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]
Also, we encourage you to join us for an overview session on RWA policies, procedures, and program updates! The session, titled RWA Protocols for 2017, is part of GSA's Client Enrichment Series and will be held online on February 16th, 2017 from 2:00-3:00pm EST. Please register here if you plan on attending!
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.
General RWA Process Questions
Specific project questions should always be directed to your Project Manager, but an additional resource for other RWA questions are the regional RWA Managers. The list of regional RWA Managers is available at this link.
RWA Form 2957
The RWA Form 2957 contains blocks that have to be completed by both the customer and PBS. All customer required fields are located on page 1 of the form and instructions on filling out the form are found on pages 4 and 5. The form is located here.
This option is rarely used, but “goods” should be checked when you only have personal property items on an RWA. For example, a customer has an RWA project for alterations in his/her space. The customer later decides that he/she wants furniture for this space procured through PBS. This would require a new furniture-only RWA with “goods” selected on the RWA Form 2957.
Since this is a customer code, the customer is responsible for providing the correct value. Customers should confirm with their internal Finance office if uncertain. Valid Treasury Symbols are available to the public at Treasury’s “Shared Accounting Module” (SAM) site. This site replaces the former Treasury FASTBook, as SAM is updated daily while the FASTBook may only be updated annually. Information about the SAM site can be found at http://fms.treas.gov/sam/index.html. A list of valid Treasury Symbols can be found here.
It is suggested that PBS assist the customer with filling out the RWA form, but not do it all for the customer. It is important that the customer know and understand its financial information and requirements.
No. The level of specificity depends on the type of project, but to be clear and acceptable the Description of Requirements must include, at a minimum, the location, the type of work, and the description of work. The scope of work is necessary to set expectations and support a cost estimate, so requesting more detail (i.e. square footage of any existing carpet to be demoed, square footage/style/and type of new carpet to be installed, type of paint, etc) will allow PBS to accurately determine the level of work necessary.
Normally it is the requesting agency’s budget officer, but it can be any position within the requesting customer organization that is qualified and certified by the requesting organization to commit and obligate funds on behalf of the organization.
The customer signature is certifying the availability of the funds for the purpose(s) requested in the RWA. Once PBS signs the RWA to accept those funds, they are shown as an obligation on the accounting records of the requesting agency and entered into the customer financial system of record.
If the date the customer signed is a significant time from the date received, then the PM should contact the customer to verify the RWA is still needed and likely request they confirm by resigning and dating the RWA.
Yes, PBS should have the customer make a pen and ink change and initial the change.
Yes. The RWA Form provides the option for electronic signatures and PBS guidance indicates “the Form meets the requirements for valid obligation…if doubt exists as to the validity of the digital signature, Regional Staff are encouraged to seek additional assurance…if necessary request a traditional ‘wet’ signature.”
Scope of Work
The scope of work is used to create the cost estimate, so a project scope should be developed before PBS can estimate its cost. A cost estimate is required prior to creating an RWA.
Every project will have a scope of work that gives detail as to what the project involves and drives the cost estimate. The Description of Requirements can function as the scope of work for less complex projects, but there must be sufficient detail for an accurate cost estimate to be created from the information provided.
Yes, but only for the travel portion and not for developing the scope of work.
No. PBS does not perform this type of work.
Yes, but the new project still needs to be documented.
No. Unforeseen conditions are part of the percentage added for contingencies.
As detailed as possible at the time of acceptance. The amount must be based on a bona fide need, scope of work, and cost estimate. It should give the reason PBS knows a lump sum is required.
No. If the customer needs to deviate from the RWA scope after the customer’s obligational authority has expired, then PBS must ask for a new RWA.
The scope of work from the RWA is refined during contracting. RWA scopes of work need to have enough detail to create a cost estimate and clear deliverable(s). This will assist in moving the project forward more quickly as the overall project scope of work will need further refinement during contracting.
The RWA scope will be less detailed than the overall project scope as the RWA scope of work encompasses only those items the RWA applies to.
Yes, the customer may change the scope of work using funds cited on the original RWA prior to the expiration date of those funds. No-year funds, however, may only be amended for new scope within the first year of performance.
If there is a change needed to the scope or requirements accepted as part of the original RWA, the customer should work with the PBS project manager to define the change in requirements to determine next steps. The project manager will provide either a revised or new SCE to reflect the changes or additions, and the customer must submit either a new RWA or an amended RWA, depending upon whether or not the changes were within the scope of the original RWA or not and whether the customer agency’s funds from the original RWA remain available or have expired.
It is advised that scope changes be related to original program/scope, especially if obligations to a contractor have occurred. If the scope changes are completely outside of the original scope, then PBS should close the project, return the funds to the customer, and ask for a new RWA. This is a matter of keeping our RWA projects clear and free from confusion.
Yes, because the RWA would have to be amended or a new one provided and would require a new signature certifying the bona fide need and funding availability.
If the scope of an RWA changes after the customer’s obligational authority for the original funds has expired, PBS must get a new RWA with new funding based on a new estimate.
There is no official time as RWA acceptance is based on many factors. Project Managers should be aware that customers want projects accepted within a timely manner, so it is up to the Project Manager to manage the customer’s expectations for acceptance.
This depends on the variables surrounding the project; regional resource availability, project complexity, customer requirements status, etc. GSA regions follow an intake process that aims to manage the intake timeline to within 20 business days of receipt of a fully executable RWA. GSA encourages customers to engage in open and continuous communication with RWA Managers to ensure timely responses. The RWA Managers Map can be found on our website at gsa.gov/rwa or directly at this link.
The year-end letter dates are provided to ensure the customer (DoD) gets its RWAs in with enough time for PBS to perform its due diligence. It is up to the region to accept the RWA according to the time and resources available.
Yes, but the PBS representative receiving, reviewing, or accepting the RWA must have reasonable assurance, and be comfortable that, the digital signature is valid. If PBS has doubts as to the validity of the digital signature, PBS is encouraged to seek additional assurances from the certifying and approving official and, if necessary, request a traditional "wet" signature.
Yes, schedules are required and procurement activities and milestones must be shown if the procurement is anticipated more than 90 days beyond the acceptance of the RWA.
A schedule is only required for acceptance if the award date by PBS is anticipated beyond 90 calendar days from RWA acceptance. If a schedule is not provided then PBS will begin execution of the RWA within a reasonable time, further defined by PBS as 90 calendar days. Either way, it is advisable that PBS prepares and utilizes schedules to the extent possible for all projects.
An RWA is not needed to begin requirements development, but PBS policy requires that an RWA is accepted prior to contracting for billable design work. PBS cannot begin in-depth design work before accepting an RWA and then back bill for those services.
PBS may use historic data, lump sum costs, square footage costs, or a combination to provide cost estimating based on the understanding of the project and facility. As requirements are further defined and phases of a project are completed, the level of accuracy of the SCE will improve.
No. DIDs and CDs will allow for increasingly accurate cost estimates. If estimates increase as a design matures, PBS must ask for an amendment to the previous RWA. If no RWA was collected during a lease project because no known lump sums existed and the DIDs and CDs lead to lump sums, then PBS will ask for the RWA at that point.
Yes. GSA encourages this approach but must ensure that each phase is a fully deliverable project as detailed in the individual scopes of work.
No, there should be a description of the service the customer needs. It is only assumed the services to be provided are of a miscellaneous nature when an F Type RWA is used.
This is not a practice PBS supports. A customer agency is required to pay for the services they request and use. If PBS receives an RWA with this verbiage, or any vague or ambiguous language, PBS will return the RWA to the customer requesting the language be removed and the RWA resubmitted.
Yes, but if the customer agency wants to use multiple billing addresses, then it needs to submit multiple RWAs.
Substantial Completion & Cancellation
RWA substantial completion means the RWA is substantially complete and the customer agency may take beneficial occupancy of the space. There may still be punch list items remaining, but the customer can use the space for its intended purpose.
Completion means the RWA project is substantially and physically complete. Essentially, the customer can take beneficial occupancy and Rent can begin.
Yes, because the customer can then take beneficial occupancy of the space.
When an RWA is substantially complete, the PBS office responsible for the RWA will initiate prompt action to submit the project completion dates to the customer agency and in RETA. Since C, F, and R Type RWAs require a completion date upon initial acceptance, they are not required to be certified complete a second time when the completion date occurs.
RWA substantial completion happens when the last item on the RWA is complete. If the construction is complete, but the furniture has not come in, then the RWA is not yet substantially complete. In other words, if the furniture is necessary for beneficial occupancy of the space, then the RWA is not yet complete. If furniture was procured independently by the agency, then substantial completion is achieved at the completion of all scope within the RWA.
In a large project, this occurrence is possible but not very probable. Closing out the financial side of a project usually takes some time after project completion even if no punch list items exist, however it is up to the financial community to determine financial closeout and to send the Closeout Letter.
No. RWA substantial completion must be identified in RETA when the space is substantially complete. This is an important milestone that must be accurately captured, as it often signifies when Rent may begin.
Completion is based on the scope of work for each RWA, not the entire “Project.” Enter the completion date on each RWA based on when each RWA is physically substantially complete.
If there is one RWA for all phases, then the substantial completion will be the physical substantial completion date on the final phase of the project. If an RWA was obtained for each separate phase, then the substantial completion date would be the dates that each of the phases are completed for each respective RWA.
Substantial completion is the RWA substantial completion, so this will be determined by the final item completed on the RWA.
Yes. Customers can cancel RWAs after they have been accepted. A cancellation date (D-input code in RETA) is applied to nonrecurring RWAs with no financial activity ($0) and all R-types (regardless of financial activity). For nonrecurring RWAs that have had some financial activity, PBS will bill the customer for all spending incurred to date. Instead of a cancellation date however, an early completion date (N-input code) should be applied to the RWA.
Typically, yes. The customer should sign a revised RWA Form with the authorized amount reduced to $0 (or the amount of goods/services rendered up until the point of cancellation). However, PBS can unilaterally cancel an RWA for an unresponsive customer, which does not require the customer's signature.
The customer must contact the PBS office in charge of the RWA and request the cancellation in writing. If costs have been incurred on any nonrecurring RWA, PBS should follow the substantial completion process instead of this cancellation process. If costs have not been incurred, upon receipt of a cancellation request from the customer, PBS should take steps to update the RWA Form accordingly before requesting the customer sign and date it.
Completion means the RWA project is physically and substantially complete and the customer can take beneficial occupancy. The completion date is entered in RETA upon inspection and determination that the need identified on the RWA has been successfully delivered to the customer. Closeout means that the project is financially ready for closure, meaning all funds have been obligated, expensed, billed and collected. This signifies the termination date in RETA can be set. The termination date triggers the Closeout Letter, alerting the customer that he/she can de-obligate any remaining balance.
In a large project, this occurrence is possible but not very probable. Closing out the financial side of a project usually takes some time after project completion even if no punch list items exist, however it is up to the PBS financial associates to determine financial closeout and to send the Closeout Letter.
No. RWA Substantial Completion must be marked in RETA when the space is substantially complete. This is an important milestone that must be accurately captured because this is when Rent can start for the customer.