B-125932, FEB. 16, 1956

B-125932: Feb 16, 1956

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INC.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF DECEMBER 22 AND 23. THE INVITATION WAS SENT TO SEVEN PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS AND TO THE CHIEF. TC6- 40040 WAS AWARDED TO THAT COMPANY ON SEPTEMBER 29. YOUR PROTEST WAS BASED UPON THE GROUND THAT THE COMBINATION WASHER EXTRACTOR COVERED BY THE INVITATION WERE PROPRIETARY TO ONE MANUFACTURER AND THAT. AS ONLY ONE BID WAS RECEIVED. THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS WERE RESTRICTIVE OF COMPETITION. THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT REPORTED THAT THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION FOR THE EQUIPMENT COVERED BY THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS WAS BASED UPON A DESIGN FOR A NEW TYPE COMBINATION WASHER-EXTRACTOR PIONEERED BY THE BUREAU OF YARDS AND DOCKS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY WHICH APPROVED THE DESIGN AND OPERATION OF THIS TYPE OF EQUIPMENT FOR SHORE INSTALLATIONS OF THE NAVY.

B-125932, FEB. 16, 1956

TO AMERICAN MACHINE AND METALS, INC.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF DECEMBER 22 AND 23, 1955, RELATIVE TO YOUR PROTEST AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT BY THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD PURCHASING OFFICE, PURSUANT TO INVITATION NO. CG-36,018 -A.

THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING TO CERTAIN SPECIFIED COAST GUARD BASES WASHER-EXTRACTORS COMPLETE WITH ALL ACCESSORIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH COAST GUARD PURCHASE DESCRIPTION FOR COMBINATION WASHER AND EXTRACTOR FOR THE 327 FOOT CLASS VESSELS FOR UNITED STATES COAST GUARD DATED AUGUST 15, 1955. THE SPECIFICATIONS PROVIDED THAT EACH MACHINE SHOULD BE A COMBINATION WASHER AND EXTRACTOR SUITABLE FOR SHIPBOARD INSTALLATION AND SHOULD BE END LOADING AND OF THE SHELL AND ROTATING CYLINDER TYPE. THE INVITATION WAS SENT TO SEVEN PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS AND TO THE CHIEF, SMALL BUSINESS DIVISION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE. THE AMERICAN LAUNDRY MACHINERY COMPANY SUBMITTED THE ONLY BID RECEIVED AND CONTRACT NO. TC6- 40040 WAS AWARDED TO THAT COMPANY ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1955.

YOUR PROTEST WAS BASED UPON THE GROUND THAT THE COMBINATION WASHER EXTRACTOR COVERED BY THE INVITATION WERE PROPRIETARY TO ONE MANUFACTURER AND THAT, AS ONLY ONE BID WAS RECEIVED, THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS WERE RESTRICTIVE OF COMPETITION. IN YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 22, 1955, YOU STATED THAT IN YOUR OPINION THE EQUIPMENT DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION OFFERS NO REAL ADVANTAGE OVER THE MODIFIED EQUIPMENT ALREADY WELL PROVEN AND COVERED BY FEDERAL SPECIFICATIONS OO L-131 (D), AND THAT EQUIPMENT OF THIS TYPE CERTAINLY SHOULD NOT BE PLACED ON BOARD SHIPS, IN ITS PRESENT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT, EVEN THOUGH IT MAY BE PARTIALLY ISOLATED AT ADDITIONAL EXPENSE.

THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT REPORTED THAT THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION FOR THE EQUIPMENT COVERED BY THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS WAS BASED UPON A DESIGN FOR A NEW TYPE COMBINATION WASHER-EXTRACTOR PIONEERED BY THE BUREAU OF YARDS AND DOCKS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY WHICH APPROVED THE DESIGN AND OPERATION OF THIS TYPE OF EQUIPMENT FOR SHORE INSTALLATIONS OF THE NAVY. THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY WAS THEREUPON REQUESTED TO REPORT ON YOUR PROTEST. THAT DEPARTMENT NOW HAS STATED THAT THE ORIGINAL DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE COMBINATION WASHER-EXTRACTOR WAS COMMENCED IN SEARCH OF A PORTABLE, SKID-MOUNTED LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT TO BE OPERATED BY ADVANCED BASE CONSTRUCTION UNITS IN FORWARD AREAS, AND THAT THE DEVELOPMENT OF A COMBINATION WASHER EXTRACTOR WAS INITIATED TO MEET THE NEED FOR EQUIPMENT WHICH WOULD BE SUITABLE FOR IMPREGNATING CLOTHING FOR CHEMICAL WARFARE PURPOSES. THE DEPARTMENT REPORTS THAT AS A RESULT OF SUCCESSFUL TESTS AT PORT HUENEME, CALIFORNIA, THE BUREAU OF SHIPS ISSUED SPECIFICATIONS COVERING COMBINATION WASHER-EXTRACTORS SPECIFICALLY ADAPTED FOR SHIPBOARD USE, AND THAT THE BUREAU OF SHIPS CONSIDERS THE EQUIPMENT SUFFICIENTLY DEVELOPED FOR GENERAL LAUNDRY USE ON BOARD SHIPS AND HAS AUTHORIZED THE INSTALLATION OF SUCH EQUIPMENT MEETING THE SPECIFICATIONS ON CERTAIN NEW DESTROYERS. THE REPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY CONTINUES AS FOLLOWS:

"THE USE OF A COMBINATION WASHER-EXTRACTOR ON SHIPBOARD IS PARTICULARLY DESIRABLE BECAUSE IT WEIGHS LESS AND OCCUPIES LESS SPACE. A COMBINATION WASHER-EXTRACTOR WITH A RATED CAPACITY OF ABOUT 50 TO 60 POUNDS PER HOUR WEIGHS APPROXIMATELY 1100 POUNDS, AND REQUIRES APPROXIMATELY 68 SQUARE FEET OF DECK AREA FOR INSTALLATION, OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE, WHEREAS A SEPARATE WASHING MACHINE AND A SEPARATE EXTRACTING MACHINE, WHICH, WHEN USED TOGETHER, WILL WASH AND EXTRACT AN EQUIVALENT AMOUNT OF CLOTHES PER HOUR, WILL WEIGH APPROXIMATELY 2100 POUNDS AND REQUIRE APPROXIMATELY 105 SQUARE FEET FOR INSTALLATION, OPERATION, AND MAINTENANCE. WEIGHT AND SPACE, OF COURSE, ARE CRITICAL ITEMS ON VESSELS.

"NEITHER THE SPECIFICATION UNDER DEVELOPMENT BY THE BUREAU OF YARDS AND DOCKS NOR SPECIFICATION MIL-W-19044 (SHIPS) CONTAINS ANY PATENTED FEATURES OR DESIGNS WHICH WOULD LIMIT OR RESTRICT THE POSSIBLE SOURCES OF SUPPLY. CURRENTLY, THE ONLY LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER KNOWN TO BE PRODUCING COMBINATION WASHER-EXTRACTORS MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF EITHER OF THESE SPECIFICATIONS IS THE AMERICAN LAUNDRY MACHINERY COMPANY OF CINCINNATI, OHIO. HOWEVER, LAUNDRY WASHERS AND EXTRACTORS OF THE COMBINATION TYPE ARE CURRENTLY MANUFACTURED FOR COMMERCIAL USE BY THE FOLLOWING CONCERNS:

IMAGINEERED PRODUCTS CORPORATION

MAYWOOD, CALIFORNIA

WASHEX MACHINERY CORPORATION

192 - BANKER STREET

BROOKLYN 22, NEW YORK

UNIT WASH

PLAINSVILLE, CONNECTICUT

"WHILE CURRENT MODELS PRODUCED BY THESE COMPANIES DO NOT NECESSARILY MEET MILITARY REQUIREMENTS AS EXPRESSED IN THE FOREGOING SPECIFICATIONS, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THESE COMPANIES ARE ENTIRELY CAPABLE OF MANUFACTURING SUCH EQUIPMENT IF THEY ARE SO INCLINED.'

THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS SETTING FORTH THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE DETERMINATION OF THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER A PARTICULAR BID DOES OR DOES NOT COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS ARE MATTERS FOR DETERMINATION BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE CONCERNED--- IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD. IT IS NOT WITHIN THE AUTHORITY OF THIS OFFICE TO INSTRUCT THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT TO PREPARE SPECIFICATIONS CALLING FOR CERTAIN EQUIPMENT SOLELY AT THE REQUEST OF THE MANUFACTURER OR TO REQUIRE SUCH GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES TO INCLUDE IN THEIR CONTRACTS PROVISIONS FOR FURNISHING EQUIPMENT WHICH, AS IN THIS CASE, DOES NOT MEET THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

AS STATED ABOVE, THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD AFTER CONSIDERATION DETERMINED THAT THE COMBINATION WASHER-EXTRACTOR WAS THE PARTICULAR UNIT WHICH WOULD MEET ITS NEEDS AND THE SPECIFICATIONS HERE INVOLVED WERE DRAWN TO COVER SUCH A TYPE OF EQUIPMENT. YOU ADMIT THAT YOUR EQUIPMENT DOES NOT MEET THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS AS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION AND, CONSEQUENTLY, THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD WAS UNDER NO LEGAL DUTY TO CONSIDER YOUR EQUIPMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, UNDER THE REPORTED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES, WE FIND NO LEGAL BASIS FOR OBJECTING TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN IN THE MATTER.