B-127313, APR. 24, 1956

B-127313: Apr 24, 1956

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W. HOVERMILL COMPANY: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13. WAS SENT TO 8 BIDDERS AND THAT 6 BIDS WERE RECEIVED BY THE PURCHASING OFFICE. WHEN THE BIDS WERE OPENED. IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE BEL AIR FLOOR COVERING COMPANY SUBMITTED THE LOWEST BID AS TO PRICE. IT WAS ALSO FOUND THAT THE BID OF THE EARL H. HAMMOND COMPANY WAS BASED ON AN INCORRECT SET OF DRAWINGS AND THAT SUCH DRAWINGS WERE OBTAINED BY THE BIDDER FROM THE POST ENGINEER AT THE CENTER. IT IS STATED THAT "AN INVESTIGATION FAILED TO DISCLOSE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SET OF DRAWINGS FURNISHED THE HAMMOND COMPANY BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER" AND THAT "THE POST ENGINEER'S OFFICE HAS BEEN UNABLE TO ESTABLISH HOW THE INCORRECT DRAWINGS WERE RELEASED TO THE COMPANY.'.

B-127313, APR. 24, 1956

TO B. W. HOVERMILL COMPANY:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1956, PROTESTING THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED BY THE ARMY CHEMICAL CENTER, EDGEWOOD, MARYLAND, IN SOLICITING BIDS UNDER INVITATION NO. CML-18-108 56-175-C ISSUED BY THAT CENTER ON FEBRUARY 24, 1956.

IN RESPONSE TO OUR REQUEST, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS FURNISHED A REPORT OF THE FACTS IN THE MATTER TOGETHER WITH CERTAIN PERTINENT DOCUMENTS. THE INVITATION COVERED THE INSTALLATION OF ASPHALT AND VINYL PLASTIC TILE ON THE FLOORS IN BUILDING NO. 1 AT THE ARMY CHEMICAL CENTER. THE DEPARTMENT REPORTS THAT THE INVITATION FOR BIDS, COMPLETE WITH THE CORRECT DRAWINGS AND SPECIFICATIONS, WAS SENT TO 8 BIDDERS AND THAT 6 BIDS WERE RECEIVED BY THE PURCHASING OFFICE. ON MARCH 5, 1956, WHEN THE BIDS WERE OPENED, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE BEL AIR FLOOR COVERING COMPANY SUBMITTED THE LOWEST BID AS TO PRICE. IT WAS ALSO FOUND THAT THE BID OF THE EARL H. HAMMOND COMPANY WAS BASED ON AN INCORRECT SET OF DRAWINGS AND THAT SUCH DRAWINGS WERE OBTAINED BY THE BIDDER FROM THE POST ENGINEER AT THE CENTER. IT IS STATED THAT "AN INVESTIGATION FAILED TO DISCLOSE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SET OF DRAWINGS FURNISHED THE HAMMOND COMPANY BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER" AND THAT "THE POST ENGINEER'S OFFICE HAS BEEN UNABLE TO ESTABLISH HOW THE INCORRECT DRAWINGS WERE RELEASED TO THE COMPANY.' THE HAMMOND COMPANY HAS NOT FILED A PROTEST. IN FACT, IN A LETTER DATED MARCH 27, 1956, IT STATED THAT IF ITS BID HAD BEEN BASED ON THE CORRECT DRAWINGS IT COULD NOT HAVE CONCEIVABLY BEEN THE LOW BIDDER AND THEREFORE WOULD NOT FEEL JUSTIFIED IN QUESTIONING ANY AWARD MADE.

IN SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO YOUR PROTEST THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY REPORTS ALSO AS FOLLOWS:

"MR. B. W. HOVERMILL, REPRESENTING THE B. W. HOVERMILL COMPANY, THE SECOND LOW RESPONSIVE BIDDER, PROTESTED ORALLY AT THE BID OPENING. THE PROTEST WAS MADE ON THE BASIS THAT ALL BIDDERS INVOLVED IN THE PROCUREMENT WERE NOT FURNISHED THE SAME DRAWINGS AND THEREFORE HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON AN EQUAL BASIS. ON THE SAME DAY, 5 MARCH 1956, MR. HOVERMILL TELEPHONED THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF CHEMICAL OFFICER, AND ALSO ON THE SAME DATE WIRED THAT OFFICE CONCERNING THIS PROTEST. A MEETING WAS ARRANGED FOR 6 MARCH 1956, AT THE ARMY CHEMICAL CENTER PROCUREMENT AGENCY, BETWEEN MR. HOVERMILL AND THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, IN AN EFFORT TO GRANT THIS COMPANY AN OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT ITS PROTEST FOR REVIEW BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. AT THE MEETING, IT WAS POINTED OUT TO MR. HOVERMILL THAT HE HAD BEEN AFFORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO PREPARE HIS BID ON THE SAME BASIS AS THE OTHER BIDDERS AND THAT THE HOVERMILL COMPANY WAS NOT PREJUDICED BY THE FACT THAT THE E. C. HAMMOND COMPANY HAD SUBMITTED A BID BASED ON INCORRECT DRAWINGS. AFTER THE MEETING MR. HOVERMILL CONTINUED TO EXPRESS DISSATISFACTION WITH THE ACTIONS TAKEN AND HE WAS ADVISED HIS PROTEST WOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF CHEMICAL OFFICER FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF MR. HOVERMILL'S LETTER OF PROTEST TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, FURTHER ACTION IN THE MATTER WILL NOT BE TAKEN BY THE CHEMICAL CORPS.

"THE HOVERMILL CONTENTION OF LACK OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IS INCORRECT, SINCE AS NOTED ABOVE, ALL BIDDERS WERE INITIALLY FURNISHED INVITATIONS COMPLETE WITH CORRECT DRAWINGS AND SPECIFICATIONS. IN VIEW OF THIS, AND THE URGENT NEED FOR THE FACILITIES INVOLVED, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE SITUATION DID NOT WARRANT DELAYING THE AWARD. THEREFORE, CONTRACT NO. DA 18-108-CML-5997 WAS AWARDED TO BEL AIR FLOOR COVERING COMPANY ON 7 MARCH 1956. PERFORMANCE UNDER THE CONTRACT WAS COMPLETED BY THE CONTRACTOR ON 30 MARCH 1956.'

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THERE IS NO PROPER BASIS UPON WHICH OUR OFFICE WOULD BE WARRANTED IN QUESTIONING THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED IN HANDLING THE PROCUREMENT.