GSA Automated Advanced Acquisition Program (AAAP)

As if there weren’t enough acronyms involved with Federal Government Leasing, GSA has created quite a few new ones over the last few years as it relates to new Government Lease procurement methods.

The Automated Advanced Acquisition Program, or AAAP as it is commonly referred to, is a novel approach to competing for GSA leases.

As is the case with most Federal lease procurements, the GSA AAAP procurement process begins with a procurement-specific advertisement on www.beta.sam.gov. The advertisement will contain information pertaining to the GSA’s search area (known as the delineated area), desired square footage (expressed as ANSI/BOMA Office Area or ABOA for short), length of lease term, and other critical project details. And that is where the similarities between a GSA AAAP procurement and other Federal lease procurement methods end.

If interested in this lease, you first must set up an account with the GSA AAAP system. You will then enter your building information, ownership information, and offer specific details on the AAAP website. This is frequently confusing to building owners and brokers that don’t do this on a daily basis because you are lacking a great deal of information. Without the proper research and preparation, it is very easy to underbid. Preparation is key!

How do you prepare to submit your offer?

Method #1: You can download that appropriate lease information from the AAAP website, pour over the details of the lease and hope that you don’t miss anything from the long list of items that make a GSA lease unique, and finally translate these unique Government lease requirements into a competitive lease offer.

Method #2: You can hire a broker that specializes not only in federal leasing, but also one that fully understands the GSA AAAP procurement process. If this method sounds more appealing than the first, please don’t hesitate to give Arco a call!

Waiting for your GSA AAAP Procurement

Regardless of the approach you have taken, you will now enter into a bit of a waiting period. This part of the GSA AAAP procurement process will likely take 1 of 2 paths.

Path #1: If you hear nothing from GSA on your AAAP procurement offer, you were not the successful offeror. GSA will not reach out to you if you lost in the majority of cases because your offer is still active in the system and could potentially be selected for a future procurement. As a rule of thumb, if you don’t hear from GSA within a month of the offer window closing then you likely won’t hear from them. That said, this is just a rule of thumb. Some procurements may move slower than others.

Path #2: If you are selected as the lowest-priced offeror in AAAP, GSA will contact you likely via email. At this point, you will then need to prove that your building is capable of becoming “technically acceptable”.

How to Prove Your Building is Capable of Becoming “Technically Acceptable”

The first step of proving your building is capable of becoming “technically acceptable” will be a physical tour of the building. Assuming the building “passes” the site visit, you will then receive a “Due Diligence Letter” from GSA. This letter will contain a long list of items that you will need to provide to GSA by a stated deadline. The documents you will need to provide may seem tedious, but they are not difficult to obtain. You will just need to follow directions exactly.

During this phase, it is very likely that you will also receive some additional information regarding the government’s tenant improvement requirements. It is very important that you review these materials to see if there is anything contained in these requirements, often referred to as Agency Special Requirements or Program of Requirements, that does not change your understanding of the costs associated with this lease and therefore your offered rates.

Should you discover requirements in the ASR / POR that increase the costs associated with this lease then you may face a dilemma. GSA is quick to state that AAAP process does not allow for negotiations after the offer has been submitted, but this is only partially true. You will need to remind GSA that your offer was based on their generic lease and RLP provided on the AAAP website and did not include consideration of the new information that was just provided.

While this is technically true and there should be a mechanism for adjusting your rates based on the new information, your ability to make these necessary adjustments will depend of reasonableness of the Lease Contracting Officer or Leasing Specialist that you are working with. Here again, a deep understanding of the organization and this procurement model will provide your best chance of success.

Once you have submitted your complete AAAP due diligence package to GSA, you will again enter into a waiting phase. This could last weeks or months. Unfortunately, recent experiences with this program are yielding wait times measured in months.

However long the wait, you will eventually receive a lease for execution. Congratulations… now the real work of designing, pricing, and constructing the tenant improvements begins. That is another conversation for another day….

While there are of course other variables that can pop up along the way, the AAAP procurement process is currently the quickest and most direct path to obtaining a lease with GSA. However, it can also be the most confusing given that you are basing your proposal on generic information that is subject to change after you have been selected. If you decide to go at it alone, just remember that preparation prior to proposal is key, and also know that preparation can only be achieved by reading and truly understanding what you are signing up for.

If you are considering pursuing a GSA lease or have additional questions on the GSA AAAP process, please reach out to us today! With over 15 years of experience within the Federal Government, we understand the potential complications of GSA leases and are here to help make you successful in obtaining a GSA AAAP procurement!