Wednesday, February 26, 2014

NASA's Proposal Adequacy Checklist is Final

Last October, NASA published a proposed change to its NASA FAR Supplement (NFS) that would require prospective contractors to complete a proposal adequacy checklist whenever cost or pricing data is required. Click here to read our posting about that checklist and the differences between it and the DoD proposal adequacy checklist.

That proposed change has now become a final rule and has been incorporated into the NFS under 1852.215-85, Proposal Adequacy Checklist. So now, any company submitting cost or pricing data to NASA must also complete the checklist and submit it as part of its proposal. In publishing the final rule, NASA made it clear that it only applied in situations where cost or pricing data is required. That would exclude competitive bids, commercial items, and purchases made under the simplified acquisition threshold. NASA also dispelled concerns that this checklist was overly burdensome by passing the administrative burden and shifting the associated costs directly onto the contractor. NASA responded stating that the rule does not impose additional requirements over what is already required under the conditions when certified cost or pricing data is required. It merely provides a tool to ensure compliance with FAR Table 15-2.

There will undoubtedly be some growing pains with this checklist as we've already witnessed with DoD's version. The checklist requires contractors to identify the page number of the proposal where the checklist requirement is satisfied or an explanation as to why the information is not included. Sometimes the information is too voluminous to include with a proposal. In some cases, the information would cause the proposal to exceed the page limit specified in the solicitation. Some contracting officers and contract auditors have been satisfied with the phrase "too voluminous to include but will be provided upon request" while others have taken umbrage with that kind of statement. Eventually it will all get worked out.

The checklist does not apply to subcontractors - in other words, it is not a flow-down provision. However NASA strongly encourages prime contractors to have their prospective subcontractors use the same or similar checklist. We think its a good idea and recommend contractors incorporate the checklist requirement (either DoD's, NASA's, a hybrid, or one of their own making) into its purchasing system policies and procedures.

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