B-136118, MAY 27, 1958

B-136118: May 27, 1958

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED MAY 13. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY WITH REGARD TO AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE BID OF LAVOIE LABORATORIES. SEVEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED INCLUDING THE LOW BID OF NORTHEASTERN ENGINEERING. SINCE THIS AMOUNT WAS THE TOTAL COST OF ALL OF THE SPARE PARTS REQUIRED FOR ITEM NO. 1. WE HELD THAT IT IS NOT PROPER TO CORRECT AN ERROR IN BID WHICH WOULD RESULT IN A BID NOT THE LOWEST SUBMITTED BECOMING LOWEST. SO THAT RESORT TO THE BIDDER'S WORKPAPERS OR OTHER EXTRANEOUS EVIDENCE IS NOT ESSENTIAL. WE POINTED OUT IN THOSE DECISIONS THAT WHERE CORRECTION IS ALLOWED IN A BID WHICH IS ON ITS FACE THE LOWEST RECEIVED.

B-136118, MAY 27, 1958

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED MAY 13, 1958, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM COMMANDER P. M. LINDSAY, DIRECTOR, PURCHASE OPERATIONS DIVISION, BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY WITH REGARD TO AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE BID OF LAVOIE LABORATORIES, INC., UNDER INVITATION NO. 383-771-58.

IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, ISSUED BY THE PHILADELPHIA NAVAL AVIATION SUPPLY OFFICE ON MARCH 31, 1958, LAVOIE LABORATORIES, INC., SUBMITTED A BID DATED APRIL 23, 1958, OFFERING TO FURNISH SEVERAL ITEMS OF VARIOUS QUANTITIES AND CERTAIN TYPE OR TYPES OF FREQUENCY METERS, SPARE PARTS AND STOCK REPAIR PARTS FOR A TOTAL PRICE OF $449,375. SEVEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED INCLUDING THE LOW BID OF NORTHEASTERN ENGINEERING, INC., IN THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $448,525.93. BY LETTER DATED APRIL 25, 1958, LAVOIE LABORATORIES, INC., INFORMED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN ITS BID IN THAT IN INCLUDING THE COST OF THE SPARE PARTS, REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS TO SUPPORT THE FIVE FREQUENCY METERS CALLED FOR UNDER ITEM NO. 1, THE CORPORATION HAD INCLUDED AN AMOUNT OF $670 FOR EACH OF THE FIVE FREQUENCY METERS INSTEAD OF PRORATING THE $670 OVER THE FIVE UNITS, SINCE THIS AMOUNT WAS THE TOTAL COST OF ALL OF THE SPARE PARTS REQUIRED FOR ITEM NO. 1. IN VIEW OF THE ALLEGED ERROR, LAVOIE LABORATORIES, INC., REQUESTS THAT IT BE PERMITTED TO AMEND ITS BID TO REFLECT A DEDUCTION OF $2,680 IN ITEM NO. 1, WHICH WOULD, OF COURSE, RESULT IN THE CORPORATION, DISPLACING NORTHEASTERN ENGINEERING, INC., AS THE OVERALL LOW BIDDER OF $1,830.93.

IN DECISIONS OF OCTOBER 30, 1956, B-129575, AND SEPTEMBER 24, 1957, B- 133522, 37 COMP. GEN. 210, TO YOU, WE HELD THAT IT IS NOT PROPER TO CORRECT AN ERROR IN BID WHICH WOULD RESULT IN A BID NOT THE LOWEST SUBMITTED BECOMING LOWEST, EXCEPT WHERE THE BASIS FOR THE ERROR AND THE INTENDED BID PRICE CAN BE DETERMINED FROM THE INVITATION AND THE BID ITSELF, SO THAT RESORT TO THE BIDDER'S WORKPAPERS OR OTHER EXTRANEOUS EVIDENCE IS NOT ESSENTIAL. WE POINTED OUT IN THOSE DECISIONS THAT WHERE CORRECTION IS ALLOWED IN A BID WHICH IS ON ITS FACE THE LOWEST RECEIVED, AND THE CORRECTION DOES NOT MAKE IT HIGHER THAN THE NEXT LOWEST BID, THE RIGHTS OF OTHER BIDDERS ARE NOT SUBSTANTIALLY AFFECTED; BUT IN A CASE SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED, WHERE A DOWNWARD CORRECTION WOULD RESULT IN DISPLACEMENT OF ONE OR MORE OTHER BIDDERS, THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT IN PRESERVING AND MAINTAINING THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM REQUIRES THAT THE RIGHTS OR OTHER BIDDERS BE CONSIDERED AS CALLING FOR DENIAL OF THE CORRECTION.

FOR THESE REASONS, AND SINCE THE ALLEGED ERROR IS IN NOWISE APPARENT FROM THE INVITATION AND THE BID HERE INVOLVED, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE BID OF LAVOIE LABORATORIES, INC., MAY NOT BE CORRECTED.

THE PAPERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE STATEMENT OF FACTS AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.