Training & FAQs
Welcome to the RWA Training and Frequently Asked Questions Page. The materials included on this page are aimed for all individuals that handle, process, or authorize RWAs with PBS on behalf of their agency. All of these materials are considered "self-service" in that they can be reviewed at any time at your own pace. However, should a customer request onsite training, PBS can customize training to address key customer issues. Please contact us at AskRWA@gsa.gov to discuss your needs.
This Introduction to Reimbursable Services training is available to both GSA employees and external customers in an effort to impart the same basic level of knowledge, understanding, and common language surrounding the Reimbursable Services Program. It provides information on RWA basics, outlines the RWA management process from receipt of RWA to closeout, and issues guidance on following Federal Fiscal Law and GSA Policy.
Level I Training - Introduction to Reimbursable Services (updated 4/26/2016) [PDF - 1.91MB]
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below you will find FAQs pertaining to RWAs. In order to best navigate the site, please click on the tab which you believe your question might fall under and search the page for a particular question or topic. If you have any further questions or comments please feel free to contact us at AskRWA@gsa.gov.
Fees & Billing
General Questions on Fees
No. The 4% PM Fee is for regional project management oversight, contracting, entry, and tracking whereas the Sliding Scale Fee is a Central Office overhead fee that covers the program office, finance activities, RETA and eRETA.
The fees are separated as a result of the fee structure determined in years past. The fees are currently being reviewed and may change in the future.
The Sliding Scale Fee is applied to the 4% PM Fee and all other costs (including personal property). The “order” and “timing” at which the Fees are charged is driven by expenses incurred (i.e., gradually throughout project delivery).
Assuming construction-related function codes are used, the 4% PM Fee will apply to every nonrecurring RWA, including F Type RWAs, and the Sliding Scale Fee is additionally applied to all nonrecurring RWA Types.
A Contingency is meant to cover the unknown risks associated with a project. Each project has a unique set of circumstances that may require a higher or lower contingency than other related projects. The more risk (or unknowns) a project has, the higher the contingency will need to be. Regardless, the RWA needs to have a clear and succinct scope of work.
4% Project Management (PM) Fee
The Sliding Scale Fee is added on top of all RWA costs to cover the costs of managing the Reimbursable Services Program. This includes the costs of tracking personal property information in RETA and eRETA and therefore is captured in program overhead.
No, only the Sliding Scale Fee has a maximum of $30,000. The 4% PM Fee has no maximum and no minimum.
PBS charges the 4% PM Fee to all customers on all eligible project expenses.
The 4% PM Fee is charged on ALL construction-related costs on nonrecurring RWAs. The 4% PM Fee only applies to eligible project expenses including such things as design, construction, and construction management and does NOT apply to other non-construction related project expenses such as personal property, moving costs and severable services.
PBS charges the 4% PM Fee to cover the indirect costs of doing business. If a PBS associate is performing any of the work related to the project scope (e.g. design intent drawings), then PBS should directly charge the customer for that time. All project management, contracting, and coordination duties are covered by the Fee.
The 4% PM Fee is based on expenses incurred. As expenses are incurred and entered into the PBS financial system, the fee is automatically applied and bills the customer accordingly.
PBS uses the Summary Cost Estimate Sheet to figure out what the Fees are for the project.
Not for typical projects, as this is captured as part of the 4% PM Fee. However, PBS offers workplace design services where a PBS interior designer works directly with the customer, something considered beyond normal scope development, and would have direct costs associated, as detailed in the cost estimate prior to RWA acceptance.
PBS does not charge for developing a reasonable number of scope scenarios for a customer, as this is considered a part of doing business, though resources are not endlessly unlimited either. The 4% PM Fee is meant to cover “indirect costs”.
This is the cost of doing business and is captured by the 4% PM Fee.
Yes. Change orders fall under the same rules as the original RWA.
No, it does not apply to any overtime utilities.
Yes. Every single RWA obligation under an F Type RWA may not exceed $25,000, inclusive of fees.
The 4% PM Fee does not cover personal property items, which includes move services (SCE Line 16). If installation or assembly is included in the furniture purchase, then no 4% PM Fee is applied, however, if installation or assembly is not covered in the purchase, the 4% PM Fee is applied because they would fall under construction-related costs.
Yes, because moving costs are included in the construction cost. Moving is charged a fee based on the way it is procured, in this case with the construction contract.
No. Contracting for personal property is a cost of doing business.
There are two types of overhead fees: the Sliding Scale Fee is for nonrecurring RWAs and the $100 Flat Overhead Fee is for Recurring RWAs. They both cover National Program Costs (Policy, Procedures, Coordination, Systems, Training, etc.).
Yes, the Sliding Scale Fee is automatically charged as the RWA incurs expenses.
Yes, the Sliding Scale Fee has a maximum threshold of $30,000.
Direct costs must be included in the SCE and authorized amount of the RWA.
Having a PBS associate on-site after hours is not a typical project management function covered by the 4% PM Fee, so PBS can charge customers for that employee’s time directly.
Billing & Receiving Reports
PBS bills customers for both recurring and nonrecurring RWAs on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Bills are no longer sent to customers, but can be accessed on approximately the 25th of each month on the Vendor & Customer Self Service (VCSS) website.
A customer obligation to PBS only means the funds are reserved by PBS for the project. For PBS to be reimbursed for the project services being delivered, PBS must bill the customer to receive payment thereby liquidating the customer’s obligation. PBS bills are generated by expenses incurred.
The customer bills show the fees that PBS charges. There is a line item for “PBS RWA Fees” on the second page of the bill under “Cumulative Billed Financial Summary”.
GSA transitioned billing systems in FY2013 and at the time also reconfigured the RWA billing statement format to include additional information RWA customers had been requesting. For information regarding the FY2013 billing system transition (known as the Billing and Accounts Receivable (BAAR) project) and for a copy of the revised RWA billing format, please visit the BAAR website.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a list of five FAQs regarding IPAC transactions along with several real-life situations and the GAO decision on each of those instances. This March 2008 FAQ publication can be found at the following website.
No. The VCSS billing system no longer sends bills to customers. Instead, customers are encouraged to log into the system to review bills on a monthly basis, after receiving an email notification from VCSS that they have a new bill.
PBS bills the customer against the RWA, and it is up to the customer to ensure the correct fund year is cited when issuing payments to PBS.
PBS should be directly billing for PBS-provided CM Services to the RWA.
When the landscaping services are considered above standard (i.e. not in rent) and PBS receives an invoice or bill, the services are considered nonrecurring. When the landscaping services are considered above standard (i.e. not in rent) and PBS does NOT receive an invoice or bill, the services are considered recurring.
Non-IPAC RWAs require additional administrative effort by GSA finance. The $1,000 threshold is in place so GSA is not needlessly spending time reconciling and addressing issues with small dollar amounts. Once expenses exceed $1,000, the RWA will bill the customer. If the RWA as a whole or a final bill amount is less than $1,000, then the amount is billed once the completion date is entered.
No, those items impact financial closeout, but should not delay physical substantial completion.
Yes, but GSA discourages IPAC customers from using credit cards because it costs the government unnecessary credit card fees. Additionally, credit card information is no longer requested on the RWA Form, and the customer is required to log into pay.gov to use their credit cards to pay for services received from PBS via an RWA.
On each bill, there is a point of contact from GSA Finance, who should be able to assist with answering financial related questions, including billing. If the questions are specific to the project, the RETA point of contact or the Project Manager may be a better source of information.
Vendor and Customer Self-Service.
The process of how a customer pays is unchanged; VCSS is simply a different venue for them to retrieve a copy of their bill. Billview will remain the system of record of all bills prior to July 2013.
There are always two "bills" for IPAC customers; the Treasury IPAC transmission is a one page document with some basic data elements, including the amount of the bill, and has PBS POC information (for RWA bills) for questions or where to go to get more details. VCSS is the location of the more detailed bill - the dollar amount is the same as the IPAC version, just with additional details of the bill they were first notified of via the IPAC system.
PBS cannot verify the correct funding year is being used unless other information on the RWA indicates that the funding year is incorrect.
When PBS finds that the fiscal year used in the accounting string is different from the Agency Fund Year.
Have a conversation with the customer and let him/her understand that in order to deliver the project, the requirements should not change.
PBS should verify the no-year fund type against all other financial data on the RWA to ensure that all information is consistent with no-year funding. PBS should verify with the customer agency if doubt remains. PBS usually does this when an agency that typically provides RWAs with annual funding, requests work with no-year funds.