(a) The tiered or cascading order of precedence used for tiered evaluation of offers shall be consistent with FAR Part 19.
(b) Consideration shall be given to the tiers of small businesses (e.g., 8(a), HUBZone small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, small business) before evaluating offers from other than small business concerns.
(c) The contracting officer is prohibited from issuing a solicitation with a tiered evaluation of offers unless—
(1) The contracting officer conducts market research, in accordance with FAR Part 10 and Part 210, to determine—
(i) Whether the criteria in FAR Part 19 are met for setting aside the acquisition for small business; or
(ii) For a task or delivery order, whether there are a sufficient number of qualified small business concerns available to justify limiting competition under the terms of the contract; and
(2) If the contracting officer cannot determine whether the criteria in paragraph (c)(1) of this section are met, the contracting officer includes a written explanation in the contract file as to why such a determination could not be made (Section 816 of Pub. L. 109-163).