Removing a Price Realism Evaluation is a Material Change, Says GAO

Price realism—the evaluation of whether a proposed price is too low—is a method the government may use to evaluate fixed price offers to ensure that offerors are proposing pricing that reflects an understanding of the work required by the solicitation. Prices that are unrealistically low can result in proposal elimination. This means price realism is an important consideration when preparing a bid. But what if an agency decides after proposal submission that a price realism evaluation will not be performed? In a recent decision, GAO confirmed that offerors must be given the opportunity to revise their proposals.

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Want Increased Costs Caused by an Epidemic? Look at Your Contract!

Contractors in the COVID-19 era may be tempted to think that the Government will compensate them for increased costs caused by virus-induced shutdowns, quarantines, and the like. And this line of thought has some inherent appeal. After all, the virus was entirely unforeseen by both parties when the contract was inked. So shouldn’t the customer–the party wanting the good or service–bear the risk of these extraordinary events?

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Did the FAR Plan For COVID-19? Yes, Sort of

There are not many people or organizations that can say they anticipated the spread of this pandemic disease that is confining million to their homes as part of stay in place orders and self quarantines.

Though the FAR Council did not foresee that the coronavirus and COVID-19 would trap contractors in their homes, it did anticipate that from time to time events completely out of the control of contractors may conspire to affect the performance of contracts—though perhaps not to this magnitude.

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Termination For Default: The “No Reasonable Likelihood” Standard

Sometimes you may find yourself running late. It happens to the best of us for a multitude of reasons. But what happens to federal contractors when they are running late in performing under a contract and there is “no reasonable likelihood” of timely performance?

Unfortunately for contractors in this position, as illustrated by a recent Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) decision, the result may be a default termination.

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Trump: DoD Contracts Should Be Fixed-Price

We previously have written about the trending preference toward fixed-price contracts, and away from cost reimbursement contracts, in defense procurements.  The Defense Department’s supplement to the FAR (known as DFARS), in fact, already includes restrictions on using cost-reimbursement or time and materials contracts.

Now the President has come out in favor of fixed-price defense contracting. In a Time Magazine article published today, President Trump signaled strong support for the fixed-price contracting preference, going so far as to “talk of his plans to renegotiate any future military contracts to make sure they have fixed prices.”

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GAO Report Highlights Recent Trends In Government Contracting

Earlier this month, the GAO  released a comprehensive report detailing the trends in government contracting over a five-year period (from fiscal year 2011 through 2015). The entire report is available here. If you have a few hours to spare, it’s worth a read; if not, this post will summarize a few of its most eye-catching nuggets.

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GAO Reaffirms Agencies’ Broad Discretion to (Not) Consider Price Realism for Fixed-Price Contracts

We are quickly approaching our 1000th blog post on the SmallGovCon blog. To celebrate we want to reward one lucky reader with a free one hour custom webinar for up to 50 people presented by Steven Koprince on the government contracting topic of your choice! You can enter by using the hashtag #SGC1000 on Twitter or Facebook just by telling us why you read the blog or what you love most about. You can also simply fill out this form to be entered. Good Luck!


As a general rule, an agency is only required to evaluate a fixed-price offer for reasonableness (that is, whether the price is too high). Agencies are not required to evaluate fixed-price offers for realism (that is, whether the price is too low) and, in fact, cannot do so unless the solicitation advises offerors that a realism evaluation will be conducted.

GAO recently reaffirmed this principle when it denied a protest challenging an agency’s refusal to consider the realism of offerors’ fixed prices as part of a corrective action, even though the agency suspected that at least one offeror’s price was unrealistically low.

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