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Rule

Federal Acquisition Regulation; Proper Use and Management of Cost-Reimbursement Contracts

Action

Interim Rule With Request For Comments.

Summary

DoD, GSA, and NASA are issuing an interim rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement section 864 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009. This law aligns with the Presidential Memorandum on Government Contracting, issued on March 4, 2009, which directed agencies to save $40 billion in contracting annually by Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 and to reduce the use of high-risk contracts. This rule provides regulatory guidance on the proper use and management of other than firm-fixed-price contracts (e.g., cost-reimbursement, time-and-material, and labor-hour).

Unified Agenda

FAR Case 2008-030, Proper Use and Management of Cost-Reimbursement Contracts

4 actions from March 16th, 2011 to February 2012

  • March 16th, 2011
  • March 16th, 2011
    • Interim Final Rule Effective
  • May 16th, 2011
    • Interim Final Rule Comment Period End
  • February 2012
    • Final Rule
 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Effective Date: March 16, 2011.

Comment Date: Interested parties should submit written comments to the Regulatory Secretariat on or before May 16, 2011 to be considered in the formulation of a final rule.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

Submit comments identified by FAC 2005-50, FAR Case 2008-030, by any of the following methods:

  • Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by inputting “FAR Case 2008-030” under the heading “Enter Keyword or ID” and selecting “Search.” Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “FAR Case 2008-030.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “FAR Case 2008-030” on your attached document.
  • Fax: (202) 501-4067.
  • Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Hada Flowers, 1275 First Street, NE., 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20417.

Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite FAC 2005-50, FAR Case 2008-030, in all correspondence related to this case. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

For clarification of content, contact Lori Sakalos, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 208-0498. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat at (202) 501-4755. Please cite FAC 2005-50, FAR Case 2008-030.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

I. Background Back to Top

This case implements section 864 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Pub. L. 110-417), enacted October 14, 2008. This law aligns with the President's goal of reducing high-risk contracting as denoted in the March 4, 2009, Presidential Memorandum on Government Contracting.

Section 864 requires the FAR to be revised to address the use and management of cost-reimbursement contracts and identifies the following three areas that the Defense Acquisition Regulation Council and the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (Councils) should consider in amending the FAR—

(a) Circumstances when cost-reimbursement contracts are appropriate;

(b) Acquisition plan findings to support the selection of a cost-reimbursement contract; and

(c) Acquisition resources necessary to award and manage a cost-reimbursement contract.

1. Guidance on Cost-reimbursement contracts. As required, the Councils included additional coverage at FAR subpart 16.1, Selecting Contract Types, and at subpart 16.3, Cost-Reimbursement Contracts, to provide further guidance as to when, and under what circumstances, cost-reimbursement contracts are appropriate. Therefore, this rule makes the following changes:

  • FAR 16.103, Negotiating contract type, is amended to revise paragraph (d) to reflect additional documentation when other than a firm-fixed-price contract type is selected.
  • FAR 16.104, Factors in selecting contract types, is amended to add a new paragraph (e) to provide guidance to the contracting officer to consider combining contract types if the entire contract cannot be firm fixed-price.
  • FAR 16.301-2, Application, is amended to provide guidance to the contracting officer as to the circumstances in which to use cost-reimbursement contracts as well as outlining the rationale for documentation for selecting this contract type.
  • FAR 16.301-3, Limitations, is amended to (1) provide additional guidance to the contracting officer as to when a cost-reimbursement contract may be used, (2) ensure that all factors have been considered per FAR 16.104, and (3) ensure that adequate Government resources are available to award and manage this type of contract.
  • FAR 7.104(e) also requires the designation of a properly trained contracting officer's representative (COR) (or contracting officer's technical representative (COTR)) prior to award of the contract or order.

2. Identification of acquisition plan findings. FAR 7.103, Agency-head responsibilities, is amended and renumbered to add new paragraphs 7.103(d), 7.103(f), and 7.103(j) to ensure that acquisition planners document the file to support the selection of the contract type in accordance with FAR subpart 16.1; ensure that the statement of work is closely aligned with the performance outcomes and cost estimates; and obtain an approval and signature from the appropriate acquisition official at least one level above the contracting officer. FAR 7.105(b)(5)(iv) was added to discuss the strategy to transition from cost-reimbursement contracts to firm-fixed-price contracts. Although FAR 7.105(b)(5), Acquisition considerations, requires the acquisition plans to include a discussion of contract type selection and rationale, the Councils believe that a greater emphasis on the use of cost-reimbursement contracts should be added and included a new paragraph at FAR 7.105(b)(3), Contract type selection. Additionally, FAR 16.301-3(a) has been amended and renumbered.

3. Acquisition workforce resources. The Councils recognize that assigning adequate and proper resources to support the solicitation, award, and administration of other than firm-fixed-price contracts (cost-reimbursement, time-and-material, and labor-hour) contract is challenging. There is also great concern that a lack of involvement in contract oversight by program offices is primarily present in other than firm-fixed-price contracts. Therefore, from the outset, contracting officers should be assured, to the greatest extent practicable, that the right resources in number, kind, and availability be assigned to support other than firm-fixed-price contracts. The Councils consider that greater accountability for the management and oversight of all contracts, especially other than firm-fixed-price contracts, can be gained and improved by requiring that properly trained CORs or COTRs (see FAR 2.101(b)(2), Definitions) be appointed before award. Therefore, FAR 7.104, General Procedures, and FAR 16.301-3(a)(4)(i) are amended to reflect that prior to award of a contract, especially on other than firm-fixed price contracts, at least one COR or COTR qualified in accordance with FAR 1.602-2 is designated. FAR 1.602-2, Responsibilities, is amended to add a new paragraph (d) outlining the requirement for the contracting officer to designate and authorize, in writing, a COR on contracts and orders, as appropriate. Additionally, a new section was added at FAR 1.604, Contracting officer's representative, outlining the COR's duties.

4. Contract administration functions. A new paragraph was added at FAR 42.302(a)(12) to require that the contracting officer determine the continuing adequacy of the contractor's accounting system during the entire period of contract performance. Also, paragraph (a)(12) was added to the list of functions at FAR 42.302(a) that cannot be retained and that must be delegated by the contracting officer when delegating contract administration functions to a contract administration office in accordance with FAR 42.202(a).

II. Executive Order 12866 Back to Top

This is a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

III. Regulatory Flexibility Act Back to Top

DoD, GSA, and NASA do not expect this interim rule to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because section 864 affects only internal Government operations and requires the Government to establish internal guidance on the proper use and management of all contracts especially other than firm-fixed-price contracts (e.g., cost-reimbursement, time-and-material, and labor-hour) and does not impose any additional requirements on small businesses.

Therefore, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has not been performed. DoD, GSA, and NASA invite comments from small business entities and other interested parties on the expected impact of this rule on small entities.

DoD, GSA, and NASA will also consider comments from small entities concerning the existing regulations in subparts affected by the rule in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 610 (FAC 2005-50, FAR Case 2008-030) in correspondence.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act Back to Top

The changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

V. Determination To Issue an Interim Rule Back to Top

A determination has been made under the authority of the Secretary of Defense (DoD), the Administrator of General Services (GSA), and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that urgent and compelling reasons exist to promulgate this interim rule without prior opportunity for public comment. This action is necessary because section 864 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, enacted October 14, 2008, directs that it must be implemented within 270 days from enactment. This rule is also urgent because this law requires the Inspector General to conduct a compliance review for each executive agency, one year after the regulations have been promulgated, on the use of cost-reimbursement contracts and include the results of their findings in the IG's next semiannual report. However, pursuant to 41 U.S.C. 1707 and FAR 1.501-3(b), DoD, GSA, and NASA will consider public comments received in response to this interim rule in the formation of the final rule.

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 1, 2, 7, 16, 32, 42, and 50 Back to Top

Dated: March 4, 2011.

Millisa Gary,

Acting Director, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy Division.

Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA amend 48 CFR parts 1, 2, 7, 16, 32, 42, and 50 as set forth below:

begin regulatory text

1.The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 1, 2, 7, 16, 32, 42, and 50 continues to read as follows:

Authority:

40 U.S.C. 121(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 42 U.S.C. 2473(c).

PART 1—FEDERAL ACQUISITION REGULATIONS SYSTEM Back to Top

2.Amend section 1.602-2 by adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:

1.602-2 Responsibilities.

* * * * *

(d) Designate and authorize, in writing, a contracting officer's representative (COR) on all contracts and orders other than those that are firm-fixed price, and for firm-fixed-price contracts and orders as appropriate. However, the contracting officer is not precluded from retaining and executing the COR duties as appropriate. See 7.104(e). A COR—

(1) Must be a Government employee, unless otherwise authorized in agency regulations;

(2) Shall be certified and maintain certification in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget memorandum entitled “The Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer Technical Representatives” dated November 26, 2007, or for DoD, DoD Regulations, as applicable;

(3) Must be qualified by training and experience commensurate with the responsibilities to be delegated in accordance with department/agency guidelines;

(4) May not be delegated responsibility to perform functions that have been delegated under 42.202 to a contract administration office, but may be assigned some duties at 42.302 by the contracting officer;

(5) Has no authority to make any commitments or changes that affect price, quality, quantity, delivery, or other terms and conditions of the contract; and

(6) Must be designated in writing, with copies furnished to the contractor and the contract administration office—

(i) Specifying the extent of the COR's authority to act on behalf of the contracting officer;

(ii) Identifying the limitations on the COR's authority;

(iii) Specifying the period covered by the designation;

(iv) Stating the authority is not redelegable; and

(v) Stating that the COR may be personally liable for unauthorized acts.

3.Amend section 1.603 by revising the section heading to read as follows:

1.603 Selection, appointment, and termination of appointment for contracting officers.

* * * * *

4.Add section 1.604 to read as follows:

1.604 Contracting Officer's Representative (COR).

A contracting officer's representative (COR) assists in the technical monitoring or administration of a contract (see 1.602-2(d)). The COR shall maintain a file for each assigned contract. The file must include, at a minimum—

(a) A copy of the contracting officer's letter of designation and other documents describing the COR's duties and responsibilities;

(b) A copy of the contract administration functions delegated to a contract administration office which may not be delegated to the COR (see 1.602-2(d)(4)); and

(c) Documentation of COR actions taken in accordance with the delegation of authority.

PART 2—DEFINITIONS OF WORDS AND TERMS Back to Top

5.Amend section 2.101 in paragraph (b)(2) by adding, in alphabetical order, the definition “Contracting officer's representative (COR)” to read as follows:

2.101 Definitions.

* * * * *

(b) * * *

(2) * * *

Contracting officer's representative (COR) means an individual, including a contracting officer's technical representative (COTR), designated and authorized in writing by the contracting officer to perform specific technical or administrative functions.

* * * * *

PART 7—ACQUISITION PLANNING Back to Top

6.Amend section 7.102 by adding paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:

7.102 Policy.

(a) * * *

(3) Selection of appropriate contract type in accordance with part 16.

* * * * *

7.Amend section 7.103 by—

a. Redesignating paragraphs (e) through (w) as paragraphs (g) through (y);

b. Redesignating paragraph (d) as paragraph (e);

c. Adding a new paragraph (d);

d. Revising newly redesignated paragraph (e);

e. Adding a new paragraph (f); and

f. Revising newly redesignated paragraph (j).

The added and revised text reads as follows:

7.103 Agency-head responsibilities.

* * * * *

(d) Ensuring that acquisition planners document the file to support the selection of the contract type in accordance with subpart 16.1.

(e) Establishing criteria and thresholds at which increasingly greater detail and formality in the planning process is required as the acquisition becomes more complex and costly, including for cost-reimbursement and other high-risk contracts (e.g., other than firm-fixed-price contracts) requiring a written acquisition plan. A written plan shall be prepared for cost reimbursement and other high-risk contracts other than firm-fixed-price contracts, although written plans may be required for firm-fixed-price contracts as appropriate.

(f) Ensuring that the statement of work is closely aligned with performance outcomes and cost estimates.

* * * * *

(j) Reviewing and approving acquisition plans and revisions to these plans to ensure compliance with FAR requirements including 7.104 and part 16. For other than firm-fixed-price contracts, ensuring that the plan is approved and signed at least one level above the contracting officer.

* * * * *

8.Amend section 7.104 by adding paragraph (e) to read as follows:

7.104 General procedures.

* * * * *

(e) The planner shall ensure that a COR is nominated by the requirements official, and designated and authorized by the contracting officer, as early as practicable in the acquisition process. The contracting officer shall designate and authorize a COR as early as practicable after the nomination. See 1.602-2(d).

9.Amend section 7.105 by—

a. Removing from the first sentence of the introductory text the words “see paragraph (b)(19)” and adding the words “see paragraph (b)(21)” in their place;

b. Redesignating paragraphs (b)(3) through (b)(21) as paragraphs (b)(4) through (b)(22), respectively;

c. Adding a new paragraph (b)(3);

d. Removing from newly redesignated paragraph (b)(5)(i) the words “contract type selection (see part 16);”;

e. Removing from newly redesignated paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(A) the words “see 7.103(t)” and adding the words “see 7.103(v)” in its place; and

f. Adding paragraph (b)(5)(iv).

The added text reads as follows:

7.105 Contents of written acquisition plans.

* * * * *

(b) * * *

(3) Contract type selection. Discuss the rationale for the selection of contract type. For other than firm-fixed-price contracts, see 16.103(d) for additional documentation guidance. Acquisition personnel shall document the acquisition plan with findings that detail the particular facts and circumstances, (e.g., complexity of the requirements, uncertain duration of the work, contractor's technical capability and financial responsibility, or adequacy of the contractor's accounting system), and associated reasoning essential to support the contract type selection. The contracting officer shall ensure that requirements and technical personnel provide the necessary documentation to support the contract type selection.

* * * * *

(5) * * *

(iv) For each contract (and order) contemplated, discuss the strategy to transition to firm-fixed-price contracts to the maximum extent practicable. During the requirements development stage, consider structuring the contract requirements, e.g., contract line items (CLINS), in a manner that will permit some, if not all, of the requirements to be awarded on a firm-fixed-price basis, either in the current contract, future option years, or follow-on contracts. This will facilitate an easier transition to a firm-fixed-price contact because a cost history will be developed for a recurring definitive requirement.

* * * * *

PART 16—TYPES OF CONTRACTS Back to Top

10.Amend section 16.103 by revising paragraphs (d)(1) and (2) to read as follows:

16.103 Negotiating contract type.

* * * * *

(d) * * *

(1) Each contract file shall include documentation to show why the particular contract type was selected. This shall be documented in the acquisition plan, or if a written acquisition plan is not required, in the contract file.

(i) Explain why the contract type selected must be used to meet the agency need.

(ii) Discuss the Government's additional risks and the burden to manage the contract type selected (e.g., when a cost-reimbursement contract is selected, the Government incurs additional cost risks, and the Government has the additional burden of managing the contractor's costs). For such instances, acquisition personnel shall discuss—

(A) How the Government identified the additional risks (e.g., pre-award survey, or past performance information);

(B) The nature of the additional risks (e.g., inadequate contractor's accounting system, weaknesses in contractor's internal control, non-compliance with Cost Accounting Standards, or lack of or inadequate earned value management system); and

(C) How the Government will manage and mitigate the risks.

(iii) Discuss the Government resources necessary to properly plan for, award, and administer the contract type selected (e.g., resources needed and the additional risks to the Government if adequate resources are not provided).

(iv) For other than a firm-fixed price contract, at a minimum the documentation should include—

(A) An analysis of why the use of other than a firm-fixed-price contract (e.g., cost reimbursement, time and materials, labor hour) is appropriate;

(B) Rationale that detail the particular facts and circumstances (e.g., complexity of the requirements, uncertain duration of the work, contractor's technical capability and financial responsibility, or adequacy of the contractor's accounting system), and associated reasoning essential to support the contract type selection;

(C) An assessment regarding the adequacy of Government resources that are necessary to properly plan for, award, and administer other than firm-fixed-price contracts; and

(D) A discussion of the actions planned to minimize the use of other than firm-fixed-price contracts on future acquisitions for the same requirement and to transition to firm-fixed-price contracts to the maximum extent practicable.

(v) A discussion of why a level-of-effort, price redetermination, or fee provision was included.

(2) Exceptions to the requirements at (d)(1) of this section are—

(i) Fixed-price acquisitions made under simplified acquisition procedures;

(ii) Contracts on a firm-fixed-price basis other than those for major systems or research and development; and

(iii) Awards on the set-aside portion of sealed bid partial set-asides for small business.

* * * * *

11.Amend section 16.104 by—

a. Redesignating paragraphs (e) through (k) as paragraphs (f) through (l), respectively;

b. Adding a new paragraph (e);

c. Removing from newly redesignated paragraph (f) the words “incentives to ensure” and adding the words “incentives tailored to performance outcomes to ensure” in their place;

d. Removing from newly redesignated paragraph (g) the words “price adjustment terms” and adding the words “price adjustment or price redetermination clauses” in their place; and

e. Revising newly redesignated paragraph (i).

The added and revised text reads as follows:

16.104 Factors in selecting contract types.

* * * * *

(e) Combining contract types. If the entire contract cannot be firm-fixed-price, the contracting officer shall consider whether or not a portion of the contract can be established on a firm-fixed-price basis.

* * * * *

(i) Adequacy of the contractor's accounting system. Before agreeing on a contract type other than firm-fixed-price, the contracting officer shall ensure that the contractor's accounting system will permit timely development of all necessary cost data in the form required by the proposed contract type. This factor may be critical—

(1) When the contract type requires price revision while performance is in progress; or

(2) When a cost-reimbursement contract is being considered and all current or past experience with the contractor has been on a fixed-price basis. See 42.302(a)(12).

* * * * *

12.Revise section 16.301-2 to read as follows:

16.301-2 Application.

(a) The contracting officer shall use cost-reimbursement contracts only when—

(1) Circumstances do not allow the agency to define its requirements sufficiently to allow for a fixed-price type contract (see 7.105); or

(2) Uncertainties involved in contract performance do not permit costs to be estimated with sufficient accuracy to use any type of fixed-price contract.

(b) The contracting officer shall document the rationale for selecting the contract type in the written acquisition plan and ensure that the plan is approved and signed at least one level above the contracting officer (see 7.103(j) and 7.105). If a written acquisition plan is not required, the contracting officer shall document the rationale in the contract file. See also 16.103(d).

13.Amend section 16.301-3 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:

16.301-3 Limitations.

(a) A cost-reimbursement contract may be used only when—

(1) The factors in 16.104 have been considered;

(2) A written acquisition plan has been approved and signed at least one level above the contracting officer;

(3) The contractor's accounting system is adequate for determining costs applicable to the contract; and

(4) Adequate Government resources are available to award and manage a contract other than firm-fixed-priced (see 7.104(e)) including—

(i) Designation of at least one contracting officer's representative (COR) qualified in accordance with 1.602-2 has been made prior to award of the contract or order; and

(ii) Appropriate Government surveillance during performance to provide reasonable assurance that efficient methods and effective cost controls are used.

* * * * *

PART 32—CONTRACT FINANCING Back to Top

32.1007 [Amended]

14.Amend section 32.1007 by removing from paragraph (a) “(see 42.302(a)(12))” and adding “(see 42.302(a)(13))” in its place.

PART 42—CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION AND AUDIT SERVICES Back to Top

15.Amend section 42.302 by—

a. Removing from the introductory text of paragraph (a) the words “paragraphs (a)(5), (a)(9), and (a)(11)” and adding the words “paragraphs (a)(5), (a)(9), (a)(11), and (a)(12)” in their place;

b. Redesignating paragraphs (a)(12) through (a)(26) as paragraphs (a)(13) through (a)(27); and

c. Adding a new paragraph (a)(12) to read as follows:

42.302 Contract administration functions.

(a) * * *

(12) Determine the adequacy of the contractor's accounting system. The contractor's accounting system should be adequate during the entire period of contract performance. The adequacy of the contractor's accounting system and its associated internal control system, as well as contractor compliance with the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), affect the quality and validity of the contractor data upon which the Government must rely for its management oversight of the contractor and contract performance.

* * * * *

PART 50—EXTRAORDINARY CONTRACTURAL ACTIONS AND THE SAFETY ACT Back to Top

50.205-1 [Amended]

16.Amend section 50.205-1 by removing from the first sentence in paragraph (b) the words “(see FAR 7.105(b)(19)(v))” and adding the words “(see 7.105(b)(20)(v))” in their place.

end regulatory text

[FR Doc. 2011-5552 Filed 3-15-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P

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