B-133849, OCT. 2, 1957

B-133849: Oct 2, 1957

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 19. TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS ISSUED ON AUGUST 20. THE BIDS WERE OPENED ON SEPTEMBER 5. 995 WAS SUBMITTED BY COASTAL CONTRACTING AND ENGINEERING COMPANY. THE THREE NEXT LOWEST BIDS ARE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $70. THE COMPANY SUBMITTED A WORKSHEET AND STATED THAT THE PROJECT WAS ESTIMATED BY ITS CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER. WHO WAS SUPERVISING THE COMPANY'S CONSTRUCTION OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL RADIO STATION AT ANNAPOLIS. WITH INSTRUCTIONS FOR THEM TO ADD WHATEVER PROFIT AND OVERHEAD FIGURE WAS DESIRED. AT THE MAIN OFFICE THERE WERE DEDUCTED FROM THE SUM ARRIVED AT BY THE CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER CERTAIN AMOUNTS AND TO THE RESULTANT FIGURE THERE WERE ADDED 10 PERCENT FOR PROFIT AND OVERHEAD AND 1 PERCENT FOR BOND.

B-133849, OCT. 2, 1957

TO THE ACTING SUPERINTENDENT, NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 19, 1957, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED BY COASTAL CONTRACTING AND ENGINEERING COMPANY, INC., TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS ISSUED ON AUGUST 20, 1957, FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF RECREATIONAL STRUCTURES AND FACILITIES AT TACOMA AND FRIENDSHIP PLAYGROUNDS, WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE BIDS WERE OPENED ON SEPTEMBER 5, 1957. THE LOW BID IN THE AMOUNT OF $54,995 WAS SUBMITTED BY COASTAL CONTRACTING AND ENGINEERING COMPANY, INC. THE THREE NEXT LOWEST BIDS ARE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $70,385, $71,200 AND $71,951. THE SEVEN OTHER BIDS RECEIVED RANGE ON UP TO $105,900.

THE LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 6, 1957, COASTAL CONTRACTING AND ENGINEERING COMPANY, INC., ALLEGED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN ITS BID AND REQUESTED THAT THE BID BE CORRECTED TO $67,317.82, ITS STATED INTENDED BID PRICE. IN SUPPORT OF THE ALLEGED ERROR, THE COMPANY SUBMITTED A WORKSHEET AND STATED THAT THE PROJECT WAS ESTIMATED BY ITS CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER, WHO WAS SUPERVISING THE COMPANY'S CONSTRUCTION OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL RADIO STATION AT ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND. THE ENGINEER COMPLETED THE ESTIMATE AT ANNAPOLIS AND, SHOWED THE TOTAL COST OF THE WORK AS $50,440. HE GAVE THE WORKSHEETS TO HIS WIFE TO BRING TO THE MAIN OFFICE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WITH INSTRUCTIONS FOR THEM TO ADD WHATEVER PROFIT AND OVERHEAD FIGURE WAS DESIRED. AT THE MAIN OFFICE THERE WERE DEDUCTED FROM THE SUM ARRIVED AT BY THE CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER CERTAIN AMOUNTS AND TO THE RESULTANT FIGURE THERE WERE ADDED 10 PERCENT FOR PROFIT AND OVERHEAD AND 1 PERCENT FOR BOND, ARRIVING AT A TOTAL OF $55,028. THE COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID OF $54,995.

IT IS STATED THAT AFTER THE BIDS WERE OPENED AND THE RANGE OF THE BIDS RECEIVED WAS NOTED, THE ENGINEER WAS REQUESTED BY TELEPHONE TO RECHECK HIS ESTIMATES, WHICH HE DID, AND FOUND NO MISTAKES. HE WAS THEN REQUESTED TO COME TO THE MAIN OFFICE WHERE THE ESTIMATES WERE GONE OVER AGAIN AND WERE FOUND CORRECT. THE WORKSHEETS WERE THEN ADDED ON AN ADDING MACHINE AND IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT THE CORRECT TOTAL FOR THE VARIOUS ITEMS OF COST SHOULD HAVE BEEN $60,593 RATHER THAN $50,440, AS SHOWN BY THE ENGINEER. THE REASON GIVEN FOR THE MISTAKE IS THAT THE ENGINEER HAD TO ADD THE FIGURES WITHOUT THE AID OF AN ADDING MACHINE, SINCE HIS WAS BROKEN.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF THE AMOUNTS OF THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED, THERE APPEARS TO BE LITTLE DOUBT THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE BID. HOWEVER, THE EVIDENCE MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED AS ESTABLISHING THE AMOUNT THAT THE BID MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXCEPT FOR THE ALLEGED MISTAKE, AND, THEREFORE, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR DEVIATING FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE BID OPENING. ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE BID OF COASTAL CONTRACTING AND ENGINEERING COMPANY, INC., SHOULD BE DISREGARDED.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR QUESTION AS TO WHETHER WE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE NEXT LOW BID, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT SUCH QUESTION IS PRIMARILY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION. IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE RELATIVELY SMALL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT OF THE ALLEGED INTENDED BID PRICE OF COASTAL CONTRACTING AND ENGINEERING COMPANY, INC., AND THE NEXT LOW BID, WOULD NOT APPEAR SUFFICIENT, IN ITSELF, TO WARRANT REJECTION OF ALL BIDS AND READVERTISING.