on Friday, July 7, 2000 - 01:07 pm:
Answer: poor regulation coordination and writing by the FAR
Council, pure and simple.
scott stermer on Friday, July 7, 2000 - 12:56 pm:
I am just trying to add a little fodder for the conversion, I
agree with Vern on SCA totally.
Consider what the FAR says at 17.204(e):
"(e) Unless otherwise approved in accordance with agency
procedures, the total of the basic and
option periods shall not exceed 5 years in the case of services,
and the total of the basic and
option quantities shall not exceed the requirement for 5 years
in the case of supplies. These
limitations do not apply to information technology contracts.
However, statutes applicable to
various classes of contracts, for example, the Service Contract
Act (see 22.1002-1), may place
additional restrictions on the length of contracts."
Award Term contracting would fall under approved agency
Why does the FAR take us back to the SCA, DOL does not think it
would not restrict the length of the contract in the case of
Tim on Friday, July 7,
2000 - 08:09 am:
Your excellent explanation of DOL's interpretation of the SCA
also highlights why award term contracts for services with
potential 10-15 year performance periods are acceptable.
on Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 07:27 pm:
With regard to the five year limit on contracts subject to the
Service Contract Act, as stated in 41 U.S.C. 353(d) and FAR
The Dept. of Labor has interpreted that five year limit as
follows: When a contract is funded annually and awarded for a
base year and options, the base year and each option is
considered a new contract. Thus, the SCA five year clock starts
anew with the exercise of each option. The five year limit does
not apply to the total contract -- i.e., the base year
plus the options.
DOL's interpretation is stated clearly in 29 C.F.R. 4.145(a),
which I will quote below:
"Sometimes service contracts are entered into for an extended
term exceeding one year; however, their continuation in effect
is subject to the appropriation by Congress of funds for each
new fiscal year. In such event, for purposes of this Act, a
contract shall be deemed entered into upon the contract
anniversary date which occurs in each new fiscal year during
which the terms of the original contract are made effective by
an appropriation for that purpose. In other cases a service
contract, entered into for a specified term by a Government
agency, may contain a provision such as an option clause under
which the agency may unilaterally extend the contract for a
period of the same length or other stipulated period. Since the
exercise of the option results in the rendition of services for
a new or different period not included in the term for which the
contractor is obligated to furnish services or for which the
Government is obligated to pay under the original contract in
the absence of such action to extend it, the contract for the
additional period is a wholly new contract with respect to
application of the Act's provisions and the regulations
thereunder (see Sec. 4.143(b))."
29 C.F.R. 4.143(b) says that mods which extend the period of
performance are also considered new contracts. It reads in part
"Also, whenever the term of an existing contract is extended,
pursuant to an option clause or otherwise, so that the
contractor furnishes services over an extended period of time,
rather than being granted extra time to fulfill his original
commitment, the contract extension is considered to be a new
contract for purposes of the application of the Act's
You can confirm this if you like by calling DOL or by checking
with your labor law attorney.
Thus, in Wayne's scenario, the five year limit mentioned in FAR
22.1002-1 is not a concern.
Eric Ottinger on
Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 05:04 pm:
Here is an ďAsk A ProfessorĒ Q&A
addressing the five year limitation.
I presume the you can always do a J&A and a new contract to go
beyond five years. Another pragamatic possibility is to get
interim support off of one of these GSA schedule contracts.
Personal opinion: As long as you are honestly doing a bridge
with the intent to compete, the probability of a protest is
Fran L. Cass
on Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 04:24 pm:
If it is a services requirement
-- you may have problems with the 5 year limit. In such cases
our office writes the J&A to support interim coverage through a
short term "bridge" contract as opposed to justifying a
modification that would push the contract's total performance
period over 5 years. (FAR 22.1002-1)
on Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 02:17 pm:
"How long can the Government continue to extend an existing
contract to provide a bridge to a follow-on contract? Isnít
there some kind of limit?"
Not as long as the government can justify extending the contract
without full and open competition. They can extend the contract
in the way you have described as long as an authorized official
in the agency is willing to sign a J&A. (I presume that nothing
fishy is going on.)
Wayne Hinton on
Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 01:31 pm:
The scenario: A professional
services contract expires (all option periods have been
exercised) on September 30, 1999. The efforts to re-compete the
follow-on contract are running behind, so the Government extends
the existing contract to January 31, 2000 to provide a 4-month
bridge. Offers for the follow-on contract are received on
October 29, 1999. Delays in awarding the follow-on contract
persist, so the Government extends the existing contract 3
additional times, each providing an additional 3-month bridge (9
months total). The current contract has now been extended a
total of 13 months beyond its original expiration date to
October 29, 2000. Offers for the follow-on contract have been in
hand for over 8 months (12 months by the time the existing
The questions: How long can the Government continue to extend an
existing contract to provide a bridge to a follow-on contract?
Isnít there some kind of limit?