Things We Never Thought to Remind the Contracting Workforce

While I would love to take credit for these “gems” of contracting wisdom I cannot – it with full concurrence from Mr. George Chavis that I share these “Things we thought we would never have to remind the contracting workforce.”  While this list seems obvious or humorous, from George’s point of view, these are errors he sees everyday.  I thought it was a good idea to share with all acquisition professionals who are the target audience for this blog in the hope that by bringing these errors to the attention of both government and industry contracting professions, the end result will be contracts with fewer errors and required less re-work. 

So lets take a look:

1.    In order for there to be multiple awards, more than one contract must be issued.
2.    Internationally renowned leaders in an industry (e.g. WalMart, Lockheed Martin) are unlikely to qualify as “small businesses” in that industry.
3.    The line items must add up to the total.
4.    Line items must describe what is being bought.
5.    When a line item has two or more separately deliverable parts, the quantity on the line item cannot be 1.
6.    Orders and modifications against contracts and schedules must be placed with the contractor who received the contract or schedule.
7.   “C”-type definitive contracts cannot be used as indefinite-type contracts (IDCs) with “P” modifications acting as “orders.”
8.   “Dollars” are not a unit of measure–we don’t purchase dollars.
9.    When deciding to ship an item, the destination must exist.
10.   In order for an organization or person to be delegated an action (e.g. acceptance), the organization or person must exist and be capable of performing the action.
11.   Acceptance is an inherently governmental function and cannot be assigned to a contractor.
12.   Cost type contracts cannot be paid with a purchase card.
13.   Contracts must be issued in writing in a form readable by humans.
14.   A contract awarded as “firm fixed price” cannot have an “estimated” value.
15.   In order to have “not separately priced” items on an order, it is necessary to also have separately priced items.
16.   A grant is not a contract.
17.   There is no need to send a letter to the people awarded a contract informing them that the funds on the contract have been obligated on the contract.
18.   If you use one identifier for the shipping location, packages can only go to one place.  If you want packages to go to two places you need to identify both locations.
19.   When numbering things sequentially, do not use the same number twice.
20.   When numbering in a specific series, do not start with the last number.
21.   If the format for a numeric field (e.g. total value) allows for “up to” eleven digits, that does not require you to actually enter an eleven digit number.
22.   The contract price has to be part of the contract.
23.   Working for a field organization in the Defense Department does not mean that you are in the “Office” of the Secretary of the Army (or Navy, Air Force, or Defense).
24.   The concept of rounding applies to units and subunits.
25.   You cannot round the amount of funding available UP to the nearest dollar.
26.   You cannot award a contract for more money than the entire Department’s budget.
27.   In order for all deliveries to be complete on a contract, the first delivery must have occurred.
and finally –
28.   One cannot cite as authority for an action a statute that does not exist.

So I hope this list stimulates some thought and maybe a “look-up” to a reference in the Federal Acquisition Regulation to confirm a point or two. Thanks again for compiling this list of commonly found errors in contract data.

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