Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Board Decision Becomes Treatise on FAR 31.201-3 - Reasonableness

In 2001, the Army awarded a contract to Brown & Root Services, Inc (KBR) for support services during military operations in Iraq (commonly referred to as the LOGCAP III contract). KBR. Two of KBR's subcontractors filed REA's (Requests for Equitable Adjustment) with KBR. KBR paid the subcontractors and then in turn, requested reimbursement from the Army. The Army denied the cost so KBR appealed to the ASBCA.

The ASBCA also denied the appeal because it found the KBR's actions and the resulting costs to be unreasonable.

First, KBR agreed to the validity of its subcontractor's REA after concluding that performance delays were the Government's fault. However, after examining the facts and the contract language, the Board found that it was not reasonable for KBR to conclude the the Government failed to perform the prime contract.

Second, KBR did nothing to analyze the propriety of its subcontractor's claimed costs. Although KBR recognized that its subcontractor could only seek its actual costs, it did not require evidence of actual cost before paying out a $25 million settlement. Instead of determining the actual number of delay days, KBR relied on its subcontractor's unrealistic model of estimating delay days.

This is a lengthy ASBCA decision but is highly instructive for someone trying to understand how the Board might apply the FAR 31.201-3 "reasonableness" standard.

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