(a) Time frame for making size determination.
(1) After receipt of a protest or a request for a formal size determination, the SBA Area Office will issue a formal size determination within 15 business days, if possible.
(2) The contracting officer may award a contract after receipt of a protest if the contracting officer determines in writing that an award must be made to protect the public interest. Notwithstanding such a determination, the provisions of paragraph (g) of this section apply to the procurement in question.
(3) If SBA does not issue its determination within 15 business days (or request an extension that is granted), the contracting officer may award the contract if he or she determines in writing that there is an immediate need to award the contract and that waiting until SBA makes its determination will be disadvantageous to the Government. Notwithstanding such a determination, the provisions of paragraph (g) of this section apply to the procurement in question.
(b) Basis for determination. The size determination will be based primarily on the information supplied by the protestor or the entity requesting the size determination and that provided by the concern whose size status is at issue. The determination, however, may also be based on grounds not raised in the protest or request for size determination. SBA may use other information and may make requests for additional information to the protestor, the concern whose size status is at issue and any alleged affiliates, or other parties.
(c) Burden of persuasion. The concern whose size is under consideration has the burden of establishing its small business size.
(d) Weight of evidence. SBA will give greater weight to specific, signed, factual evidence than to general, unsupported allegations or opinions. In the case of refusal or failure to furnish requested information within a required time period, SBA may assume that disclosure would be contrary to the interests of the party failing to make disclosure.
(e) Formal size determination. The SBA will base its formal size determination upon the record, including reasonable inferences from the record, and will state in writing the basis for its findings and conclusions.
(f) Notification of determination. SBA will promptly notify the contracting officer, the protester, and the protested concern. SBA will send the notification by verifiable means, which may include facsimile, electronic mail, or overnight delivery service.
(g) Results of an SBA Size Determination.
(1) A contracting officer may award a contract to a protested concern after the SBA Area Office has determined either that the protested concern is an eligible small business or has dismissed all protests against it. If OHA subsequently overturns the Area Office's determination or dismissal, the contracting officer may apply the OHA decision to the procurement in question.
(2) A contracting officer shall not award a contract to a protested concern that the Area Office has determined is not an eligible small business for the procurement in question.
(i) If a contracting officer receives such a determination after contract award, and no OHA appeal has been filed, the contracting officer shall terminate the award.
(ii) If a timely OHA appeal is filed after contract award, the contracting officer must consider whether performance can be suspended until an appellate decision is rendered.
(iii) If OHA affirms the size determination finding the protested concern ineligible, the contracting officer shall either terminate the contract or not exercise the next option.
(3) The contracting officer must update the Federal Procurement Data System and other procurement reporting databases to reflect the final agency size decision (the formal size determination if no appeal is filed or the appellate decision).
(4) Once SBA has determined that a concern is other than small for purposes of a particular procurement, the concern cannot later become eligible for the procurement by reducing its size.
(5) A concern determined to be other than small under a particular size standard is ineligible for any procurement or any assistance authorized by the Small Business Act or the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 which requires the same or a lower size standard, unless SBA recertifies the concern to be small pursuant to § 121.1010 or OHA reverses the adverse size determination. After an adverse size determination, a concern cannot self-certify as small under the same or lower size standard unless it is first recertified as small by SBA. If a concern does so, it may be in violation of criminal laws, including section 16(d) of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 645(d). If the concern has already certified itself as small on a pending procurement or on an application for SBA assistance, the concern must immediately inform the officials responsible for the pending procurement or requested assistance of the adverse size determination.
(h) Limited reopening of size determinations. SBA may, in its sole discretion, reopen a formal size determination to correct an error or mistake, provided it is within the appeal period and no appeal has been filed with OHA. Once the agency has issued a final decision (either a formal size determination that is not timely appealed or an appellate decision), SBA cannot re-open the size determination.