A-35868, JUNE 25, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 555

A-35868: Jun 25, 1931

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IS NOT PROPER. AT UNIT PRICES OF $5.50 WAS ACCEPTED IN PREFERENCE TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE LANSING CO. MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT CAUSE THEREFOR. THE COMBINATION OF THE THREE FEATURES OF THE WHEELBARROW OFFERED BY THEM WHICH WERE NOT CONSIDERED EQUAL TO THE CORRESPONDING FEATURES OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE TYPE REFERRED TO IN SPECIFICATIONS WAS CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT TO DO SO. IT IS NOTED THAT CLASS 41 OF SCHEDULE 3617 IS DESCRIBED AS FOLLOWS: "48 WHEELBARROWS. IT IS FURTHER NOTED THAT IN ADVERTISING FOR WOOD TACKLE BLOCKS UNDER CLASS 42 IT WAS SPECIFIED THAT THEY MUST BE "EQUAL TO "STAR MATALINE" OR "ANVIL" BRANDS.'. IT IS ALSO STATED UNDER CLASS 52 THAT MOPS MUST BE EQUAL TO "WUNDERMOP" AND UNDER CLASS 56 THAT PAPER CLIPS MUST BE "GEM NO. 1 OR EQUAL AS TO SHAPE AND SIZE.'.

A-35868, JUNE 25, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 555

ADVERTISING - BIDS - SPECIFICATIONS THE SPECIFYING OF A PARTICULAR MAKE OR BRAND WITH THE PHRASE "OR EQUAL" FOR SUCH COMMONPLACE ARTICLES AS WHEELBARROWS, MOPS, PAPER CLIPS, ETC., IS NOT PROPER. SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD NOT BE DESCRIPTIVE OF A PARTICULAR MAKE OF AN ARTICLE BUT SHOULD BE WITH A VIEW TO THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT SO AS TO PERMIT AN OFFERING OF ALL MAKES ON THE MARKET.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE GOVERNOR OF THE PANAMA CANAL, JUNE 25, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED IN REFERENCE TO OFFICE LETTER OF APRIL 3, 1931, CONCERNING A PROTEST OF THE LANSING CO. AGAINST THE REJECTION OF ITS PROPOSAL SUBMITTED UNDER SCHEDULE 2617 OF DECEMBER 12, 1930, LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1931, FROM THE GENERAL PURCHASING OFFICER, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE PROPOSAL OF THE STERLING WHEELBARROW CO. AT UNIT PRICES OF $5.50 WAS ACCEPTED IN PREFERENCE TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE LANSING CO. AT UNIT PRICES OF $5.45, AND THAT WHILE ANY ONE OF THE REASONS GIVEN FOR REJECTING THE PROPOSAL OF THE LANSING CO. MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT CAUSE THEREFOR, THE COMBINATION OF THE THREE FEATURES OF THE WHEELBARROW OFFERED BY THEM WHICH WERE NOT CONSIDERED EQUAL TO THE CORRESPONDING FEATURES OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE TYPE REFERRED TO IN SPECIFICATIONS WAS CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT TO DO SO.

IT IS NOTED THAT CLASS 41 OF SCHEDULE 3617 IS DESCRIBED AS FOLLOWS: "48 WHEELBARROWS, CONCRETE; TO BE EQUAL TO THE "STERLING" NO. 16, MANUFACTURED BY THE STERLING WHEELBARROW COMPANY, MILWAUKEE, WIS.' IT IS FURTHER NOTED THAT IN ADVERTISING FOR WOOD TACKLE BLOCKS UNDER CLASS 42 IT WAS SPECIFIED THAT THEY MUST BE "EQUAL TO "STAR MATALINE" OR "ANVIL" BRANDS.' IT IS ALSO STATED UNDER CLASS 52 THAT MOPS MUST BE EQUAL TO "WUNDERMOP" AND UNDER CLASS 56 THAT PAPER CLIPS MUST BE "GEM NO. 1 OR EQUAL AS TO SHAPE AND SIZE.' THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHER ITEMS FOR WHICH PROPOSALS WERE REQUESTED UNDER THIS SCHEDULE AS WELL AS UNDER SCHEDULE 2521, WHICH STATE THAT THE SUPPLIES MUST BE "EQUAL" TO SOME NAMED BRAND OR MAKE. THESE ARE COMMONPLACE ARTICLES AND NOT ARTICLES OF SUCH TECHNICAL OR INVOLVED CONSTRUCTION AS NOT TO READILY BEND TO DESCRIPTION BUT BEST STATED BY PARTICULARIZING SOME MAKE OF AN ARTICLE WITH THE ADDITION OF THE WORDS "OR EQUAL," SO AS NOT TO LIMIT COMPETITION TO THE PARTICULAR MAKE. WHERE THERE ARE ARTICLES OF THE SAME GENERAL OR COMMONPLACE CHARACTER SUCH AS A WHEELBARROW, PAPER CLIPS, OR MOP--- THE NAMING OF A MAKE WITH THE ADDITION OF "OR EQUAL" IS NOT

SO ALSO, WHILE SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD NOT BE DESCRIPTIVE OF A PARTICULAR MAKE OF AN ARTICLE BUT BE WITH A VIEW TO THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT SO AS TO PERMIT AN OFFERING OF ALL MAKES ON THE MARKET, THIS NECESSARILY IMPLIES THAT SPECIFICATIONS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE SUCH THAT THE ARTICLE WOULD HAVE TO BE SPECIALLY MANUFACTURED FOR THE GOVERNMENT, WHEREAS THE STANDARD MAKE OF ANY MANUFACTURER WOULD ANSWER THE NEEDS.

IT IS NOTED THAT IN YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 23, 1931, IT IS STATED THAT --

REQUISITIONS FOR MATERIAL FOR THE PANAMA CANAL ORIGINATE WITH THE AUTHORITIES ON THE ISTHMUS AND SPECIFICATIONS FOR SUCH MATERIAL ACCOMPANY SUCH REQUISITIONS. MATERIAL IS DESIRED MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS RECEIVED FROM THE ISTHMIAN AUTHORITIES AND INCORPORATED IN OUR INVITATIONS FOR BID. AFTER BIDS RECEIVED UNDER OUR INVITATIONS FOR PROPOSALS ARE OPENED IN PUBLIC, THEY ARE CAREFULLY CANVASSED IN THIS OFFICE, OR IN SOME INSTANCES ON THE ISTHMUS, AND AWARDS MADE TO THE LOWEST BIDDERS OFFERING MATERIAL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS. BIDS RECEIVED COVERING MATERIAL NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE, OF COURSE, REJECTED.

THE SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD STATE THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR WHEELBARROWS, PAPER CLIPS, TC., AND SO AS TO INDICATE THE CHARACTER OF THE ARTICLE--- IRON OR WOODEN WHEELBARROW--- AND IF SIZE OR ANY OTHER DETAIL IS IMPORTANT, SUCH AS THE USE TO WHICH TO BE PUT, THAT ALSO WOULD BE FOR STATING AND IN EXCEPTIONAL CASES ONLY AND WHERE NOT OTHERWISE POSSIBLE OF CLEAR EXPRESSION IN DESCRIPTION, IS IT PROPER TO REFER TO A PARTICULAR MAKE AS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE ARTICLE BUT QUALIFIED WITH THAT BIDDING IS NOT LIMITED TO SUCH MAKE, SO THAT THERE CAN BE FULL AND FREE COMPETITION THEREON AND THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE BID BE ACCEPTED WHICH MEETS THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS.