B-122206, JUN. 9, 1955

B-122206: Jun 9, 1955

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SMITH AND SON: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 2. MANY OF THE FACTS PERTAINING TO THE MATTER WERE SET OUT IN OUR DECISION OF FEBRUARY 1. YOU EMPHASIZE YOUR VIEW THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS IN QUESTION ARE RESTRICTIVE AND PRACTICALLY ELIMINATE COMPETITION. IN A STATEMENT OF FACTS MADE A PART OF THE REPORT IT IS STATED. THAT ALTHOUGH THE INTERNAL ORGANIZATION OF A BIDDER IS NOT A MATTER FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE DEPARTMENT IT IS UNDERSTOOD INFORMALLY THAT THE SAID CORPORATION IS MERELY A CUSTOMER OF THE PROTECTO-WIRE COMPANY. WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT PROTECTO-WIRE COMPANY HAS A PRICE ADVANTAGE BECAUSE ITS WIRE IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE IN METALLIC TUBING. IT IS STATED THAT SINCE THE HEAT DETECTION PROPERTIES OF PROTECTO-WIRE ARE IN THE LINE ITSELF THE LINE MUST BE EXPOSED TO TEMPERATURE CHANGES.

B-122206, JUN. 9, 1955

TO HAROLD S. SMITH AND SON:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 2, 1955, ACKNOWLEDGED MARCH 1, PROTESTING THE ACTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY IN REJECTING YOUR BID FOR INSTALLING AN AUTOMATIC FIRE DETECTION SYSTEM AT THE NAVAL TRAINING CENTER, JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK, UNDER NAVDOCKS SPECIFICATION NO. 44541 (SF).

MANY OF THE FACTS PERTAINING TO THE MATTER WERE SET OUT IN OUR DECISION OF FEBRUARY 1, 1955, TO YOU. HOWEVER, IN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 2, REFERRING TO THE DECISION, YOU EMPHASIZE YOUR VIEW THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS IN QUESTION ARE RESTRICTIVE AND PRACTICALLY ELIMINATE COMPETITION, LEAVING THE FIELD CHIEFLY TO THE PROTECTO-WIRE COMPANY AND ITS REPRESENTATIVES OR BIDDERS USING ITS SYSTEM OF FIRE PROTECTION. IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST BY THIS OFFICE, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY HAS FURNISHED A FURTHER REPORT WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE CONTENTIONS SET OUT IN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 2, 1955.

IN A STATEMENT OF FACTS MADE A PART OF THE REPORT IT IS STATED, WITH RESPECT TO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AUTOMATIC SIGNAL COMPANY, INC., AND THE PROTECTO-WIRE COMPANY, THAT ALTHOUGH THE INTERNAL ORGANIZATION OF A BIDDER IS NOT A MATTER FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE DEPARTMENT IT IS UNDERSTOOD INFORMALLY THAT THE SAID CORPORATION IS MERELY A CUSTOMER OF THE PROTECTO-WIRE COMPANY.

WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT PROTECTO-WIRE COMPANY HAS A PRICE ADVANTAGE BECAUSE ITS WIRE IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE IN METALLIC TUBING, IT IS STATED THAT SINCE THE HEAT DETECTION PROPERTIES OF PROTECTO-WIRE ARE IN THE LINE ITSELF THE LINE MUST BE EXPOSED TO TEMPERATURE CHANGES, WHEREAS IN A "SPOT" DETECTOR SYSTEM THE LINE HAS NO SUCH FUNCTION AND MUST BE INSTALLED IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOOD ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION PRACTICES. IS STATED FURTHER THAT ANY ATTEMPT BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO DEPRIVE PROTECTO-WIRE OF ITS REFERRED-TO ADVANTAGE WOULD NOT BE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN OBTAINING THE PROTECTION REQUIRED AND ALSO WOULD BE SUBJECT TO OBJECTION BY ANY MANUFACTURER OF A "LINE" DETECTION TYPE FIRE ALARM SYSTEM. THE DEPARTMENT STATES THAT IT HAS ENDEAVORED TO ISSUE ONLY PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS FOR AUTOMATIC FIRE ALARM SYSTEMS, WRITTEN TO PROVIDE FOR BOTH "SPOT" TYPE DETECTORS AND "LINE" DETECTION DEVICES AND INCLUDING ONLY SUCH REQUIREMENTS AS MEET THE APPROVED STANDARDS OF THE NATIONAL BOARD OF FIRE UNDERWRITERS.

IN RESPONSE TO YOUR QUESTION AS TO THE KIND OF WIRE REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS, IT IS REPORTED IN THE STATEMENT OF FACTS:

"IN REPLY TO MR. SMITH'S QUESTION AS TO WHY NO. 14 (B AND S) IS REQUIRED FOR CIRCUIT WIRING AND NO. 19 (B AND S) IS ACCEPTED FROM PROTECTO-WIRE, IT MIGHT BE NOTED THAT NO. 19 (B AND S) WIRE IS TEMPERED STEEL PIANO WIRE WHICH HAS A TENSILE STRENGTH APPROXIMATELY 23 PERCENT GREATER THAN THAT OF THE NO. 14 (B AND S) COPPER WIRE. IT SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED THAT NO. 19 (B AND S) PROTECTO-WIRE IS SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER IN COST THAT THE NO. 14 (B AND S) COPPER. THERE IS AN ADDITIONAL LIMITATION ON PROTECTO-WIRE IN THAT IT IS LIMITED TO 1000 FEET OF LENGTH IN A SINGLE CIRCUIT BECAUSE OF THE POORER ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVELY OF THE STEEL WIRE AS COMPARED TO COPPER WIRE. THIS WOULD TEND TO OFFSET THE ADVANTAGE CLAIMED FOR A "LINE" DETECTOR TYPE OF SYSTEM SINCE A GREATER NUMBER OF CIRCUITS WOULD BE NECESSARY THAN IN A SYSTEM WHERE COPPER WIRE IS USED. IN THE INSTANT SPECIFICATION, IT IS CONSIDERED THAT TWO TO THREE TIMES THE NUMBER OF CIRCUITS WOULD BE NEEDED WITH PROTECTO-WIRE THAN WITH THE "SPOT" TYPE DETECTORS CONNECTED BY COPPER WIRE. THE STATEMENT OF HAROLD S. SMITH AND SON, INC., TO THE EFFECT THAT THEY COULD RUN NO. 22 (AWG) WIRE ON THE BASIS OF UNDERWRITERS APPROVAL IS NOT SUPPORTED BY REFERENCE TO UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES LIST OF APPROVED DEVICES AND SYSTEMS OR TO NATIONAL BOARD OF FIRE UNDERWRITERS' STANDARDS. REFERENCE IS SPECIFICALLY MADE TO THE NATIONAL BOARD OF FIRE UNDERWRITERS PAMPHLET NO. 72 ENTITLED ,PROPRIETARY, AUXILIARY AND LOCAL PROTECTIVE SIGNALLING SYSTEMS FOR WATCHMAN, FIRE ALARM AND SUPERVISORY SERVICE.' SUB-SECTION 223.G OF THE AFOREMENTIONED PAMPHLET DETAILS A LIST OF PERMISSIBLE WIRING METHODS FOR SELECTION AND THE ELECTRICAL METALLIC TUBING AS SPECIFIED IN THE INSTANT SPECIFICATION IS INCLUDED AMONG THE OPTIONS. IT SHOULD BE POINTED OUT THAT THE DECISION AS TO THE WIRING METHOD TO BE EMPLOYED IS A MATTER FOR ENGINEERING DETERMINATION BASED ON LOCAL OPERATION CONDITIONS. THAT THE DETECTORS WILL TRANSMIT AN ALARM OVER OPEN WIRING IS NOT A GOVERNING FACTOR IN SUCH A DETERMINATION. ALSO IN DETERMINING THE SIZE OF THE CONDUCTORS, MR. SMITH RAISED THE QUESTION AS TO WHY NO. 14 (AWG) WAS REQUIRED. AGAIN CITING SUBSECTION 223.G OF PAMPHLET 72 (NBFU), IT IS NOTED THAT "THE WIRES OF SINGLE OF TWO CONDUCTOR CABLES SHALL NOT BE LESS THAN 14 (AWG).' THIS IS MANDATORY LANGUAGE AND ACCORDINGLY IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE NAVDOCKS SPECIFICATION NO. 44541 IS IN CONFORMANCE WITH ESTABLISHED STANDARDS OF THE NATIONAL BOARD OF FIRE UNDERWRITERS.'

WITH RESPECT TO THE TYPE OF INSULATION REQUIRED, IT IS STATED THAT THE NAVY'S EXPERIENCE WITH THERMO-PLASTIC INSULATION (TYPE "T" AND "TW") HAS BEEN SO UNSATISFACTORY THAT INSTRUCTIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUED PROHIBITING THE USE OF SUCH INSULATION SINCE IT CANNOT MEET THE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE NAVY.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THERE APPEARS NO PROPER BASIS FOR THIS OFFICE TO OBJECT TO THE SPECIFICATIONS USED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY OR TO THE ACTION OF THE DEPARTMENT IN AWARDING THE CONTRACT TO THE AUTOMATIC SIGNAL COMPANY, INC. ACCORDINGLY, THE DECISION OF FEBRUARY 1, 1955, IS AFFIRMED.