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e-CFR data is current as of February 23, 2021

Title 7Subtitle BChapter XVIIPart 1753Subpart E → §1753.38

Title 7: Agriculture
Subpart E—Purchase and Installation of Central Office Equipment

§1753.38   Procurement procedures.

(a) Sealed competitive bidding. Sealed competitive bidding of central office equipment shall be in two steps: presentation and evaluation of suppliers' technical proposals, and compliance with the sealed competitive bidding procedure set forth in §1753.8(a). The procedure is as follows:

(1) Solicitation of bids. (i) After RUS approval of the specifications and equipment requirements (required only for projects expected to exceed $500,000 or 25% of the loan, whichever is less), the borrower shall send “Notice and Instructions to Bidders” to suppliers with central office equipment.

(ii) The “Notice” must set forth the method of evaluating bids and must require the submission of equipment lists and traffic calculations with the bids.

(iii) Equipment Contract, RUS Contract Form 395 (RUS Contract Form 395) shall be used, except that the “Notice” shall state that prior to the bid opening a technical session will be conducted with each supplier to resolve any questions related to the technical proposal submitted by the supplier. The suppliers' technical proposals should be requested for presentation 30 days in advance of the bid opening to enable sufficient time to make the technical evaluation.

(iv) The borrower shall solicit bids as set forth in §1753.8(a)(2). The “Notice” shall be sent to at least three prospective bidders. A copy of the “Notice” and a list of such bidders shall be sent to RUS.

(v) At the request of an invited supplier, the borrower shall provide two copies of the P&S.

(2) Technical Sessions. (i) The borrower shall schedule individual technical sessions by the suppliers, notify each supplier of its scheduled date and time, notify the GFR of all scheduled dates and times, and request the following be available at the technical session:

(A) Lists of equipment, material and software.

(B) Proposed floor plan.

(C) Power and heat dissipation calculations.

(D) List of exceptions to plans and specifications.

(E) Protection and grounding requirements.

(F) Description of how office administration, maintenance and traffic collection are handled with step-by-step examples and printouts.

(G) Explanation of processor and/or memory expansion required to meet ultimate size. This shall include discussions of software, processor memory, and hardware additions needed for line additions and the introduction of various future services; the relative costs of installing the necessary hardware and software initially as compared with the anticipated cost if installed at the time when the future services are to be offered.

(H) Description of how special equipment such as loop tests, volunteer fire alarm circuit, line load control, etc., will function.

(I) Description of method for translating initial office administration information into machine language, and proposal as to whether it will be done by the borrower or by the supplier.

(J) Some types of equipment contain software. RUS Contract Form 395 indicates whether the equipment contains software and whether the software contract stipulations are applicable.

(K) Any other items pertinent to the technical proposal, such as information regarding changes that have been made in hardware and software of the equipment that is of like manufacture to that presently in operation in the borrower's system. This shall include requirements for additional spare parts or training which have developed as a result of significant change in system device technology.

(ii) The borrower shall review in detail all exceptions to the P&S. No exceptions will be accepted unless all bidders are notified, in writing, of the change in the specifications and permitted to incorporate the change in their proposal.

(iii) If the technical proposal is not responsive, the borrower shall notify the supplier, in writing, that its proposal will not be given further consideration and why.

(iv) Changes in the P&S resulting from the technical sessions shall be subject to RUS's review and approval.

(v) After evaluation of the technical proposals and RUS approval of the changes to P&S (required only for projects that are expected to exceed $500,000 or 25% of the loan, whichever is less), sealed bids shall be solicited from only those bidders whose technical proposals meet P&S requirements. When fewer than three bidders are adjudged qualified by the borrower to bid, RUS approval must be obtained to proceed. Generally, RUS will grant such approval only if the borrower can demonstrate to the satisfaction of RUS that a good faith effort was made to obtain at least three competitive bids. This would be demonstrated if all suppliers currently listed in I.P. 300-4 were invited to submit technical proposals.

(vi) The borrower shall invite the GFR to attend the technical sessions.

(3) Bidding and award of contract. (i) All bids must be completed, dated, and signed prior to submission.

(ii) The bid opening and award of contract shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure set forth in §1753.8(a).

(iii) The spare parts bid shall always be priced separately and added to the base bid when determining the low bidder.

(b) Single source negotiated procurement. If RUS has approved the borrower's request to procure central office equipment through single source negotiation in accordance with requirements contained in §1753.36(f), the borrower shall proceed in accordance with this subsection.

(1) After RUS approval of the P&S and equipment requirements (required only for contracts expected to exceed $500,000 or 25% of the loan, whichever is less), the borrower shall send two complete copies of the approved P&S to the supplier and request that a proposal be submitted.

(2) The borrower shall schedule a time and date for a technical session by the supplier and request that the items listed in §1753.38(a)(2)(i) be available at the technical session. In addition to these items, the supplier shall be requested to provide a description of the exact differences in hardware and software between the borrower's existing equipment and the proposed equipment so that the borrower can determine spare parts interchangeability, need for retraining, and the compatibility of administration of the old and new equipment.

(3) If the contract is expected to exceed $500,000 or 25% of the loan, whichever is less, changes in the P&S resulting from the technical session shall be subject to RUS review and approval.

(4) The submitted proposal shall be based on the agreed-upon results of the technical evaluation and must be complete, dated, and signed.

(5) The borrower shall obtain an award recommendation from its engineer.

(6) The following shall be sent to RUS for review and approval:

(i) A copy of the engineer's recommendation to the borrower, and

(ii) Evidence of acceptance of the proposal by the borrower, such as

(A) A certified copy of the board resolution, or

(B) A letter to RUS signed by an authorized corporate official.

(7) RUS approval of the proposal will be conditioned upon the borrower obtaining prices that are consistent with current competitive prices. Upon RUS approval of the proposal, three copies of the contract shall be prepared with all specifications and proposal documents, and performance bonds, to be executed by the supplier and borrower.

(8) The three complete, executed contracts shall be sent to the RUS Area Engineering Branch Chief for approval.

(9) If RUS approves the contract, one copy will be returned to the borrower and one copy will be sent to the supplier.

(10) Installation of the central office equipment and materials provided under RUS Contract Form 395 may be made in accordance with subpart I, if applicable, or by an approved Force Account Proposal (FAP).

(c) Contract amendments. (1) The general requirements for contract amendments are set forth in §1753.11.

(2) Equipment contract amendments shall be prepared on RUS Contract Form 238, Construction or Equipment Contract Amendments.

(d) Additions. When additions to existing central office equipment are required:

(1) A proposal shall be requested from the supplier.

(2) The borrower shall prepare a plan containing an outline of the proposed use of the equipment, the proposal from the supplier and an estimate of the installation cost. If the total cost exceeds $500,000, RUS approval of the award of contract is required. The borrower shall in this case submit its plan and the supplier's proposal to GFR. If the cost does not exceed $500,000, the borrower's award of contract is not subject to RUS approval.

(3) If RUS approval was required by paragraph (d)(2) of this section, upon RUS approval the purchase may be made using RUS Contract Form 395, or when applicable, the procedures contained in subpart I of this part.

(4) If the purchase is to be made by contract, three executed copies of the contract with attachments are to be submitted to the RUS.

(5) Installation of the central office equipment and materials procured by RUS Contract Form 395 without installation may be made in accordance with subpart I, if applicable, or by an approved FAP.

(e) Preinstallation conference. RUS recommends, but does not require, that the borrower hold a preinstallation conference, attended by the borrower, its engineer, equipment installers, and if possible the GFR, prior to the beginning of the installation of the central office equipment.

[54 FR 39267, Sept. 25, 1989. Redesignated at 55 FR 39397, Sept. 27, 1990, as amended at 59 FR 17679, Apr. 14, 1994; 64 FR 16607, Apr. 6, 1999; 81 FR 71583, Oct. 18, 2016]

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