B-134846, JUN. 12, 1958

B-134846: Jun 12, 1958

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ALLEN FULMER CO.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 6. YOU STATE THAT YOU ARE ONE OF THREE MANUFACTURERS OF STANDARD CONVENTIONAL HONING MACHINES. THAT YOU DID NOT SUBMIT A BID IN RESPONSE TO THE SUBJECT INVITATION FOR THE REASON THAT THE MACHINE SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION IS A SPECIALLY DESIGNED MACHINE AND MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN ANY OF THE THREE EXISTING COMMERCIAL MACHINES. ALSO REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR OFFICE HAVE INVESTIGATED THE MATTER AT JACKSONVILLE. FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS: CHART GEORGE E. 537.40 IT APPEARS THAT AWARD WAS MADE TO COMPAIR. SINCE ITS BID WAS THE ONLY ONE SATISFACTORILY MEETING THE SPECIFICATIONS AND ALSO WAS THE SECOND LOWEST BID. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE NEED FOR A HONING MACHINE SPECIALLY DESIGNED TO HONE VARIOUS SIZES OF AIRCRAFT ENGINE CYLINDERS BY PRODUCTION-LINE TYPE OPERATIONS WAS DETERMINED BY THE NAVAL AIR STATION.

B-134846, JUN. 12, 1958

TO C. ALLEN FULMER CO.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 6, 1958, WITH ITS ENCLOSURE, ACKNOWLEDGED JANUARY 20, PROTESTING AGAINST THE SPECIFICATIONS PERTAINING TO INVITATION TO BID NO. IFB-207-65-58, ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AIR STATION, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, FOR PROCURING A HONING MACHINE TO HONE AIRCRAFT CYLINDERS. YOU STATE THAT YOU ARE ONE OF THREE MANUFACTURERS OF STANDARD CONVENTIONAL HONING MACHINES, ANY OF WHICH CAN HONE THE AIRCRAFT CYLINDERS SPECIFIED, BUT THAT YOU DID NOT SUBMIT A BID IN RESPONSE TO THE SUBJECT INVITATION FOR THE REASON THAT THE MACHINE SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION IS A SPECIALLY DESIGNED MACHINE AND MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN ANY OF THE THREE EXISTING COMMERCIAL MACHINES.

IN RESPONSE TO OUR REQUEST THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY HAS FURNISHED A REPORT IN THE MATTER; ALSO REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR OFFICE HAVE INVESTIGATED THE MATTER AT JACKSONVILLE.

THE INVITATION, DATED DECEMBER 16, 1957, REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING ONE HYDRAULICALLY OPERATED HONING MACHINE CONFIRMING TO THE SPECIFICATIONS SET OUT IN THE INVITATION. FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS:

CHART

GEORGE E. VIERECK AND CO. $ 4,565.55

COMPAIR, INC. $15,211.00

SCOTT MACHINE TOOL CO. $23,712.40

MICROMATIC HONE CORP. $35,537.40

IT APPEARS THAT AWARD WAS MADE TO COMPAIR, INC., ON APRIL 30, 1958, SINCE ITS BID WAS THE ONLY ONE SATISFACTORILY MEETING THE SPECIFICATIONS AND ALSO WAS THE SECOND LOWEST BID.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE NEED FOR A HONING MACHINE SPECIALLY DESIGNED TO HONE VARIOUS SIZES OF AIRCRAFT ENGINE CYLINDERS BY PRODUCTION-LINE TYPE OPERATIONS WAS DETERMINED BY THE NAVAL AIR STATION, JACKSONVILLE, FOR THE REASON THAT SUCH MACHINES HAVE A PRODUCTION CAPACITY TWO OR THREE TIMES AS GREAT AS THE STANDARD CONVENTIONAL HONING MACHINES REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER AND ALSO WOULD PERFORM AUTOMATIC CHOKED BORE HONING NOT POSSIBLE WITH STANDARD MACHINES. THE SPECIFICATIONS AND INVITATION TO BID WERE ISSUED ACCORDINGLY.

ALTHOUGH THE SPECIFICATIONS IN QUESTION PERHAPS COULD NOT BE MET BY ANY STANDARD HONING MACHINE SUCH AS REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THAT THEY WERE UNDULY RESTRICTIVE OR OTHERWISE OBJECTIONABLE. IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS DESIGNED TO MEET THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER THE BIDS RECEIVED ARE RESPONSIVE TO SUCH SPECIFICATIONS ARE MATTERS PRIMARILY A RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE REQUIRING THE MATERIALS OR EQUIPMENT. 21 COMP. GEN. 1132, 1136. ALSO, THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER EQUIPMENT SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED IS NECESSARY TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS ONE PRIMARILY FOR DETERMINATION BY THOSE CHARGED WITH OPERATING RESPONSIBILITY. IN THE INSTANT MATTER, IF THE SPECIFICATIONS PROPERLY COULD BE REGARDED AS RESTRICTIVE, IT WOULD STILL APPEAR THAT THEY REPRESENT THE ACTUAL AND BONA FIDE NEED OF THE NAVAL AIR STATION IN VIEW OF THE OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE BENEFITS RESULTING TO THE GOVERNMENT FROM PURCHASING A MACHINE CONFORMING TO SUCH SPECIFICATIONS; AND THE FACT--- IF IT BE A FACT--- THAT MACHINES MANUFACTURED BY ONLY ONE PRODUCER CONFORM TO THE SPECIFICATIONS DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE GOVERNMENT FROM PURCHASING SUCH EQUIPMENT.

WITH RESPECT TO THE PRICE OF THE MACHINE, IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT THE BID SUBMITTED BY COMPAIR, INC., FOR ITS MACHINE MEETING THE SPECIFICATIONS WAS LOWER THAN TWO OF THE THREE OTHER BIDS NOT MEETING THE SPECIFICATIONS. IS REPORTED, ALSO, THAT ON APRIL 22, 1957, YOUR COMPANY SUBMITTED TO THE NAVAL AIR STATION A PROPOSAL TO FURNISH A STANDARD HONING MACHINE FOR A PRICE OF $17,040.20, WHICH IS GREATER THAN THE AMOUNT OF THE SUCCESSFUL BID IN THIS MATTER.

FOR THE REASONS HEREIN SET OUT, THERE APPEARS NO PROPER BASIS FOR OBJECTION BY OUR OFFICE TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN IN ISSUING THE SPECIFICATIONS AND MAKING THE PROCUREMENT INVOLVED.