B-128412, AUG. 31, 1956

B-128412: Aug 31, 1956

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A REPORT DATED AUGUST 21. THE SPECIFICATION ACCOMPANYING THE INVITATION WAS HEADED "CLEAN AND REPAIR WELLS NO. 1 AND 2 NEBO AREA MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER BARSTOW. SECTION 3 OF THE SPECIFICATION WAS ENTITLED "PIPE EXTENSIONS. THE ONLY BID RECEIVED WAS THAT OF THE HOWARD PUMP COMPANY IN THE AMOUNT OF $4. WITH THE BID WERE SUBMITTED COPIES OF THE BIDDER'S SALES AGREEMENTS STATING THE WORK AND MATERIAL INTENDED TO BE COVERED BY THE BID. THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE ENTIRE PROJECT WAS $7. SINCE THE HOWARD PUMP COMPANY WAS A LOCAL CONCERN. IT APPEARS THAT A LARGE PART OF THE WORK OF CLEANING AND REPAIRING THE WELLS WAS DONE BEFORE THE CONTRACTOR BECAME AWARE THAT IT WAS EXPECTED TO MAKE THE PIPE EXTENSIONS DESCRIBED IN SECTION 3 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS.

B-128412, AUG. 31, 1956

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A REPORT DATED AUGUST 21, 1956, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (MATERIAL), FURNISHED IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FROM THIS OFFICE DATED JULY 3, 1956, FOR INFORMATION AND THE VIEWS OF YOUR DEPARTMENT RELATIVE TO THE CLAIM OF THE HOWARD PUMP COMPANY FOR AN ADDITIONAL PAYMENT UNDER CONTRACT NO.NBY-1623 FOR CLEANING AND REPAIRING WELLS AT THE MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER, BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA.

ON MARCH 5, 1956, THE MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER ISSUED AN INVITATION FOR BIDS (SPEC. 1623/56 ( FOR FURNISHING ALL LABOR, EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL FOR A PROJECT DESCRIBED AS "REPAIRING WELL NO. 1 AND NO. 2, INCLUDING CLEANING, SAND PUMPING, REPLACEMENT OF COLUMN, INSTALLATION OF PIPE AND NEW TEST LINES, REMOVING ROOFS AND MOTORS AND REPLACING THEM, PULLING COLUMNS AND BOWLS, REPLACE THE PUMP BOWLS AND MISCELLANEOUS RELATED WORK, NEBO AREA, MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER, BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA.' THE SPECIFICATION ACCOMPANYING THE INVITATION WAS HEADED "CLEAN AND REPAIR WELLS NO. 1 AND 2 NEBO AREA MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA.' HOWEVER, SECTION 3 OF THE SPECIFICATION WAS ENTITLED "PIPE EXTENSIONS, FOR WELL NO. 2" AND PROVIDED FOR THE INSTALLATION OF A CONSIDERABLE LENGTH OF CEMENT ASBESTOS PIPE.

THE ONLY BID RECEIVED WAS THAT OF THE HOWARD PUMP COMPANY IN THE AMOUNT OF $4,490. WITH THE BID WERE SUBMITTED COPIES OF THE BIDDER'S SALES AGREEMENTS STATING THE WORK AND MATERIAL INTENDED TO BE COVERED BY THE BID, WHICH AGREEMENTS DID NOT INCLUDE ANY LABOR OR MATERIAL NEEDED FOR THE PIPE EXTENSIONS DESCRIBED IN SECTION 3 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE ENTIRE PROJECT WAS $7,274, INCLUDING AN ADDITION OF 25 PERCENT TO ALLOW FOR BIDDERS FROM A CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE. SINCE THE HOWARD PUMP COMPANY WAS A LOCAL CONCERN, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ACCEPTED ITS BID WITHOUT REQUESTING VERIFICATION.

IT APPEARS THAT A LARGE PART OF THE WORK OF CLEANING AND REPAIRING THE WELLS WAS DONE BEFORE THE CONTRACTOR BECAME AWARE THAT IT WAS EXPECTED TO MAKE THE PIPE EXTENSIONS DESCRIBED IN SECTION 3 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. THE CONTRACTOR THEREUPON STATED THAT ITS BID WOULD HAVE BEEN $7,000 MORE IF IT HAD UNDERSTOOD THAT THE PIPE EXTENSION WAS INCLUDED AND IT REQUESTED AN ADDITIONAL CONTRACT IN THAT AMOUNT.

IN THE REPORT OF AUGUST 21, 1956, IT IS STATED THAT CHANGES RESULTING FROM FIRE PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS HAVE ELIMINATED THE NEED FOR THE PIPE EXTENSIONS DESCRIBED IN SECTION 3 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS AND IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE SAID PIPE EXTENSIONS BE ELIMINATED AS A CONTRACT REQUIREMENT AND THAT, AS SUGGESTED BY THE CONTRACTOR, THE CONTRACT PRICE BE REDUCED IN A TOKEN AMOUNT OF $100. AS A BASIS FOR THE RECOMMENDATION, IT IS STATED, IN SUBSTANCE, THAT ALTHOUGH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS NOT AWARE OF THE BIDDER'S ERROR OR MISUNDERSTANDING, THE OMISSION OF THE PIPING FROM THE SALES AGREEMENTS ACCOMPANYING THE BID SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOTED.

ALTHOUGH SECTION 3 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS WOULD REQUIRE THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PIPE EXTENSIONS AS PART OF THE CONTRACT WORK, THE INVITATION AS A WHOLE WAS NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR AND WELL MIGHT GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT ONLY THE REPAIRING AND CLEANING OF THE WELLS WAS CONTEMPLATED. MOREOVER, SINCE THE BID PRICE WAS MUCH LESS THAN THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE, EVEN CONSIDERING THE 25 PERCENT ADDITION ABOVE MENTIONED, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE REQUESTED VERIFICATION BEFORE MAKING THE AWARD. ALSO, THE OMISSION OF THE PIPING FROM THE SALES AGREEMENTS SHOULD HAVE SERVED AS NOTICE OF PROBABLE ERROR.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THIS OFFICE OFFERS NO OBJECTION TO RELIEF OF THE CONTRACTOR AS PROPOSED.