Sole Sourcing

One of Procurement’s most important roles is to source the best suppliers for all of the goods and services Berkeley Lab employees need to purchase. To do this well, we conduct competitive sourcing whenever possible.

Occasionally, a Requisitioner will have a need that can only be met through a single supplier.  In such cases Procurement will need a written justification to document the criteria for bypassing the competitive sourcing process. Note that this requirement applies for acquisitions of:

  • Research or other support from a UC Campus over $25,000 (not required for joint appointee IUTs or multi location assignments)
  • Any item or service from another DOE Facility Contractor over $250,000
  • Any other good or service over $250,000

Sole source purchases are not to be used to avoid competition, but rather to expedite a purchase under justifiable circumstances and if the criteria are met.

Sole Source Justification Criteria

The following list of criteria may be used in determining if a sole source situation exists:

  • The source has a unique capability, expertise, facilities or equipment that no other source can provide to satisfy the Laboratory’s requirements.
  • Compatibility exists with existing equipment and/or standardization of parts.
  • The order is for follow-on work for continued development or enhancement of specialized systems, equipment or services, in a case where it’s likely that  using a source other than the incumbent supplier would result in a substantial duplication of costs (relative to overall costs) that would not be recovered, or would cause significant unacceptable delays in fulfilling the program needs.
  • An unusual or compelling urgency exists related to schedule, security, regulatory or environmental, safety or health issues that would result in a significant negative impact to the Laboratory if there is a delay in award.
  • It’s necessary to establish or maintain a source for industrial mobilization or an essential engineering, development or research capability.
  • Services of an expert or neutral person are required for any current or anticipated litigation or dispute.
  • The identified source is acknowledged to be the leader in its field of expertise as demonstrated in reputable and valid literature, symposia presentations, etc. (While normally not appropriate for commercial goods and services, this identification may be appropriate in contracting for research and development.)
  • The source is authorized or required by statute, international agreement, national security or public interest, unique bonding, insurance or indemnification. (Applies if a Large Business is selected in lieu of a Small Business.)

Processing Sole Source Purchases

If a purchase meets the above requirements, the Requisitioner should complete a Sole Source Justification form and submit it, along with the Requisition, to Procurement.

Procurement will review the information and make a determination whether the circumstances call for a sole sourcing situation—in other words, whether only one source exists that meets the Laboratory’s requirements at a fair and reasonable price. If the Procurement Specialist determines that multiple potential suppliers could in fact satisfy the Laboratory’s requirements, then the Procurement Specialist will work with you to initiate the competitive sourcing process.

Sole source justification must:

  • Describe in general terms the good or service you are requesting.
  • Provide information on the market research efforts to locate other sources.
  • State the unique design/performance features (for goods) or the unique qualification/experience (for services) that are essential to meet your specific requirements.

Sole source justification exceptions:

  • Consulting services
  • If the contract will be awarded to a named collaborator under a Laboratory research award and the supplier is identified in the award notice or other documentation from the sponsor. In these cases, send the award notice or other sponsor documentation with your requisition.