As a government contractor, you are tasked with continuing contract performance under the risks of uncertain and constantly changing circumstances. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created such a circumstance. It is evident to most government contractors that the virus itself and the mitigating actions taken by the government and individual contractors will affect cost, schedule, and performance of many government contracts.
But COVID-19 is not the only circumstance that impacts your contract performance. Circumstances created by government action and/or inaction or by a subcontractor’s inability to perform can create excusable and/or compensable delays. Directed stop work orders and terminations completely disrupt your ability to perform. Changes in required deliverables (place and time) and increased or decreased quantities impact your planned performance and your profitability.
To ensure you maintain your position as a viable, successful organization there are several things you should be doing as a continuing practice.
- COMMUNICATION – Early and continual communication with the applicable Contracting Officer (CO) to determine how they feel their mission has been impacted by existing events, how they will respond and how they will expect you to respond. Communication can define what corrective actions they are considering and what options/solutions you might offer in response. Even more importantly, you will find at times you are communicating events and conditions impacting your ability to successfully perform of which the CO may not even be aware. You will also be communicating with the COR (Contracting Officer’s Representative), but remember that the CO is the only person who can officially adjust your contract price and/or schedule.
- IDENTIFICATION – The key here is to be proactive in the identification of events and situations impacting your contractual performance. Identification of circumstances that might impact contractual performance is a company’s responsibility. You, and all of your employees, need to be aware of what the contract requires and what is impacting the attainment of those requirements. No circumstance, no matter how insignificant it may seem, should be ignored.
- DOCUMENTATION – Document, document, document and then document some more. Make notes of all pertinent phone conversations, retain copies of all emails, letters and written correspondence, both electronic soft copies, as well as, hard copies relating to the circumstance. What seems insignificant today may make the difference between successfully resolving the issues and profitability tomorrow. This documentation will be the foundation for claiming and receiving contractual relief.