The Federal government recently published a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to clarify when to use higher-level quality standards in solicitations and contracts. The rule, issued jointly by the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), requires government agencies to establish procedures for:
- determining when higher-level contract quality requirements are necessary;
- determining the risk (both the likelihood and the impact) of nonconformance; and
- advising the contracting officer about which higher-level standards should be applied and included in solicitations and contracts for complex and critical items.
The FAR gives the government flexibility to choose the quality standard that best meets its quality requirements. The FAR gives several examples of higher-level quality standards that the government may require in contracts. Most notably among the examples are ISO 9001, SAE AS9100, SAE AS9003 and SAE AS5553. It should be noted that the list of example standards is not exhaustive.
If the government determines that higher-level quality standards are necessary, the contracting officer will include the applicable standards in the contract. The prime contractor is responsible for flowing down the applicable requirements in subcontracts for critical and complex items at any tier in the supply chain.
The rule revises FAR subpart 46.2, Contracting Quality Requirements, and takes effect on December 26, 2014.
References: published in the Federal Register on November 24, 2014, at 78 FR 72620.
FAR Case 2012-032