Elements of contract costs.

Elements of contract costs. The following requirements shall apply to the establishment of the specified elements of contract costs:
(1) Indirect cost rates.
(i) Indirect cost rates shall be updated on an annual basis in accordance with the consultant's annual accounting period and in compliance with the Federal cost principles.
(ii) Contracting agencies shall accept a consultant's or subconsultant's indirect cost rate(s) established for a 1-year applicable accounting period by a cognizant agency that has:
(A) Performed an audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards to test compliance with the requirements of the Federal cost principles and issued an audit report of the consultant's indirect cost rate(s); or
(B) Conducted a review of an audit report and related workpapers prepared by a certified public accountant and issued a letter of concurrence with the related audited indirect cost rate(s).
(iii) When the indirect cost rate has not been established by a cognizant agency in accordance with paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, a STA or other recipient shall perform an evaluation of a consultant's or subconsultant's indirect cost rate prior to acceptance and application of the rate to contracts administered by the recipient or its subrecipients. The evaluation performed by STAs or other recipients to establish or accept an indirect cost rate shall provide assurance of compliance with the Federal cost principles and may consist of one or more of the following:
(A) Performing an audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards and issuing an audit report;
(B) Reviewing and accepting an audit report and related workpapers prepared by a certified public accountant or another STA;
(C) Establishing a provisional indirect cost rate for the specific contract and adjusting contract costs based upon an audited final rate at the completion of the contract; or
(D) Conducting other evaluations in accordance with a risk-based oversight process as specified in paragraph (c)(2) of this section and within the agency's approved written policies and procedures, as specified in § 172.5(c).
(iv) A lower indirect cost rate may be accepted for use on a contract if submitted voluntarily by a consultant; however, the consultant's offer of a lower indirect cost rate shall not be a condition or qualification to be considered for the work or contract award.
(v) Once accepted in accordance with paragraphs (b)(1)(ii) through (iv) of this section, contracting agencies shall apply such indirect cost rate for the purposes of contract estimation, negotiation, administration, reporting, and contract payment and the indirect cost rate shall not be limited by administrative or de facto ceilings of any kind.
(vi) A consultant's accepted indirect cost rate for its 1-year applicable accounting period shall be applied to contracts; however, once an indirect cost rate is established for a contract, it may be extended beyond the 1-year applicable period, through the duration of the specific contract, provided all concerned parties agree. Agreement to the extension of the 1-year applicable period shall not be a condition or qualification to be considered for the work or contract award.
(vii) Disputed rates. If an indirect cost rate established by a cognizant agency in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section is in dispute, the contracting agency does not have to accept the rate. A contracting agency may perform its own audit or other evaluation of the consultant's indirect cost rate for application to the specific contract, until or unless the dispute is resolved. A contracting agency may alternatively negotiate a provisional indirect cost rate for the specific contract and adjust contract costs based upon an audited final rate. Only the consultant and the parties involved in performing the indirect cost audit may dispute the established indirect cost rate. If an error is discovered in the established indirect cost rate, the rate may be disputed by any prospective contracting agency.
(2) Direct salary or wage rates.
(i) Compensation for each employee or classification of employee must be reasonable for the work performed in accordance with the Federal cost principles.
(ii) To provide for fair and reasonable compensation, considering the classification, experience, and responsibility of employees necessary to provide the desired engineering and design related services, contracting agencies may establish consultant direct salary or wage rate limitations or “benchmarks” based upon an objective assessment of the reasonableness of proposed rates performed in accordance with the reasonableness provisions of the Federal cost principles.
(iii) When an assessment of reasonableness in accordance with the Federal cost principles has not been performed, contracting agencies shall use and apply the consultant's actual direct salary or wage rates for estimation, negotiation, administration, and payment of contracts and contract modifications.
(3) Fixed fee.
(i) The determination of the amount of fixed fee shall consider the scope, complexity, contract duration, degree of risk borne by the consultant, amount of subcontracting, and professional nature of the services as well as the size and type of contract.
(ii) The establishment of fixed fee shall be contract or task order specific.
(iii) Fixed fees in excess of 15 percent of the total direct labor and indirect costs of the contract may be justified only when exceptional circumstances exist.
(4) Other direct costs. A contracting agency shall use the Federal cost principles in determining the reasonableness, allowability, and allocability of other direct contract costs.
(c) Oversight -
(1) Agency controls. Contracting agencies shall provide reasonable assurance that consultant costs on contracts reimbursed in whole or in part with FAHP funding are allowable in accordance with the Federal cost principles and consistent with the contract terms considering the contract type and payment method. Contracting agency written policies, procedures, contract documents, and other controls, as specified in §§ 172.5(c) and 172.9 shall address the establishment, acceptance, and administration of contract costs to assure compliance with the Federal cost principles and requirements of this section.
(2) Risk-based analysis. The STAs or other recipient may employ a risk-based oversight process to provide reasonable assurance of consultant compliance with Federal cost principles on FAHP funded contracts administered by the recipient or its subrecipients. If employed, this risk-based oversight process shall be incorporated into STA or other recipient written policies and procedures, as specified in § 172.5(c). In addition to ensuring allowability of direct contract costs, the risk-based oversight process shall address the evaluation and acceptance of consultant and subconsultant indirect cost rates for application to contracts. A risk-based oversight process shall consist of the following:
(i) Risk assessments. Conducting and documenting an annual assessment of risks of noncompliance with the Federal cost principles per consultant doing business with the agency, considering the following factors:
(A) Consultant's contract volume within the State;
(B) Number of States in which the consultant operates;
(C) Experience of consultant with FAHP contracts;
(D) History and professional reputation of consultant;
(E) Audit history of consultant;
(F) Type and complexity of consultant accounting system;
(G) Size (number of employees or annual revenues) of consultant;
(H) Relevant experience of certified public accountant performing audit of consultant;
(I) Assessment of consultant's internal controls;
(J) Changes in consultant organizational structure; and
(K) Other factors as appropriate.
(ii) Risk mitigation and evaluation procedures. Allocating resources, as considered necessary based on the results of the annual risk assessment, to provide reasonable assurance of compliance with the Federal cost principles through application of the following types of risk mitigation and evaluation procedures appropriate to the consultant and circumstances:
(A) Audits performed in accordance with generally accepted government audit standards to test compliance with the requirements of the Federal cost principles;
(B) Certified public accountant or other STA workpaper reviews;
(C) Other analytical procedures;
(D) Consultant cost certifications in accordance with paragraph (c)(3) of this section; and
(E) Consultant and certified public accountant training on the Federal cost principles.
(iii) Documentation. Maintaining supporting documentation of the risk-based analysis procedures performed to support the allowability and acceptance of consultant costs on FAHP funded contracts.
(3) Consultant cost certification.
(i) Indirect cost rate proposals for the consultant's 1-year applicable accounting period shall not be accepted and no agreement shall be made by a contracting agency to establish final indirect cost rates, unless the costs have been certified by an official of the consultant as being allowable in accordance with the Federal cost principles. The certification requirement shall apply to all indirect cost rate proposals submitted by consultants and subconsultants for acceptance by a STA or other recipient. Each consultant or subconsultant is responsible for certification of its own indirect cost rate and may not certify the rate of another firm.
(ii) The certifying official shall be an individual executive or financial officer of the consultant's organization at a level no lower than a Vice President or Chief Financial Officer, or equivalent, who has the authority to represent the financial information utilized to establish the indirect cost rate proposal submitted for acceptance.
(iii) The certification of final indirect costs shall read as follows:
(1) Indirect cost rates.
(i) Indirect cost rates shall be updated on an annual basis in accordance with the consultant's annual accounting period and in compliance with the Federal cost principles.
(ii) Contracting agencies shall accept a consultant's or subconsultant's indirect cost rate(s) established for a 1-year applicable accounting period by a cognizant agency that has:
(A) Performed an audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards to test compliance with the requirements of the Federal cost principles and issued an audit report of the consultant's indirect cost rate(s); or
(B) Conducted a review of an audit report and related workpapers prepared by a certified public accountant and issued a letter of concurrence with the related audited indirect cost rate(s).
(iii) When the indirect cost rate has not been established by a cognizant agency in accordance with paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, a STA or other recipient shall perform an evaluation of a consultant's or subconsultant's indirect cost rate prior to acceptance and application of the rate to contracts administered by the recipient or its subrecipients. The evaluation performed by STAs or other recipients to establish or accept an indirect cost rate shall provide assurance of compliance with the Federal cost principles and may consist of one or more of the following:
(A) Performing an audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards and issuing an audit report;
(B) Reviewing and accepting an audit report and related workpapers prepared by a certified public accountant or another STA;
(C) Establishing a provisional indirect cost rate for the specific contract and adjusting contract costs based upon an audited final rate at the completion of the contract; or
(D) Conducting other evaluations in accordance with a risk-based oversight process as specified in paragraph (c)(2) of this section and within the agency's approved written policies and procedures, as specified in § 172.5(c).
(iv) A lower indirect cost rate may be accepted for use on a contract if submitted voluntarily by a consultant; however, the consultant's offer of a lower indirect cost rate shall not be a condition or qualification to be considered for the work or contract award.
(v) Once accepted in accordance with paragraphs (b)(1)(ii) through (iv) of this section, contracting agencies shall apply such indirect cost rate for the purposes of contract estimation, negotiation, administration, reporting, and contract payment and the indirect cost rate shall not be limited by administrative or de facto ceilings of any kind.
(vi) A consultant's accepted indirect cost rate for its 1-year applicable accounting period shall be applied to contracts; however, once an indirect cost rate is established for a contract, it may be extended beyond the 1-year applicable period, through the duration of the specific contract, provided all concerned parties agree. Agreement to the extension of the 1-year applicable period shall not be a condition or qualification to be considered for the work or contract award.
(vii) Disputed rates. If an indirect cost rate established by a cognizant agency in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section is in dispute, the contracting agency does not have to accept the rate. A contracting agency may perform its own audit or other evaluation of the consultant's indirect cost rate for application to the specific contract, until or unless the dispute is resolved. A contracting agency may alternatively negotiate a provisional indirect cost rate for the specific contract and adjust contract costs based upon an audited final rate. Only the consultant and the parties involved in performing the indirect cost audit may dispute the established indirect cost rate. If an error is discovered in the established indirect cost rate, the rate may be disputed by any prospective contracting agency.
(2) Direct salary or wage rates.
(i) Compensation for each employee or classification of employee must be reasonable for the work performed in accordance with the Federal cost principles.
(ii) To provide for fair and reasonable compensation, considering the classification, experience, and responsibility of employees necessary to provide the desired engineering and design related services, contracting agencies may establish consultant direct salary or wage rate limitations or “benchmarks” based upon an objective assessment of the reasonableness of proposed rates performed in accordance with the reasonableness provisions of the Federal cost principles.
(iii) When an assessment of reasonableness in accordance with the Federal cost principles has not been performed, contracting agencies shall use and apply the consultant's actual direct salary or wage rates for estimation, negotiation, administration, and payment of contracts and contract modifications.
(3) Fixed fee.
(i) The determination of the amount of fixed fee shall consider the scope, complexity, contract duration, degree of risk borne by the consultant, amount of subcontracting, and professional nature of the services as well as the size and type of contract.
(ii) The establishment of fixed fee shall be contract or task order specific.
(iii) Fixed fees in excess of 15 percent of the total direct labor and indirect costs of the contract may be justified only when exceptional circumstances exist.
(4) Other direct costs. A contracting agency shall use the Federal cost principles in determining the reasonableness, allowability, and allocability of other direct contract costs.
(c) Oversight -
(1) Agency controls. Contracting agencies shall provide reasonable assurance that consultant costs on contracts reimbursed in whole or in part with FAHP funding are allowable in accordance with the Federal cost principles and consistent with the contract terms considering the contract type and payment method. Contracting agency written policies, procedures, contract documents, and other controls, as specified in §§ 172.5(c) and 172.9 shall address the establishment, acceptance, and administration of contract costs to assure compliance with the Federal cost principles and requirements of this section.
(2) Risk-based analysis. The STAs or other recipient may employ a risk-based oversight process to provide reasonable assurance of consultant compliance with Federal cost principles on FAHP funded contracts administered by the recipient or its subrecipients. If employed, this risk-based oversight process shall be incorporated into STA or other recipient written policies and procedures, as specified in § 172.5(c). In addition to ensuring allowability of direct contract costs, the risk-based oversight process shall address the evaluation and acceptance of consultant and subconsultant indirect cost rates for application to contracts. A risk-based oversight process shall consist of the following:
(i) Risk assessments. Conducting and documenting an annual assessment of risks of noncompliance with the Federal cost principles per consultant doing business with the agency, considering the following factors:
(A) Consultant's contract volume within the State;
(B) Number of States in which the consultant operates;
(C) Experience of consultant with FAHP contracts;
(D) History and professional reputation of consultant;
(E) Audit history of consultant;
(F) Type and complexity of consultant accounting system;
(G) Size (number of employees or annual revenues) of consultant;
(H) Relevant experience of certified public accountant performing audit of consultant;
(I) Assessment of consultant's internal controls;
(J) Changes in consultant organizational structure; and
(K) Other factors as appropriate.
(ii) Risk mitigation and evaluation procedures. Allocating resources, as considered necessary based on the results of the annual risk assessment, to provide reasonable assurance of compliance with the Federal cost principles through application of the following types of risk mitigation and evaluation procedures appropriate to the consultant and circumstances:
(A) Audits performed in accordance with generally accepted government audit standards to test compliance with the requirements of the Federal cost principles;
(B) Certified public accountant or other STA workpaper reviews;
(C) Other analytical procedures;
(D) Consultant cost certifications in accordance with paragraph (c)(3) of this section; and
(E) Consultant and certified public accountant training on the Federal cost principles.
(iii) Documentation. Maintaining supporting documentation of the risk-based analysis procedures performed to support the allowability and acceptance of consultant costs on FAHP funded contracts.
(3) Consultant cost certification.
(i) Indirect cost rate proposals for the consultant's 1-year applicable accounting period shall not be accepted and no agreement shall be made by a contracting agency to establish final indirect cost rates, unless the costs have been certified by an official of the consultant as being allowable in accordance with the Federal cost principles. The certification requirement shall apply to all indirect cost rate proposals submitted by consultants and subconsultants for acceptance by a STA or other recipient. Each consultant or subconsultant is responsible for certification of its own indirect cost rate and may not certify the rate of another firm.
(ii) The certifying official shall be an individual executive or financial officer of the consultant's organization at a level no lower than a Vice President or Chief Financial Officer, or equivalent, who has the authority to represent the financial information utilized to establish the indirect cost rate proposal submitted for acceptance.
(iii) The certification of final indirect costs shall read as follows:

Source

23 CFR § 172.11


Scoping language

None
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