Although government contracting can be a lucrative business venture, contract dispute claims resolution with the government can sometimes be daunting and stressful. Oftentimes, businesses believe that they are doing ‘the right thing’ when the Contracting Office Representative orders them to perform extra work.
Businesses may also believe that agencies will in good faith repay them for the extra work. However, contract dispute cases at the Court of Federal Claims and various Boards of Contract Appeal, all say something different.
For example, there are tons of cases where there were no factual disputes about whether contractors actually performed extra work. The underlying legal issue in many cases was whether the contractor met all of the technical and legal requirements of the Contract Disputes Act (CDA), or whether the Contractor missed the CDA statute of limitation. Contract dispute resolution with the government is tough business.
Taking a Proactive Approach to Contract Dispute Claims Resolution
To reduce the unfortunate case rulings and falsely believing that you will get paid, the best approach to contract dispute resolution with the government is to start developing internal controls and policies that address legal pitfalls.
- Protecting your company ahead of time is essential.
- Make it your internal rule to never do additional work with written permission from the Contracting Officer
- A Contracting Officer’s Representative has no legal authority to bind the federal government
Always Communicate with the Contracting Officer up Front
Another way to keep good relationships with your government customer is to always communicate with the Contracting Officer early and not later. The preferred method is to do so in writing. This is one of the most effective ways to minimize any contract dispute resolution with the government in the future.
- Ask for clarifications if you do not understand what the agency is telling you to do.
Although the FAR Changes Clause gives the agency substantial power to change the scope of work, you can minimize adverse rulings in contract dispute claims resolution by letting the Contracting Officer know up front that you will be submitting a claim or request for equitable adjustment. These a but a few things you can do to avoid losing millions in contract claims.
For additional help with developing internal policies and controls and minimizing adverse rulings in contract dispute resolution with the government, call our government contract disputes and claims lawyers at 1-866-601-5518.