B-135244, MARCH 5, 1958, 37 COMP. GEN. 577

B-135244: Mar 5, 1958

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BIDS - TIME EXTENSION FOR SUBMISSION - AMENDED INVITATION - BID ACCEPTANCE AFTER REJECTION THE FACT THAT ONLY FOUR DAYS WERE ALLOWED BETWEEN THE TIME THAT BIDS WERE RETURNED UNOPENED TO ALL THREE BIDDERS FOR THE REASON THAT THE GOVERNMENT MISSTATED ITS REQUIREMENTS AND THE TIME OF REOPENING UNDER AN AMENDED INVITATION IS NOT SUCH AN INSUFFICIENT TIME. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT MORE BIDDERS WOULD HAVE RESPONDED HAD MORE TIME BEEN ALLOWED. NO OBJECTION WILL BE MADE TO THE REINSTATEMENT OF THE AMENDED INVITATION AND AWARD TO THE LOW BIDDER. UNDER THE INVITATION BIDS WERE REQUESTED. ADVISING THEM OF THE ERROR AND INFORMING THEM THAT THE INVITATION WAS BEING CHANGED TO SHOW THE CORRECT PAINTING REQUIREMENT.

B-135244, MARCH 5, 1958, 37 COMP. GEN. 577

BIDS - TIME EXTENSION FOR SUBMISSION - AMENDED INVITATION - BID ACCEPTANCE AFTER REJECTION THE FACT THAT ONLY FOUR DAYS WERE ALLOWED BETWEEN THE TIME THAT BIDS WERE RETURNED UNOPENED TO ALL THREE BIDDERS FOR THE REASON THAT THE GOVERNMENT MISSTATED ITS REQUIREMENTS AND THE TIME OF REOPENING UNDER AN AMENDED INVITATION IS NOT SUCH AN INSUFFICIENT TIME, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT MORE BIDDERS WOULD HAVE RESPONDED HAD MORE TIME BEEN ALLOWED, AS TO REQUIRE REJECTION OF ALL BIDS, AND, THEREFORE, NO OBJECTION WILL BE MADE TO THE REINSTATEMENT OF THE AMENDED INVITATION AND AWARD TO THE LOW BIDDER.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, MARCH 5, 1958:

BY LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 12, 1958, THE DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE REQUESTED A DECISION AS TO WHETHER A CONTRACT PROPERLY MAY BE AWARDED UNDER SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE INVITATION NO. IFB 11-623-58 22, DATED DECEMBER 7, 1957, AS AMENDED.

UNDER THE INVITATION BIDS WERE REQUESTED, TO BE OPENED AT 9:00 AM/CST, DECEMBER 19, 1957, ON SEVERAL PAVEMENT REPAIR OPERATIONS DESCRIBED IN THE BIDDING SCHEDULE AND IN THE PERTINENT SPECIFICATIONS. OF THE 17 PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS CONTACTED, ONLY THREE RESPONDED TO THE INVITATION. THE DAY BEFORE THE OPENING OF BIDS A REPRESENTATIVE OF ONE OF THE BIDDERS, SKRAINKA CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INVITED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S ATTENTION TO A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE INFORMATION SHOWN ON THE BID SCHEDULE AND IN THE PLANS CONCERNING THE EXTENT OF THE PAINTING WORK REQUIRED (TRAFFIC LINES IN THE PARKING LOTS) UNDER ITEM NO. 10. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE SCHEDULE INDICATED 277,500 LINEAL FEET AS THE QUANTITY OF THE PAINTING REQUIRED UNDER THAT ITEM, WHEREAS THE PLANS INDICATED A PAINTING JOB CONSISTING OF ONLY 27,750 FEET. THUS, THROUGH THE INADVERTENT MISPLACEMENT OF A DECIMAL POINT IN STATING THE ESTIMATED QUANTITY OF PAINTING INVOLVED UNDER ITEM NO. 10, THE GOVERNMENT OVERSTATED ITS ACTUAL PAINTING NEEDS BY TEN TIMES THE AMOUNT REQUIRED.

AS THE RESULT OF ITS ERROR, THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE, AT THE SCHEDULED OPENING TIME, HANDED BACK TO THE THREE BIDDERS THEIR UNOPENED BIDS, ADVISING THEM OF THE ERROR AND INFORMING THEM THAT THE INVITATION WAS BEING CHANGED TO SHOW THE CORRECT PAINTING REQUIREMENT. THESE BIDDERS WERE FURTHER ADVISED THAT PROPOSALS SUBMITTED UNDER THE CORRECTED INVITATION WOULD BE OPENED AT 1:30 P.M., DECEMBER 23, 1957. AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED DECEMBER 20, 1957, WHICH CORRECTLY STATED THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTUAL PAINTING REQUIREMENT FOR ONLY 27,750 LINEAL FEET, AND COPIES THEREOF WERE SENT TO THE PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WHO COMPRISED THE GOVERNMENT'S ORIGINAL MAILING LIST.

AT THE OPENING OF DECEMBER 23, 1957, THE BID OF THE SKRAINKA CONSTRUCTION COMPANY WAS FOUND TO BE THE LOWEST OF THE THREE BIDS RECEIVED. ACCORDINGLY, APPROPRIATE STEPS WERE TAKEN BY THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE TO AWARD THE CONTRACT ( AF 11 (623/-66) TO THAT COMPANY. FINALIZATION OF THE AWARD HAS NOT BEEN ACCOMPLISHED, HOWEVER, DUE TO A DETERMINATION MADE ON DECEMBER 30, 1957, BY THE MILITARY AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE--- THE ACTIVITY FOR WHICH THE WORK WAS TO BE PERFORMED--- THAT ALL BIDS SUBMITTED UNDER THE INVITATION SHOULD BE REJECTED FOR THE REASON THAT THE AMENDMENT OF DECEMBER 20, 1957, DID NOT ALLOW SUFFICIENT TIME BEFORE OPENING TO AFFORD PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS FULL OPPORTUNITY FOR SUBMITTING AN OFFER UNDER THE AMENDED INVITATION. APPARENTLY, THE INVITATION WAS CANCELED AND THE BIDS SUBMITTED THEREUNDER HAVE BEEN TENTATIVELY REJECTED PURSUANT TO THE AFORESAID DETERMINATION.

YOU HAVE RECOMMENDED THAT THE CANCELLATION OF THE INVITATION AND REJECTION OF THE BIDS BE TREATED AS A NULLITY, AND THAT THE AWARD UNDER THE AMENDED INVITATION BE MADE TO THE SKRAINKA CONSTRUCTION COMPANY. JUSTIFICATION THEREFOR, YOU POINT OUT THAT AMPLE OPPORTUNITY WAS AFFORDED THE THREE INTERESTED BIDDERS TO EFFECT IN THEIR BIDS THEY DEEM NECESSARY TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE AMENDED INVITATION. ALSO, YOU HAVE EXPRESSED THE BELIEF THAT THE INTERESTS OF ANY OTHER POTENTIAL BIDDER WERE NOT JEOPARDIZED BY THE BIDDING PROCEDURE ADOPTED IN THIS CASE, PARTICULARLY SINCE NO TRULY INTERESTED BIDDER NEED HAVE BEEN DISCOURAGED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE FROM BIDDING ON THE OVERSTATED QUANTITY OF PAINTING SHOWN IN THE ORIGINAL BID SCHEDULE.

THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTUAL PAINTING REQUIREMENTS UNDER ITEM NO. 10 OF THE SCHEDULE WERE ORIGINALLY MISSTATED WOULD NOT HAVE PREVENTED A PROSPECTIVE BIDDER FROM SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL ON THE SERVICES AS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION. MOREOVER, WHILE ONLY THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE BASIC INVITATION, THERE IS NO INDICATION IN THE RECORD THAT MORE BIDDERS WOULD HAVE RESPONDED HAD MORE TIME BEEN ALLOWED.

FURTHERMORE, THERE CAN BE NO SERIOUS QUESTION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S CONDUCT IN HAVING RETURNED TO THE THREE ORIGINAL BIDDERS THEIR UNOPENED BIDS AT THE SCHEDULED TIME FOR OPENING ON DECEMBER 19, 1957, THEREBY FORECLOSING THE POSSIBILITY OF ANY BIDDER DISCOVERING THE CONTENTS OF A COMPETITOR'S PROPOSAL, OR OTHERWISE GAINING AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE OVER ANY OTHER BIDDER.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND SINCE IT IS CONSIDERED THAT SUFFICIENT TIME WAS ALLOWED THE INTERESTED BIDDERS BETWEEN DECEMBER 19 AND 23, 1957, TO REVISE THEIR BIDS TO CONFORM TO THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTUAL PAINTING REQUIREMENTS UNDER ITEM NO. 10 OF THE SCHEDULE, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT WE WOULD INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO THE REINSTATEMENT OF INVITATION NO. IFB 11-623-58-22, AS AMENDED, AND THE PROPOSALS SUBMITTED THEREUNDER, NOR WOULD WE BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO AN AWARD OF THE CONTRACT TO SKRAINKA CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, AS PROPOSED. SEE 36 COMP. GEN. 62.