federal standard.
§101-29.206   Interim Federal standard.
§101-29.207   Qualified products list (QPL).
§101-29.208   Commercial item description (CID).
§101-29.209   Purchase description.
§101-29.210   Product.
§101-29.211   Product description.
§101-29.212   Tailoring.
§101-29.213   Commercial product.
§101-29.214   Commercial-type product.
§101-29.215   Departmental specification or standard.
§101-29.216   Department of Defense Index of Specifications and Standards (DODISS).
§101-29.217   Military specification or standard.
§101-29.218   Voluntary standards.
§101-29.219   Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.
§101-29.220   Market research and analysis.
§101-29.221   Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Description Program (Federal Standardization Program).

Subpart 101-29.3—Responsibilities

§101-29.301   General Services Administration.
§101-29.301-1   Policies and procedures.
§101-29.301-2   Federal Standardization Handbook.
§101-29.301-3   Availability of Federal product descriptions.
§101-29.301-4   Periodic review of Federal product descriptions.
§101-29.302   Other Federal agencies.
§101-29.303   All Federal executive agencies.

Subpart 101-29.4—Mandatory Use of Federal Product Descriptions

§101-29.401   Federal product descriptions listed in the GSA Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.
§101-29.402   Exceptions to mandatory use of Federal product descriptions.
§101-29.403   Federal product description exceptions and tailoring.
§101-29.403-1   Authorization of exceptions.
§101-29.403-2   Agency responsibility relative to exceptions to Federal product descriptions.
§101-29.403-3   Tailoring of Federal product descriptions.

Subpart 101-29.5—Use of and Optional Use of Federal Product Descriptions and Agency Product Descriptions

§101-29.501   Optional use of interim Federal specifications.
§101-29.502   Use of Federal specifications and interim Federal specifications in Federal construction contracts.
§101-29.503   Agency product descriptions.

Authority: Sec. 205(c), 63 Stat. 390; 40 U.S.C. 486(c).

Source: 48 FR 25196, June 6, 1983, unless otherwise noted.

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§101-29.000   Scope of part.

This part sets forth the policy and procedures for managing and using Federal product descriptions.

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Subpart 101-29.1—General

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§101-29.101   Federal product descriptions.

Federal and interim Federal specifications, their associated Federal qualified products lists (QPL's), Federal and interim Federal standards and Commercial item descriptions (CID's) are referred to collectively as Federal product descriptions. They are developed by GSA or other Federal agencies under the Assigned Agency Plan described in the “Federal Standardization Handbook” issued by the Assistant Administrator for Federal Supply and Services (FSS). Product descriptions are coordinated with other Federal agencies having technical, statutory, or regulatory interest in the commodity or other subject matter covered. Generally, before they are issued, Federal product descriptions are reviewed by technical societies, individual industrial producers, and organizations representing industrial producers and consumers.

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§101-29.102   Use of metric system of measurement in Federal product descriptions.

In accordance with Public Law 94-168, 15 U.S.C. 205b, the Administrator of General Services shall develop procedures and plan for the increasing use of metric products by requiring Federal agencies to:

(a) Maintain close liaison with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, and the private sector on metric matters, and

(b) Review, prepare, and revise Federal standardization documents to eliminate barriers to the procurement of metric goods and services. These actions will occur during the overage document review or when the agency is informed by the private sector that metric products can be produced in a specific Federal supply classification class.

[49 FR 2774, Jan. 23, 1984]

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Subpart 101-29.2—Definitions

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§101-29.201   Specification.

A specification is a document, prepared specifically to support acquisition that clearly and accurately describes the essential technical requirements for purchased material. Procedures necessary to determine whether these requirements have been met are also included.

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§101-29.202   Standard.

A standard is a document that establishes engineering and technical requirements for items, processes, procedures, practices, and methods that have been adopted as customary. Standards may also establish requirements for selection, application, and design criteria so as to achieve the highest practical degree of uniformity in materials or products, or interchangeability of parts used within or on those products.

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§101-29.203   Federal specification.

A Federal specification is a specification, issued in the Federal series, that is mandatory for use by all Federal agencies. These documents are issued or controlled by the General Services Administration and are listed in the GSA “Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.”

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§101-29.204   Interim Federal specification.

An interim Federal specification is a potential Federal specification issued in temporary form for optional use by all Federal agencies. Interim amendments to Federal Specifications and amendments to interim Federal specifications are included in this definition. These documents are issued or controlled by the General Services Administration and are listed in the GSA “Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.”

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§101-29.205   Federal standard.

A Federal standard is a standard, issued in the Federal series, that is mandatory for use by all Federal agencies. These documents are issued or controlled by the General Services Administration and are listed in the GSA “Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.”

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§101-29.206   Interim Federal standard.

An interim Federal standard is a potential Federal standard issued in temporary form for optional use by all Federal agencies. These documents are issued or controlled by the General Services Administration, primarily for use in the telecommunication functional area.

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§101-29.207   Qualified products list (QPL).

A qualified products list is a list of products that have met the qualification requirements stated in the applicable specification, including appropriate product identification and test or qualification reference number, with the name and plant address of the manufacturer and distributor, as applicable. Documents that contain QPL requirements are listed in the GSA “Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.”

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§101-29.208   Commercial item description (CID).

A commercial item description is an indexed, simplified product description that describes by function or performance characteristics of available, acceptable commercial products that will satisfy the Government's needs. These documents are issued or controlled by the General Services Administration and are listed in the GSA “Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.”

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§101-29.209   Purchase description.

A purchase description is any informal product description prepared for one-time use only or for small purchases when issuance of a formal product description is not cost effective.

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§101-29.210   Product.

The term product is any end item, either manufactured or produced, and also includes materials, parts, components, subassemblies, equipment, accessories, attachments, and services.

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§101-29.211   Product description.

A product description is a description of a product for acquisition and management purposes. Product descriptions include specifications, standards, commercial item descriptions, purchase descriptions, and brand-name purchase descriptions.

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§101-29.212   Tailoring.

Tailoring is a process by which the individual requirements (sections, paragraphs or sentences) or product descriptions are evaluated to determine the extent to which each requirement is most suitable for a specific acquisition and the modification of these requirements, where necessary, to ensure that each document invoked achieves and optimal balance between operational needs and costs.

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§101-29.213   Commercial product.

A commercial product is any item, component, or system available from stock or regular production that is sold in substantial quantities to the general public at established catalog or market prices (for definition of terms, see FPR 1-3.807.1).

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§101-29.214   Commercial-type product.

A commercial-type product is defined as:

(a) Any product similar to the commercial product but modified or altered in compliance with specified Government requirements and, as such is usually sold only to the Government and not through the normal catalog or retail outlets;

(b) Any product similar to a commercial product that is either assembled or manufactured in accordance with specifically stated Government requirements and sold only to the Government and not to the general public; or

(c) A commercial product identified or marked differently than the commercial product normally sold to the general public.

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§101-29.215   Departmental specification or standard.

A departmental specification or standard is a specification or standard prepared by, and of primary interest to, a particular Federal agency, but which may be used by other Federal agencies.

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§101-29.216   Department of Defense Index of Specifications and Standards (DODISS).

The Department of Defense Index of Specifications and Standards is a Department of Defense (DoD) publication of unclassified Federal and military specifications and standards, related standardization documents, and voluntary standards that are used by DoD.

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§101-29.217   Military specification or standard.

A military specification or standard is a specification or standard issued by the Department of Defense and listed in the DODISS.

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§101-29.218   Voluntary standards.

Voluntary standards are established generally by private sector bodies and available for use by any person or organization, private or governmental. The term includes what are commonly referred to as “industry standards” as well as “consensus standards,” but does not include professional standards of personal conduct, institutional codes of ethics, private standards of individual firms, or standards mandated by law such as those contained in the United States Pharmacopeia as referenced in 21 U.S.C. 351.

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§101-29.219   Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.

The Index of Federal Specification, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions is a GSA publication that lists Federal specifications, qualified products lists, standards, and commerical item descriptions.

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§101-29.220   Market research and analysis.

Market research and analysis is a process used to ascertain and analyze the range and quality of available commercial products to determine whether they meet user needs and to identify the market practices of firms engaged in producing, distributing, and supporting the products.

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§101-29.221   Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Description Program (Federal Standardization Program).

The Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Description Program is a standardization program developed under authority of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended (63 Stat. 377) in consonance with the Defense Cataloging and Standardization Act (Sections 2451-2456, title 10, U.S.C. chapter 145), managed by the General Services Administration, for the purpose of coordinating civilian and military standardization functions to avoid unnecessary duplication. Within the program, procedures and controls govern the development, coordination, approval, issuance, indexing, management, and maintenance of product descriptions in the Federal series (Federal specifications, Federal standards, and CID's) that define commercial products and products that have high potential for common Federal agency use.

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Subpart 101-29.3—Responsibilities

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§101-29.301   General Services Administration.

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§101-29.301-1   Policies and procedures.

The Administrator of General Services is responsible for establishing policies and procedures, in coordination with the other agencies, for the preparation, coordination, approval, issuance, and maintenance of product descriptions in the Federal series of specifications, standards, and CID's.

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§101-29.301-2   Federal Standardization Handbook.

The Assistant Administrator for Federal Supply and Services will issue and maintain on a current basis a “Federal Standardization Handbook.” The Federal Standardization Handbook sets forth operating procedures and applicable definitions used in the development of Federal product descriptions under the Assigned Agency Plan described therein. Federal agencies shall adhere to the provisions of the handbook in the development and coordination of Federal product descriptions.

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§101-29.301-3   Availability of Federal product descriptions.

The Assistant Administrator for Federal Supply and Services will promulgate and maintain on a current basis the “Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.” The Index lists Federal product descriptions which have been printed and distributed, including those which are mandatory for use, and identifies the sources from which these documents may be obtained. Supplements to the Index indicate the dates on which the use of new Federal product descriptions become mandatory. The Department of Defense also lists Federal product descriptions in the “Department of Defense Index of Specifications and Standards.”

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§101-29.301-4   Periodic review of Federal product descriptions.

The Assistant Administrator for Federal Supply and Services is responsible for establishing a program for periodically reviewing Federal product descriptions to determine whether revision, cancellation or reauthorization (validation) is appropriate. The frequency of the review shall be based on the degree of change in the technology of the product covered by the description and shall be conducted at least once every 5 years.

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§101-29.302   Other Federal agencies.

Heads of other Federal agencies are responsible for adhering to the policies and procedures established by GSA for management and control of Federal product descriptions and for the use of these documents in acquisition as applicable.

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§101-29.303   All Federal executive agencies.

(a) Federal executive agencies shall evaluate the effectiveness of their Federal product descriptions by:

(1) Establishing a system for obtaining user critiques of products acquired using those descriptions; and

(2) Establish a method whereby the preparing activity can locate and communicate with the users.

(b) The system shall encourage users to communicate with acquisition organizations regarding:

(1) The user's essential requirements;

(2) Product suitability for use in the user's environment;

(3) Product failures and deficiencies;

(4) The needs of the logistics system; and

(5) Suggestions for corrective actions.

(c) Acquisition organizations shall designate a central point in each agency to evaluate and respond to user critiques and take corrective action on reasonable complaints and suggestions.

(d) At the time of the periodic review, the responsible preparing activity shall consider available user evaluations, the results of market research and analysis, and all reported deviations from the product description. Information, such as the following shall be examined in the review process:

(1) Whether the product description is still needed in its present form and scope or whether a more simplified one can be used;

(2) The existence of voluntary standards or other Government product descriptions that may better reflect current requirements;

(3) The need to convert Federal and agency specifications covering commercial or commercial-type products to CID's; and

(4) The currency and applicability of reference documents included in the product description.

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Subpart 101-29.4—Mandatory Use of Federal Product Descriptions

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§101-29.401   Federal product descriptions listed in the GSA Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions.

(a) Federal product descriptions shall be used by all Federal agencies in the procurement of supplies and services covered by such descriptions, except as provided in §101-29.402 and §101-29.403.

(b) The order of preference in selecting Federal product descriptions for acquisition shall be:

(1) Any Federal product description adopting voluntary standards.

(2) Commercial item descriptions.

(3) Federal specifications and standards.

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§101-29.402   Exceptions to mandatory use of Federal product descriptions.

(a) Federal product descriptions do not need to be used under any of the following circumstances:

(1) The purchase is required under a public exigency and a delay in obtaining agency requirements would be involved in using the applicable description.

(2) The total amount of the purchase is less than $10,000. (Multiple small purchases of the same item shall not be made for the purpose of avoiding the intent of this exception. Further, this exception in no way affects the requirements for the procurement of items available from GSA supply distribution facilities, Federal Supply Schedule contracts, GSA procurement programs, and certain procurement sources other than GSA that have been assigned supply responsibility for Federal agencies as provided in subparts 101-26.3, §101-26.4, and §101-26.5).

(3) The items are purchased in foreign markets for use of overseas activities of agencies.

(4) The products are adequately described in voluntary standards or in standards mandated by law.

(5) The acquisition involves a one-time procurement.

(6) A Federal product description is not currently available and is not expected to be available within a reasonable time of the scheduled acquisition action.

(7) The product is available only from a single source or is produced to a single manufacturer's design.

(8) The product is unique to a single system.

(9) The product (excluding military clothing) is acquired for authorized resale.

(b) If the purchase involves the following, Federal product descriptions do not need to be used except to the extent they are applicable, in whole or in part:

(1) Items required in construction of facilities for new processes or new installations of equipment;

(2) Items required for experiment, test, or research and development; or

(3) Spare parts, components, or material required for operation, repair, or maintenance of existing equipment.

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§101-29.403   Federal product description exceptions and tailoring.

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§101-29.403-1   Authorization of exceptions.

When the exceptions listed in §101-29.402 do not apply and an applicable indexed product description is desired for use in procurement but does not meet an agency's essential needs, exceptions to the product description to effect procurement may be authorized as follows:

(a) All exceptions to Federal telecommunications standards require prior approval by the Assistant Administrator for Information Resources Management, General Services Administration, Washington, DC 20405.

(b) Preparing activities may designate specific product descriptions that require approval of exceptions by the preparing activity before use.

(c) Exceptions to Federal product descriptions that do not require prior approval under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section may be authorized by the acquiring agency if:

(1) Justifications for exceptions are subject to review before authorization and that such justification can be fully substantiated if post audit is required;

(2) Notification of exception or recommendation for change to the Federal product description is sent promptly to the preparing activity and the General Services Administration (FCO), Washington, DC 20406.

(A statement of the exception with a justification and, where applicable, recommendation for revision or amendment to the description)

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§101-29.403-2   Agency responsibility relative to exceptions to Federal product descriptions.

Each agency taking exceptions shall establish procedures whereby a designated official having substantial procurement responsibility shall be responsible for assuring that Federal product descriptions are used and provisions for exceptions are complied with.

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§101-29.403-3   Tailoring of Federal product descriptions.

Product descriptions prepared to define and impose performance characteristics, engineering disciplines, and manufacturing practices such as reliability, system safety, quality assurance, maintainability, configuration management, and the like shall be tailored in accordance with their specific application in acquisitions.

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Subpart 101-29.5—Use of and Optional Use of Federal Product Descriptions and Agency Product Descriptions

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§101-29.501   Optional use of interim Federal specifications.

Interim Federal specifications are for optional use. All agencies are urged to make maximum use of them and to submit suggested changes to the preparing activity for consideration in further development of the specifications for promulgation as Federal specifications or commercial item descriptions. Interim revisions or interim amendments to Federal specifications are for optional use as valid exceptions to the Federal specifications so revised or amended and must, therefore, be specifically identified by symbol and date in the invitation for bids or request for proposal.

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§101-29.502   Use of Federal specifications and interim Federal specifications in Federal construction contracts.

When material, equipment, or services covered by an available Federal specification or interim Federal specification are specified in connection with Federal construction, the Federal specification or interim Federal specification shall be made part of the specification for the construction contract, subject to provisions in §§101-29.402, 101-29.403, and 101-29.501.

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§101-29.503   Agency product descriptions.

When a Federal product description is not available, existing agency product descriptions should be used by all agencies consistent with each agency's procedures for establishing priority for use of such descriptions.

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