In a contract there may be a number of different times when testing and acceptance may be required. For example:
In an agreement that had major milestones there may be acceptance and test requirements for the completion of the milestone.
For production of an item in volume they may be an acceptance and test of the “first article” produced to ensure that meets the expected requirements.
Prior to the completion of performance there may be a formal acceptance and test required to prove the item meet all the requirements of the agreement.
There can be performance testing that occurs after installation of a software program of piece of capital equipment as part of final acceptance that the item performs as committed.
Whenever there are an acceptance and test requirement several things be included.
1.The party whose work is subject to test and acceptance needs to either delivery the to the other party or provide notice to the other party that it is ready and available for testing and acceptance.
2.The parties should have agreed in advance upon where and how such testing will be performed.
3.For any discrepancies found in testing they parties should have agreed in advance what the impact will be. How long do they have to correct it? Does the test start from the beginning or from some forward point? Who pays the cost of any subsequent tests>
4.The party who has the acceptance and test rights will usually have a time period imposed during which the test and acceptance must be performed. That period should be extended by any discrepancies and retesting required.
Contract managers would be seldom involved in the actual testing and acceptance of the item delivered.Their role is to manage the documentation that surrounds the process and making sure people are aware of times required to complete acceptance and test activity.You retain copies of notices for the test to commence and verify that those meet the requirements of the contract.
You notify individuals that the time period for test and acceptance has commenced and when it needs to be completed by.You manage documentation highlighting and problems or discrepancies and advise the other party of your rights to have the period extended in accordance with the terms of the agreement.Upon final test and acceptance being complete, you provide a formal notice that it has been completed or provide a list of requirements that must be completed with any conditional acceptance.
It is the other party’s responsibility to manage their actions that may be triggered by acceptance such as invoicing for milestone, progress or final payments. The two most important things the contract manager does during this activity is:
1.Ensure that your right to test and accept the item has not lapsed by failing to act within the committed time frame.
2.The contract manager must document when final acceptance has occurred. That is because final acceptance is frequently a trigger for when the warranty period commences.
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