Planning : Contract Types : On-call Contracts

On-call Contracts

The CM uses an on-call contract and subsequent task orders when:

  • In-house functional resources are inadequate to handle the anticipated workload or specific activity.

  • "WBS Level 6 or lower” means a task planned and scheduled at a lower or more detailed level, not lower in number.
    The project manager knows the general types of products or services needed, but circumstances prevent the CM from setting a definitive location or timetable for work to begin. Using an on-call contract allows him/her the flexibility to utilize contract services on an as-needed basis.

  • The scope of work is defined at Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Level 6 or lower.

  • Most products and services can be completed in a relatively short time (approximately three years after contract execution).

Task Orders define a specific project’s scope, cost, and schedule according to the terms of a master contract. A single task order may be written for both products and services if certain criteria are met.

Task Orders for Products

Contemplative man in hard hat and yellow vest with one hand in his pocket and other hand on his chinThe CM issues task orders for products when:

  • The consultant will provide a specific deliverable product (e.g., biological study reports, hydraulic reports).
  • The scope of work is defined at WBS Level 6 or lower.

For more information about task orders, see Task Orders.

Task Orders for Services

The CM issues task orders for services when:

  • The consultant will provide services (e.g., survey crews, materials testers, construction inspectors).
  • The consultant is supplementing Department staff (staff augmentation).
  • The scope of work is defined at WBS Level 5 or lower.

For some services, task orders may need to be quite broad. For example, when contracting for construction inspections, a broad task order may be required to provide services for the term of multiple construction projects. The broad task order helps ensure that inspectors are available for specific projects. It also contributes to the efficient and effective use of the consultant staff by providing the flexibility to shift them among the most active projects.

Of course, the CM should always consult the functional unit receiving the consultant services to determine the proper level of WBS definitions to be used in contract and task order scopes of work.

The current WBS can be found in the "Guide to Project Delivery Workplan Standards (WSG)" on the Project Management website at: