B-135584, MAR. 31, 1958

B-135584: Mar 31, 1958

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H. TULLER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 21. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED BY WARDLE BROTHERS EXCAVATING COMPANY TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 100C-326. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS SET FORTH UNDER 22 ITEMS FOR BIDDING AND PAYMENT PURPOSES. BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO QUOTE UNIT PRICES BASED UPON THE ESTIMATED QUANTITIES SET FORTH FOR THE VARIOUS ITEMS. THE AWARD IS TO BE MADE TO THE LOW AGGREGATE BIDDER ON ALL ITEMS. THE PRICE QUOTED FOR ITEM 2 WAS $0.26 PER CUBIC YARD. NINE OTHER BIDS WERE RECEIVED. THE FIVE NEXT LOWEST BIDS WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $61. THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE OF THE COST OF THE WORK WAS $77.

B-135584, MAR. 31, 1958

TO MR. WM. H. TULLER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 21, 1958, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED BY WARDLE BROTHERS EXCAVATING COMPANY TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 100C-326.

THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS TO BE OPENED ON MARCH 11, 1958, FOR FURNISHING LABOR AND MATERIALS, AND PERFORMING NECESSARY WORK IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF DRAINS IN UNIT B OF THE NORTH SIDE PUMPING DIVISION, MINIDOKA PROJECT, IDAHO. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS SET FORTH UNDER 22 ITEMS FOR BIDDING AND PAYMENT PURPOSES. BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO QUOTE UNIT PRICES BASED UPON THE ESTIMATED QUANTITIES SET FORTH FOR THE VARIOUS ITEMS. THE AWARD IS TO BE MADE TO THE LOW AGGREGATE BIDDER ON ALL ITEMS. ITEM 2 COVERS AN ESTIMATED 95,000 CUBIC YARDS OF COMMON EXCAVATION.

IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION WARDLE BROTHERS EXCAVATING COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID DATED MARCH 8, 1958, OFFERING TO PERFORM THE WORK FOR THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $52,129.50. THE PRICE QUOTED FOR ITEM 2 WAS $0.26 PER CUBIC YARD. NINE OTHER BIDS WERE RECEIVED. THE FIVE NEXT LOWEST BIDS WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $61,615, $62,493.10, $65,007.20, $66,150, AND $67,631. THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE OF THE COST OF THE WORK WAS $77,303.

IT IS REPORTED THAT ON MARCH 12 WARDLE BROTHERS ADVISED THE CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER, BY TELEPHONE, THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN ITS BID. THE ALLEGATION OF ERROR WAS CONFIRMED BY LETTER OF THE SAME DATE AND THE BIDDER SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT THEREOF CERTAIN WORK SHEETS. IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE PRICE FOR ITEM 2 SHOULD HAVE BEEN $0.32 PER CUBIC YARD RATHER THAN $0.26 AS SHOWN IN THE BID. IT IS STATED THAT THE ERROR AROSE FROM THE FACT THAT IT WAS BELIEVED THAT THE TWO PERSONS WHO HAD PREPARED THE BID HAD EACH ADDED IN THE ESTIMATE $0.06 PER CUBIC YARD FOR DRAGLINE EXCAVATION ON ITEM 2 AND THAT, THEREFORE, WHEN THE FINAL COMPUTATION WAS PREPARED THERE WAS DEDUCTED FROM THE FINAL FIGURE $0.06 PER CUBIC YARD TO ELIMINATE THE DUPLICATE CHARGE. HOWEVER, IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT ONE OF THE PERSONS HAD NOT INCLUDED THE $0.06 SINCE HE REALIZED THAT THE OTHER HAD ALREADY INCLUDED THE COST. THEREFORE, THE PRICE QUOTED FOR ITEM 2 WAS ACTUALLY $0.06 PER CUBIC YARD LESS THAN INTENDED. THE BIDDER REQUESTED THAT HIS BID ON ITEM 2 BE INCREASED TO COMPENSATE FOR THE ERROR OR THAT THE BID BE DISREGARDED.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD AND CONSIDERING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BID OF WARDLE BROTHERS AND THE OTHER BIDS, THERE APPEARS TO BE LITTLE, IF ANY, DOUBT THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE BID. HOWEVER, THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE NOT SUCH AS WOULD WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE OPENING OF BIDS. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575. ACCORDINGLY, THE BID OF WARDLE BROTHERS EXCAVATING COMPANY SHOULD BE DISREGARDED.