Dealing with Contract Alterations and Modifications Due to COVID-19

There are many questions facing contractors during this time of upheaval from the coronavirus and the impact on the federal government’s role buying from federal contractors. We’ll try to address as many of them as we can through our COVID-19 Contractors’ Toolkit. One of the biggest questions is what can be done if the government modifies a contract, cancels work, or reschedules the performance of work. In that situation, it’s important to understand both the impacts on the prime contractor and any subcontractors.

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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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SBA Adds to Compliance Rules for Limitations on Subcontracting

Recently, the SBA released a final rule that clarifies some of the mysteries surrounding the limitation on subcontracting rules. The new rule, which goes into effect on December 30, 2019, provides clearer guidelines for contractors, while also creating some new requirements and definitions as discussed below.

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House Passes 2020 NDAA

On Friday, July 12, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

While this passage may lead to an uncharacteristic political fight over appropriations, contractors will be watching whether the U.S. Senate and House bills ultimately agree upon the less politically-charged sections likely to impact their businesses.

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8(a) Program: Utah SBA Imposes Tough New Restrictions on JVs & MPAs

The SBA’s Utah District Office has imposed tough new restrictions on the approval of 8(a) mentor-protege agreements and joint ventures.

The Utah SBA obviously hopes that these restrictions will lead to more successful 8(a) mentor-protege and joint venture relationships–but I worry that these District-specific restrictions may backfire, and put Utah 8(a)s at a significant competitive disadvantage against 8(a)s serviced by other SBA District Offices.

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SBA Proposes Credit For Lower-Tier Subcontracts

Large prime contractors operating under individual subcontracting plans would receive credit for small businesses performing at any subcontracting tier, according to a proposed rule issued yesterday by the SBA.

The proposed rule also requires large primes to assign a NAICS code and size standard to “solicitations” for subcontracts–a notion that may come as a surprise to prime contractors, many of whom do not typically issue formal subcontract solicitations.

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Sorry, Subcontractor: No SBA Size Appeal For You

When the SBA found a subcontractor to be affiliated with its prime contractor under the ostensible subcontractor rule, the subcontractor could not appeal the SBA’s finding to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals.

In a recent size appeal decision, OHA held that a subcontractor lacks the ability to file a size appeal because the subcontractor is not directly affected by the size determination.

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