A-80370, JANUARY 27, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 684

A-80370: Jan 27, 1937

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AN ADMINISTRATIVE REQUEST WHETHER THERE IS AUTHORIZED THE ISSUANCE OF A CHANGE ORDER EXTENDING THE TIME FOR COMPLETION OF A PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION PROJECT FOR A PERIOD REPORTED TO BE COMMENSURATE WITH DELAYS ENCOUNTERED BY REASON OF ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS NOT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENTLY ABNORMAL TO CAUSE DELAYS WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED UNDER WEATHER OF NORMAL SEVERITY. IF AN OPINION ONLY IS WHAT IS DESIRED. THAT OPINION WITH ITS SUPPORTING STATEMENTS IS. IS AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO CONTRACT NO. BIDS FOR THIS WORK WERE OPENED OCTOBER 29. THE CONTRACTOR WAS UNABLE TO PERFORM ANY GAINFUL WORK UNTIL APRIL 9. IT IS A FACT THAT THE NATURE OF WORK AT THE START OF A BUILDING CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT IS DEPENDENT ENTIRELY ON WEATHER CONDITIONS AND THE UNUSUAL SEVERITY OF THE WINTER OF 1935-36 IS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED.

A-80370, JANUARY 27, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 684

CONTRACTS - DELAYS - EXTENSIONS OF TIME ACCOUNT ACTUAL AND ANTICIPATED WEATHER CONDITIONS - AUTHORIZATION FOR EXTENSION PRIOR TO SPECIFIC FINDINGS OF FACT, ETC. AN ADMINISTRATIVE REQUEST WHETHER THERE IS AUTHORIZED THE ISSUANCE OF A CHANGE ORDER EXTENDING THE TIME FOR COMPLETION OF A PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION PROJECT FOR A PERIOD REPORTED TO BE COMMENSURATE WITH DELAYS ENCOUNTERED BY REASON OF ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS NOT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENTLY ABNORMAL TO CAUSE DELAYS WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED UNDER WEATHER OF NORMAL SEVERITY, NOR OTHERWISE SUPPORTED BY SPECIFIC FINDINGS OF FACT AS TO THE DELAYS, AND INVOLVING AN ALLOWANCE FOR ANTICIPATED FUTURE SEVERITY OF WEATHER, MAY NOT BE MADE THE BASIS OF A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, BUT NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH EXTENSION ON THE LIMITED FACTS PRESENTED APPEARS UNWARRANTED IN THE PERSONAL OPINION OF THAT OFFICER, IF AN OPINION ONLY IS WHAT IS DESIRED, THAT OPINION WITH ITS SUPPORTING STATEMENTS IS, OF COURSE, WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO THE RESUBMISSION OF ANY QUESTION PROPERLY FOR DECISION BY SAID OFFICER AFTER SPECIFIC FINDINGS OF FACT AND COMPLETION OF FORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONTRACT TERMS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATOR OF PUBLIC WORKS, JANUARY 27, 1937:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 13, 1937, IS AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO CONTRACT NO. ERPW 470.2, DATED DECEMBER 18, 1935, WITH THE GEORGE A. FULLER COMPANY, GENERAL CONTRACTOR FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PARKLAWN PROJECT, NO. H-1502, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN.

BIDS FOR THIS WORK WERE OPENED OCTOBER 29, 1935, CONTRACT AWARDED DECEMBER 13, 1935, AND NOTICE TO PROCEED ISSUED JANUARY 6, 1936, THEREBY ESTABLISHING THE COMPLETION DATE AS DECEMBER 5, 1936. THE CONTRACTOR IMMEDIATELY MADE NECESSARY PREPARATIONS TO COMMENCE THE WORK UNDER HIS CONTRACT BUT DUE TO UNUSUALLY SEVERE WEATHER AND THE PROJECT SITE BEING COVERED BY A BLANKET OF SNOW, THE CONTRACTOR WAS UNABLE TO PERFORM ANY GAINFUL WORK UNTIL APRIL 9, 1936. HE REPEATEDLY FILED NOTIFICATIONS OF DELAY AS REQUIRED BY THE CONTRACT.

IT IS A FACT THAT THE NATURE OF WORK AT THE START OF A BUILDING CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT IS DEPENDENT ENTIRELY ON WEATHER CONDITIONS AND THE UNUSUAL SEVERITY OF THE WINTER OF 1935-36 IS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED. THE SITE WAS BLANKETED BY SNOW FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE NOTICE TO PROCEED UNTIL MARCH 1. OFFICIAL WEATHER BUREAU RECORDS FOR MILWAUKEE SHOW THAT FOR 30 DAYS OF THIS PERIOD THE BLANKET WAS FROM 1 TO 2 FEET DEEP AVERAGING APPROXIMATELY 18 INCHES, AND FOR 28 DAYS THE TEMPERATURE WAS BELOW ZERO, THE MINIMUM BEING MINUS 21 DEGREES; THEY SHOW FURTHER THAT THE MEAN TEMPERATURE FOR THE EARLY MONTHS OF 1936 WAS CONSIDERABLY LOWER THAN THE AVERAGE FOR THE PRECEDING 5 YEARS. FOLLOWING THIS PERIOD THE THAWING RESULTED IN SUCH WET AND SOFT GROUND THAT ALTHOUGH OCCASIONALLY ATTEMPTS AT EXCAVATION WERE MADE, WORK HAD TO BE ABANDONED AND NO APPRECIABLE PROGRESS WAS MADE UNTIL AFTER APRIL 9.

THE ACTUAL PROGRESS OF THE CONTRACT WORK AFTER IT WAS FULLY STARTED WAS VERY SATISFACTORY, THERE BEING EVERY EVIDENCE THAT THE CONTRACTOR CONTINUOUSLY AND EXPEDITIOUSLY EXERTED ALL REASONABLE EFFORT TO BRING THIS WORK TO EARLY COMPLETION. THIS IS EVIDENCED BY THE FACT THAT, ALTHOUGH UNABLE TO DO ANY GAINFUL WORK PRIOR TO APRIL 9, THROUGH HIS EFFORTS 27 OF THE 76 BUILDINGS WILL BE READY FOR OCCUPANCY BY THE GOVERNMENT APPROXIMATELY JANUARY 15, 1937, AN ELAPSED TIME OF 282 CALENDAR DAYS, AND THE BALANCE OF THE BUILDINGS ARE EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED BY FEBRUARY 15, 1937, OR A TOTAL ELAPSED TIME OF 312 CALENDAR DAYS, WHEREAS THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT PERIOD ALLOWED 335 CALENDAR DAYS.

HOWEVER, DUE TO THE CONTRACTOR'S INABILITY TO GAINFULLY START OPERATIONS PRIOR TO APRIL 9, 1936, CERTAIN OUTSIDE YARD AND IMPROVEMENT WORK HAS BEEN THROWN INTO THE WINTER OF 1937, A PERIOD OF THE YEAR NOT SUITABLE FOR PERFORMING THE TYPE OF WORK INVOLVED, SUCH AS CONCRETE WALLS, ROADS, GRADING, ET CETERA, THE LAST WORK NORMALLY PERFORMED UNDER CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS.

THE CONTRACTOR HAS AGREED TO PERMIT THE GOVERNMENT TO OCCUPY THE VARIOUS BUILDINGS UPON COMPLETION AND PRIOR TO FINAL ACCEPTANCE OF THE CONTRACT WORK, BUT BEFORE DOING SO HE DESIRES ASSURANCE THAT HE WILL NOT BE ASSESSED LIQUIDATED DAMAGES BECAUSE OF NONCOMPLETION OF THE OUTSIDE YARD WORK.

ALTHOUGH WEATHER CONDITIONS DURING THE NEXT FEW MONTHS MAY PERMIT INTERMITTENT PROGRESS ON OUTSIDE WORK IT IS FELT THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE BEST SERVED BY NOT FORCING THE CONTRACTOR TO RUSH THE WORK UNDER ADVERSE CONDITIONS, WHICH MAY RESULT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF DEFECTS AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE GUARANTEE PERIOD. THE GOVERNMENT WILL SUFFER NO DISADVANTAGE BY THE ADOPTION OF THIS POLICY AS THE RELATED WORK OF LANDSCAPING WHICH IS TO BE PERFORMED UNDER ANOTHER CONTRACT WILL NOT BE COMPLETED UNTIL THE LATTER PART OF 1937.

IT IS REASONABLE TO EXPECT THE FROST WILL BE OUT OF THE GROUND IN MILWAUKEE APPROXIMATELY APRIL 15 AND THAT THE OUTSIDE YARD WORK UNDER THIS CONTRACT CAN BE COMPLETED 45 DAYS THEREAFTER OR MAY 30, 1937. IT IS MY RECOMMENDATION THAT BECAUSE OF ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, A CHANGE ORDER BE ISSUED ESTABLISHING A NEW COMPLETION DATE FOR THIS CONTRACT AS MAY 30, 1937.

ORDINARILY MY RECOMMENDATIONS WITH RESPECT TO CLAIMS FOR ADDITIONAL TIME BECAUSE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS ENCOUNTERED ARE NOT PRESENTED TO YOU UNTIL COMPLETION OF THE CONTRACT, BUT IN THIS CASE SUCH PROCEDURE WOULD RESULT IN THE NECESSITY OF THE CERTIFYING OFFICER WITHHOLDING SUCH SUMS OF MONEY, EQUITABLY DUE, AS WOULD WORK AN UNDUE HARDSHIP UPON THE CONTRACTOR.

PLEASE INFORM ME IF THE ISSUANCE OF A CHANGE ORDER AS OUTLINED ABOVE WILL MEET WITH YOUR APPROVAL.

THE REVISED SPECIFICATIONS ON WHICH BIDS WERE INVITED AND SUBMITTED FOR OPENING OCTOBER 29, 1935, INFORMED ALL BIDDERS AS FOLLOWS:

THE WORK SHALL BE COMMENCED UPON RECEIPT BY THE CONTRACTOR OF NOTICE TO PROCEED AND SHALL BE COMPLETED WITHIN THREE HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE (335) CALENDAR DAYS FROM THE DATE OF RECEIPT BY THE CONTRACTOR OF SUCH NOTICE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SEC. 10 OF THE "INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS.'

IF WRITTEN NOTICE OF ACCEPTANCE OF THIS BID IS RECEIVED BY THE CONTRACTOR WITHIN SIXTY (60) DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF OPENING OF THE BIDS, THE CONTRACTOR SHALL, WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS THEREAFTER, EXECUTE THE CONTRACT WITH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN THE FORM OF UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT FORM OF CONTRACT, HOUSING DIVISION FORM NO. P.W.F.C. 1, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION II OF THE ,INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS.'

LIQUIDATED DAMAGES IN THE SUM OF TWO HUNDRED AND NO/100 DOLLARS ($200.00) WILL BE ASSESSED FOR EACH CALENDAR DAY OF DELAY, NOT EXCUSABLE, PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 9 OF HOUSING DIVISION FORM NO. P.W.F.C. 1.

MOREOVER, THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS, MADE A PART OF THE FORMAL CONTRACT, INFORMED ALL BIDDERS IN DETAIL AS TO NECESSARY EXCAVATIONS AND CLEARINGS, REQUIREMENTS OF HEATING CONCRETE MIXES IN COLD WEATHER, ARTIFICIAL TEMPERATURE TO BE MAINTAINED FOR PLASTERING, ETC., AND AS TO REJECTION AND REPLACEMENT OF UNSATISFACTORY WORK, AND REQUIRED BIDDERS TO VISIT THE SITE OF THE WORK AND INFORM THEMSELVES FULLY AS TO CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE WORK WAS TO BE DONE.

ON DECEMBER 13, 1935, THE ASSISTANT FEDERAL ADMINISTRATOR OF PUBLIC WORKS NOTIFIED THE GEORGE A. FULLER CO. AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR BID, DATED OCTOBER 29, 1935, TO FURNISH ALL LABOR AND MATERIALS AND PERFORM ALL WORK REQUIRED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PARKLAWN HOUSING PROJECT NO. H-1502, IN MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, IN STRICT ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATION, INCLUDING ALTERNATE NO. 24, FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF $2,238,500 IS HEREBY ACCEPTED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

ON JANUARY 3, 1936, THE GEORGE A. FULLER CO. WAS NOTIFIED BY TELEGRAM--- CONFIRMED BY REGISTERED LETTER OF JANUARY 4, 1936--- AS FOLLOWS:

THE CONTRACT FOR CONSTRUCTION OF PARKLAWN HOUSING PROJECT, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, HAS BEEN SIGNED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR AND YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED TO PROCEED PURSUANT TO CONTRACT DATED DECEMBER EIGHTEENTH, 1935. STARTING DATE OF CONTRACT WILL BE CONSIDERED AS JANUARY SIXTH, 1936, AND COMPLETION DATE AS DECEMBER FIFTH, 1936. YOU MAY PROCEED WITH OPERATIONS ON THE SITE ON THE CONDITION EVIDENCE OF INSURANCE PROTECTION WILL BE CORRECTED TO CONFORM WITH CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS AS MAY BE REQUIRED.

THE FORMAL CONTRACT OF DECEMBER 18, 1935, PROVIDES:

THE WORK SHALL BE COMMENCED UPON RECEIPT BY THE CONTRACTOR OF "NOTICE TO PROCEED," AND SHALL BE COMPLETED WITHIN THREE HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE (335) CALENDAR DAYS AFTER RECEIPT BY THE CONTRACTOR OF SUCH NOTICE.

ALL BIDDERS WERE PUT ON NOTICE BY THE SPECIFICATIONS AS TO THE EXACT LOCATION AND CHARACTER OF THE WORK TO BE DONE AND THAT THE WORK DESCRIBED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS WOULD BE FOR COMMENCING IN THE WINTER OF 1935-36 AND MIGHT BE FOR COMPLETING IN THE WINTER OF 1936-37. THERE WAS NO GREAT DISPARITY IN THE AMOUNTS OF THE SEVERAL BIDS RECEIVED, AND IT APPEARS A LIBERAL TIME ALLOWANCE WAS MADE THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER BEFORE NOTICE TO PROCEED WAS MADE "EFFECTIVE.' WHETHER OR NOT THIS ALLOWANCE WAS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT IS NOT FOR DECIDING AT THIS TIME ON THE RECORD PRESENTED, BUT IT IS NOT IMPROBABLE THAT OTHER BIDDERS MIGHT HAVE BID LESS HAD IT BEEN MADE CLEAR IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF NOTICE TO PROCEED WOULD BE FIXED 24 DAYS AFTER DATE OF AWARD AND 19 DAYS AFTER DATE OF THE FORMAL CONTRACT.

ASIDE FROM THIS, IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD THAT SNOW AND FREEZING OR SUBZERO WEATHER ARE UNUSUAL IN THE VICINITY OF MILWAUKEE DURING THE MONTHS OF JANUARY AND FEBRUARY. RATHER, IT WOULD SEEM GENERALLY KNOWN THAT SNOW AND FREEZING OR SUBZERO WEATHER ARE NORMALLY TO BE EXPECTED IN THE WINTERTIME IN THE VICINITY OF MILWAUKEE, AND ALTHOUGH YOU STATE THE SUBZERO WEATHER WITHIN THE CONTRACT PERIOD WAS GREATER THAN NORMAL FOR THE EARLY MONTHS OF 1936, IT IS UNDERSTOOD TO BE A FACT, ALSO, THAT UNUSUALLY MILD WEATHER PREVAILED DURING THE LATTER MONTHS OF THE YEAR WHICH ALSO WERE WITHIN THE CONTRACT PERIOD. IT DOES NOT APPEAR FROM THE STATEMENT PRESENTED HOW MUCH WORKING TIME, IF ANY, LOST BECAUSE OF INCLEMENT WEATHER WAS PERMITTED TO BE MADE UP UNDER SECTION 12 (A) OF BULLETIN NO. 51, FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC WORKS, NOR DOES IT APPEAR THAT THE WEATHER WHICH DID PREVAIL THROUGHOUT THE CONTRACT PERIOD WAS SUFFICIENTLY ABNORMAL TO CAUSE ANY DELAYS WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED HAD THE WEATHER BEEN OF THE NORMAL SEVERITY, WHICH ALL BIDDERS HAD REASON TO ANTICIPATE WOULD PREVAIL AT THE SITE OF THE CONTRACT WORK.

MUCH OF THE DELAY WHICH YOUR LETTER SUGGESTS AS EXCUSABLE BY REASON OF UNUSUALLY SEVERE WEATHER IS STATED MERELY AS ON THE BASIS OF YOUR ANTICIPATION COVERING A FUTURE PERIOD OF ABOUT 3 MONTHS. IT IS NOT PERCEIVED UNDER WHAT TERMS OF THE CONTRACT OR UPON JUST WHAT THEORY SUCH CONJECTURE IS DEEMED AUTHORIZED TO BE INDULGED.

THERE SEEM NO SPECIFIC FINDINGS OF FACT REPORTED WHICH WOULD SUPPORT A CONCLUSION THAT THE CONTRACTOR SUFFERED DELAYS DURING THE 335 CALENDAR-DAY PERIOD OF THE CONTRACT--- OR EVEN UP TO THE PRESENT TIME- - WHICH WERE EXCUSABLE UNDER THE CONTRACT TERMS SO AS TO PERMIT OF AN EXTENSION OF THE COMPLETION DATE NEARLY 6 MONTHS--- TO MAY 30, 1937. IF, AS A MATTER OF ACTUAL FACT, UNUSUALLY SEVERE WEATHER PREVAILED CAUSING DELAY WHICH THE USUAL SEVERE WEATHER FOR THE TIME AND PLACE WOULD NOT HAVE CAUSED NO SPECIFIC FORMAL FINDING OF FACT IS REPORTED EITHER AS TO THE NATURE OF THE UNUSUAL SEVERITY, THE PERIOD OF ITS CONTINUANCE OR THE PERIOD OF DELAY ACTUALLY ATTRIBUTABLE THERETO. THE CONDITIONS PREVAILING AT THE TIME OF THE SPRING THAW WHICH YOU MENTION SUPPOSEDLY ARE NOT SUGGESTED AS UNUSUAL OR NOT REASONABLY TO BE ANTICIPATED.

WHILE I DO NOT FIND THE MATTER YOU HAVE PRESENTED IS IN A FORM NOW REQUIRING MY DECISION, IF WHAT YOU DESIRE IS MY OPINION, IT MAY BE SAID FRANKLY THAT THE LIMITED FINDINGS WHICH YOU STATE DO NOT SEEM TO ESTABLISH THAT EXCUSABLE DELAYS OCCURRED DURING THE PERIOD OF THE CONTRACT AND WITHIN ITS TERMS WHICH WOULD SUPPORT AN EXTENSION OF THE COMPLETION DATE NEARLY 6 MONTHS TO MAY 30, 1937, OR TO ANY DATE BEYOND THE PERIOD OF 335 DAYS FROM "RECEIPT BY THE CONTRACTOR OF "NOTICE TO CEED.'"

ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONTRACT PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THE GOVERNMENT MAY, BY WRITTEN NOTICE TO THE CONTRACTOR, TERMINATE HIS RIGHT TO PROCEED WITH THE WORK OR SUCH PART OF THE WORK AS TO WHICH THERE HAS BEEN DELAY * * *. IF THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT TERMINATE THE RIGHT OF THE CONTRACTOR TO PROCEED, THE CONTRACTOR SHALL CONTINUE THE WORK IN WHICH EVENT THE ACTUAL DAMAGES FOR THE DELAY WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE AND IN LIEU THEREOF THE CONTRACTOR SHALL PAY TO THE GOVERNMENT AS FIXED, AGREED, AND LIQUIDATED DAMAGES FOR EACH CALENDAR DAY OF DELAY UNTIL THE WORK IS COMPLETED OR ACCEPTED THE AMOUNT (OF $200) AS SET FORTH IN THE SPECIFICATIONS OR ACCOMPANYING PAPERS AND THE CONTRACTOR AND HIS SURETIES SHALL BE LIABLE FOR THE AMOUNT THEREOF: PROVIDED, THAT THE RIGHT OF THE CONTRACTOR TO PROCEED SHALL NOT BE TERMINATED OR THE CONTRACTOR CHARGED WITH LIQUIDATED DAMAGES BECAUSE OF ANY DELAYS IN THE COMPLETION OF THE WORK DUE TO UNFORESEEABLE CAUSES BEYOND THE CONTROL AND WITHOUT THE FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE OF THE CONTRACTOR, INCLUDING, BUT NOT RESTRICTED TO, ACTS OF GOD, OR OF THE PUBLIC ENEMY, ACTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, FIRES, FLOODS, EPIDEMICS, QUARANTINE RESTRICTIONS, STRIKES, FREIGHT EMBARGOES, AND UNUSUALLY SEVERE WEATHER OR DELAYS OF SUBCONTRACTORS DUE TO SUCH CAUSES: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE CONTRACTOR SHALL WITHIN TEN DAYS FROM THE BEGINNING OF ANY SUCH DELAY NOTIFY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IN WRITING OF THE CAUSES OF DELAY, WHO SHALL ASCERTAIN THE FACTS AND THE EXTENT OF THE DELAY AND EXTEND THE TIME FOR COMPLETING THE WORK WHEN IN HIS JUDGMENT THE FINDINGS OF FACT JUSTIFY SUCH AN EXTENSION, AND HIS FINDINGS OF FACTS THEREON SHALL BE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE ON THE PARTIES HERETO, SUBJECT ONLY TO APPEAL WITHIN 30 DAYS, BY THE CONTRACTOR TO THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, WHOSE DECISION ON SUCH APPEAL AS TO THE FACTS OF DELAY AND THE EXTENSION OF TIME FOR COMPLETING THE WORK SHALL BE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE ON THE PARTIES HERETO. YOU WILL UNDERSTAND, OF COURSE, THAT WHAT IS SAID HEREIN IS WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO THE RESUBMISSION BY YOU OF ANY QUESTION ON WHICH MY DECISION PROPERLY MAY BE REQUIRED AFTER THERE HAVE BEEN SPECIFIC FINDINGS OF FACT AND COMPLETION OF FORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION PRECISELY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT. H. E. CROOK, INC., V. UNITED STATES, 270 U.S. 4; PENN BRIDGE CO. V. UNITED STATES, 59 CT.CLS. 892. THE COURT OF CLAIMS, IN SUN SHIPBUILDING CO. V. UNITED STATES, 76 CT.CLS. 154, 193, DECLARED WITH REFERENCE TO STATEMENTS LIKE THOSE SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER, THAT "SO MUCH OF THEM AS MAY BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION BE TAKEN AS REPRESENTING A JUDGMENT OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ARE UNDER THE RULES OF EVIDENCE INADMISSIBLE" TO ESTABLISH THE RIGHTS OF THE CONTRACTING PARTIES BY REASON OF THEIR LACK OF FORMALITY, ETC. ..END :