Mr. Edwards, Thank you for your response to my question. This is very good information about line items that I had not considered and I will definitely alter my approach to comply with Subpart 4.10 requirements. My experience with T&M is limited (it must show with my sloppy use of terminology). So separate CLINs for Labor and Materials (where “materials” represent contract deliverables), as opposed to CLINs for Labor and ODCs. You mentioned a Materials CLIN could describe products that are “TBD”. This was where I was going in the second part of my question and perhaps I simply should have stated so. Is it permissible for the Materials portion of a time-and-materials contract to be undefined at time of award? Both in terms of product description and price? If yes, are there any limitations? For example, can a CO simply write a Materials CLIN with all products “TBD” and then allow the Project Manager or COR to direct the contractor what products to purchase when they are needed? If the consent requirements of Part 44 do not apply, then does the CO need to approve Materials purchased? What dollar limit applies if any (could the Materials CLIN be 2X, 5X, 10X the value of the Labor CLIN)? Do the brand name requirements of Part 11 apply or can the COR direct the contractor to purchase name brand products with no justification? Buy America Act? Sustainability? Re-reading my response here and further articulating my issue, it seems clear I'm lacking a firm handle on this issue and need to do more reading and research on my own. I continue to welcome any feedback from this community, but I think I must go back and spend more time researching this myself.
Scenario: A Program Office requires a contract for various cyber security services on a labor hour basis. The Government’s cost estimate for services is $1M/year. The anticipated placement procedures are FAR 12 and 13.5. The Program Office also requires occasional IT products to be purchased in support of these services. The precise IT products to be purchased are not easily defined. IT hardware and software are both anticipated. The Program Office needs the latest version of IT products at the time the need is identified, not necessarily the version anticipated at the time of contract award. And because of unknown potential threats and the criticality of maintaining the IT systems being protected, the need for very rapid procurement time is very important. For these reasons, the Program Office requests a T&M contract with an Other Direct Cost line item (ODC CLIN) in which the contractor would be authorized to purchase whatever IT products are needed when the requirement is identified by the Program Office. No specific IT products will be identified in the contract. The ODC CLIN will have a ceiling of $20K/year based on historical needs, and the ODC CLIN will be fully funded at time of award. The contract will contain (and the ODC CLIN will reference) FAR 52.212-4 Alt 1 Paragraph (i) stating that the Government will reimburse the Contractor on the basis of actual cost for ODCs and that the contractor shall obtain materials at the most advantageous prices available with due regard to securing prompt delivery of satisfactory materials. 1: What if anything is improper about the proposed ODC CLIN? 2: Does your answer change if the ODC CLIN ceiling is: a. $100K/year? b. $1M/year? c. $2M/year?