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Pull back from the specific issue of interpretation in the case, and look broadly at the general role of

interpretation in government contract law. Procedurally, the issue starts with the provisions of the initial contract - often, as in this instance, the initial contract's specifications which describe the work to be performed.  Later, a dispute occurs over what the contractor must do, with the contracting officer having one interpretation, and the contractor another. The dispute becomes a claim, resolved through the government contract machinery for such claims. Suppose a similar disagreement occurred about whether the contract required re-lamping between a private developer and its general contractor: what would be the same, and what would be different, in the private contracting context and why?

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In the above described scenario, even if there was a difference of opinion or understanding between the contractor and the... View the full answer

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