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ASLA Submits Testimony to House Small Business Subcommittee

ASLA requests that SBA provide additional time to comment on proposed size standards.

On May 5, the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access held a hearing on the Professional Services: Proposed Changes to the Small Business Size Standards.  

ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, submitted testimony for the official record that highlighted the concern that ASLA and many of its members have for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) proposed size standards changes for small landscape architecture firms. Under the proposed rule, SBA recommends that small landscape architecture firms should be capped at $19 million instead of the current $7 million cap.

“ASLA has heard from a number of our members and firms and learned that the vast majority of our traditional small business firms, with revenues less than $1 million, have experienced difficulty in competing against the larger landscape architecture and multidisciplinary firms for SBA federal landscape architecture contracting opportunities under the current size standards. These and other firms have further stated that SBA’s new proposed size standards that would increase the threshold for small landscape architecture firms from $7 million to $19 million would have a devastating impact on their ability to compete for any small business opportunities and could decimate their businesses. On the other hand, we have also heard from some midsize and larger landscape architecture firms that would welcome the opportunity to participate in the SBA programs that the new size standards increase would bring,” wrote Somerville.

Somerville went on to state that “the one consistent comment that we, at ASLA, have heard from all our members is that they do not fully understand the reasoning for SBA’s methodology in making these drastic size determinations and that they need more time to correctly determine what the impact of these size changes will mean for their firms and the entire landscape architecture profession.” She concluded her testimony by requesting that SBA extend the comment period for the size change standards for an additional 60 to 90 days and for SBA to hold a series of educational webinars on these proposed changes to better explain SBA’s methodology and grouping simplification process. Representatives from the American Institute of Architects and the American Council of Engineering Companies who testified at the hearing made similar requests.

SBA’s proposed changes for the small business size standards in the professional, scientific, and technical services industries could have far-reaching impacts on individual landscape architecture firms and the landscape architecture profession as a whole. ASLA encourages all its members affected by this proposed rule to submit comments and to tailor comments based on your individual firm and federal contracting circumstances.

You may submit your comments and suggestions through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal and by mail to Khem R. Sharma, chief, Size Standards Division, 409 3rd St. SW, Mail Code 6530, Washington, DC 20416. Currently, the deadline to submit your comments is still May 16, 2011.

ASLA also wants to hear from you about this issue. Upon submitting your written comments to SBA, please forward a copy to Federal Government Affairs Manager Roxanne Blackwell for reference.

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