On September 10th, SBA released proposed increases to the small business size standards for many of the industries that use employee-based size standards.  The affected industries include some very popular ones for the contracting community, such as Environmental Remediation Services (exception to 562910), Research and Development in Biotechnology (541711), and Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (541712).  In many cases, the proposed increases are significant, allowing more and larger firms to qualify as small in these industries.  

For example, the size standard for Environmental Remediation Services is proposed to increase from 500 employees to 1,250 employees.  Both of the Research and Development codes would double, from 500 employees to 1,000 employees.  And the SBA also proposed sizable increases of between 250 and 500 employees for each of the exceptions under NAICS code 541712 for aircraft engines and parts, other aircraft parts and auxiliary equipment, and guided missiles and space vehicles, their propulsion units, and propulsion parts.  The publishing industries are proposed for big increases as well, with newspaper, periodical, and book publishers each proposed to double, from 500 employees to 1,000 employees, and greeting card publishers proposed to triple, from 500 employees to 1,500 employees.  

The proposed increases to many of the employee-based size standards are the latest in a series of increases the SBA has proposed in recent years as the agency works to overhaul all of its size standards.  Comments on the proposed increases are due by November 10, 2014, and affected firms are encouraged to submit their views.  If past experience is a guide, it will likely take about one year before the proposed increases become final.  This means the new size standards should be finalized and applicable to procurements in these industries sometime in the second half of 2015.