B-132360, JUN. 28, 1957

B-132360: Jun 28, 1957

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BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 25. BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING LABOR AND MATERIALS AND PERFORMING ALL WORK REQUIRED FOR CLEARING OF SCHEDULE II. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 16 ITEMS OF WORK FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT. YOU STATE THAT WHEN THE BIDS WERE OPENED IT WAS NOTED THAT THE BID OF MR. JOHN PAOLA ON ITEM 1 WAS UNUSUALLY LOW SINCE IT WAS $33. THAT IT IS A WELL-KNOWN FACT THAT PORTIONS OF THE RIGHT-OF-WAY TRAVERSE A MOUNTAINOUS REGION IN WHICH CLEARING OPERATIONS WOULD NORMALLY BE QUITE COSTLY. PAOLA WAS ADVISED HE WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON THE PROJECT. THE EXTRA COST INCIDENT TO CLEARING THE ROUGH TERRAIN WAS NOT CONSIDERED IN COMPUTING HIS FINAL BID PRICE ON ITEM 1.

B-132360, JUN. 28, 1957

TO MR. L. C. STEWART, ACTING CHIEF, BRANCH OF SUPPLY, BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 25, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH MR. JOHN PAOLA, KALISPELL, MONTANA, ALLEGES HE MADE IN HIS BID OPENED ON JUNE 14, 1957.

BY INVITATION NO. 8422, BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING LABOR AND MATERIALS AND PERFORMING ALL WORK REQUIRED FOR CLEARING OF SCHEDULE II, ROUND PRAIRIE-TREGO SECTION OF THE COLUMBIA FALLS-TREGO 115 KW TRANSMISSION LINE NO. 1, FLATHEAD AND LINCOLN COUNTIES, MONTANA. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 16 ITEMS OF WORK FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT. IN RESPONSE MR. JOHN PAOLA SUBMITTED A BID DATED JUNE 11, 1957, OFFERING TO PERFORM THE WORK FOR VARIOUS UNIT AND JOB PRICES SET FORTH OPPOSITE EACH ITEM, WHICH PRODUCED A TOTAL BID OF $68,956.10. THE SEVEN OTHER AGGREGATE BIDS ON THE PROJECT RANGED FROM $115,335 TO $198,100.

YOU STATE THAT WHEN THE BIDS WERE OPENED IT WAS NOTED THAT THE BID OF MR. JOHN PAOLA ON ITEM 1 WAS UNUSUALLY LOW SINCE IT WAS $33,710 BELOW THE AMOUNT OF THE NEXT LOWEST BID ON THAT ITEM; THAT IT IS A WELL-KNOWN FACT THAT PORTIONS OF THE RIGHT-OF-WAY TRAVERSE A MOUNTAINOUS REGION IN WHICH CLEARING OPERATIONS WOULD NORMALLY BE QUITE COSTLY; AND THAT AFTER MR. PAOLA WAS ADVISED HE WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON THE PROJECT, HE ATTENDED AN AWARD MEETING AT WHICH HE ALLEGED THAT, IN COMPUTING HIS BID PRICE ON ITEM 1, HE INADVERTENTLY OMITTED THE FIGURE OF $150 PER ACRE ADDITIONAL FOR CLEARING 132.6 ACRES IN DIFFICULT TERRAIN, MAKING A TOTAL OMISSION OF $19,890.

IN A CONFIRMING LETTER DATED JUNE 22, 1957, MR. PAOLA STATED THAT UPON RECEIVING THE INVITATION HE VISITED AND INSPECTED THE AREA TO BE CLEARED; THAT ON THE NEXT THREE SUCCEEDING DAYS HE ATTENDED THE INSPECTION TOUR CONDUCTED BY THE ADMINISTRATION FOR PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS AND THAT DURING THE COURSE OF SUCH TOUR HE MADE FIELD NOTES AS TO THE CONDITION OF THE AREA TO BE CLEARED; THAT HE ARRIVED AT A BASIC FIGURE OF $145 PER ACRE FOR THE 373 ACRES TO BE CLEARED; AND THAT OF THESE 373 AREAS, 132.6 AREAS COVERED ROUGH TERRAIN AND HE DETERMINED THAT AN ADDITIONAL $150 PER ACRE SHOULD BE ADDED TO HIS BASIC ACRE PRICE FOR THESE PARTICULAR ACRES. MR. PAOLA ALSO STATED THAT HE HAD MADE HIS NOTATIONS AS TO THE ROUGH TERRAIN IN A LITTLE NOTEBOOK BUT THAT WHEN HE CAME INTO TOWN THAT NIGHT HE FAILED TO PLACE THE NOTEBOOK, WHICH CONTAINED THE FIGURES ON THE ROUGH TERRAIN, WITH HIS FIGURES ON THE OVERALL PROJECT; AND THAT AS A RESULT OF SUCH OMISSION, THE EXTRA COST INCIDENT TO CLEARING THE ROUGH TERRAIN WAS NOT CONSIDERED IN COMPUTING HIS FINAL BID PRICE ON ITEM 1. IN SUPPORT OF HIS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, MR. PAOLA SUBMITTED A PHOTOSTATIC COPY OF HIS ESTIMATE SHEET, WHICH APPEARS TO BE A COPY OF THE BID SCHEDULE AND PHOTOSTATIC COPIES OF THE FIELD NOTES MADE BY HIM DURING THE AGENCY'S CONDUCTED TOUR OF THE AREA TO BE CLEARED. AT THE BOTTOM OF THE FOURTH NOTE PAGE THERE APPEARS THE NOTATION "132.6 ACRES AVERAGE (150.) MORE ,890.'

ON THE RECORD, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT MR. PAOLA MADE AN ERROR IN HIS BID, AS ALLEGED. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE PRESENT CASE, HOWEVER, ARE NOT SUCH AS WOULD WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERROR WAS ALLEGED AND EXPLAINED PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF MR. PAOLA SHOULD BE DISREGARDED UNLESS, OF COURSE, HE IS WILLING TO PERFORM THE WORK REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS AT HIS ORIGINAL BID PRICE.