B-127264, MAR. 13, 1956

B-127264: Mar 13, 1956

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BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7. BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING LABOR AND MATERIALS AND FOR PERFORMING ALL WORK REQUIRED FOR CLEARING THE RIGHT OF- WAY AND FOR CONSTRUCTION OF ACCESS ROADS. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 14 ITEMS FOR THE PURPOSES OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT FOR THE WORK. YOU STATE THAT A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HELMICK COMPANY WAS NOT PRESENT AT THE BID OPENING BUT THAT SHORTLY THEREAFTER MR. SHOULD HAVE BEEN $123. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK WAS $188. IS SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER THAN THE OTHER AGGREGATE BIDS THEREON AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE. THERE APPEARS NO DOUBT THAT ERRORS WERE MADE IN THE BID.

B-127264, MAR. 13, 1956

TO MR. JOHN M. RATHBUN, CONTRACTING OFFICER, BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING ERRORS THE HELMICK COMPANY, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON FEBRUARY 16, 1956.

BY INVITATION NO. 7884, BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING LABOR AND MATERIALS AND FOR PERFORMING ALL WORK REQUIRED FOR CLEARING THE RIGHT OF- WAY AND FOR CONSTRUCTION OF ACCESS ROADS, SCHEDULE III OF THE SULTAN- COVINGTON SECTION OF THE CHIEF JOSEPH-COVINGTON 345-KV LINE. WHILE THE INVITATION STIPULATED THAT AWARD WOULD BE MADE AS A WHOLE TO ONE CONTRACTOR, THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 14 ITEMS FOR THE PURPOSES OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT FOR THE WORK. THE HELMICK COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID DATED FEBRUARY 16, 1956, OFFERING TO PERFORM THE WORK FOR THE VARIOUS UNIT AND JOB PRICES SET FORTH OPPOSITE EACH ITEM, TOTALING $92,936.50.

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

THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT THE TEN OTHER AGGREGATE BIDS ON ITEMS 1 TO 14, INCLUSIVE, RANGED FROM $139,948 TO $231,590. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK WAS $188,662. THUS, THE AGGREGATE BID OF THE HELMICK COMPANY OF $92,936.50 FOR ITEMS 1 TO 14, INCLUSIVE, IS SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER THAN THE OTHER AGGREGATE BIDS THEREON AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, THERE APPEARS NO DOUBT THAT ERRORS WERE MADE IN THE BID, AS ALLEGED. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE PRESENT CASE, HOWEVER, ARE NOT SUCH AS TO WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER OPENING. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERRORS WERE ALLEGED AND EXPLAINED PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE HELMICK COMPANY SHOULD BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARD.