An Essential Management and Financial Tool for Government Contractors

By Doug K. Nickerson, CPA, Partner

An Essential Management and Financial Tool for Government Contractors

Government Construction Contracts: Understanding REA

In the complex world of government construction contracts, the term “Request for Equitable Adjustment” (REA) is an invaluable management and financial tool. These requests are important in maintaining fairness and balance in contractual agreements between the government and contractors. Understanding REAs is crucial for both parties involved, as they represent a formal process to address unforeseen delays, circumstances, or changes in the contract that may necessitate adjustments to the agreed terms and conditions.

What is a Request for Equitable Adjustment?

A Request for Equitable Adjustment is a formal request made by a contractor to the government seeking adjustments to the terms of a contract. These adjustments typically stem from unforeseen events, changes in regulations, or modifications requested by the government or unforeseen circumstances beyond the contractor’s control, impacting project costs, schedules, or performance.

Why are REAs necessary?

Government contracts are often subject to changes, whether due to evolving project requirements, unforeseen events, or modifications initiated by the government itself. These changes can impact the cost and schedule of the contract, potentially affecting the contractor’s ability to fulfill their obligations efficiently and profitably.

REAs serve as a mechanism to address these changes fairly. It allows contractors to request compensation or adjustments to contract terms to account for the impacts of changes initiated by the government. At the same time, it enables the government to assess these requests objectively and ensure that taxpayers’ interests are protected while maintaining a level playing field for contractors.

Key components of a Request for Equitable Adjustment


REAs must be supported by comprehensive documentation outlining the reasons for the request, the impact on the contract, and supporting evidence such as cost breakdowns, schedules, and correspondence with the government.

Basis for Adjustment

Contractors must clearly articulate the basis for their requested adjustment, whether it’s due to changes in specifications, delays, differing site conditions, or other relevant factors.

Quantification of Impact

Contractors are required to quantify the impact of the requested adjustment accurately. This may involve calculating additional costs, delays, or other measurable impacts resulting from the change in contract requirements.


Timeliness is critical when submitting REAs. Contractors must adhere to contractual deadlines and statutory limitations for submitting requests to ensure they are considered valid.

Legal and Regulatory Framework

REAs are governed by various federal regulations, including the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and agency-specific regulations. Contractors must ensure compliance with these regulations when preparing and submitting REAs.

The government’s role in evaluating REAs

Upon receiving an REA, the government’s contracting officer (CO) is responsible for evaluating the request impartially. The CO assesses the merits of the request based on the contract terms, applicable regulations, and supporting documentation provided by the contractor. The government may conduct its own analysis or request additional information to validate the contractor’s claims. Once the CO approves the REA it is sent to Congress for final evaluation, approval and payment authority.

Resolving REAs

The resolution of REAs involves a collaborative effort between the contractor and the government. This may include negotiations, formal dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation or arbitration, or escalation to higher-level authorities for resolution.


Requests for Equitable Adjustment play a vital role in ensuring fairness and equity in government construction contracts. By providing contractors with a formal mechanism to address changes and unforeseen circumstances, REAs help maintain the integrity of contractual agreements while protecting the interests of both parties involved. Understanding the process and requirements associated with REAs is essential for contractors seeking to navigate the complexities of government contracting successfully.

For more information regarding REA for your government construction project, contact your Keiter Opportunity Advisor or Email, Call: 804.747.0000.

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About the Author

Doug K. Nickerson

Doug K. Nickerson, CPA, Partner

Doug shares his real estate and construction accounting insights with his clients to help them achieve their financial goals. Doug is the leader of Keiter’s Construction Industry team and is a member of Keiter’s Real Estate, Healthcare & Medical Services, and Manufacturing Industry teams. Doug has over 18 years of experience in corporate accounting and public accounting providing audit and consulting services.

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The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.


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