PN 97-11

Procurement Notice

May 22, 1998


PURPOSE: To correct inconsistencies on technical performance incentive guidance.

BACKGROUND: NFS section 1816.402-270, NASA Technical Performance Incentives, requires the use of positive and negative performance incentives in hardware contracts greater than $25M unless waived in writing by the Center Director. New section 1816.402, Application of Predetermined, Formula-Type Incentives, was added by PN 97-4, dated March 17, 1998. This section provided guidance on the appropriate selection and use of positive and negative performance incentives, but did not change the mandatory requirement in 1816.402-270 which appears to preempt those guidelines in certain circumstances. This incongruity is rectified by adding language to 1816.402-270 stating that NASA has considered the guidelines in 1816.402 and has determined that performance incentives are appropriate for, and must be used in, hardware contracts greater than $25M. Additional administrative revisions are made to indicate that this policy does not apply to commercial acquisitions under FAR Part 12 and that negative incentives are not required for contracts which already require total contractor liability for product performance.

REGULATION: Part 1816 is amended as set forth in the enclosed replacement pages to the NFS.

REPLACEMENT PAGES: You may use the enclosed pages to replace 16:5, 16:6, 16:7, 16:8, 16:9, 16:10, 16:11, and 16:12 to the NFS.

REGULATORY COMPLIANCE: This PN was published as a final rule in the Federal Register (63 FR 28285-28286, May 22, 1998).

EFFECTIVE DATE: This PN is effective as dated and shall remain in effect until canceled or superseded.

HEADQUARTERS CONTACT: Mr. Thomas O'Toole, (202) 358-0478, e-mail:

R. Scott Thompson

Director, Contract Management Division


Distribution: NFSD List

1816.402-2 Performance incentives.

1816.402-270 NASA technical performance incentives.

(a) Pursuant to the guidelines in 1816.402, NASA has determined that a performance incentive shall be included in all contracts based on performance-oriented documents (see FAR 11.101(a)), except those awarded under the commercial item procedures of FAR Part 12, where the primary deliverable(s) is (are) hardware with a total value (including options) greater than $25 million. Any exception to this requirement shall be approved in writing by the Center Director. Performance incentives may be included in hardware contracts valued under $25 million acquired under procedures other than Part 12 at the discretion of the procurement officer upon consideration of the guidelines in 1816.402. Performance incentives, which are objective and measure hardware performance after delivery and acceptance, are separate from other incentives, such as cost or delivery incentives.

(b) When a performance incentive is used, it shall be structured to be both positive and negative based on hardware performance after delivery and acceptance, unless the contract type requires complete contractor liability for product performance (e.g., fixed price). In this latter case, a negative incentive is not required. In structuring the incentives, the contract shall establish a standard level of performance based on the salient hardware performance requirement. This standard performance level is normally the contract's minimum performance requirement. No incentive amount is earned at this standard performance level. Discrete units of measurement based on the same performance parameter shall be identified for performance above and, when a negative incentive is used, below the standard. Specific incentive amounts shall be associated with each performance level from maximum beneficial performance (maximum positive incentive) to, when a negative incentive is included, minimal beneficial performance or total failure (maximum negative incentive). The relationship between any given incentive, either positive and negative, and its associated unit of measurement should reflect the value to the Government of that level of hardware performance. The contractor should not be rewarded for above-standard performance levels that are of no benefit to the Government.

(c) The final calculation of the performance incentive shall be done when hardware performance, as defined in the contract, ceases or when the maximum positive incentive is reached. When hardware performance ceases below the standard established in the contract and a negative incentive is included, the Government shall calculate the amount due and the contractor shall pay the Government that amount. Once hardware performance exceeds the standard, the contractor may request payment of the incentive amount associated with a given level of performance, provided that such payments shall not be more frequent than monthly. When hardware performance ceases above the standard level of performance, or when the maximum positive incentive is reached, the Government shall calculate the final performance incentive earned and unpaid and promptly remit it to the contractor.

(d) When the deliverable hardware lends itself to multiple, meaningful measures of performance, multiple performance incentives may be established. When the contract requires the sequential delivery of several hardware items (e.g., multiple spacecraft), separate performance incentive structures may be established to parallel the sequential delivery and use of the deliverables.

(e) In determining the value of the maximum performance incentives available, the contracting officer shall follow the following rules.

(1) For a CPFF contract, the sum of the maximum positive performance incentive and fixed fee shall not exceed the limitations in FAR 15.404-4(c)(4)(i).

(2) For an award fee contract.

(i) The individual values of the maximum positive performance incentive and the total potential award fee (including any base fee) shall each be at least one-third of the total potential contract fee. The remaining one-third of the total potential contract fee may be divided between award fee and the maximum performance incentive at the discretion of the contracting officer.

(ii) The maximum negative performance incentive for research and development hardware (e.g., the first and second units) shall be equal in amount to the total earned award fee (including any base fee). The maximum negative performance incentives for production hardware (e.g., the third and all subsequent units of any hardware items) shall be equal in amount to the total potential award fee (including any base fee). Where one contract contains both cases described above, any base fee shall be allocated reasonably among the items.

(3) For cost reimbursement contracts other than award fee contracts, the maximum negative performance incentives shall not exceed the total earned fee under the contract.

1816.404 Fixed-price contracts with award fees.

Section 1816.405-2 applies to the use of FPAF contracts as if they were CPAF contracts. However, neither base fee (see 1816.405-271) nor evaluation of cost control (see 1816.405-274) apply to FPAF contracts.

1816.405 Cost-reimbursement incentive contracts.

1816.405-2 Cost-plus-award-fee (CPAF) contracts.

1816.405-270 CPAF contracts.

(a) Use of an award fee incentive shall be approved in writing by the procurement officer. The procurement officer's approval shall include a discussion of the other types of contracts considered and shall indicate why an award fee incentive is the appropriate choice. Award fee incentives should not be used on contracts with a total estimated cost and fee less than $2 million per year. The procurement officer may authorize use of award fee for lower-valued acquisitions, but should do so only in exceptional situations, such as contract requirements having direct health or safety impacts, where the judgmental assessment of the quality of contractor performance is critical.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, an award fee incentive may be used in conjunction with other contract types for aspects of performance that cannot be objectively assessed. In such cases, the cost incentive is based on objective formulas inherent in the other contract types (e.g., FPI, CPIF), and the award fee provision should not separately incentivize cost performance.

(c) Award fee incentives shall not be used with a cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPFF) contract.

1816.405-271 Base fee.

(a) A base fee shall not be used on CPAF contracts for which the periodic award fee evaluations are final (1816.405-273(a)). In these circumstances, contractor performance during any award fee period is independent of and has no effect on subsequent performance periods or the final results at contract completion. For other contracts, such as those for hardware or software development, the procurement officer may authorize the use of a base fee not to exceed 3 percent. Base fee shall not be used when an award fee incentive is used in conjunction with another contract type (e.g., CPIF/AF).

(b) When a base fee is authorized for use in a CPAF contract, it shall be paid only if the final award fee evaluation is "satisfactory" or better. (See 1816.405-273 and 1816.405-275) Pending final evaluation, base fee may be paid during the life of the contract at defined intervals on a provisional basis. If the final award fee evaluation is "poor/unsatisfactory", all provisional base fee payments shall be refunded to the Government.

1816.405-272 Award fee evaluation periods.

(a) Award fee evaluation periods, including those for interim evaluations, should be at least 6 months in length. When appropriate, the procurement officer may authorize shorter evaluation periods after ensuring that the additional administrative costs associated with the shorter periods are offset by benefits accruing to the Government. Where practicable, such as developmental contracts with defined performance milestones (e.g., Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, initial system test), establishing evaluation periods at conclusion of the milestones rather than calendar dates, or in combination with calendar dates should be considered. In no case shall an evaluation period be longer than 12 months.

(b) A portion of the total available award fee contract shall be allocated to each of the evaluation periods. This allocation may result in an equal or unequal distribution of fee among the periods. The contracting officer should consider the nature of each contract and the incentive effects of fee distribution in determining the appropriate allocation structure.

1816.405-273 Award fee evaluations.

(a) Service Contracts. On contracts where the contract deliverable is the performance of a service over any given time period, contractor performance is often definitively measurable within each evaluation period. In these cases, all evaluations are final, and the contractor keeps the fee earned in any period regardless of the evaluations of subsequent periods. Unearned award fee in any given period in a service contract is lost and shall not be carried forward, or "rolled-over," into subsequent periods.

(b) End Item Contracts. On contracts, such as those for end item deliverables, where the true quality of contractor performance cannot be measured until the end of the contract, only the last evaluation is final. At that point, the total contract award fee pool is available, and the contractor's total performance is evaluated against the award fee plan to determine total earned award fee. In addition to the final evaluation, interim evaluations are done to monitor performance prior to contract completion, provide feedback to the contractor on the Government's assessment of the quality of its performance, and establish the basis for making interim award fee payments (see 1816.405-276(a)). These interim evaluations and associated interim award fee payments are superseded by the fee determination made in the final evaluation at contract completion. The Government will then pay the contractor, or the contractor will refund to the Government, the difference between the final award fee determination and the cumulative interim fee payments.

(c) Control of evaluations. Interim and final evaluations may be used to provide past performance information during the source selection process in future acquisitions and should be marked and controlled as "Source Selection Information - See FAR 3.104".

1816.405-274 Award fee evaluation factors.

(a) Explicit evaluation factors shall be established for each award fee period.

(b) Evaluation factors will be developed by the contracting officer based upon the characteristics of an individual procurement. Normally, technical and schedule considerations will be included in all CPAF contracts as evaluation factors. Cost control shall be included as an evaluation factor in all CPAF contracts. When explicit evaluation factor weightings are used, cost control shall be no less than 25 percent of the total weighted evaluation factors. The predominant consideration of the cost control evaluation should be a measurement of the contractor's performance against the negotiated estimated cost of the contract. This estimated cost may include the value of undefinitized change orders when appropriate.

(c) In rare circumstances, contract costs may increase for reasons outside the contractor's control and for which the contractor is not entitled to an equitable adjustment. One example is a weather-related launch delay on a launch support contract. The Government shall take such situations into consideration when evaluating contractor cost control.

(d) Emphasis on cost control should be balanced against other performance requirement objectives. The contractor should not be incentivized to pursue cost control to the point that overall performance is significantly degraded. For example, incentivizing an underrun that results in direct negative impacts on technical performance, safety, or other critical contract objectives is both undesirable and counterproductive. Therefore, evaluation of cost control shall conform to the following guidelines:

(1) Normally, the contractor should be given a score of 0 for cost control when there is a significant overrun within its control. However, the contractor may receive higher scores for cost control if the overrun is insignificant. Scores should decrease sharply as the size of the overrun increases. In any evaluation of contractor overrun performance, the Government shall consider the reasons for the overrun and assess the extent and effectiveness of the contractor's efforts to control or mitigate the overrun.

(2) The contractor should normally be rewarded for an underrun within its control, up to the maximum score allocated for cost control, provided the average numerical rating for all other award fee evaluation factors is 81 or greater (see 1816.405-275). An underrun shall be rewarded as if the contractor has met the estimated cost of the contract (see 1816.405-274(d)(3)) when the average numerical rating for all other factors is less than 81 but greater than 60.

(3) The contractor should be rewarded for meeting the estimated cost of the contract, but not to the maximum score allocated for cost control, to the degree that the contractor has prudently managed costs while meeting contract requirements. No award shall be given in this circumstance unless the average numerical rating for all other award fee evaluation factors is 61 or greater.

(e) When an AF arrangement is used in conjunction with another contract type, the award fee's cost control factor will only apply to a subjective assessment of the contractor's efforts to control costs and not the actual cost outcome incentivized under the basic contract type (e.g. CPIF, FPIF).

(f) The contractor's performance against the subcontracting plan incorporated in the contract shall also be evaluated. Small disadvantaged business utilization may be an area of particular emphasis, including the contractor's achievements in subcontracting high technology efforts as well as the contractor's performance under the Mentor-Protégé Program, if applicable. The evaluation weight given to subcontracting plan performance should be significant (up to 15 percent of available award fee). It should motivate the contractor to focus management attention to subcontracting with small, small disadvantaged, and women-owned small business concerns to the maximum extent practicable consistent with efficient contract performance.

(g) Only the award fee performance evaluation factors set forth in the performance evaluation plan shall be used to determine award fee scores.

(h) The Government may unilaterally modify the applicable award fee performance evaluation factors and performance evaluation areas prior to the start of an evaluation period. The contracting officer shall notify the contractor in writing of any such changes 30 days prior to the start of the relevant evaluation period.

1816.405-275 Award fee evaluation scoring.

(a) A scoring system of 0-100 shall be used for all award fee ratings. Award fee earned is determined by applying the numerical score to the award fee pool. For example, a score of 85 yields an award fee of 85 percent of the award fee pool. No award fee shall be paid unless the total score is 61 or greater.

(b) The following standard adjectival ratings and the associated numerical scores shall be used on all award fee contracts.

(1) Excellent (100-91): Of exceptional merit; exemplary performance in a timely, efficient, and economical manner; very minor (if any) deficiencies with no adverse effect on overall performance.

(2) Very good (90-81): Very effective performance, fully responsive to contract requirements; contract requirements accomplished in a timely, efficient, and economical manner for the most part; only minor deficiencies.

(3) Good (80-71): Effective performance; fully responsive to contract requirements; reportable deficiencies, but with little identifiable effect on overall performance.

(4) Satisfactory (70-61): Meets or slightly exceeds minimum acceptable standards; adequate results; reportable deficiencies with identifiable, but not substantial, effects on overall performance.

(5) Poor/Unsatisfactory (less than 61): Does not meet minimum acceptable standards in one or more areas; remedial action required in one or more areas; deficiencies in one or more areas which adversely affect overall performance.

(c) As a benchmark for evaluation, in order to be rated "Excellent," the contractor must be under cost, on or ahead of schedule, and have provided excellent technical performance.

(d) A scoring system appropriate for the circumstances of the individual contract requirement should be developed. Weighted scoring is recommended. In this system, each evaluation factor (e.g., technical, schedule, cost control) is assigned a specific percentage weighting with the cumulative weightings of all factors totaling 100. During the award fee evaluation, each factor is scored from 0-100 according to the ratings defined in 1816.405-275(b). The numerical score for each factor is then multiplied by the weighting for that factor to determine the weighted score. For example, if the technical factor has a weighting of 60 percent and the numerical score for that factor is 80, the weighted technical score is 48 (80 x 60 percent). The weighted scores for each evaluation factor are then added to determine the total award fee score.

1816.405-276 Award fee payments and limitations.

(a) Interim Award Fee Payments. The amount of an interim award fee payment (see 1816.405-273(b)) is limited to the lesser of the interim evaluation score or 80 percent of the fee allocated to that interim period less any provisional payments (see paragraph (b) of this subsection) made during the period.

(b) Provisional Award Fee Payments. Provisional award fee payments are payments made within evaluation periods prior to an interim or final evaluation for that period. Provisional payments may be included in the contract and should be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. For a service contract, the total amount of award fee available in an evaluation period that may be provisionally paid is the lesser of a percentage stipulated in the contract (but not exceeding 80 percent) or the prior period's evaluation score. For an end item contract, the total amount of provisional payments in a period is limited to a percentage not to exceed 80 percent of the prior interim period's evaluation score.

(c) Fee Payment. The Fee Determination Official's rating for both interim and final evaluations will be provided to the contractor within 45 calendar days of the end of the period being evaluated. Any fee, interim or final, due the contractor will be paid no later than 60 calendar days after the end of the period being evaluated.

1816.406 Contract clauses.

1816.406-70 NASA contract clauses.

(a) As authorized by FAR 16.406(e), the contracting officer shall insert the clause at 1852.216-76, Award Fee for Service Contracts, in solicitations and contracts when an award-fee contract is contemplated and the contract deliverable is the performance of a service.

(b) As authorized by FAR 16.406(e), the contracting officer shall insert the clause at 1852.216-77, Award Fee for End Item Contracts, in solicitations and contracts when an award fee contract is contemplated and the contract deliverables are hardware or other end items for which total contractor performance cannot be measured until the end of the contract. When the clause is used in a fixed-price award-fee contract, it shall be modified by deleting references to base fee in paragraphs (a), and by deleting paragraph (c)(1), the last sentence of (c)(4), and the first sentence of (c)(5).

(c) The contracting officer may insert a clause substantially as stated at 1852.216-83, Fixed Price Incentive, in fixed-price-incentive solicitations and contracts utilizing firm or successive targets. For items subject to incentive price revision, identify the target cost, target profit, target price, and ceiling price for each item.

(d) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 1852.216-84, Estimated Cost and Incentive Fee, in cost-plus-incentive-fee solicitations and contracts.

(e) The contracting officer may insert the clause at 1852.216-85, Estimated Cost and Award Fee, in award-fee solicitations and contracts. When the contract includes performance incentives, use Alternate I. When the clause is used in a fixed-price award fee contract, it shall be modified to delete references to base fee and to reflect the contract type.

(f) As provided at 1816.402-270, the contracting officer shall insert a clause substantially as stated at 1852.216-88, Performance Incentive, when the primary deliverable(s) is (are) hardware and total estimated cost and fee is greater than $25 million. A clause substantially as stated at 1852.216-88 may be included in lower dollar value hardware contracts with the approval of the procurement officer.

Subpart 1816.5--Indefinite-Delivery Contracts

1816.504 Indefinite quantity contracts.

(a)(4)(ii) ID/IQ service contract values and task order values shall be expressed only in dollars.

1816.505 Ordering.

(a)(2) Task and delivery orders shall be issued by the contracting officer.

(b)(4) The Agency and installation ombudsmen designated in accordance with 1815.70 shall review complaints from contractors on task order contracts and delivery order contracts.

1816.505-70 Task ordering.

(a) The contracting officer shall, to the maximum extent possible, state task order requirements in terms of functions and the related performance and quality standards such that the standards may be objectively measured.

(b) To the maximum extent possible, contracting officers shall solicit contractor task plans to use as the basis for finalizing task order requirements and enable evaluation and pricing of the contractor's proposed work on a performance based approach as described in 1816.404-270(a).

(c) Task order contract type shall be individually determined, based on the nature of each task order's requirements.

(1) Task orders may be grouped by contract type for administrative convenience (e.g., all CPIF orders, all FFP orders, etc.) for contractor progress and cost reporting.

(2) Under multiple awards, solicitations for individual task plans shall request the same pricing structure from all offerors.

(d) Any undefinitized task order issued under paragraph (f) of the clause at 1852.216-80, Task Ordering Procedure, shall be treated and reported as an undefinitized contract action in accordance with 1843-70.

1816.506-70 NASA contract clause.

Insert the clause at 1852.216-80, Task Ordering Procedure, in solicitations and contracts when an indefinite-delivery, task order contract is contemplated. The clause is applicable to both fixed-price and cost-reimbursement type contracts. If the contract does not require 533M reporting (See NHB 9501.2), use the clause with its Alternate I.

Subpart 1816.6--Time-and-Materials, Labor-Hour, and Letter Contracts

1816.603 Letter contracts.

1816.603-370 Approvals.

(a) All requests for authority to issue a letter contract shall include the following:

(1) Proposed contractor's name and address.

(2) Location where contract is to be performed.

(3) Contract number, including modification number, if applicable.

(4) Brief description of the work or services to be performed.

(5) Performance period or delivery schedule.

(6) Amount of letter contract.

(7) Performance period of letter contract.

(8) Estimated total amount of definitive contract.

(9) Type of definitive contract to be executed.

(10) A statement that the definitive contract will contain all required clauses or identification of specific clause deviations that have been approved.

(11) A statement as to the necessity and advantage to the Government of the proposed letter contract.

(12) The definitization schedule described in FAR 16.603-2(c) expected to be negotiated with the contractor.

(b) Requests for authority to issue letter contracts having an estimated definitive contract amount equal to or greater than the Master Buy Plan submission thresholds of 1807.7101 (or modifications thereto) shall be signed by the procurement officer and submitted to the Associate Administrator for Procurement (Code HS) for approval.

(c) Authority to approve the issuance of letter contracts below the Master Buy Plan submission thresholds specified in 1807.7101 is delegated to the procurement officer.

(d) Any modification of an undefinitized letter contract approved by a procurement officer in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section that increases the estimated definitized contract amount to or above the Master Buy Plan submission thresholds must have the prior approval of the Associate Administrator for Procurement (Code HS).