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Contractor submits an HSE plan with its bid in 2017 and is awarded the project late the next year. In 2019, when contractor is about to mobilize, it's told to resubmit its HSE plan. It does, and the buyer rejects the plan, calling for detailed procedures to be submitted as well. Contractor submits procedures and receives an approved AR. The contractor again prepares to mobilize, and buyer's technical rep holds up work, now requiring another procedure. At what point do the buyer's demands become unreasonable or, effectively, delays? And does it make any difference that the buyer is a private entity contracted with a government agency?

It may be obvious, but I am very much a newbie. Many thanks for any guidance. 

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So, are we understanding that the contract in question is not a FAR-based prime contract between a federal agency and a prime contractor?

It might be that FAR principles do not apply, and the contract will be governed by its own terms and state law.  The threshold for a buyer's unreasonable delay of work could be a matter for dispute in civil (state) litigation between you and the other party (the buyer).

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If this were a prime contract we were talking about (between a federal agency and a contractor), that contract might contain contract clauses that would be helpful.  For example, a Government prime contract might contain the clause at FAR 52.242-17, Government Delay of Work.  That clause allows the contractor to provide notice of an alleged delay and provides a remedy for the delay.

Is there any similar clause in your contract?  If so, that is your starting point.  If not, you might need to improve your relationship with the private entity with whom you have contracted, and/or you might have to lawyer up.

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I appreciate your feedback. The FAR you reference re delays does not apply. I guess we would have to make a legal argument they they are interfering in the performance of the contract. 

Something you said, however, raised this question for me: I was told by a lawyer that in prime contracts with the government (which is not my company's situation), there is case law that stands for the proposition that all FARS related to delays and equitable adjustments apply to all government contracts regardless of whether they are referenced in a specific contract. I do not see how that can be accurate - what would be the point of referencing one but not another FAR then? - but admittedly I am a novice. 

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3 hours ago, Brock said:

I appreciate your feedback. The FAR you reference re delays does not apply. I guess we would have to make a legal argument they they are interfering in the performance of the contract. 

Something you said, however, raised this question for me: I was told by a lawyer that in prime contracts with the government (which is not my company's situation), there is case law that stands for the proposition that all FARS related to delays and equitable adjustments apply to all government contracts regardless of whether they are referenced in a specific contract. I do not see how that can be accurate - what would be the point of referencing one but not another FAR then? - but admittedly I am a novice. 

I think your lawyer may have been referring to "The Christian Doctrine" doesn't apply to everything. Since I'm a novice too, I'll just say you may want to look into that.

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20 hours ago, Brock said:

the proposition that all FARS related to delays and equitable adjustments apply to all government contracts regardless of whether they are referenced in a specific contract. I do not see how that can be accurate - what would be the point of referencing one but not another FAR then? - but admittedly I am a novice. 

1. Your description of what your attorney supposedly said is a little bit off the mark, but this sounds like someone imprecisely describing the Christian doctrine. You can search that term. Keep in mind that the Christian doctrine applies to the relationship between the prime contractor and the government. If you are the subcontractor, it's not directly relevant to your situation with the prime contractor.

2. You're right to question how all of the different versions of FAR clauses dealing with equitable adjustments could possibly apply to the same contract. That's nonsense. There are different versions of similar FAR clauses to apply to different contracts. It would be incoherent to apply all of the different versions of similar FAR clauses to a single contract. Again, this is a concern for the prime contract with the government. The contracting officer for the federal government is supposed to select the proper clause(s) to include the prime contract with the prime contractor.

3. As a subcontractor, your concern is the contract between the subcontractor and the prime contractor. Your problems and disputes will be adjudicated based on the content of the "subcontract," not the "prime contract." The government may have failed to use the "right" clauses in the prime contract. The prime contractor or subcontractor may have failed to use the "right" clauses in the subcontract. Examine the subcontract and determine if there is a clause or any language that controls your situation. This is generally how contracts work. You read the contract to determine if there is any guidance for the current situation. Forget about the government for a little while. Sit down and read your "subcontract" and try to find the answer.

4. The plural of a Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause is FAR clauses. The singular FAR references the entire set of regulations. Writing "FARS" or "one but not another FAR" discredits you and will confuse your peers. 

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