How does the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) apply to government contractors?
Government contractors and the agencies that seek contractor assistance are strictly governed by the policies written in the Federal Acquisitions Regulation. The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) is the official rulebook for the federal acquisition system, and therefore should be used by current and future government contractors as a tool for how to proceed in the government contracting environment. It establishes universal federal procurement protocol and governs policies, requirements, exceptions, practices, and procedures for the federal acquisitions process. Additionally, government contractors that are aware of the FAR and familiar with its policies have significant insight into compliance and bidding requirements for federal procurement activities.
The four guiding principles of the Federal Acquisition Regulation
The main point of the standardized acquisition system is its ability to deliver the best value, product, and services to the government, while maintaining public trust and business integrity. The four guiding principles of the FAR include:
- Satisfy the customer in terms of cost, quality, and timeliness of delivered goods
- Minimize operating costs
- Fulfill public policy objectives
- Conduct business with integrity, fairness and openness
The primary functions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation
The FAR is primarily applicable to the federal agency and corresponding contracting officers at that agency who is requesting bids for products or services. However, government contractors need a solid understanding of the FAR because the FAR provisions represent the key components for determining who wins the bid, how the contract should be executed, and key provisions of the FAR that may be directly stated in the contract. For example, FAR provisions such as standard terms and conditions should be included in a contract. Any government contractor who is aware of these policies and procedures can develop an RFP that has a unique advantage over the competition.
The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) is the regulatory body that provides overall direction for the FAR. They are responsible for providing the provisions on government policies, regulations, procedures, and forms for executive agency acquisitions. The OFPP shapes the FAR as a reflection of today’s buying environment.
What government contractors should know about the FAR?
The Federal Acquisition Regulation ensures that government entities are fulfilling their obligation to the public by making sure that tax payer money is spent on high quality and lowest price products and services. The FAR represents the guidelines for those transactions, and sheds light on how government contractors can pursue long-term, sustainable growth. Government contractors should be aware of basic FAR policies, so they are able to meet the government’s special standards and principles. The Small Business Association (SBA) recommends small business owners reference Subchapter D of the FAR to learn about certain regulations that apply to government contractors.