B-125524, SEP. 29, 1955

B-125524: Sep 29, 1955

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BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 16. THE ONLY OTHER BID ON ITEM 1 WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $20.20. THE BIDDER FURTHER STATED THAT THE SUPPLEMENTAL CONDITIONS OF THE INVITATION WERE TOO LITERAL FOR APPLICATION TO ITEM 1 SINCE MINOR ITEMS OF WORK. WERE SPECIFICALLY REFERRED TO WHEREAS THE SMOKE-STACK WAS NOT MENTIONED. THE BUILDINGS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION WERE OFFERED FOR SALE "AS IS" AND "WHERE IS" AND BIDDERS WERE URGED TO CAREFULLY INSPECT THE PROPERTY TO BE SOLD PRIOR TO SUBMITTING BIDS. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN APPARENT THAT THE BUILDING CONTAINED A SMOKE- STACK. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT NO INSPECTION OF ITEM 1 WAS MADE. IN THIS CONNECTION IT IS EXPRESSLY STATED IN PARAGRAPH 1 OF THE GENERAL SALE TERMS AND CONDITIONS THAT "IN NO CASE WILL FAILURE TO INSPECT CONSTITUTE GROUNDS * * * FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE BID AFTER OPENING.'.

B-125524, SEP. 29, 1955

TO MR. P. R. WALDER, CONTRACTING OFFICER, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 16, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES, WHEREIN YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO WHETHER MR. Q. W. LINDH, EPHRATA, WASHINGTON, MAY BE ALLOWED TO WITHDRAW HIS BID FOR THE PURCHASE AND REMOVAL OF A SURPLUS FRAME BUILDING LOCATED IN EPHRATA, WASHINGTON.

ON AUGUST 18, 1955, THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, COLUMBIA BASIN PROJECT OFFICE, EPHRATA, WASHINGTON, BY INVITATION NO. 116-S424, REQUESTED BIDS--- TO BE OPENED SEPTEMBER 7, 1955--- FOR THE SALE AND OFF-SITE REMOVAL OF FOUR FRAME BUILDINGS. IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, MR. Q. W. LINDH SUBMITTED A BID FOR THE BUILDING LISTED UNDER ITEM 1 IN THE AMOUNT OF $151.20. THE ONLY OTHER BID ON ITEM 1 WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $20.20. LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 10, 1955, MR. LINDH REQUESTED THAT HIS BID BE WITHDRAWN BECAUSE THE BUILDING CONTAINED A LARGE BRICK SMOKE-STACK WHICH WOULD INVOLVE CONSIDERABLE EXPENSE IN REDUCING IT TO GROUND LEVEL. THE BIDDER FURTHER STATED THAT THE SUPPLEMENTAL CONDITIONS OF THE INVITATION WERE TOO LITERAL FOR APPLICATION TO ITEM 1 SINCE MINOR ITEMS OF WORK, SUCH AS REMOVING BLOCK FOOTINGS AND CAPPING WATER RISERS, WERE SPECIFICALLY REFERRED TO WHEREAS THE SMOKE-STACK WAS NOT MENTIONED.

THE BUILDINGS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION WERE OFFERED FOR SALE "AS IS" AND "WHERE IS" AND BIDDERS WERE URGED TO CAREFULLY INSPECT THE PROPERTY TO BE SOLD PRIOR TO SUBMITTING BIDS. IF THE BIDDER HAD INSPECTED THE PROPERTY, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN APPARENT THAT THE BUILDING CONTAINED A SMOKE- STACK. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT NO INSPECTION OF ITEM 1 WAS MADE, HOWEVER, AND IN THIS CONNECTION IT IS EXPRESSLY STATED IN PARAGRAPH 1 OF THE GENERAL SALE TERMS AND CONDITIONS THAT "IN NO CASE WILL FAILURE TO INSPECT CONSTITUTE GROUNDS * * * FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE BID AFTER OPENING.'

THERE IS NOTHING ON THE FACE OF MR. LINDH'S BID TO INDICATE THAT THE PRICE OF $151.20 WHICH HE QUOTED FOR THE BUILDING WAS NOT AS INTENDED AND, SINCE ONLY TWO BIDS WERE RECEIVED ON ITEM 1, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIS BID AND THE NEXT-HIGHEST BID ON THAT ITEM MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS JUSTIFYING THE CONCLUSION THAT HIS BID IS ERRONEOUS. IN SUCH A SITUATION THERE IS NO MORE REASON FOR ASSUMING THAT THE HIGH BID IS ERRONEOUS AS BEING TOO HIGH THAN THERE IS FOR ASSUMING THAT THE LOW BID IS ERRONEOUS AS BEING TOO LOW. THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE WHERE AS HERE THE TRANSACTION INVOLVES A SALE OF SURPLUS PROPERTY RATHER THAN A PROCUREMENT. AS WAS STATED IN 17 COMP. GEN. 601, A WIDE RANGE OF PRICES MIGHT BE EXPECTED IN BIDS ON SUCH PROPERTY BASED MORE OR LESS ON THE USE TO WHICH THE PROPERTY IS INTENDED TO BE PUT BY THE PARTICULAR BIDDER OR THE OPPORTUNITY OF RESALE WHICH MIGHT BE AVAILABLE TO THE BIDDER.

ACCORDINGLY, THE FACTS OF RECORD ARE INSUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY AUTHORIZING THE RELEASE OF MR. LINDH FROM HIS OBLIGATION UNDER HIS BID AS SUBMITTED ON ITEM 1.