Prequalification is a procedure to qualify products or suppliers and limit consideration of bids or proposals to only those products or suppliers which have been prequalified.
§2.2-4317(A) of the Code of Virginia provides that: "Prospective contractors may be prequalified for particular types of supplies, services, insurance or construction, and consideration of bids or proposals limited to prequalified contractors."
Prequalification does not guarantee that a particular supplier will receive a contract or award, but rather qualifies a supplier to submit a bid or propose a solution for a specific solicitation under agreed-upon terms and conditions. Agencies may prequalify IT products or suppliers and then only solicit those who have been determined to have met the prequalification criteria. In such cases, a qualified contractors list (QCL) and/or a qualified products list (QPL) may be created. A QCL is a list of suppliers whose capability to provide an IT service has been evaluated and approved based on written prequalification procedures. A QPL is a list of IT products and/or services that have been tested and approved based on written prequalification criteria. The prequalification process allows for the listing of an unlimited number of potential IT suppliers that have agreed to meet the agency's specific technology requirements and have agreed to the terms and conditions as defined in the prequalification document. If the prequalification document includes terms and conditions which are not required by law, regulation or policy, those terms and conditions may be subject to negotiation before issuance of a solicitation.