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GSA Dictionary

Doing business with the federal government can often be confusing, with acronyms and strange terms. Unless you have a good understanding of these acronyms and terms, you will struggle to speak to federal buyers in their language, which can be a giant barrier to entry into this lucrative market. Below is a “living” list of government terms and acronyms, with their definitions.

Firm fixed price (FFP) – Prices on the contract are not to change without going through a modification process, whereby your GSA Contracting Officer authorizes any price changes.

Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) – There is not a guarantee of any sales through the award of a GSA Contract. A GSA Contract simply establishes your company as having pre-negotiated prices (deemed fair and reasonable), and that you understand and agree to the relevant terms and conditions of the GSA Solicitation and FAR Clauses.

Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) – A consolidation of purchasing options involving many contractors where a federal buyer has the ability to view and correspond with contractors on an industry-based GSA Schedule.

Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) – Large contracts through which federal customers can acquire more than products and services directly from a large number of approved contractors and suppliers.

Task Order – Solicitation of business between the federal government and a contractor. Some terms and conditions allow for special concessions be offered at the task order level.

Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) – Collection mechanism of the GSA to re-coop costs to administer GSA Contracts on the government’s end. Also useful to track and monitor quarterly GSA sales.

Price Reductions Clause – negotiated discounts given to GSA compared to those offered to commercial customers (or MFC/BOA).

Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) – The objective of a BPA is to fill anticipated repetitive needs for supplies and services for a federal buyer.

CCR Registration
 – Closed, but sometimes still referenced. The primary registrant database for the U.S. Federal Government. CCR collects, validates, stores and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions.

Cooperative Purchasing
– Under the Cooperative Purchasing Program, state and local government entities may purchase under a selective variety of GSA Schedules.

DUNS Number
– A unique nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal standard for identifying and keeping track of over 100 million businesses worldwide.

GSA Advantage
– Online shopping and ordering system includes supplies and services under all of the GSA Schedules.

GSA Contract
– See MAS.

GSA Ebuy
– an online Request for Quotation (RFQ) tool designed to facilitate the request for submission of quotations for a wide range of commercial supplies and services offered by GSA Schedule contractors who are on GSAAdvantage!®.

GSA Schedule
– A product or service category which determines which Acquisition Center a prospective federal contractor will submit their GSA Contract to for approval.

NAICS Code – The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.

SAM Registration – Replaced CCR and ORCA. “System for Award Management” – the Official U.S. Government system that consolidated the capabilities of CCR/FedReg, ORCA, and EPLS. There is no fee to register for this site.

ORCA Registration
– Closed, but sometimes still referenced. An e-Government initiative that was designed by the Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE) to replace the paper based Representations and Certifications (Reps and Certs) process.

Prime Contractor
– In prime/sub arrangements, the relationship is very tightly defined and controlled by the prime contractor.

Request for Information (RFI)
– Issued by a contracting officer to gather information about a future purchase. Generally full of disclaimers that there is not an intent to buy.

Request for Quote (RFQ)
– Issued by a contracting officer with the intent to purchase,. Generally has a very detailed description of the products or services desired, and may suggest a meetiing time.

Special Item Number (SIN)
– Subcategories within a Schedule.

Teaming Arrangement
– Under a Contractor Team Arrangement (CTA), two or more GSA Schedule contractors work together, by complementing each other’s capabilities, to offer a total solution to meet an ordering activity’s requirement.

Below is a group of Acronyms and definitions from the GSA website. Here is a LINK to the actual page.

Abbreviations and Acronyms
ABPAsset Business Plan
ACHPAdvisory Council on Historic Preservation
A/EArchitecture/engineering firm
ARAAssistant Regional Administrator
BA51Budget Activity 51 (Prospectus level)
BA61Budget Activity 61 (study monies and salaries)
BERBuilding Evaluation Report (or Building Condition Assessment)
CADDComputer-aided design and drafting
CATEXCategorical Exclusion (National Environmental Policy Act process)
CEQCouncil on Environmental Quality
CFRCode of Federal Regulations
CILPCapital Investment and Leasing Program
COContracting Officer representing the General Services Administration and the U.S. government
CORContracting Officer’s Representative (prime contact for contractors)
COTRContracting Officer’s Technical Representative
EAEnvironmental Assessment
ECCAEstimated construction cost at award
EISEnvironmental Impact Statement
EOExecutive Order
ESAEnvironmental Site Assessment
FARFloor area ratio
FEMAFederal Emergency Management Agency
FONSIFinding of No Significant Impact
FSFeasibility Study
GSAGeneral Services Administration
LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design
LPPLocal Portfolio Plan
MOAMemorandum of Agreement
MOUMemorandum of Understanding
NEPANational Environmental Policy Act
NHPANational Historic Preservation Act
NOINotice of Intent
NTPNotice to Proceed (given by the Contracting Officer)
OMBOffice of Management and Budget
P-100Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service
PBSPublic Buildings Service
PDSProspectus Development Study
PMPProject Management Plan
PORProgram of Requirements
PTOffice of Portfolio Management
RARegional Administrator
REQARegional Environmental Quality Advisor
RODRecord of Decision
RWAReimbursable Work Authorization
SHPOState Historic Preservation Officer
SIRSite Investigation Report
USCDGU.S. Courts Design Guide


11-B: An 11-B is a congressionally required study in which GSA reports to Congress regarding the housing needs of a specific locality. This study may or may not recommend a new project. If it does, then the need for the project must be justified through a study such as a Local Portfolio Plan or a Prospectus Development Study.

Allowance Document: The Allowance Document transfers the appropriated funds to the Region.

Architect/Engineer (A/E): The A/E is the architecture/engineering firm selected to perform the design of a project.

Asset Business Plan (ABP): The ABP is a document that provides all information, strategy, and long-term plans necessary to manage the business of operating and optimizing an asset. The GSA Asset Business Plan is a Web based asset management tool that provides building history and projections for many areas, including space and income, that are used to develop long-range strategies for the asset, reinvestment plans, and capital investment priorities.

Building Evaluation Report (BER): The Building Condition Assessment is done through a BER that documents the condition and deficiencies of a building. GSA will identify the BER work (called work items) that is to be addressed by the Prospectus Development Study (PDS). However, a PDS also must recognize other impacted work that may not be fully described in the BER work items or the Feasibility Study.

Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA): BOMA provides information to and a network forum for industry professionals.

Categorial Exclusion (CATEX): Under the National Environmental Policy Act, a CATEX is an action that normally does not require the preparation of an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement.

Communications Plan: A Communications Plan identifies spokespersons for GSA, the customer agency, and stakeholders; schedules key communications to be disseminated in conjunction with project milestones; identifies potential issues; and includes strategies for responding to those issues.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD): All new construction and major renovations entail drawings created in a standard GSA format, with the help of computer-based programs such as CAD.

Cost Benchmark: A Cost Benchmark is the cost model, based on real, similar facilities, used to evaluate project costs for a similar type of building.

Customer Billing Record (CBR): The CBR is the mechanism that GSA uses to establish rent billing and is created through an Occupancy Agreement.

Design Excellence: For projects that require significant architectural and engineering treatment, programming direction must reflect GSA’s commitment to Design Excellence. General design principles and philosophies are presented in the architecture and interior design chapter of the Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Handbook.

Due Diligence: “Environmental Due Diligence” is a term that describes the responsibilities of a landowner, such as GSA, to conduct an appropriate inquiry prior to the purchase or development of a parcel of commercial real estate and ensure that all “recognized conditions” have been identified.

Environmental Assessment (EA): The EA is a concise public document that is prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to determine whether a federal action would significantly affect the environment and thus require preparation of a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). It also

  • Briefly provides sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether to prepare an EIS or a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI);
  • Aids in an agency’s compliance with the NEPA when no EIS is necessary, which leads to a FONSI; and
  • Facilitates preparation of an EIS when one is necessary.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): The National Environmental Policy Act requires that federal agencies prepare an EIS for major projects or legislative proposals that significantly affect the environment. It is a decision-making tool that describes the positive and negative effects of the undertaking and lists alternative actions. An EIS is a detailed study that leads to a Record of Decision. It records decisions made and mitigation measures that relate to the environmental impacts of a project.

Environmental Site Assessment (ESA): An ESA is a study of a property’s past use, the environmental conditions at the site and adjoining sites, and the likely presence of hazardous substances. An ESA can contribute to the “innocent landowner” defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. (CERCLA)

Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service: The P-100 is the primary GSA design criteria/standards document and is typically referenced for compliance in architecture/engineering firm contracts.

Feasibility Study: GSA uses this study to evaluate Prospectus-level proposed projects to ensure that they meet tenant agency space needs and government-owned facility requirements. This study also determines the preferred alternative and basis for preparing a Prospectus Development Study, which will meet the housing needs of the customer agency.

Funding Appropriation: Congress sets aside funding for a project or a particular use.

Funding Authorization: Congress approves funding for a project or a particular use. (Funds must be authorized and appropriated before becoming available for a project.)

General Construction Cost Review Guide (GCCRG): The Public Buildings Service General Construction Cost Review Guide, which is generally published yearly, provides costs to construct space by space type, escalation and location factors by localities, and a system for developing Cost Benchmarks.

Input Document: An input document is a supporting document, study, or report used to complete the Feasibility Study.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): GSA has adopted the LEED rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council as a measure for sustainable design. The P-100 and the Capital Investment and Leasing Program (CILP) require that all new and fully renovated building projects meet criteria for basic LEED Certification (higher levels of achievement are Silver, Gold, and Platinum). As of fiscal year 2003, all new and fully renovated buildings must meet a Silver LEED rating.

Lease Construction: Lease construction is new construction of a facility for government use in response to GSA’s formal solicitation for offers. The construction may be on either a preselected site assigned by GSA to the successful offeror or the offeror’s site.

Local Portfolio Plan (LPP): The LPP is a document that provides the method for managing local portfolios and client needs within a specific locality. The LPP provides the basis for market considerations; long-term tenant needs; existing leased and owned facilities; and community considerations to make decisions related to markets, tenant housing, and hold/divest decision-making.

Long List: A long list is a list of all prospective sites considered in the site selection process.

Notice of Intent (NOI): The NOI describes the proposed action, possible alternatives, and the proposed NEPA scoping process. It states the name and address of a person within GSA who can answer questions about the proposed action and EIS.

Occupancy Agreement (OA): An Occupancy Agreement is similar to a lease between GSA and each tenant agency in a building that establishes the rent and space assignment for each agency.

Pro Forma: The investment pro forma analyzes the predicted return on investment and income potential of the project.

Program of Requirements (POR): The POR defines the scope of the project and the tenant improvements or reimbursables associated with a project.

Project Development Rating Index (PDRI): The GSA project team performs a project evaluation, utilizing the Construction Industry Institute’s PDRI process, prior to submitting the Feasibility Study or Prospectus Development Study for funding a capital project. This process determines the Project Team’s effectiveness in preparing a quality submission and assures minimization of risks and mitigation of potential negative issues. This self-evaluation aids in determining areas of project development that may need additional work or study prior to the project’s submission for funding.

Project Management Plan (PMP): This is defined on the GSA/PBS website. For Project Management Plan requirements, visit their website.

Prospectus: The Prospectus is a formal document sent to the Office of Management and Budget and Congress to receive funding authorization. It includes project scope information, budget, and schedule, plus a housing plan. This, if approved, results in authorization letters from both the House and Senate that approve the project, whereas an appropriations bill actually funds the project.

Public Buildings Service (PBS): The General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service organization manages, owns, and constructs space for housing federal agencies.

Short List: The sites on the short list are the best candidates from the long list and are further evaluated to develop a recommendation for site acquisition. The short list typically includes three (3) sites.

Site Directive (also referred to as Limited Site Directive): The Office of the Chief Architect issues the Site Directive either after the President’s proposed Budget (which includes the Site Design and Prospectus) is submitted to Congress or after Congress approves and the President signs the Budget. With receipt of the Site Directive, Regions are authorized to begin formal site selection actions (and acquisition and professional services procurement actions) up to the point of award. The award is contingent upon project authorization and funding appropriation by Congress.

System for Tracking and Administering Real Property (STAR): STAR is GSA’s building inventory database for space management, leases, and rent billing.

Transaction Screen: The Transaction Screen (see ASTM E 1528-93, Environmental Site Assessments) is an inquiry process designed to meet CERCLA’s “innocent landowner” defense, but does not require the judgment of an environmental professional. It includes a questionnaire with guidelines for interviewing owners and occupants of a property, observing site conditions, and conducting limited research. Based on the results, the user can determine whether additional information is required, proceed to a Phase I ESA, or research other areas of concern. The same type of process can be applied to other lines of inquiry.

Work Plan: The Work Plan is a key tool that the team can use to manage the site selection process. The Work Plan includes information relating to a project’s staff, schedule, scope, budget, approvals, controls, and communications.

Even more Acronyms form the GSA’s VSC website:

ACO -Administrative Contracting Officer

AIMS – Advertising & Integrated Marketing Solutions -Schedule 541

BOA – Basis of Award

BPA – Blanket Purchasing Agreement

CAsI – Contractor Assessment Initiative report card

CPG  – Comprehensive Procurement Guideline

CAV – Contractor Assistance Visit

CTA – Contractor Teaming Arrangement

DUNS – Data Universal Numbering System

EDI – Electronic Data Interchange

EPEAT – Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool

eSRS – Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System

ET – Environmental Technology Verification

ERGO – Ergonomic item

EPA – Economic Price Adjustments

FABS – Financial and Business Solutions – Schedule 520

FAR – Federal Acquisition Regulation

FAS – Federal Acquisition Service

FBO – Federal Business Opportunities

FEMP – Federal Energy Management Program

FEMP – Federal Energy Management Program

FPDS – Federal Procurement Data Systems

GSA – General Services Administration

ISR – Individual Subcontracting Report

IFF – Industrial Funding Fee

IOA – Industrial Operations Analyst

LOGWORLD – Logistics Worldwide-Schedule 874 V

MAS – Multiple Award Schedule

MFC – Most Favored Customer

NFES – National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutant

NIB – National Industries for the Blind

NISH – National Industries for the Severely Handicapped

OSBU – Office of Small Business Utilization

PRIME – Plastics Removal in Marine Environment Program

PCO – Procurement Contracting Officer

PES – Professional Engineering Services-Schedule 871

PPS – Pre-Purchased Stock

PTAC – Procurement Technical Assistance Center

RFQ – Request for Quotation

RFP – Request for Proposal

SIN – Special Item Number

SNAP – Significant New Alternatives Program

SSQ – Schedules Sales Query

SSR – Summary Subcontracting Report

TAA – Trade Agreements Act

TAPS – Temporary Administrative and Professional Staffing Services-Schedule 736

TDRS – Transportation, Delivery, and Relocation Solutions – Schedule 48

UNICOR – Trade name for the Federal Prison Industries

VSC – Vendor Support Center

VITM  – DOD Virtual IT Marketplace/ESI BPA item

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