A-13383, MARCH 10, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 717

A-13383: Mar 10, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

CONTRACTS - ADVERTISING FOR BIDS UNLESS THE PUBLIC NEED IS SUCH AS TO REQUIRE IMMEDIATE DELIVERY OF THE ARTICLES OR PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICE. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 27. THE COMPOSITION OF THE FLOOR BEING PLASTIC IS AFFECTED BY EXTREME HEAT AND BY COLD. THE MATTER WAS TAKEN UP WITH THE BARBER ASPHALT COMPANY. STILL HE IS OF THE OPINION THAT THE MOST SATISFACTORY REMEDY WOULD BE A NEW FLOOR. "WE FIND THIS MASTIC FLOOR WAS LAID EARLY IN 1921. AS THE SPECIFICATIONS DISTINCTLY STATED IT WAS NOT TO BE TOO HARD OR TOO SOFT. WAS THE BEST THAT COULD HAVE BEEN LAID AT THAT TIME WITH THOSE PROVISIONS. THIS ADVANCEMENT BEING PRIMARILY DUE TO THE ASPHALT HARDENERS WHICH ARE NOW USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE MIX.

A-13383, MARCH 10, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 717

CONTRACTS - ADVERTISING FOR BIDS UNLESS THE PUBLIC NEED IS SUCH AS TO REQUIRE IMMEDIATE DELIVERY OF THE ARTICLES OR PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICE, THE PROCUREMENT THEREOF MUST BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, REQUIRING ADVERTISING. A PROPOSAL OF A PARTICULAR CONTRACTOR TO FURNISH MATERIALS FREE OF COST TO THE UNITED STATES AND TO PERFORM A CERTAIN WORK, THE GOVERNMENT PAYING FOR THE NECESSARY LABOR FOR THE PERFORMANCE THEREOF, MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED AND A CONTRACT ENTERED INTO FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF SAID WORK WITHOUT COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES. BIDS SHOULD BE ASKED FOR THE FURNISHING OF LABOR AND MATERIALS AND THE LOWEST BID MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS ACCEPTED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, MARCH 10, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 27, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

IN CONNECTION WITH CONTRACT DATED MARCH 21, 1917, WITH THE CHAS. MCCAUL CO., OF PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW POST OFFICE AT BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, THE BARBER ASPHALT COMPANY, OF PHILADELPHIA, AS SUBCONTRACTORS LAID A MASTIC FLOOR ABOUT 1 INCH IN THICKNESS IN THE WORKROOM OF THE SAID BUILDING (APPROXIMATELY 30,000 SQUARE FEET).

THE COMPOSITION OF THE FLOOR BEING PLASTIC IS AFFECTED BY EXTREME HEAT AND BY COLD, AND SUBJECTED TO UNEQUAL PRESSURE, OWING TO THE NATURE OF THE FURNITURE PLACED THEREON, THE PASSAGE OF TRUCKS LOADED WITH MAIL, MAGAZINES, ETC., DURING THE HEATED TERM THE SURFACE SOFTENED AND FURNITURE SETTLED, WHILE TRUCKS, ETC., LEFT INNUMERABLE RUTS, SO THAT AT THE PRESENT TIME THE SURFACE OF THE FLOOR PRESENTS A POCKED AND RUFFLED APPEARANCE, DEPRESSIONS VARYING FROM ONE-SIXTEENTH OF AN INCH TO NEAR THE THICKNESS OF THE FLOOR.

THE MATTER WAS TAKEN UP WITH THE BARBER ASPHALT COMPANY, WHO INFORMED THE DEPARTMENT UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 6, 1926, THAT---

"OUR CHIEF MASTIC ENGINEER VISITED THE NEW POST OFFICE AT BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, AND INSPECTED THE MASTIC FLOOR. HE REPORTS THAT ABOUT ONE-HALF OF THIS FLOOR SHOWS INDENTATIONS DUE TO HEAVY WEIGHTS, SUCH AS DESKS AND TRUCKS. ALTHOUGH THESE DEPRESSIONS COULD BE SOMEWHAT CONNECTED BY MEANS OF A HOT SMOOTHER, STILL HE IS OF THE OPINION THAT THE MOST SATISFACTORY REMEDY WOULD BE A NEW FLOOR.

"WE FIND THIS MASTIC FLOOR WAS LAID EARLY IN 1921, AND AS THE SPECIFICATIONS DISTINCTLY STATED IT WAS NOT TO BE TOO HARD OR TOO SOFT, THE FLOOR, WITHOUT DOUBT, WAS THE BEST THAT COULD HAVE BEEN LAID AT THAT TIME WITH THOSE PROVISIONS. SINCE THAT TIME THERE HAS BEEN A RAPID ADVANCEMENT IN THE ART OF LAYING MASTIC FLOORS; THIS ADVANCEMENT BEING PRIMARILY DUE TO THE ASPHALT HARDENERS WHICH ARE NOW USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE MIX; AT THE SAME TIME THE FLOOR DOES NOT LOSE ANY OF ITS RESILIENCY. IT IS NEEDLESS FOR US TO TELL YOU THAT WE ARE VERY MUCH INTERESTED AND CONCERNED IN DEVELOPING MASTIC FLOORS WHICH WILL SUIT ALL OF THE EXTRAORDINARY AND HARD USAGES PLACED UPON THEM BY THE GOVERNMENT IN THEIR POST OFFICES, AND WITH THIS IN MIND WE ARE MAKING THE FOLLOWING PROPOSITION WHICH WE BELIEVE WILL BE TO YOUR INTEREST:

"AT THE PRESENT TIME OUR COMPANY DOES NOT LAY MASTIC FLOORS BUT THERE IS A CONTRACTOR CLOSELY RELATED TO US IN PHILADELPHIA WHO WOULD BE WILLING TO SUPERVISE THE LAYING OF A NEW FLOOR FOR YOU BY REMANIPULATING THE MATERIALS IN THE PRESENT MASTIC FLOOR AND ADDING TO SAME NECESSARY ASPHALTIC MATERIALS TO MAKE THE PROPER MIX IN ACCORD WITH THE HIGHEST PRESENT STANDARDS. IF YOU CONSIDER FAVORABLY THE RENEWING OF PART OF THIS FLOOR, OUR UNDERSTANDING BEING THAT ONE-HALF NEEDS ATTENTION, WE WILL OBTAIN A PRICE FROM THIS CONTRACTOR WHICH WILL CLOSELY APPROXIMATE HIS COST AND WE IN TURN WILL MAKE THAT SAME PRICE TO YOU--- OUR COMPANY ALSO FURNISHING FREE OF COST ALL THE NECESSARY ADDITIONAL ASPHALT, GRIT, AND SAND NEEDED TO MAKE THE PROPER MIXTURE; THE COST TO YOU, THEREFORE, ONLY BEING THE LABOR. IF AGREEABLE WE WILL OBTAIN THE ESTIMATE OF COST FROM THIS CONTRACTOR AND FORWARD SAME TO YOU.'

THE ASPHALT MASTIC FLOORING, UNDER A MODIFICATION OF THE CONTRACT,WAS SUBSTITUTED FOR WOOD FLOORING ORIGINALLY STIPULATED FOR THE WORK-ROOM FLOOR, AND THERE IS NO GUARANTEE IN THE SPECIFICATIONS COVERING SAID ASPHALT MASTIC FLOORING.

IN VIEW OF THIS VERY ADVANTAGEOUS OFFER, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE DEPARTMENT COULD ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH THE BARGER ASPHALT COMPANY, WITHOUT COMPETITION, FOR THE WORK PROPOSED TO BE DONE, THE SAID COMPANY TO SUPPLY ALL MATERIALS AND THE UNITED STATES TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR THE LABOR ONLY, FROM THE APPROPRIATION "REPAIRS AND PRESERVATION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS, 1926.'

WITHOUT ENTERING INTO ANY DETAILED DISCUSSION OF THE MATTER, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, REQUIRES THAT ALL PURCHASES AND CONTRACTS FOR SUPPLIES IN ANY OF THE DEPENDENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, EXCEPT PERSONAL SERVICES AND WHEN IMMEDIATE DELIVERY OR PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICES IS NOT REQUIRED, SHALL BE MADE ONLY AFTER ADVERTISING FOR PROPOSALS. THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE ARE DESIGNED TO GIVE ALL CITIZENS, ETC., AN EQUAL RIGHT TO COMPETE FOR GOVERNMENT BUSINESS; TO PROCURE FOR THE GOVERNMENT THE BENEFITS WHICH FLOW FROM COMPETITION; AND TO RAISE A BAR AGAINST COLLUSION AND FRAUD IN PROCURING SUPPLIES AND LETTING CONTRACTS. THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE ARE MANDATORY AND ITS REQUIREMENTS ARE TO BE STRICTLY ENFORCED AND NO PROCEDURE AMOUNTING TO A NONCOMPLIANCE WITH ITS TERMS IS AUTHORIZED.

IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD AND YOU DO NOT STATE THE REASONS WHY THE BARBER ASPHALT CO. PROPOSES TO FURNISH THE MATERIALS FOR THIS PARTICULAR WORK WITHOUT COST TO THE UNITED STATES. IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY STATED REASON THEREFOR IT MAY BE REASONABLY ASSUMED THAT ITS PURPOSE IN SO DOING IS EITHER FOR THE BENEFITS DERIVED FROM THE ADVERTISING FEATURES CONNECTED THEREWITH OR FOR EXPERIMENTAL PURPOSES. THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT UPON A REQUEST FOR BIDS THAT OTHER BIDDERS FOR THE SAME REASON WILL OFFER BOTH THE LABOR AND MATERIALS AT A LOWER PRICE THAN IT WOULD COST THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE LABOR ALONE AS SUGGESTED BY THE BARBER ASPHALT CO. REGARDLESS OF THIS, HOWEVER, COMPETITION SHOULD BE HAD.

THEREFORE, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY SHOWING OF A PUBLIC EXIGENCY REQUIRING THE IMMEDIATE PERFORMANCE OF THE WORK--- THAT IS, AN EXIGENCY THAT WILL NOT PERMIT OF THE DELAY INCIDENT TO ADVERTISING--- BIDS MUST BE REQUESTED FOR THE REPAIR OR RESTORATION OF THE FLOOR AS REQUIRED BY THE STATUTE.

IF BIDS ARE REQUESTED THE BARBER ASPHALT CO. SHOULD, OF COURSE, BE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT ITS BID FOR THE JOB AND IF ITS BID IS THE LOWEST OF THE BIDS SUBMITTED IT PROPERLY MAY BE ACCEPTED.