A-35303, FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 369

A-35303: Feb 14, 1931

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REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO REJECT THE LOW PROPOSAL IN THE SUM OF $5. THE DOUBT IN THE MATTER BEING WHETHER A RESTRICTION ON COMPETITION CONTAINED IN THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR PROPOSALS IS PROPER. IT SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN THOUGHT BY THE DRAFTSMAN OF THE SPECIFICATIONS THAT ALL ELEMENTS OF CHANCE WITH REGARD TO THE ELEVATORS SHOULD BE REDUCED TO A MINIMUM BY A CONDITION IN THE SPECIFICATIONS INTENDED TO INSURE THAT ALL MAIN PARTS OF ELEVATORS INSTALLED IN BUREAU HOSPITALS WOULD BE FURNISHED IMMEDIATELY WHEN REPAIRS OR REPLACEMENTS THERETO WERE NECESSARY. THE RESTRICTION ON COMPETITION CONTAINED IN THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THIS PURPOSE IS AS FOLLOWS: BIDS WILL BE CONSIDERED ONLY FROM ESTABLISHED ELEVATOR MANUFACTURERS WHO BUILD ALL MAIN PARTS.

A-35303, FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 369

ADVERTISING - BIDS - COMPETITION - RESTRICTIONS UNDER SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, UNNECESSARY RESTRICTIONS WHICH WOULD LIMIT COMPETITION SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN ADVERTISEMENTS FOR BIDS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF WORK, OR THE FURNISHING OF SUPPLIES, FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, FEBRUARY 14, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR SUBMISSION OF FEBRUARY 4, 1931, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO REJECT THE LOW PROPOSAL IN THE SUM OF $5,242 OF THE WEEKLY ELEVATOR COMPANY (INC.), AND ACCEPT THE NEXT LOWEST PROPOSAL FOR THE INSTALLATION OF AN ELEVATOR IN THE ACUTE BUILDING AT THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' HOSPITAL, AUGUSTA, GA., THE DOUBT IN THE MATTER BEING WHETHER A RESTRICTION ON COMPETITION CONTAINED IN THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR PROPOSALS IS PROPER.

UNINTERRUPTED ELEVATOR SERVICE APPEARS TO BE AN ESSENTIAL FACTOR IN THE PROPER OPERATION OF A HOSPITAL, AND IT SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN THOUGHT BY THE DRAFTSMAN OF THE SPECIFICATIONS THAT ALL ELEMENTS OF CHANCE WITH REGARD TO THE ELEVATORS SHOULD BE REDUCED TO A MINIMUM BY A CONDITION IN THE SPECIFICATIONS INTENDED TO INSURE THAT ALL MAIN PARTS OF ELEVATORS INSTALLED IN BUREAU HOSPITALS WOULD BE FURNISHED IMMEDIATELY WHEN REPAIRS OR REPLACEMENTS THERETO WERE NECESSARY. THE RESTRICTION ON COMPETITION CONTAINED IN THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THIS PURPOSE IS AS FOLLOWS:

BIDS WILL BE CONSIDERED ONLY FROM ESTABLISHED ELEVATOR MANUFACTURERS WHO BUILD ALL MAIN PARTS, INCLUDING MACHINE, GEARS, AND BRAKES, AND WHO HAVE HAD ELEVATORS OF THIS TYPE IN SATISFACTORY OPERATION IN BUILDINGS OF SIMILAR CHARACTER TO THOSE MENTIONED HEREIN FOR A PERIOD OF AT LEAST TWO YEARS.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THERE ARE "QUITE A LARGE NUMBER OF ESTABLISHED ELEVATOR MANUFACTURERS WHO BUILD ALL MAIN PARTS TO THEIR ELEVATORS AND AMPLE COMPETITION HAS HERETOFORE BEEN SECURED FROM ELEVATOR MANUFACTURERS WHO MEET THE FOREGOING REQUIREMENTS.' IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE THE WEEKLY ELEVATOR CO. (INC.) APPEARS NOT TO BE A MANUFACTURER OF ELEVATORS,BUT IS A CONCERN LOCATED NEAR THE HOSPITAL IN QUESTION, WHICH PURCHASES THE ELEVATORS FROM THE MANUFACTURERS AND INSTALLS AND SERVICES THEM. ELEVATORS FURNISHED BY THIS CONCERN HAVE BEEN INSTALLED IN THE UNITED STATES PENITENTIARY AT ATLANTA, AND IN A LARGE NUMBER OF PRIVATE BUILDINGS IN ATLANTA AND OTHER CITIES, INCLUDING ST. PETERSBURG, FLA., COLUMBIA, TENN., AND ELSEWHERE. THE COMPANY HAS PRESENTED LETTERS OF COMMENDATION FROM TRUST COMPANIES, ARCHITECTS, ETC., AS TO ITS INSTALLATION AND SERVICE WORK. IT HAS BEEN STATED BY THE UTILITY OFFICER AT THE HOSPITAL WITH RESPECT TO ELEVATORS INSTALLED BY A MANUFACTURER THEREOF THAT HIS OFFICE WAS EXPERIENCING CONSIDERABLE TROUBLE WITH SUCH ELEVATORS AND THAT---

ON THE EVENING OF DECEMBER 31, 1930, THE MAIN DRIVE MOTOR ROTOR ON THE PASSENGER ELEVATOR BURNED OUT. UPON INSPECTION IT WAS FOUND THAT THIS ROTOR AND THE CASTING WERE PRACTICALLY AT A WHITE HEAT AND THE INSULATION ON THE WIRES WAS BURNED TO CRISP.

THE ROTOR ON THIS MOTOR IS A COMPLETE LOSS AND IT WAS NECESSARY TO HAVE THE * * * ELEVATOR PEOPLE DISASSEMBLE THE ENTIRE MACHINERY IN THE PENTHOUSE IN ORDER TO REMOVE THE ROTOR FROM THE MOTOR. UPON INSPECTION OF THE ROTOR, AFTER TAKING IT FROM THE MOTOR, IT WAS FOUND THAT SEVERAL OF THE WIRES IN THE WINDINGS WERE COMPLETELY BURNED IN TWO. THIS WAS CAUSED BY DEFECTIVE INSULATION IN THE ROTOR WINDINGS.

THE ELEVATOR WAS OUT OF COMMISSION FOR APPROXIMATELY 44 1/2 HOURS.

THE ATTENTION OF THE * * * ELEVATOR PEOPLE WAS CALLED TO THE FACT THAT A NEW STATOR AND CASTING WERE ALSO NECESSARY IN ORDER THAT WE WOULD HAVE NO FURTHER TROUBLE. HOWEVER, THE * * * ELEVATOR CO. DID NOT REPLACE THE STATOR WITH A NEW ONE, BUT ASSEMBLED THE NEW ROTOR IN THE OLD STATOR AND PLACED THE ELEVATOR IN OPERATION.

I WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT THE MOTOR IS NOW HEATING UP CONSIDERABLY WHEN IT IS USED AND THIS MATTER HAS BEEN TAKEN UP WITH THE * * * ELEVATOR COMPANY AND THEY HAVE DECIDED TO REPLACE THE STATOR ON THIS MOTOR, WHICH WILL CAUSE THE TAKING OUT OF SERVICE THE PASSENGER ELEVATOR AGAIN, AND I PRESUME IT WILL TAKE APPROXIMATELY THE SAME NUMBER OF HOURS TO REASSEMBLE IT AS PREVIOUSLY.

THIS SAME OFFICER HAD PREVIOUSLY REPORTED THAT THE DUMBWAITERS LOCATED IN THE INFIRMARY BUILDING WERE AGAIN OUT OF COMMISSION, THE CABLE BREAKING AND CAUSING LOSS OF DISHES AND FOOD. HE FURTHER STATED THAT:

I WISH TO CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THESE MATTERS AND WISH TO EMPHASIZE THE FACT THAT THESE ELEVATORS HAVE GIVEN VERY UNSATISFACTORY SERVICE SINCE THEIR INSTALLATION.

IN FACT, IF THEY DO NOT IMPROVE IT WILL BE NECESSARY THAT THIS STATION HIRE ONE ELECTRICIAN OR MECHANIC TO BE STATIONED NEAR THE ELEVATORS TO KEEP THEM IN REPAIR AT ALL TIMES.

THESE FACTS ARE SUFFICIENT TO SHOW THAT THE LIMITING OF COMPETITION TO THE MANUFACTURERS OF ELEVATORS DOES NOT NECESSARILY RESULT IN SECURING THE SATISFACTORY INSTALLATION AND SERVICING OF ELEVATORS. MOREOVER, THE RESTRICTION ON COMPETITION IS UNREASONABLE AND OPERATES TO DEPRIVE LOCAL CONCERNS OF THEIR RIGHT TO COMPETE ON THE BASIS OF QUALITY AND PRICE IN BIDDING ON GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS. THE SPECIFICATIONS MAY PROPERLY STIPULATE THAT THE ELEVATOR TO BE FURNISHED AND INSTALLED SHALL BE THE EQUAL OF THOSE KNOWN BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO HAVE GIVEN SATISFACTORY SERVICE, AND THAT IT IS OF A MAKE AND TYPE THAT HAS BEEN IN OPERATION FOR A REASONABLE PERIOD. THERE PROPERLY MAY BE A FURTHER STIPULATION THAT THE INSTALLATION BE MADE BY INDIVIDUALS OR CONCERNS HAVING SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE IN THE INSTALLATION AND SERVICING OF ELEVATORS. FURTHER THAN THIS THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR ELEVATORS MAY NOT ORDINARILY GO.

THE RESTRICTION IN THE SPECIFICATIONS MAY BE DISREGARDED IN THIS INSTANCE AS UNREASONABLE AND SHOULD NOT HEREAFTER BE USED. SINCE THE WEEKLY ELEVATOR CO. IS THE LOW BIDDER, IF IT WILL AGREE TO FURNISH AND INSTALL A MAKE AND MODEL OF ELEVATOR WHICH HAS HAD AT LEAST TWO YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL OPERATION, AND IT SATISFACTORILY APPEARS THAT SAID COMPANY HAS HAD SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE IN THE INSTALLATION AND SERVICING OF ELEVATORS, ITS BID SHOULD RECEIVE FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION UNLESS OTHERWISE OBJECTIONABLE.