B-123805, JUL. 8, 1955

B-123805: Jul 8, 1955

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W. HOVERMILL COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 17. YOU QUESTION THE PROPRIETY OF THE AWARD FOR THE STATED REASONS THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE AMBIGUOUS "IN THE SENSE THAT PARAGRAPH TP-5 SUBPARAGRAPH A STATES THE USE OF TWO SEPARATE MATERIALS" AND THAT SINCE THE AWARD WAS MADE ON A SECOND INVITATION FOR BIDS "THE LOW BIDDER SECURED INFORMATION WHICH WAS VERY INSTRUMENTAL IN THE RE-FIGURING OF THE JOB NAMELY UNIT PRICES WHICH WERE NOT DISCLOSED BY HIS FIRST BID.'. INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 18 102- 55-65 WAS MAILED TO 37 PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS. THE LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY COLEMAN FLOOR COMPANY IN THE AMOUNT OF $16. 867.33 WAS NEXT LOW. THE INVITATION WAS CANCELED FOR THE REASON THAT THE LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED ON A LUMP-SUM BASIS PURSUANT TO ERRONEOUS INFORMATION FURNISHED TO COLEMAN FLOOR COMPANY BY AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY INSTEAD OF ON THE BASIS OF A UNIT PRICE PER BUILDING AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH TP-10 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS.

B-123805, JUL. 8, 1955

TO B. W. HOVERMILL COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 17, 1955, TRANSMITTED HERE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO COLEMAN FLOOR COMPANY, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, FOR INSTALLATION OF FLOOR COVERING IN BUILDINGS AT FORT HOLABIRD, MARYLAND. YOU QUESTION THE PROPRIETY OF THE AWARD FOR THE STATED REASONS THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE AMBIGUOUS "IN THE SENSE THAT PARAGRAPH TP-5 SUBPARAGRAPH A STATES THE USE OF TWO SEPARATE MATERIALS" AND THAT SINCE THE AWARD WAS MADE ON A SECOND INVITATION FOR BIDS "THE LOW BIDDER SECURED INFORMATION WHICH WAS VERY INSTRUMENTAL IN THE RE-FIGURING OF THE JOB NAMELY UNIT PRICES WHICH WERE NOT DISCLOSED BY HIS FIRST BID.'

THE FILE SHOWS THAT ON DECEMBER 2, 1954, INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 18 102- 55-65 WAS MAILED TO 37 PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS, OF WHOM 5 SUBMITTED BIDS. THE LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY COLEMAN FLOOR COMPANY IN THE AMOUNT OF $16,661. YOUR BID IN THE AMOUNT OF $16,867.33 WAS NEXT LOW. HOWEVER, THE INVITATION WAS CANCELED FOR THE REASON THAT THE LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED ON A LUMP-SUM BASIS PURSUANT TO ERRONEOUS INFORMATION FURNISHED TO COLEMAN FLOOR COMPANY BY AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY INSTEAD OF ON THE BASIS OF A UNIT PRICE PER BUILDING AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH TP-10 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. ON JANUARY 31, 1955, A NEW INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 18 -102-55-117 WAS MAILED TO 37 PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS, OF WHOM 10 SUBMITTED BIDS. AGAIN THE LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY COLEMAN FLOOR COMPANY IN THE AMOUNT OF $18,220, AND CONTRACT NO. DA-18-102-AIJ-3806 WAS AWARDED TO THAT COMPANY UNDER DATE OF MARCH 14, 1955.

IN THE REPORT FURNISHED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IT IS STATED THAT THE READVERTISEMENT INCLUDED WORK REQUIRED FOR THREE ADDITIONAL BUILDINGS NOT COVERED BY THE ORIGINAL INVITATION IN ORDER TO PRECLUDE BIDDERS FROM USING THEIR COMPETITORS' ORIGINAL BIDS AS A BASIS FOR REBIDDING. IT IS STATED ALSO THAT YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE OF THE 10 BIDDERS SUGGESTING THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE AMBIGUOUS. IN LETTER OF MARCH 2, 1955, THE POST ENGINEER AT FORT HOLABIRD STATED:

"IT IS THE OPINION OF THIS OFFICE THAT ALL TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE WORK ARE FULLY COVERED BY THE PROJECT SPECIFICATIONS AND FEDERAL SPECIFICATIONS REFERRED TO THEREIN.'

THE OFFICE OF THE ENGINEER, HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY, FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MARYLAND, STATES:

"1. IT IS THE CONSIDERED OPINION OF THIS SECTION THAT THERE ARE NO AMBIGUITIES IN THE SPECIFICATION FOR HARD PRESSED FIBERBOARD AS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH TP-5A OF THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR FLOOR COVERING SUBMITTED BY FT. HOLABIRD TO THE PURCHASING AND CONTRACTING OFFICER.

"2. ALTHOUGH COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL SPECIFICATION NO. LLL-F 311/3), WHICH WAS IN EFFECT 3 NOV. 1954, WAS STIPULATED, ITS PROVISIONS WERE MODIFIED TO MEET A LOWER MODULUS OF RUPTURE OF 3800 LBS. PER SQ. INCH. FOR USE AS FLOOR COVERING UNDERPAYMENT. THE BASIC MATERIAL REMAINED HANGED.'

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THERE APPEARS NO PROPER BASIS UPON WHICH OUR OFFICE WOULD BE WARRANTED IN QUESTIONING THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN IN AWARDING THE CONTRACT TO COLEMAN FLOOR COMPANY.