Claims on construction projects are unpleasant, but sometimes unavoidable. Contract with the federal government and you are by statute and by contract required to resolve any and all disputes under the Contract Disputes Act. So what is the Contract Disputes Act? This article sets forth basic information all federal government contractors should know when faced with the necessity of making or defending a claim on a federal project.
What Is the Contract Disputes Act?
The Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (CDA or Act) was enacted by Congress to implement a comprehensive statutory scheme for the resolution of government contract claims. The CDA provides a framework for asserting and handling claims by either the government or a contractor. All disputes under the CDA must be submitted to either the U.S Court of Federal Claims or to an administrative board of contract appeals. The vast majority of board cases are handled by either the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals or the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. The ASBCA is generally responsible for deciding appeals from decisions of contracting officers in the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, NASA, and when specified, the CIA. The CBCA hears disputes from all other executive agencies except the United States Postal Service (USPS), the Postal Rate Commission, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The USPS is served by the Postal Service BCA. In addition, the Government Accountability Office Contract Appeals Board handles contract disputes arising in the legislative branch, and the Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition handles contract disputes and bid protests arising out of Federal Aviation Administration procurements.