B-134261, NOV. 6, 1957

B-134261: Nov 6, 1957

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 28. ALLEGES WAS MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON OCTOBER 8. ALL PLAN HOLDERS WERE FURNISHED A REVISED ACT OF PLANS AND A NEW PROPOSAL FORM FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING BIDS ON EITHER OR BOTH PROJECT BLM 621-A1 (SCHEDULE "A") OR PROJECT BLM 621-A1. ON SCHEDULE "B" ITEMS 200 (1) AND 200 (3A) WERE ALTERNATE ITEMS PROVIDING FOR GRAVEL BASE AND CRUSHED AGGREGATE BASE. ON PAGE B-2 OF THE PROPOSAL PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT SCHEDULES "A" AND "B" WERE NOT ALTERNATES BUT WERE TO BE CONSIDERED AS SEPARATE BIDS COVERING TWO DESIGNS FOR SURFACING AND THAT AWARD OF CONTRACT WOULD NOT NECESSARILY BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED BUT RATHER UPON THE BASIS OF THE LOWEST BID FOR THE SCHEDULE WHICH THE GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS TO BE TO ITS ADVANTAGE.

B-134261, NOV. 6, 1957

TO MR. C. W. ENFIELD, GENERAL COUNSEL, BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 28, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURES, FILE NO. 26-32, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH THE W. D. MILLER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY OF KLAMATH FALLS, OREGON, ALLEGES WAS MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON OCTOBER 8, 1957, FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF OREGON TIMBER ACCESS ROAD PROJECTS BLM 621-AI OR 621- A1,C, MIDDLE CREEK ROAD, COOS BAY DISTRICT, COOS COUNTY, OREGON.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT ON SEPTEMBER 24, 1957, THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, PORTLAND, OREGON, ISSUED AN INVITATION REQUESTING BIDS ON PROJECT BLM 621-A1, COVERING THE SURFACING OF 6.696 MILES OF PREVIOUSLY CONSTRUCTED ROAD BETWEEN STATIONS 123 PLUS 61 AND 470 PLUS 15; THAT ON OR ABOUT OCTOBER 1, 1957, ALL PLAN HOLDERS WERE FURNISHED A REVISED ACT OF PLANS AND A NEW PROPOSAL FORM FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING BIDS ON EITHER OR BOTH PROJECT BLM 621-A1 (SCHEDULE "A") OR PROJECT BLM 621-A1,C (SCHEDULE "B") COVERING THE SURFACING OF THAT PORTION OF THE ROAD BETWEEN STATIONS 1 PLUS 60 AND 208 PLUS 10 WITH CRUSHED ROCK OR CRUSHED GRAVEL. ON SCHEDULE "B" ITEMS 200 (1) AND 200 (3A) WERE ALTERNATE ITEMS PROVIDING FOR GRAVEL BASE AND CRUSHED AGGREGATE BASE, RESPECTIVELY. ON PAGE B-2 OF THE PROPOSAL PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT SCHEDULES "A" AND "B" WERE NOT ALTERNATES BUT WERE TO BE CONSIDERED AS SEPARATE BIDS COVERING TWO DESIGNS FOR SURFACING AND THAT AWARD OF CONTRACT WOULD NOT NECESSARILY BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED BUT RATHER UPON THE BASIS OF THE LOWEST BID FOR THE SCHEDULE WHICH THE GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS TO BE TO ITS ADVANTAGE.

YOU STATE THAT BIDS WERE RECEIVED FROM SEVEN FIRMS INCLUDING THE W. B. MILLER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY; THAT WHEN THE BIDS WERE OPENED AND READ IT WAS IMMEDIATELY APPARENT THAT THE W. D. MILLER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY'S BID PRICES ON ITEMS 200 (3A), 200 (3B), AND 200 (3C) OF SCHEDULE "B," THE MAJOR ITEMS, WERE UNUSUALLY LOW WHEN COMPARED WITH THE OTHER BIDS AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE; THAT THE COMPANY WAS CONTACTED BY TELEPHONE AND REQUESTED TO CONFIRM ITS BID PRICES ON THOSE ITEMS; THAT IN RESPONSE TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE REQUEST, MR. HELTON, THE COMPANY'S SUPERINTENDENT, VISITED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISCUSSING THE COMPANY'S BID; THAT AT THE CONFERENCE MR. HELTON ALLEGED THAT THE COMPANY'S BID PRICES ON THE ITEMS IN QUESTION WERE BASED ON THE ERRONEOUS BELIEF THAT WORK ON BOTH SCHEDULES "A" AND "B" WOULD BE PERFORMED AND THAT HE HAD ALSO ERRONEOUSLY ASSUMED THAT IF THE SANDSTONE MATERIAL FROM THE QUARRIES DESIGNATED ON THE PLANS FOR SCHEDULE"A" WAS SATISFACTORY FOR ITEM 104 (1) IN THAT SCHEDULE, IT COULD ALSO BE USED FOR THE CRUSHED AGGREGATE UNDER SCHEDULE "B.' IN A CONFIRMING LETTER DATED OCTOBER 12, 1957, THE COMPANY STATED:

"ATTACHED YOU WILL FIND WHAT WORK SHEETS WE HAVE, AS EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF OUR LOW PRICES ON SCHEDULE "B" WHICH IS IN ERROR. YOU WILL NOTE ON THE COMMERCIAL TRUCKER HAUL THAT A MAXIMUM OF 2.0 MILES WAS FIGURED AT 50 CENTS PLUS 10 CENTS FOR OUR HANDLING CHARGE OR A TOTAL OF 60 CENTS NET.

"THERE IS ALSO NO SHOOTING COST ON SCHEDULE "B" BECAUSE WE INTENDED TO SHOOT ENOUGH IN ONE SHOT TO PRODUCE THE 63,500 YARDS FOR SCHEDULE A AND B. USING ONLY THE QUARRY AT STATION 160-00 TO PRODUCE THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF ALL QUANTITIES OF SAID SCHEDULE A AND B SHOULD HAVE WE BEEN SUCCESSFUL ON BOTH.

"NOW THAT YOU HAVE INFORMED ME THAT EITHER SCHEDULE A OR B WOULD BE SEPARATE BIDS, BUT NOT BOTH AS THE GOVERNMENT DEEMED BEST, A MISUNDERSTANDING ON SCHEDULE B HAS OCCURRED.

"WE WERE OF THE OPINION THAT IF THE QUALITY OF SANDSTONE WERE SUITABLE FOR SCHEDULE A, IT WOULD ALSO BE SUITABLE FOR SCHEDULE B.

"THE MANUFACTURE OF SCHEDULE "B" PRODUCT HAS TO BE SCREENED AND PASS GRADATION. ALSO THE CONTROL OF THE SAND QUANTITY WHICH I THOUGHT THAT THROUGH CRUSHING IT AN OVERPRODUCTION OF SAND WOULD RESULT.

"I HOPE AFTER YOUR INVESTIGATION YOU WILL AGREE THAT OUR BID ON SCHEDULE "B" IS BASED ON THE PRODUCTION FROM SANDSTONE QUARRY LOCATED AT STATION 160-00.'

YOU STATE THAT WHEREAS THE MILLER COMPANY'S WORKSHEETS INDICATE THAT THE COMPANY COMPUTED ITS PRICES FOR THE ITEMS IN QUESTION ON THE BASIS OF USED MATERIAL FROM THE SANDSTONE QUARRY SHOWN ON THE PLANS FOR SCHEDULE A," WHICH WOULD HAVE INVOLVED A HAUL OF APPROXIMATELY TWO MILES TO THE SECTION INVOLVED UNDER SCHEDULE "B," THE INVITATION REQUIRES THAT THE MATERIAL FOR ITEMS 200 (1), 200 (3), 200 (3B), AND 200 (3C) OF SCHEDULE "B" MUST BE OBTAINED FROM THE COMMERCIAL PLANT AT NEEDSPORT, OREGON, WHICH YOU STATE IS APPROXIMATELY 65 MILES RAIL HAUL PLUS SEVEN MILES TRUCK HAUL FROM THE PROJECT.

YOU STATE THAT IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO MAKE AN AWARD ON THE WORK COVERED BY SCHEDULE "B" ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD THERE IS NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT THE W. D. MILLER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY MADE AN ERROR IN THEIR BID AS ALLEGED. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE IT WAS BELIEVED THAT THE BID OF THE W. D. MILLER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY WAS ERRONEOUS AS TO SCHEDULE " AND SINCE SUCH BELIEF WAS CONFIRMED BY THE COMPANY PRIOR TO AWARD, THE COMPANY'S BID AS TO SCHEDULE "B" MAY BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARD.