B-134524, DEC. 5, 1957

B-134524: Dec 5, 1957

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TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 26. TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID DATED NOVEMBER 5. THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $231. THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE WAS $242. REQUESTED THAT ITS BID BE WITHDRAWN BECAUSE OF ITS ERROR RESULTING FROM "THE FACT THAT THE TEST HOLE INFORMATION SHOWN ON THE PLANS IS MISLEADING AND THERE NOT BEING AN ENGINEER AVAILABLE TO SHOW US OVER THE JOB.'. THE LETTER THE BIDDER STATED THAT THE TEST HOLE INFORMATION SHOWN ON THE PLANS LED IT TO BELIEVE THAT THERE WAS NO SOLID ROCK EXCAVATION INVOLVED BUT THAT IT SUBSEQUENTLY WAS INFORMED THAT APPROXIMATELY 27 PERCENT OF THE EXCAVATION WOULD BE SOLID ROCK. IN YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LETTER IT IS STATED THAT WHEELWRIGHT CONSTRUCTION CO.

B-134524, DEC. 5, 1957

TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 26, 1957, FROM THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, FILE 26-32, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED BY WHEELWRIGHT CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., OGDEN, UTAH, TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID DATED NOVEMBER 5, 1957, FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF FOREST HIGHWAY PROJECT 35-A, CENTRAL PINE VALLEY, WASHINGTON COUNTY, UTAH.

IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, WHEELWRIGHT CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., SUBMITTED ITS BID IN THE AMOUNT OF $162,811.60 FOR ALL CONSTRUCTION ITEMS, INCLUDING $42,940.00 ($0.38 PER CUBIC YARD) FOR UNCLASSIFIED EXCAVATION. THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $231,362.00, $325,417.22, $242,742.20 AND $399,697.00 FOR ALL CONSTRUCTION ITEMS, INCLUDING, RESPECTIVELY, $90,400.00 ($0.80 PER CUBIC YARD), $96,050.00 ($0.85 PER CUBIC YARD), $101,700.00 ($0.90 PER CUBIC YARD) AND $171,760.00 ($1.52 PER CUBIC YARD) FOR THE UNCLASSIFIED EXCAVATION. THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE WAS $242,836.40 FOR ALL CONSTRUCTION ITEMS, INCLUDING $101,700.00 ($0.90 PER CUBIC YARD) FOR THE UNCLASSIFIED EXCAVATION.

UPON THE OPENING OF BIDS ON NOVEMBER 5, 1957, WHEELWRIGHT CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., ALLEGED ERROR IN ITS BID AND BY LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 1957, REQUESTED THAT ITS BID BE WITHDRAWN BECAUSE OF ITS ERROR RESULTING FROM "THE FACT THAT THE TEST HOLE INFORMATION SHOWN ON THE PLANS IS MISLEADING AND THERE NOT BEING AN ENGINEER AVAILABLE TO SHOW US OVER THE JOB.' THE LETTER THE BIDDER STATED THAT THE TEST HOLE INFORMATION SHOWN ON THE PLANS LED IT TO BELIEVE THAT THERE WAS NO SOLID ROCK EXCAVATION INVOLVED BUT THAT IT SUBSEQUENTLY WAS INFORMED THAT APPROXIMATELY 27 PERCENT OF THE EXCAVATION WOULD BE SOLID ROCK.

IN YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LETTER IT IS STATED THAT WHEELWRIGHT CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., HAD NOT BID ON ONE OF THE PROJECTS OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS FOR OVER TWO YEARS AND HAD NOT BEEN A SUCCESSFUL BIDDER SINCE 1946. IT IS STATED FURTHER THAT A BIDDER NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE PROCEDURES AND WORK OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS "MIGHT EASILY HAVE BEEN MISLED" BY THE TEST HOLE INFORMATION FURNISHED AND THAT CLARIFICATION OF THE PROCEDURE IN THE FUTURE TO SHOW THE PURPOSE OF THE TESTINGS IS CONTEMPLATED.

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS OF THE MATTER AS REPORTED AND SHOWN BY THE FILE, IT MAY BE REGARDED AS SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED THAT THE BIDDER MADE A BONA FIDE ERROR IN ITS BID BECAUSE IT MISUNDERSTOOD THE INFORMATION FURNISHED WITH THE INVITATION AND DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE TYPE OF EXCAVATION REQUIRED. AS STATED IN YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LETTER, THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR WAS APPARENT WHEN THE BIDS WERE OPENED BECAUSE OF THE GREAT DISPARITY BETWEEN THE BID OF WHEELWRIGHT CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., AND THE OTHER BIDS AND THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE. FOR THE REASONS ABOVE INDICATED AND SINCE THE ERROR WAS ALLEGED BEFORE AWARD, THE BID OF WHEELWRIGHT CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., MAY BE DISREGARDED WITHOUT LIABILITY TO THE BIDDER OR ITS SURETY.