Don’t understand what a contracting officer means when he or she talks about awarding a fixed-price contract? You’re not alone. Here is what you need to know about fixed-contracts. Come back tomorrow for part 2, when we teach you about fixed-price contracts with economic price adjustment.
Subpart 16.2 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) spells out everything you need to know about fixed-price contracts.
(a) Fixed-price types of contracts provide for a firm price or, in appropriate cases, an adjustable price. Fixed-price contracts providing for an adjustable price may include a ceiling price, a target price (including target cost), or both. Unless otherwise specified in the contract, the ceiling price or target price is subject to adjustment only by operation of contract clauses providing for equitable adjustment or other revision of the contract price under stated circumstances. The contracting officer shall use firm-fixed-price or fixed-price with economic price adjustment contracts when acquiring commercial items, except as provided in 12.207(b).
(b) Time-and-materials contracts and labor-hour contracts are not fixed-price contracts.
16.202 — Firm-Fixed-Price Contracts
16.202-1 — Description
A firm-fixed-price contract provides for a price that is not subject to any adjustment on the basis of the contractor’s cost experience in performing the contract. This contract type places upon the contractor maximum risk and full responsibility for all costs and resulting profit or loss. It provides maximum incentive for the contractor to control costs and perform effectively and imposes a minimum administrative burden upon the contracting parties. The contracting officer may use a firm-fixed-price contract in conjunction with an award-fee incentive (see 16.404) and performance or delivery incentives (see 16.402-2 and 16.402-3) when the award fee or incentive is based solely on factors other than cost. The contract type remains firm-fixed-price when used with these incentives.
16.202-2 — Application
A firm-fixed-price contract is suitable for acquiring commercial items (see Parts 2 and 12) or for acquiring other supplies or services on the basis of reasonably definite functional or detailed specifications (see Part 11) when the contracting officer can establish fair and reasonable prices at the outset, such as when —
(a) There is adequate price competition;
(b) There are reasonable price comparisons with prior purchases of the same or similar supplies or services made on a competitive basis or supported by valid certified cost or pricing data;
(c) Available cost or pricing information permits realistic estimates of the probable costs of performance; or
(d) Performance uncertainties can be identified and reasonable estimates of their cost impact can be made, and the contractor is willing to accept a firm fixed price representing assumption of the risks involved.