B-135046, FEB. 6, 1958

B-135046: Feb 6, 1958

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 24. BIDS WERE SOLICITED ON THE WORK OF REHABILITATING THE SHOWER ROOMS IN 28 B-74 EM BARRACKS. FIVE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE ADVERTISEMENT. WAS UNSUCCESSFUL DUE TO THE ISOLATION OF THE LAKE CHARLES AREA BY THE HURRICANE AUDREY. NO REPRESENTATIVE OF LEE'S CONSTRUCTION COMPANY WAS PRESENT AT THE PUBLIC OPENING OF THE BIDS WHICH TOOK PLACE AT 10:00 A.M. THE AWARD WAS MADE IN FAVOR OF LEE'S CONSTRUCTION COMPANY. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE AWARD BY THE LOW BIDDER WAS RECEIVED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON JULY 10. THIS ALLEGATION WAS CONFIRMED BY LETTER DATED JULY 17. AS TO EACH OF WHICH A UNIT PRICE AND AN EXTENDED TOTAL WERE SHOWN.

B-135046, FEB. 6, 1958

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 24, 1958, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (LOGISTICS), REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER LEE'S CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA, MAY BE RELIEVED FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF A MISTAKE ALLEGEDLY MADE IN ITS BID WHICH CULMINATED IN CONTRACT NO. DA 16-027 AIV-1225, DATED JUNE 29, 1957.

BY INVITATION NO. AIV 16-027-57-186, ISSUED MAY 28, 1957, BY THE PURCHASING AND CONTRACTING OFFICE, FORT POLK, LOUISIANA, BIDS WERE SOLICITED ON THE WORK OF REHABILITATING THE SHOWER ROOMS IN 28 B-74 EM BARRACKS. FIVE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE ADVERTISEMENT, INCLUDING THE LOW BID OF THE LEE'S CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, IN THE AMOUNT OF $8,956. THE AMOUNTS OF THE OTHER FOUR BIDS RANGED FROM $17,057 TO $23,500 FOR THE JOB. IT APPEARS THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ATTEMPTED TO CONTACT THE LOW BIDDER ON THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS ON JUNE 27, 28, AND 29, 1957, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING A CONFIRMATION OF THE LOW BID PRICE, BUT WAS UNSUCCESSFUL DUE TO THE ISOLATION OF THE LAKE CHARLES AREA BY THE HURRICANE AUDREY, WHICH STRUCK THE LOUISIANA COASTLINE ON THE MORNING OF JUNE 27. OF COURSE, NO REPRESENTATIVE OF LEE'S CONSTRUCTION COMPANY WAS PRESENT AT THE PUBLIC OPENING OF THE BIDS WHICH TOOK PLACE AT 10:00 A.M. CST, JUNE 27, 1957.

ON JUNE 29, 1957, THE AWARD WAS MADE IN FAVOR OF LEE'S CONSTRUCTION COMPANY. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE AWARD BY THE LOW BIDDER WAS RECEIVED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON JULY 10, 1957. BY TELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION OF JULY 16, 1957, THE LOW BIDDER'S REPRESENTATIVE ALLEGED MISTAKE IN ITS BID. THIS ALLEGATION WAS CONFIRMED BY LETTER DATED JULY 17, WHEREIN THE CONTRACTOR EXPLAINED THAT ITS ORIGINAL ESTIMATE FOR THE JOB CONSISTED OF EIGHT SEPARATE ITEMS, AS TO EACH OF WHICH A UNIT PRICE AND AN EXTENDED TOTAL WERE SHOWN. HOWEVER, AS TO ITEM NO. 5, THE OFFICE CLERK WHO PREPARED THE FINAL ESTIMATE OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT THE UNIT PRICE OF $162.36 SHOWN FOR SUCH ITEM SHOULD HAVE BEEN MULTIPLIED BY 28, REPRESENTING THE NUMBER OF BUILDINGS INVOLVED, AND INADVERTENTLY ENTERED IN THE EXTENDED COLUMN OF ITS BID FOR ITEM NO. 5 THE TOTAL PRICE OF $162.36, INSTEAD OF 28 TIMES THAT AMOUNT, OR $4,546.08. THE CONTRACTOR'S ORIGINAL WORKSHEET CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THE EXTENDED TOTALS FOR THE OTHER ITEMS OF THE BID WERE COMPUTED BY MULTIPLYING THE UNIT PRICE BY THE NUMERAL 28, WHICH PROCEDURE OBVIOUSLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED IN THE CASE OF ITEM NO. 5. THE CONTRACTOR EXPLAINED THAT ITS FAILURE TO DETECT THE ERROR SOONER WAS DUE TO THE FACT THAT,"ABOUT THIS TIME, HURRICANE AUDREY HIT, AND I WAS SO BUSY WITH RELIEF WORK THAT I NEVER HAD A CHANCE TO RECHECK.' THIS UNDOUBTEDLY ACCOUNTS FOR THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S INABILITY TO CONTACT THE CONTRACTOR DURING THE THREE-DAY PERIOD WHICH IMMEDIATELY PRECEDED THE AWARD MADE ON JUNE 29.

AN ANALYSIS OF THE CONTRACTOR'S ORIGINAL WORKSHEET IN THE LIGHT OF ITS EXPLANATION AS TO HOW THE MISTAKE ACTUALLY OCCURRED LEAVES LITTLE, IF ANY, ROOM FOR DOUBT AS TO THE EXISTENCE OF A BONA FIDE ERROR IN ITS LOW BID.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES ABOVE RELATED, THE LOW BID OF LEE'S CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, UPON WHICH THE PURPORTED CONTRACT NO. DA 16-027 AIV-1225 WAS PREDICATED, MAY BE CANCELLED WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO SUCH BIDDER. SEE ALTA ELECTRIC AND MECHANICAL CO. V. UNITED STATES, 90 C.CLS. 466; C. N. MONROE MANUFACTURING COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 143 F.SUPP. 449, 451; AND SALIGMAN V. UNITED STATES, 56 ..END :