Councils seek to expand contract options for services

Federal officials are asking for comments on using time-and-materials and labor-hour contracts to buy commercial services.

The comments will be used to help draft a new federal rule for using the two contract types'Xwhich now are applied to commercial products'Xfor buying services, according to a Sept. 20 notice published in the Federal Register by the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council.

According to the councils, current government policies for buying commercial services were designed only for fixed-price contracts. IT executives say they like to use time-and-materials contracts on system development jobs when it is not possible before beginning work to determine the extent or duration of the job.

The new rule would allow the contract types for commercial services under certain conditions, including:

  • The contract must be competed

  • The contracting officer must find that no other contract type is suitable

  • The contracting officer must include a ceiling price that the contractor exceeds at its own risk.

Comments are due by Nov. 19. They should be identified by ANPR, FAR case 2003-027, and submitted at

A public meeting will be held Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the General Services Administration building auditorium, 1800 F St. NW, Washington.

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