B-128425, JUL. 24, 1956

B-128425: Jul 24, 1956

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GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 26. WHICH WAS ACCEPTED ON MARCH 21. THE BILL WAS TENDERED PURSUANT TO INVITATION NO. FURTHER ROVIDED: "THIS SEPARATE ITEM IS DESIRED WHICH MAY BE DEDUCTED FROM TOTAL BID.'. YOU STATE THAT IT WAS THE INTENT OF THE SPECIFICATIONS THAT THE BIDDER SHOULD QUOTE A TOTAL BID PRICE TO COVER ALL WORK INCLUDING INSULATION. WHICH ALTERNATE BID COULD BE DEDUCTED FROM THE TOTAL BID IN THE EVENT THE INSULATION WAS NOT DESIRED. 980 (AMOUNT OF BASE BID LESS AMOUNT OF ALTERNATE "A") WAS AWARDED TO THE "THERMODYNE" CORPORATION. OF YOUR INVITATION STATES "THIS SEPARATE ITEM IS DESIRED WHICH MAY BE DEDUCTED FROM THE TOTAL BID.'. "OUR DIRECT COST WITHOUT OVERHEAD OR PROFIT ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE BASE BID WAS ESTIMATED IN EXCESS OF $1980.00.

B-128425, JUL. 24, 1956

TO THE HONORABLE FRANKLIN G. FLOETE, ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 26, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR THE "THERMODYNE" CORPORATION, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID, WHICH WAS ACCEPTED ON MARCH 21, 1956, FOR FURNISHING ALL LABOR AND MATERIAL AND PERFORMING ALL WORK NECESSARY FOR AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM REPAIRS AT THE UNITED STATES POST OFFICE AND COURT HOUSE, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA.

THE BILL WAS TENDERED PURSUANT TO INVITATION NO. CR4-1269, ISSUED BY THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE, ATLANTA, GEORGIA. PARAGRAPH 9/G) OF THE SPECIFICATIONS CALLED FOR AN ALTERNATE BID FOR INSULATING NEW CHILLER, REFRIGERANT SUCTION PIPING, CHILLED WATER PIPING AND REPAIRS AS NECESSARY TO ALL OTHER INSULATED PIPE INCLUDING REINSULATING THE TWO CIRCULATING PUMPS, AND FURTHER ROVIDED: "THIS SEPARATE ITEM IS DESIRED WHICH MAY BE DEDUCTED FROM TOTAL BID.' YOU STATE THAT IT WAS THE INTENT OF THE SPECIFICATIONS THAT THE BIDDER SHOULD QUOTE A TOTAL BID PRICE TO COVER ALL WORK INCLUDING INSULATION, AND AN ALTERNATE BID COVERING ONLY THE INSULATION, WHICH ALTERNATE BID COULD BE DEDUCTED FROM THE TOTAL BID IN THE EVENT THE INSULATION WAS NOT DESIRED. HOWEVER, ALTHOUGH PARAGRAPH 9/G) CALLED FOR AN ALTERNATE BID,"WHICH MAY BE DEDUCTED FROM TOTAL BID," THE BID FORM CALLED FOR A BASE BID AND AN ALTERNATE BID, RATHER THAN A TOTAL BID.

THE "THERMODYNE" CORPORATION SUBMITTED A BASE BID OF $2,645 AND AN ALTERNATE BID OF $665 FOR THE WORK DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 9/G). THE ONLY OTHER BIDDER SUBMITTED A BASE BID OF $3,675 AND QUOTED A PRICE OF $985 FOR ALTERNATE "A.' ON MARCH 21, 1956, A CONTRACT IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,980 (AMOUNT OF BASE BID LESS AMOUNT OF ALTERNATE "A") WAS AWARDED TO THE "THERMODYNE" CORPORATION.

UPON RECEIPT OF THE NOTICE OF AWARD, THE "THERMODYNE" CORPORATION ADVISED BY LETTER DATED MARCH 26, 1956, AS FOLLOWS:

"SUBJECT: AIR CONDITIONING

SYSTEM REPAIRS U.S.

POST OFFICE AND

COURTHOUSE JACKSONVILLE,

FLORIDA

REFERENCE: CR41269

"GENTLEMEN:

"UPON RECEIVING THE AWARD TO PROCEED ON THE ABOVE SUBJECT JOB, WE FIND THAT ALTERNATE A HAS BEEN DEDUCTED FROM THE BASE BID, REDUCING THE BASE BID PRICE TO $1980.00.

"CONFORMING TO YOUR INVITATION, WE SUBMITTED A BASE BID OF $2645.00 AND OUR ALTERNATE A BID FOR $665.00, MAKING A TOTAL BID PRICE OF $3310.00.

"ITEM 9 PARAGRAPH G, OF YOUR INVITATION STATES "THIS SEPARATE ITEM IS DESIRED WHICH MAY BE DEDUCTED FROM THE TOTAL BID.'

"OUR DIRECT COST WITHOUT OVERHEAD OR PROFIT ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE BASE BID WAS ESTIMATED IN EXCESS OF $1980.00.

"KINDLY ADVISE.'

ON APRIL 11, 1956, THE CORPORATION WAS REQUESTED TO SUBMIT DATA TO SUBSTANTIATE ITS STATEMENT THAT ITS TOTAL BID PRICE FOR ALL WORK, INCLUDING INSULATION, WAS INTENDED TO BE $3,310 AND IT WAS ADVISED THAT, PENDING A DECISION BY OUR OFFICE ON ITS CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION, IT SHOULD PROCEED WITH THE CONTRACT WORK. IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE CORPORATION SUBMITTED ITS ORIGINAL ESTIMATE WHICH INDICATES THAT IT HAD ESTIMATED THE COST OF THE WORK WITHOUT INSULATION TO BE $2,645 --- THE AMOUNT OF ITS BASE BID--- AND THE COST OF INSULATION (ALTERNATE "A") TO BE $665, AND THAT IT THEN ADDED BOTH AMOUNTS TOGETHER TO ARRIVE AT A TOTAL OF $3,310--- THE CORPORATION'S ALLEGED INTENDED BID PRICE FOR ALL WORK, INCLUDING INSULATION.

YOU STATED THAT IT IS THE ADMINISTRATION'S BELIEF THAT, SINCE THE SPECIFICATION CALLED FOR A TOTAL BID AND THE BID FORM CALLED FOR A BASE BID, THERE IS AN ELEMENT OF AMBIGUITY IN THE SPECIFICATIONS, AND THAT THE CONTRACTOR MADE AN HONEST MISTAKE BECAUSE OF THIS AMBIGUITY. THIS OFFICE IS OF THE SAME OPINION. ALTHOUGH THE CORPORATION PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE REQUESTED A CLARIFICATION OF THE SPECIFICATIONS PERTAINING TO THE BASES ON WHICH BID PRICES WERE TO BE SUBMITTED, IT APPEARS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS PARTLY AT FAULT IN THE MATTER IN NOT CLEARLY STATING SUCH BASES.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE CORPORATION DID NOT INTEND ITS BASE BID PRICE TO COVER THE COST OF THE INSULATION, AND THAT THE CONTRACT AWARDED DID NOT EMBODY A MEETING OF THE MINDS OF THE PARTIES. ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE TO THE "THERMODYNE" CORPORATION AT A PRICE OF $2,645, AS ADMINISTRATIVELY RECOMMENDED, FOR THE WORK PERFORMED.

A REFERENCE TO THIS DECISION SHOULD BE MADE ON THE CONTRACT OR ON THE VOUCHER COVERING PAYMENT TO THE CORPORATION.

THE PAPERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE CONTRACTOR'S ESTIMATE SHEET AND A COPY OF THE UNDATED REPORT OF THE CHIEF, CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR DIVISION, PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE, ARE RETURNED.