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    My question is two part: 1. What is the legal definition in the FAR of "origin"? I believe it means origin or origination of the subject product. where it was made. Which under normal circumstances it is identified in block 17 of the contract. Unless the Facility code is populated to indicate the actual place of manufacture or origination. 2. Is there anytime that a Distributer should be in both block 17a and the facility code block if they don't manufacture anything? Per the PGI 253.213-70 if the work is known to be performed other than the address shown in 17a place the cage code in the facility block. Where else in the DFARS or FAR is this block defined? Thank you


    Answer

    The answer to the question on what does origin mean:  The word origin means “the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.” However, in other locations in the FAR it gives more detail explanations of what FOB Origin means.

    The answer to the second part of the question regarding the forms is that the FAR and DFARS do not detail how to fill out the forms.

    In discussion with the originator of the question, I further defined what he is asking. The issue is that he has a contractor who is a distributor but not a manufacturer.  As a DCMA QA he is required to do specific QA functions on various products; however the contractor does not have those specific qualifications and relies upon the subcontractors. The prime contractor is reviewing certificates from the subcontractor in condcucting their quality control processes.  His contracts are using part 13 Simplified Acquisition Procedures.

    FAR 13.101(a)(3) states provide for the inspection of supplies or services as prescribed in 46.404. FAR 46.404 further states that:

             (a) In determining the type and extent of Government contract quality assurance to be required for contracts at or below the simplified acquisition threshold, the contracting officer shall consider the criticality of application of the supplies or services, the amount of possible losses, and the likelihood of uncontested replacement of defective work (see 46.202-2).

          (b) When the conditions in 46.202-2(b) apply, the following policies shall govern:

               (1) Unless a special situation exists, the Government shall inspect contracts at or below the simplified acquisition threshold at destination and only for type and kind; quantity; damage; operability (if readily determinable); and preservation, packaging, packing, and marking, if applicable.

               (2) Special situations may require more detailed quality assurance and the use of a standard inspection or higher-level contract quality requirement. These situations include those listed in 46.402 and contracts for items having critical applications.

               (3) Detailed Government inspection may be limited to those characteristics that are special or likely to cause harm to personnel or property. When repetitive purchases of the same item are made from the same manufacturer with a history of defect-free work, Government inspection may be reduced to a periodic check of occasional purchases.

    In looking at paragraph (b), it references FAR 46.202(b) and those exceptions do apply.  While the Government needs to ensure the quality of the contractors processes, FAR 46.404(b)(1) specifically states that  “Unless a special situation exists, the Government shall inspect contracts at or below the simplified acquisition threshold at destination and only for type and kind; quantity; damage; operability (if readily determinable); and preservation, packaging, packing, and marking, if applicable.” 

    Understanding how the Government is handling contracts below the SAT is the baseline but this has to deal with the subcontractor and therefore FAR 46.405 details how to handle inspections of subcontractors. If the Government believes that additional inspection is necessary, FAR 46.405(b) gives the authority to conduct inspections at the subcontract level when the contracting officer believes it is in the Government’s best interest. Furthermore, within FAR 46.405(c) states that when inspection of the subcontractor is necessary “ Supplies or services for which certificates, records, reports, or similar evidence of quality are available at the prime contractor’s plant shall not be inspected at the subcontractor’s plant, except occasionally to verify this evidence or when required under (b) of this section.  Therefore, inspecting the documentation at the prime contractor’s location is acceptable.

    The challenge we identified is that the Government would need to make a determination part by part or subcontractor by subcontractor on whether inspecting their documentation is satisfactory.  This may be unfeasible but without the determination by the contracting officer that further inspection is necessary the Government doesn’t have a reason to go further than FAR 46.405(c).

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