On September 6, 2023, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Class Deviation removing the FAR 52.204-7 requirement that a contractor maintain its System for Award Management (SAM) registration for the entire time from proposal submission until contract award, without any lapse. As background, FAR 52.204-7 has since 2018 provided that “[a]n Offeror is required to be registered in SAM when submitting an offer or quotation and shall continue to be registered until time of award . . . .” As we discussed here, the Court of Federal Claims has strictly enforced this language, holding that it unambiguously requires a contractor to maintain its SAM registration throughout the entire proposal and evaluation process, and that an agency lacks the authority to waive that requirement.
The DOE Class Deviation, effective immediately for all DOE procurements, makes the flowing changes:
- Removes the “shall continue to be registered until time of award” language; and
- Adds the following language: “A failure to register in SAM or a lapse in SAMs [sic] registration may be treated by the Contracting Officer as a correctable matter of responsibility.”
While this class deviation applies only to DOE procurements, companies should watch for whether other federal agencies follow suit and issue similar class deviations. Companies also should begin proactively updating existing registrations well in advance of expiration. Even though the SAM initial registration and update processes have improved over the past year since the original change to the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) assignment and accompanying entity validation steps, potential delays in the entity validation and Defense Logistics Agency CAGE Code processing steps still caution early registrations and early updates to ensure registration timeliness and continuity.