B-128175, JUN. 19, 1956

B-128175: Jun 19, 1956

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 7. A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE BID MAY BE CORRECTED. EACH OF THE ALTERNATE BIDS WAS TO INVOLVE THE SAME FIVE AREAS AS THE BASIC BID. THE FOURTH ALTERNATE WAS FOR FLOORING ALL NINE AREAS. THE FIRST THREE ALTERNATES WERE SO STATED THAT TOGETHER THEY COVERED ALL NINE AREAS. THE FOUR BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION ARE AS FOLLOWS: TABLE BIDDER BASIC ALT. GENE GRUBITZ WAS NOT PRESENT AT THE OPENING OF THE BIDS ON MAY 4. NOT CONNECTED WITH HIS BUSINESS AND WHO WAS ATTENDING A LATER BID OPENING. GRUBITZ THAT HE WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON THE BASIC BID ON THE FIRST THREE ALTERNATES BUT THAT HIS BID ON ALTERNATE 4 WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF LINE.

B-128175, JUN. 19, 1956

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 7, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, CONCERNING AN ERROR MADE IN THE BID SUBMITTED BY GRUBITZ FURNITURE OF ELK CITY, OKLAHOMA, IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 34-612-56 61 ISSUED BY ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, OKLAHOMA, AND OPENED ON MAY 4, 1956. A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE BID MAY BE CORRECTED.

THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS FOR INSTALLING FLOOR TILE IN BUILDING 500, CLINTON-SHERMAN AIR FORCE BASE, CLINTON, OKLAHOMA. THE INVITATION DIVIDED THE FLOOR SPACE TO BE TILED INTO NINE AREAS. IT REQUESTED A BASIC BID FOR FLOORING FIVE OF THESE AREAS AND REQUESTED FOUR ALTERNATE BIDS. EACH OF THE ALTERNATE BIDS WAS TO INVOLVE THE SAME FIVE AREAS AS THE BASIC BID, PLUS ONE OR MORE OF THE REMAINING FOUR AREAS. THE FOURTH ALTERNATE WAS FOR FLOORING ALL NINE AREAS. THE FIRST THREE ALTERNATES WERE SO STATED THAT TOGETHER THEY COVERED ALL NINE AREAS, THUS, THE FOURTH ALTERNATE DID NOT INCLUDE ANY AREA NOT ALSO INCLUDED IN AT LEAST ONE OF THE FIRST THREE ALTERNATES.

THE FOUR BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION ARE AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

BIDDER BASIC ALT. NO. 1 ALT. NO. 2 ALT. NO. 3 ALT. NO. 4 GRUBITZ FURNITURE $3,569.80 $4,088.70 $3,855.50 $4,658.30 $8,239.00 BIDDER NO. 2 3,700.00 4,228.60 4,016.40 4,987.50 4,987.50

DO. DO. 3 4,189.00 4,757.00 4,489.00 5,389.00 5,489.00

DO. DO. 4 5,309.70 6,218.20 5,901.97 7,066.10 7,562.40

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. GENE GRUBITZ WAS NOT PRESENT AT THE OPENING OF THE BIDS ON MAY 4, 1956; THAT A FRIEND, NOT CONNECTED WITH HIS BUSINESS AND WHO WAS ATTENDING A LATER BID OPENING, DELIVERED HIS BID AND REMAINED FOR THE OPENING; AND THAT THE FRIEND REPORTED TO MR. GRUBITZ THAT HE WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON THE BASIC BID ON THE FIRST THREE ALTERNATES BUT THAT HIS BID ON ALTERNATE 4 WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF LINE. ON THE FOLLOWING DAY, MAY 5, MR. GRUBITZ CONTACTED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND STATED THAT HE HAD MADE AN ERROR IN HIS BID ON ALTERNATE 4 AND SHOWED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HIS COPY OF THE DRAWING, WHICH WAS A PART OF THE INVITATION, WITH HIS COMPUTATIONS THEREON TO INDICATE HOW HE HAD COMPUTED HIS BID, PARTICULARLY WHAT HIS COMPUTATION WAS FOR ALTERNATE 4. AT THE SUGGESTION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, MR. GRUBITZ PREPARED A FORMAL LETTER THAT SAME DAY EXPLAINING WHAT HAD HAPPENED AND REQUESTING THAT HIS BID ON ALTERNATE 4 BE CORRECTED TO READ $4,939 AS INTENDED.

THE EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT MR. GRUBITZ COMPUTED HIS COST OF INSTALLING THE TILE AT 60 CENTS PER SQUARE FOOT AND COMPUTED THE FOOTAGE INVOLVED IN THE BASIC ITEM AND THE ALTERNATES. HE THEN PUT DOWN THE SQUARE FOOTAGE AND MULTIPLIED THESE BY 60 CENTS IN SUBSTANTIALLY THE FOLLOWING MANNER:

TABLE

SQ. FOOTAGE COST

BASIC BID 5,953 $3,571.80

ALTERNATE 1 6,818 4,090.80

ALTERNATE 2 6,430 3,858.00

ALTERNATE 3 7,769 4,661.50 (*)

ALTERNATE 4 8,246 4,947.60

(*) $0.10 ERROR IN COMPUTATION

BELIEVING THAT SOME OTHER BIDDER MIGHT ARRIVE AT THE SAME BASIC FIGURE OF 60 CENTS PER SQUARE FOOT, MR. GRUBITZ DEDUCTED A SMALL AMOUNT, RANGING FROM $2 TO $3.20 FROM THE ABOVE AMOUNTS BEFORE ENTERING THEM ON THE BID FORM. HOWEVER, ON ALTERNATE 4 HE DEDUCTED $7 FROM THE SQUARE FOOTAGE FIGURE RATHER THAN THE ESTIMATED COST. THE NUMBER OF SQUARE FEET INVOLVED IN EACH AREA USED BY MR. GRUBITZ IS THE SAME AS THE AMOUNT ESTIMATED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND SHOWN ON THE DRAWING WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE INVITATION. ALSO, THE AREA AND THE AMOUNT OF ALTERNATE 4 SHOULD BE THE SAME AS ALTERNATE 2 PLUS ALTERNATE 3, MINUS THE BASIC BID. THUS, THERE APPEARS NO QUESTION THAT GRUBITZ FURNITURE MADE AN ERROR IN ITS BID ON ALTERNATE 4 AS ALLEGED. THE ERROR AND THE INTENDED BID APPEAR OBVIOUS FROM THE BID ITSELF.

AS WE HAVE SAID MANY TIMES THE QUESTION OF WHETHER A BIDDER MAY BE PERMITTED TO CHANGE HIS BID--- AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED--- BECAUSE OF AN ERROR ALWAYS PRESENTS A MATTER OF SERIOUS CONCERN, AND THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS THE INTEREST OF ALL BIDDERS MUST BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION. IN THE INSTANT CASE, IF THE BID BE CORRECTED, SUCH ACTION WOULD RESULT IN MAKING A BID LOW WHICH WAS NOT LOW AT THE TIME OF THE OPENING. WE BELIEVE THAT SUCH ACTION SHOULD BE PERMITTED ONLY IN THE MOST CLEAR CASES AND THEN ONLY WHERE THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE BID ITSELF WHICH SHOWS THAT THE BID IS OBVIOUSLY ERRONEOUS AND WHAT THE BID WOULD HAVE BEEN BUT FOR THE ERROR.

HERE, THE BID ON ALTERNATE 4 IS OBVIOUSLY IN ERROR AND THE BASIS OF THE ERROR AND THE INTENDED BID PRICE CAN BE DETERMINED FROM THE INVITATION AND THE BID ITSELF EXCEPT FOR THE SMALL DEDUCTION WHICH DOES NOT AFFECT THE RELATIVE STANDINGS OF THE BIDDERS. ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE BID OF GRUBITZ FURNITURE MAY BE CORRECTED TO READ $4,939 FOR ALTERNATE 4 AND THE BID, AS SO CORRECTED, MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD.

THE COPIES OF THE INVITATION AND THE BID OF GRUBITZ FURNITURE ARE RETURNED, THE OTHER PAPERS BEING RETAINED HERE.