National Association of Government Contractors


Bipartisan Bill Simplifies Contractor Change Orders

Representative Don Bacon (R-NE) introduced H.R. 4754, the Change Order Transparency for Federal Contractors Act, on Wednesday. The bill's cosponsors include Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL), and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL).

The adage "time is money" is true for many businesses, especially so for small businesses. Requests for equitable adjustments to a contract, more commonly known as change orders, are abundant on federal construction projects.

Contractors and subcontractors currently lack visibility into agencies' change order processes prior to submitting a bid. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for federal contractors to prepare for the inevitable burden of change orders during the life cycle of the construction project. Federal construction contractors are increasingly frustrated by the slow approval and lack of payment for change orders. While change orders wait to be made definite, contractors and subcontractors must pay their own bills -- payroll, material costs, and even taxes -- while payments from the federal government are delayed.

H.R. 4754 provides prospective federal construction contractors and subcontractors with the information needed to plan their operations prior to submitting a bid on a contract. This legislation would require the contracting agency to provide details on their change order procedures and their historical performance data with solicitations.

"Small business contractors deserve to know all relevant information before entering into a contract with a federal agency," said Rep. Bacon. "Currently, small businesses waste time and money while waiting for the approval of their change order requests. Across the United States and in Nebraska, many small contractors and subcontractors will now have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field and achieve greater financial health for their companies."

"This bill will make it significantly easier for small businesses to compete and prepare for federal contracts. By increasing transparency and providing prior contract history, this will allow small businesses to compete with larger corporations who may have more institutional relationships with agencies," said Rep. Knight. "I want to thank Congressman Bacon for his leadership in sponsoring this bill and I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this through the legislative process."

"Small businesses help build our communities and promote economic growth," said Rep. Lawson. "It is vital for small business owners to not only get a seat at the table, but to have the same vantage point when competing for federal contracts. This legislation by Rep. Bacon will alleviate red tape and open more doors for opportunity."

"Small businesses deserve to know the contract history of federal agencies, including their policies and practices related to change orders, before they decide to bid for a contract with that agency," said Rep. Murphy. "I'm proud to help introduce this bipartisan bill with Congressman Bacon so that small businesses are empowered to make informed decisions when it comes to competing for government contracts."



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