Is following the manufacture's recommendations for preventative maintenance as identified in the owner's manual fulfilling the contractor's stewardship obligation to preserve and protect government property? Or is the contractor obligated to conduct additional analysis and develop some type or level of preventative maintenance action plan even when the manufacturer (the expert) recommended requirement for routine maintenance doesn't exist, which indicated or suggests that no action is to be taken? The latter of the two options, feels like it is going outside the bounds of normal and routine.
Let’s frame your questions against the requirements contained in the Government Property clause, 52.245-1.
52.245-1(b) compels, yet empowers the contractor as follows:
(b) Property management.
(1) The Contractor shall have a system of internal controls to manage (control, use, preserve, protect, repair and maintain) Government property in its possession. The system shall be adequate to satisfy the requirements of this clause. In doing so, the Contractor shall initiate and maintain the processes, systems, procedures, records, and methodologies necessary for effective and efficient control of Government property. The Contractor shall disclose any significant changes to its property management system to the Property Administrator prior to implementation of the changes. The Contractor may employ customary commercial practices, voluntary consensus standards, or industry-leading practices and standards that provide effective and efficient Government property management that are necessary and appropriate for the performance of this contract (except where inconsistent with law or regulation).
52.245-1(f) also compels and empowers the contractor as follows, specifically in regard to maintenance:
(f) Contractor plans and systems.
(1) Contractors shall establish and implement property management plans, systems, and procedures at the contract, program, site or entity level to enable the following outcomes:
(ix) Maintenance. The Contractor shall properly maintain Government property. The Contractor's maintenance program shall enable the identification, disclosure, and performance of normal and routine preventative maintenance and repair. The Contractor shall disclose and report to the Property Administrator the need for replacement and/or capital rehabilitation.
Note that references compel the contractor to establish internal controls and management systems relative to Government property (both Government-furnished property and Contractor-acquired property) as well as plans and procedures to enable them to, in the instant case, maintain (one of fifteen outcomes/processes contained in 52.245-1) Government property under their stewardship.
Neither paragraph (nor anywhere else in the Government property clause) tells them HOW TO do it.
Basically, specificity yields to the possibility of creativity, adaptability and a common sense approach to the stewardship (management) of Government property – in effect, the antithesis of the “one size fits all” concept that previously existed.
Paragraph (b)(1) does provide guidance that enables the contractor use of “customary commercial practices, voluntary consensus standards, or industry-leading practices and standards that provide effective and efficient Government property management…”
Those three options (especially use of customary commercial practices) provide contractors ample freedom to develop, document and implement their own property management system (PMS) that considers and addresses the requirements (fifteen processes/outcomes) of the Government property clause.
Given this framework that places the contractor in the position of describing what THEIR system is, it’s impossible to answer your questions relative to the maintenance process/outcome for your company and their stewardship of Government property. Why? It’s really your call as to what you want to document within your PMS and carry out in practice in order to fulfill your stewardship obligation.
In fact, either question, turned into a statement and supported by written procedures could be suitable (individually or collectively) in describing how your company approaches “how to deal with those rare circumstances where government owned commercially available items have no preventative maintenance recommendation called out by the manufacture in the owner's manual.”
· The manufacture's recommendations for preventative maintenance as identified in the owner's manual will fulfill this contractor's stewardship obligation to preserve and protect such items of Government property
· This contractor shall conduct an analysis and develop discrete type/level of preventative maintenance action when the manufacturer recommended requirement for routine maintenance doesn't exist for such items of Government property
· In the absence of manufacturers routine & preventative maintenance guidance, this contractor will perform such maintenance as dictated by “sound Industrial practice” for such items of Government property while considering the operation environment of such items of Government property
In summary, the existing Government property clause gives each contractor both the responsibility and the latitude to describe their PMS. In this instance you might simply consider documenting a procedure on routine/preventative maintenance then run it by the assigned Government Property Administrator for their thoughts.
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