Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) source selection process (FAR 15.101-2) is where the government determines that the lowest price is awardable over the complaint technical offering of all proposals. LPTA is appropriate only when the government “expects” it can achieve the best value from selecting the proposal that is technically acceptable and offers the lowest evaluated price. 
FAR 15.101 Best value continuum.
An agency can obtain best value in negotiated acquisitions by using any one or a combination of source selection approaches. In different types of acquisitions, the relative importance of cost or price may vary. For example, in acquisitions where the requirement is clearly definable and the risk of unsuccessful contract performance is minimal, cost or price may play a dominant role in source selection. The less definitive the requirement, the more development work required, or the greater the performance risk, the more technical or past performance considerations may play a dominant role in source selection.
FAR 15.101-2 Lowest price technically acceptable source selection process.
(a) The lowest price technically acceptable source selection process is appropriate when best value is expected to result from selection of the technically acceptable proposal with the lowest evaluated price.
(b) When using the lowest price technically acceptable process, the following apply:
(1) The evaluation factors and significant subfactors that establish the requirements of acceptability shall be set forth in the solicitation. Solicitations shall specify that award will be made on the basis of the lowest evaluated price of proposals meeting or exceeding the acceptability standards for non-cost factors. If the contracting officer documents the file pursuant to 15.304(c)(3)(iii), past performance need not be an evaluation factor in lowest price technically acceptable source selections. If the contracting officer elects to consider past performance as an evaluation factor, it shall be evaluated in accordance with 15.305. However, the comparative assessment in 15.305(a)(2)(i) does not apply. If the contracting officer determines that a small business’ past performance is not acceptable, the matter shall be referred to the Small Business Administration for a Certificate of Competency determination, in accordance with the procedures contained in subpart 19.6 and 15 U.S.C. 637(b)(7)).
(2) Tradeoffs are not permitted.
(3) Proposals are evaluated for acceptability but not ranked using the non-cost/price factors.
(4) Exchanges may occur (see 15.306).
(Update) Section 813 of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires a change to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to state that LPTA source selection criteria be used only in situations in which the following six factors are fulfilled.
- DoD is able to comprehensively and clearly describe the minimum requirements expressed in terms of performance objectives, measures, and standards that will be used to determine acceptability of offers;
- DoD would realize no, or minimal, value from a contract proposal exceeding the minimum technical or performance requirements set forth in the request for proposal;
- the proposed technical approaches will require no, or minimal, subjective judgment by the source selection authority (SSA) as to the desirability of one offeror’s proposal versus a competing proposal;
- the SSA has a high degree of confidence that a review of technical proposals of offerors other than the lowest bidder would not result in the identification of factors that could provide value or benefit to the DoD;
- the contracting officer has included a justification for the use LPTA evaluation methodology in the contract file; and
- DOD has determined that the lowest price reflects full lifecycle costs, including for operations and support.
Additionally, to the maximum extent practicable, the use of LPTA source selection criteria shall be avoided in the case of procurement that is predominately for the acquisition of—
- information technology services, cybersecurity services, systems engineering and technical assistance services, advanced electronic testing, audit or audit readiness services, or other knowledge-based professional services;
- personal protective equipment; or
- knowledge-based training or logistics services in contingency operations or other operations outside the United States, including in Afghanistan or Iraq.
AcqNotes and References:
-  Website: FAR 15.101-2 “Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) Source Selection Process”
- Memo: Appropriate Use of LPTA – 4 Mar 2015
- Website: FAR 15.101 “Best Value Continuum”