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Federal Acquisition Regulation; FAR Case 2005-032, Contractor's Request for Progress Payments

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCIES:

Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) have agreed on a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to incorporate improvements related to requests for progress payments and the Standard Form (SF) 1443, Contractor's Request for Progress Payments, used to request those progress payments. Changes made to the Standard Form as published in the proposed rule include correction of misspellings, and an editorial change made at Item 4 to better describe the order number.

DATES:

Effective Date: July 15, 2009.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For clarification of content, contact Ms. Meredith Murphy, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 208-6925. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat, 1800 F Street, NW, Room 4041, Washington, DC 20405, (202) 501-4755. Please cite FAC 2005-33, FAR case 2005-032.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

The Councils published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 73 FR 19035 on April 8, 2008, to (1) address revisions necessary to implement the paid-cost rule and (2) simplify the SF 1443 and related regulations and instructions to improve clarity.

No comments were received by the close of the public comment period on June 9, 2008. Subsequently, one comment was received from one commenter. The commenter specifically took no issue with the proposed FAR changes, but objected to the costs that would be incurred by its member companies to make programming changes that ensue from altering the SF 1443. The commenter reasoned that “(s)ince DOD's goal is to significantly expand the use of performance based payments, it would appear to be more cost effective not to incur significant expenditures on changes to a form (i.e., SF 1443) that is part of a system (progress payments) that is no longer the preferred system for providing financing payments.”

The Councils were puzzled at the commenter's cost estimate of $87,000 to update software to use the new SF 1443 because the changes incorporated into the SF 1443 by this case were, generally, necessitated by prior changes to the paid-cost rule and other changes to FAR Part 32. These changes had been in effect for some time, so contractors using SF 1443 to request progress payments have already made changes to their software to conform their progress payment requests to the updated FAR text.

The commenter, an association representing large defense aerospace corporations, was requested to provide the cost analysis upon which it based its estimate of the cost to reprogram software in order to enable electronic generation and submittal of the SF 1443 to request a progress payment. The commenter subsequently provided data supporting its estimate of approximately $87,000 per contractor. This estimate and the supporting data were forwarded to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy for review specifically to determine the impact of modifying the SF 1443 on small businesses. Two independent reviews were conducted, one by the SBA's regulatory economist and one by an outside small business expert selected by the SBA. Neither of these reviews discovered a substantial economic impact on a significant number of small entities.

Further, the Councils did not find the commenter's rationale regarding performance-based payments convincing. While it is the goal of Federal Government agencies, not just DoD, to use performance-based payments wherever possible, there remain many circumstances in which progress payments are an important financing mechanism. Therefore, the Councils approved this case as a final rule.

During a final review by the Councils' Acquisition Finance Team, it was discovered that the last item in the “INSTRUCTIONS” section of the form on page 2 was labeled in error as pertaining to “Item 26.” However, the instruction actually refers to paragraph (f) of the “CERTIFICATION” section. That correction has been made to the form. In addition, a sentence was added to the SF 1443 instructions for Items 14a-14e to clarify that the “financing payments” to be included do not include interim payments under a cost reimbursement contract.

This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not 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.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration certify that this final rule will not 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 the changes are designed to simplify the form and improve clarity. (See also, the Background section above for a thorough discussion of lack of impact on small entities.)

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does apply; however, these changes to the FAR do not impose additional information collection requirements to the paperwork burden previously approved under OMB Control Number 9000-0010.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 32, 43, 52, and 53

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Dated: June 9, 2009.

Al Matera,

Director, Office of Acquisition Policy.

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Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA amend

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1. The authority citation for

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

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PART 32—CONTRACT FINANCING

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2. Amend section 32.001 by adding, in alphabetical order, the definition “Liquidate” to read as follows:

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Definitions.

Liquidate means to decrease a payment for an accepted supply item or service under a contract for the purpose of recouping financing payments previously paid to the contractor.

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3. Amend section 32.501-3 by revising paragraph (a)(1) and the first sentence of paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:

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Contract price.

(a) * * *

(1) Under firm-fixed price contracts, the contract price is the current amount fixed by the contract plus the not-to-exceed amount for any unpriced modifications.

(3) Under a fixed-price incentive contract, the contract price is the target price plus the not-to-exceed amount of unpriced modifications. * * *

[Removed and Reserved]
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4. Remove and reserve section 32.503-1.

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5. Amend section 32.503-6 by revising paragraphs (a)(3), (f), and (g)(1)(i) to read as follows:

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Suspension or reduction of payments.

(a) * * *

(3) In all cases, the contracting officer shall—

(i) Act fairly and reasonably;

(ii) Base decisions on substantial evidence; and

(iii) Document the contract file. Findings made under paragraph (c) of the Progress Payments clause shall be in writing.

(f) Fair value of undelivered work. Progress payments must be commensurate with the fair value of work accomplished in accordance with contract requirements. The contracting officer must adjust progress payments when necessary to ensure that the fair value of undelivered work equals or exceeds the amount of unliquidated progress payments. On loss contracts, the application of a loss ratio as provided at paragraph (g) of this subsection constitutes this adjustment.

(g) * * *

(1) * * *

(i) Revise the current contract price used in progress payment computations (the current ceiling price under fixed-price incentive contracts) to include the not-to-exceed amount for any pending change orders and unpriced orders.

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PART 43—CONTRACT MODIFICATIONS

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[Amended]
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6. Amend section 43.102 by removing from paragraph (b) the word “maximum” and adding the word “ceiling” in its place.

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PART 52—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES

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7. Amend section 52.232-16 by revising the date of the clause; adding paragraph (a)(9); and revising paragraphs (c)(5) and (g) to read as follows:

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Progress Payments.

Progress Payments (JUL 2009)

(a) * * *

(9) The costs applicable to items delivered, invoiced, and accepted shall not include costs in excess of the contract price of the items.

(c) * * *

(5) The fair value of the undelivered work is less than the amount of unliquidated progress payments for that work.

(g) Reports, forms, and access to records. (1) The Contractor shall promptly furnish reports, certificates, financial statements, and other pertinent information (including estimates to complete) reasonably requested by the Contracting Officer for the administration of this clause. Also, the Contractor shall give the Government reasonable opportunity to examine and verify the Contractor's books, records, and accounts.

(2) The Contractor shall furnish estimates to complete that have been developed or updated within six months of the date of the progress payment request. The estimates to complete shall represent the Contractor's best estimate of total costs to complete all remaining contract work required under the contract. The estimates shall include sufficient detail to permit Government verification.

(3) Each Contractor request for progress payment shall:

(i) Be submitted on Standard Form 1443, Contractor's Request for Progress Payment, or the electronic equivalent as required by agency regulations, in accordance with the form instructions and the contract terms; and

(ii) Include any additional supporting documentation requested by the Contracting Officer.

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PART 53—FORMS

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[Amended]
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8. Amend section 53.232 by removing “(

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9. Amend section 53.301-1443 by revising the form to read as follows:

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Contractor's Request for Progress Payment.
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BILLING CODE 6820-EP-S

[FR Doc. E9-13977 Filed 6-12-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6820-EP-C