B-132809, AUG. 14, 1957

B-132809: Aug 14, 1957

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BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 1. ALLEGES WAS MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON JULY 9. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 27 ITEMS FOR THE PURPOSES OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT FOR THE WORK. THE GOVERNMENT ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE OF COST FOR THE WORK WAS $429. YOU WERE INFORMED BY THE PROJECT CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER AT KANAB. STATED THAT HE HAD PREPARED PRELIMINARY ESTIMATE SHEETS ON THE ITEMS ON WHICH PRICES WERE TO BE QUOTED TO THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AND THAT. - THE PRICE WHICH HE ALLEGES WAS ERRONEOUSLY QUOTED TO THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY. DOUBT THAT THE ERRONEOUS VERBAL QUOTATION OF ITS PLUMBING SUBCONTRACTOR WAS USED BY THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY IN COMPUTING ITS BID PRICE FOR THE PROJECT.

B-132809, AUG. 14, 1957

TO MR. L. N. MCCLELLAN, CONTRACTING OFFICER, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 1, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURES, FILE REFERENCE D-150, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, ALLEGES WAS MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON JULY 9, 1957, AT KANAB, UTAH.

THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, DENVER, COLORADO, UNDER SPECIFICATIONS NO. DC- 4924, REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING LABOR AND MATERIALS AND PERFORMING ALL WORK REQUIRED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A LABORATORY, MUNICIPAL BUILDING AND WAREHOUSE FOR PAGE, ARIZONA, GLEN CANYON UNIT, ARIZONA-UTAH, MIDDLE RIVER DIVISION, COLORADO RIVER STORAGE PROJECT. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 27 ITEMS FOR THE PURPOSES OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT FOR THE WORK. IN RESPONSE THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID DATED JULY 9, 1957, OFFERING TO PERFORM THE WORK FOR VARIOUS UNIT AND JOB PRICES SET FORTH OPPOSITE EACH ITEM, WHICH PRODUCED A TOTAL BID OF $358,708.90. THE FOUR OTHER BIDS ON THE PROJECT RANGED FROM $413,088.30 TO $447,705.90, AND THE GOVERNMENT ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE OF COST FOR THE WORK WAS $429,362.

YOU STATE THAT, BY TELEGRAM RECEIVED ON JULY 12, 1957, YOU WERE INFORMED BY THE PROJECT CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER AT KANAB, UTAH, THAT THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY HAD INFORMED HIM THAT IT HAD MADE AN ERROR IN QUOTING ON ITEM 25 OF ITS BID IN THAT IT HAD FAILED TO INCLUDE IN ITS BID PRICE ON THAT ITEM AN AMOUNT OF $20,000 PLUS OVERHEAD AND PROFIT.

IN A CONFIRMING LETTER DATED JULY 15, 1957, THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY STATED THAT IT HAD RELIED UPON AN ERRONEOUS TELEPHONE QUOTATION FROM ITS PLUMBING SUBCONTRACTOR ON ITEM 25 AND REQUESTED THAT ITS BID PRICE ON ITEM 25 BE INCREASED BY $23,000, MAKING ITS AGGREGATE TOTAL PRICE FOR ITEMS 1 TO 27, INCLUSIVE, $381,708.90. IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE COMPANY SUBMITTED (1) ITS ORIGINAL ESTIMATE SHEETS, (2) ITS PLUMBING SUBCONTRACTOR'S ESTIMATE SHEETS, AND (3) A COPY OF A LETTER DATED JULY 13, 1957, RECEIVED FROM ITS PLUMBING SUBCONTRACTOR, D. L. NEELEY CONTRACTOR. IN HIS LETTER OF JULY 13, 1957, MR. NEELEY, THE SUBCONTRACTOR, STATED THAT HE HAD PREPARED PRELIMINARY ESTIMATE SHEETS ON THE ITEMS ON WHICH PRICES WERE TO BE QUOTED TO THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AND THAT, IN TRANSFERRING HIS BID PRICE OF $21,782 FOR ITEM 25 FROM HIS PRELIMINARY ESTIMATE SHEET TO HIS SUMMARY ESTIMATE SHEET, HE INADVERTENTLY COPIED IT DOWN AS $1,782, WHICH PRICE, HE STATED, HE QUOTED TO THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AS THE PRICE FOR ITEM 25. MR. NEELEY'S PRELIMINARY ESTIMATE SHEET SHOWS A PRICE OF $21,782 FOR ITEM 25 WHEREAS HIS SUMMARY ESTIMATE SHEET SHOWS FOR ITEM 25, A PRICE OF $1,782--- THE PRICE WHICH HE ALLEGES WAS ERRONEOUSLY QUOTED TO THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY. PAGE 23 OF THE ESTIMATE SHEETS OF THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SHOWS THAT THE COMPANY RECEIVED FROM MR. NEELEY A QUOTATION OF $1,782 FOR THE PLUMBING WORK REQUIRED UNDER ITEM 25.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, THERE APPEARS LITTLE, IF ANY, DOUBT THAT THE ERRONEOUS VERBAL QUOTATION OF ITS PLUMBING SUBCONTRACTOR WAS USED BY THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY IN COMPUTING ITS BID PRICE FOR THE PROJECT. 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 THEY HAVE BEEN OPENED. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575. TO PERMIT CORRECTION, IT MUST BE CONCLUSIVELY ESTABLISHED WHAT THE BID WOULD HAVE BEEN BUT FOR THE ERROR.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERROR WAS ALLEGED AND SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE SECURITY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SHOULD BE DISREGARDED WITHOUT FORFEITURE OF BID SECURITY UNLESS, OF COURSE, THE COMPANY DESIRES TO PERFORM THE WORK IN STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH THE INVITATION FOR THE AMOUNT OF ITS BID AS ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED.