B-135576, MAR. 27, 1958

B-135576: Mar 27, 1958

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IT WAS NOTED THAT THE BID OF MID-TENN. WAS EXTREMELY LOW ON ITEMS NOS. 1 THROUGH 9. IN FURTHER ANALYZING THE BIDS IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT TWO OF THE OTHER BIDDERS UNDER THIS INVITATION. THE ANSWER TO BOTH OF THESE QUESTIONS IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

B-135576, MAR. 27, 1958

TO MR. E. T. SHANKS, CONTRACTING OFFICER:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 18, 1958, 5156/134, REQUESTS A DECISION AS TO THE CORRECT AWARD PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED IN CONNECTION WITH INVITATION NO. 58-35, ISSUED FEBRUARY 26, 1958.

THE SAID INVITATION SOLICITED PROPOSALS ON 17 SEPARATE ITEMS OF PLUMBING SUPPLIES AS LISTED IN THE BIDDING SCHEDULE. UPON OPENING OF THE PROPOSALS AT 2:30 P.M., MARCH 13, 1958, IT WAS NOTED THAT THE BID OF MID-TENN. SUPPLY COMPANY, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, WAS EXTREMELY LOW ON ITEMS NOS. 1 THROUGH 9, CONSISTING OF DIFFERENT SIZES AND LENGTHS OF BLACK WROUGHT IRON PIPE. UPON CONTACTING THE FIRM BY TELEPHONE FOR CONFIRMATION OF ITS QUOTED BID PRICES THEY ALLEGED THAT, THROUGH ERROR, THEY HAD QUOTED ON BLACK STEEL, IN LIEU OF THE SPECIFIED WROUGHT IRON, PIPING.

IN FURTHER ANALYZING THE BIDS IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT TWO OF THE OTHER BIDDERS UNDER THIS INVITATION, THE CLARK HARDWARE COMPANY AND MID-STATE STEEL, INC., HAD ALSO QUOTED IN THE SAME PRICE RANGE AS THE MID-TENN. SUPPLY COMPANY WHICH RESULTED IN THEIR BIDS BEING APPROXIMATELY 50 PERCENT LOWER ON THOSE ITEMS THAN THE BID PRICES QUOTED THEREON BY THE OTHER BIDDERS. UPON CONTACTING THESE FIRMS, THEY ALSO CLAIMED ERROR IN HAVING QUOTED ON STEEL, INSTEAD OF WROUGHT IRON PIPE.

EACH OF THESE THREE BIDDERS HAS FORWARDED A LETTER TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, CONFIRMING ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, AND EXPLAINING HOW THE ALLEGED MISTAKE OCCURRED. ALSO, EACH OF THE THREE LOWEST BIDDERS ON ITEMS NOS. 1 THROUGH 9 REQUESTS THE WITHDRAWAL OF ITS BID.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU REQUEST AN ADVANCE DECISION (1) AS TO WHETHER THE THREE BIDDERS MENTIONED MAY BE ALLOWED TO WITHDRAW THEIR BIDS AND (2) WHETHER THE AWARD PROPERLY MAY BE MADE IN FAVOR OF THE NOLAND COMPANY, AS THE NEXT LOWEST BIDDER.

THE ANSWER TO BOTH OF THESE QUESTIONS IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE. SEE 34 COMP. GEN. 633; 35 ID. 83; CF. 36 ID. 441.