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CDRL Inspection and Acceptance

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I am looking for general information on inspection and acceptance of CDRLs.

The effort in question is FFP, including all data, and includes delivery of 60-70 CDRLs. 

The effort includes FFP hardware, FFP services, and FFP Data.  The pricing of the CDRL requirements was rolled into the other total FFP prices (like we have 1 FFP line item/CLIN that is NRE CDRLs, NRE testing, NRE tasking, etc) and 1 FFP CLIN (separately priced) for drawing package. 

Most of the CDRLs are marked with the code "DD" in block  7 (I/A at Destination), "A" in block 8 (approval is needed prior to final distribution), "ASREQ" in block 10, then "See Block 16" for Blocks 12 & 13. Block 16 (for almost all of the CDRLs) with additional language similar to the following 2 examples:

1.  Block 12 & 13:  CDRL shall be submitted NLT 90 DAC. Government requires 10 working days for review/comments/approval. Contractor shall address any Government comments/questions within 10 working days of receipt; or 

2.  Block 12:  CDRL shall be delivered to the Government within 180 DAC.  The Government will have 30 days to review, accept, and/or comment on the deliverable.

After the Government reviews and comments on the deliverable, the contractor shall incorporate Government comments/submit change pages into the final electronic deliverable.

Block 13: Final Deliverable shall be delivered to the Government 90 days prior to contract end date.

Question: 

Contractor believes that Government is only entitled to one round of review and comments & once those are received, Contractor reviews, adjudicates and/or incorporates required changes and submits the final deliverable within timeframe noted for Contractor on the 1423 Form; and since data is FFP, Contractor assumed only 2 submittals for each CDRL (Draft & Final incorporating Govt review & Comments).

Government believes that the language in Block 16 stating "Government requires 10 working days for review/comments/approval. Contractor shall address any Government comments/questions within 10 working days of receipt" (and does not spell out final deliverable) means that the Contractor cannot limit the number of reviews conducted by the Government.  And for those CDRLs that do specifically reference a Draft & Final Deliverable/Submittal, Government believes that because Block 10 (Frequency) is coded with "ASREQ" that the Contractor is required to submit revisions of those CDRLs whenever the Government requires them.

Hypothetically, Contractor submits draft CDRL and comments are received from the Government. Contractor incorporates comments and submits the revised CDRL as the Final submission IAW 1423 Form.  30 days later, Government provides additional comments from their review of the Final submission. As a courtesy, Contractor adjudicates and revises the CDRL again and re-submits 2nd Final. Government submits comments in response the 2nd final submission.  Contractor rejects comments stating that the CDRL 1423 form provides 1 comment/review period from Government, then submission of final, which has already occurred.  Government is now rejecting the CDRL delivery due to "grammar, format and spelling mistakes" OR Government is stating that Block 10 requires contractor to submit "ASREQ" or as required and the Government is now requesting an additional submission.

I have seen the other discussion on CDRL Review and Acceptance and I believe the circumstance differs as these CDRLs were priced as FFP, not CPFF.  The additional rounds of Government comments and reviews has been doubled or in some cases quadroupled for the Contractor. This has been brought up to the PCO that these additional reviews should be considered out of scope, but now Government is refusing to approve CDRLs citing grammar, spelling or format mistakes (like there may be 2 line spaces between paragraphs instead of 1 or a couple words are in font 11 instead of 12, etc).  And I understand that generally it would not be a big deal; however, when CDRLs are FFP and there are 76 different CDRLs......review of comments, changes, revisions, and re-submissions begin to add up.  On some CDRLs, Government has already exceeded 5 or 6 Comment submissions (with a revision of the CDRL to each afterwards).

Where can I find clear direction on CDRL Acceptance?  If the Government doesn't submit within the time period stated, is approval deemed?  If not, what is the acceptance criteria? If the CDRL meets all requirements of the DID called out, but there are a few grammar or format mistakes, is that a basis for rejection?

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Does Does FAR 46.407 answer some of your questions? Also, if DOD, is Manual 5010.xx (acquisition and management of data) incorporated by reference in your contract? In 46.407 (g) it is stated that notice of rejection must provide reasons and be prompt or acceptance may be implied. In (d), if the non-conformance is minor, it could be accepted or rejected. I found an Army contract document entitled GUIDANCE ON DOCUMENTATION OF CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS LIST (CDRL) that explains Form1423 codes. It states "use of ASREQ requires further explanation in block 16 to provide the contractor with guidance necessary to accurately price the deliverable data." I was not able to clearly understand the language in your block 16 and/or the government's interpretation with respect to FFP contracts.

See, https://acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc_ri/business_opportunities/draft solicitations_scope of work/files/Attach 0001 - Guidance on Documentation of CDRL.pdf

Edited by Neil Roberts
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15 hours ago, kburnett4112 said:

Government is refusing to approve CDRLs citing grammar, spelling or format mistakes (like there may be 2 line spaces between paragraphs instead of 1 or a couple words are in font 11 instead of 12, etc). 

It may be nitpicking and perhaps the government could edit these mistakes out.

On the other hand, it appears that you have a quality control problem in your performance. Perhaps you ought to have better editing and an acceptable final quality control check of the product.

If your company is being paid to professionally write and prepare these deliverables, I would expect the product to be of professional quality. I read too many instruction manuals and other technical data, which clearly indicate that they were written by someone with English as their second language.

Just my observation.

P.S. My own writing isn’t so hot, either. But nobody is paying me to write.

Edited by joel hoffman
Many edits required

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Many people use the expression “Close enough for government work” derisively to convince themselves or others that some imperfect effort or product should be acceptable or just “good enough” to get by. The term originally meant the opposite. See, for instance: https://fcw.com/blogs/lectern/2018/01/good-enough-for-government-work-kelman.aspx?m=1

I politely explain this to them and that they have conveyed to me that their effort falls short of what would be the government’s quality expectation if they were providing something for the government. I reminded my own peers and employees, too.

Of course, the government would have to clearly express its expectations.

And it’s expectations may often be grandiose, seemingly excessive and/or wasteful. 

My point is that the expression is an indicator of the attitude of the provider.

This is not meant to be an opinion regarding the original poster.

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17 hours ago, kburnett4112 said:

The effort in question is FFP, including all data, and includes delivery of 60-70 CDRLs. 

The effort includes FFP hardware, FFP services, and FFP Data.  The pricing of the CDRL requirements was rolled into the other total FFP prices (like we have 1 FFP line item/CLIN that is NRE CDRLs, NRE testing, NRE tasking, etc) and 1 FFP CLIN (separately priced) for drawing package. 

If the contractor reasonably priced the FFP CDRL effort assuming only one round of government review/comments, and the government is now requiring multiple rounds, then it may be entitled to an equitable adjustment of contract price for the costs of its additional efforts. Similarly, if the contractor believes the government is unreasonably rejecting its CDRLs and requiring rework for things that should not be reworked, it may be entitled to an equitable adjustment of contract price for the costs of its additional efforts.

Thus, the contractor must accept government direction but may be compensated for the changed work (if indeed it was changed from the original assumptions used for pricing the FFP CLIN(s)). In my view, this is not really different from any other inspection/acceptance issues. Government delay/disruption is compensable in many circumstances.

But this is based on legal arguments; if the contractor is serious then an experienced attorney should be consulted. My GED in government contract law was issued many years ago and, although I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express at about the same time as I received my GED, I wouldn't want anybody to rely on my legal advice on this or any other topic.

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On 7/31/2020 at 9:46 AM, here_2_help said:

If the contractor reasonably priced the FFP CDRL effort assuming only one round of government review/comments, and the government is now requiring multiple rounds, then it may be entitled to an equitable adjustment of contract price for the costs of its additional efforts. Similarly, if the contractor believes the government is unreasonably rejecting its CDRLs and requiring rework for things that should not be reworked, it may be entitled to an equitable adjustment of contract price for the costs of its additional efforts.

Thus, the contractor must accept government direction but may be compensated for the changed work (if indeed it was changed from the original assumptions used for pricing the FFP CLIN(s)). In my view, this is not really different from any other inspection/acceptance issues. Government delay/disruption is compensable in many circumstances.

But this is based on legal arguments; if the contractor is serious then an experienced attorney should be consulted. My GED in government contract law was issued many years ago and, although I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express at about the same time as I received my GED, I wouldn't want anybody to rely on my legal advice on this or any other topic.

I don’t disagree. My comment was specific only to the OP’s remark that I quoted above. I see that the OP has now edited the original post. 

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On 7/30/2020 at 6:32 PM, Neil Roberts said:

Does Does FAR 46.407 answer some of your questions? Also, if DOD, is Manual 5010.xx (acquisition and management of data) incorporated by reference in your contract? In 46.407 (g) it is stated that notice of rejection must provide reasons and be prompt or acceptance may be implied. In (d), if the non-conformance is minor, it could be accepted or rejected. I found an Army contract document entitled GUIDANCE ON DOCUMENTATION OF CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS LIST (CDRL) that explains Form1423 codes. It states "use of ASREQ requires further explanation in block 16 to provide the contractor with guidance necessary to accurately price the deliverable data." I was not able to clearly understand the language in your block 16 and/or the government's interpretation with respect to FFP contracts.

See, https://acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc_ri/business_opportunities/draft solicitations_scope of work/files/Attach 0001 - Guidance on Documentation of CDRL.pdf

I have cited both of these to the PCO and COR.  The issue we are having is that for the CDRLs that state “Block 12 & 13:  CDRL shall be submitted NLT 90 DAC. Government requires 10 working days for review/comments/approval. Contractor shall address any Government comments/questions within 10 working days of receipt” 

The Govt COR is stating that the above language means that the Government can send comments within 10 days after the contractor provides any revision.  
 

Ex:  The contractor submitted the initial/draft per above language.  Government comments were received, reviewed & incorporated. Contractor delivered revised CDRL (2nd submission) addressing comments as required in above language.  This should have been the end.....but Government commented on the 2nd submittal (comments that were never provided previously).  Contractor, as a courtesy, incorporated/addressed those comments & submitted a 2nd revision (3rd submission).  And Government has again provided comments to our 3rd submission.  
 

Now, I have reviewed all of the submissions and all of the comments from the 2nd & 3rd submission was regarding data that was present in our initial draft....so why were those comments not provided initially to allow only 1 revision? It seems very excessive, especially since these are FFP.

 

Government has been notified of that these excessive revisions could result in cost impacts & have never rejected a CDRL to date; only provided numerous rounds of comments.  The notes that warn potential schedule/cost impacts are repeatedly ignored & they say we aren’t meeting requirements.

 

In general, I think my question is that all of these CDRLs call out specific DIDs that detail the data requirements.  Where are the requirements stated (or written) in terms of spelling, grammar or format?  The DIDs don’t mention anything other than Contractor Format....so on what grounds is the Government rejecting an entire CDRL delivery because in 1 paragraph an acronym is all CAPS & in another its in parentheses?  Or there’s 1-2 spelling mistakes/grammar not caught by spell check?  
 

I have not been able to track down where these guidelines are clearly stated & the COR noted that any disagreement with their rejection would need to include citation of the regulations I am basing my argument upon.

Final Side Note:  This contract is not primarily for data.  The primary purpose is hardware, tech drawings, spares....these are just the CDRLs that make up the required tech package.

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In general, I see the contractor position about repetitive reviews being uncalled for as reasonable. However, if contractor addressed the government comments or questions with a revised submission, a further government review regarding whether the "fix" was reasonable, and/or adversely affected other sections that had no comments or questions, is not out of the question to me as being reasonable. I recommend you get an experienced 3rd party to give you an opinion about your submittals.

If your business case warrants it, you may consider filing a formal request for equitable adjustment claim with the contracting officer and/or make some kind of written demand or assertion to the contracting officer.

With respect to language and format, your contract may include reference to MIL-STD 963 in the Data Item Description (DID) or elsewhere. The DID may answer some of your questions. Mil-Std 963 also references the United States Government Publishing Office Style Manual as applicable. Mil-Std paragraphs 3.18, 4.3, 4.4, 4.41 and 5.14 seem particularly relevant.   

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In the event of a claim, it might be that they keys are (1) whether the contractor's first re-submission adequately addressed the Government's inputs; and (2) whether the Government added new inputs in the second and subsequent go-rounds.

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