B-136711, JUL. 18, 1958

B-136711: Jul 18, 1958

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (A-3.51). NINE OTHER BIDS WERE RECEIVED. YOU STATE THAT WHEN THE BIDS WERE OPENED THE BID OF MUSTANG SHEET METAL AND MFG. WAS SUFFICIENTLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS TO PUT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR IN THE COMPANY'S BID. WAS CONTACTED BY TELEPHONE AND REQUESTED TO CONFIRM ITS BID PRICE. THE COMPANY BEING ADVISED ONLY THAT ITS PRICE WAS QUITE A BIT OUT OF LINE WITH OTHER BIDS RECEIVED. IT WAS NOT ADVISED OF THE OTHER BID PRICES. IT WAS AT THIS TIME THAT THE ALLEGED ERROR WAS DISCOVERED BY THE BIDDER. - EXCEPT FOR MATERIAL AND PAINT WHICH WERE REVISED DOWNWARDS. IT WAS EXPLAINED THAT THE ESTIMATOR WHO MADE THE "TAKE-OFF" SHEETS HAD BEEN IN THE COMPANY'S EMPLOY ONLY TWO WEEKS AND THAT THE ERROR WAS DUE TO THE FACT THAT HIS FORMER EMPLOYMENT WAS IN A PLANT WHICH WAS A PRODUCTION SHOP ONLY.

B-136711, JUL. 18, 1958

TO MR. C. O. SCHICK, CHIEF, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (A-3.51), DATED JULY 1, 1958, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH MUSTANG SHEET METAL AND MFG. CO., DALLAS, TEXAS, ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION NO. 213-WB-58.

BY INVITATION NO. 213-WB-58 ISSUED JUNE 11, 1958, THE WEATHER BUREAU SOLICITED SEALED BIDS FOR FURNISHING 10 UNITS CONFORMING TO THE DESCRIPTION SET FORTH IN THE INVITATION UNDER ITEM NO. 1, AS FOLLOWS:

"SEQUENCE DISPLAY DESK, MAP DISPLAY RACK, AND SUPPORTING STORAGE CABINETS, 16-GAGE COLD-ROLLED STEEL, ENAMEL FINISH, AS PER ATTACHED SPECIFICATIONS DATED NOVEMBER 27, 1956 (3 SHEETS) AND DRAWINGS NO. 1016 (2 SHEETS).'

IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, MUSTANG SHEET METAL AND MFG. CO. SUBMITTED A BID, DATED JUNE 25, 1958, QUOTING A UNIT PRICE OF $211.40 EACH AND A TOTAL BID PRICE OF $2,114 FOR THE 10 UNITS, F.O.B. COMMON CARRIER, DALLAS, TEXAS, DISCOUNT 1/2 OF 1 PERCENT-20 DAYS, AND DELIVERY WITHIN 60 DAYS AFTER DATE OF AWARD. NINE OTHER BIDS WERE RECEIVED, WITH UNIT PRICES RANGING FROM $455 TO $980.70 EACH.

YOU STATE THAT WHEN THE BIDS WERE OPENED THE BID OF MUSTANG SHEET METAL AND MFG. CO. WAS SUFFICIENTLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS TO PUT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR IN THE COMPANY'S BID. THE BIDDER, THEREFORE, WAS CONTACTED BY TELEPHONE AND REQUESTED TO CONFIRM ITS BID PRICE, THE COMPANY BEING ADVISED ONLY THAT ITS PRICE WAS QUITE A BIT OUT OF LINE WITH OTHER BIDS RECEIVED, BUT IT WAS NOT ADVISED OF THE OTHER BID PRICES. IT WAS AT THIS TIME THAT THE ALLEGED ERROR WAS DISCOVERED BY THE BIDDER.

IN LETTER DATED JUNE 26, 1958, TO THE PROCUREMENT AND SUPPLY SECTION, WEATHER BUREAU, THE BIDDER CONFIRMED ITS TELEPHONE CONVERSATION OF THE SAME DATE REGARDING ITS ALLEGED ERROR AND STATED THAT IT WOULD TAKE THE JOB AT ITS ORIGINAL BID PRICE OR WOULD WITHDRAW ITS BID, BUT IF THE GOVERNMENT COULD SEE FIT TO ADD ANY SUM TO THE COMPANY'S BID PRICE IT WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE COMPANY FORWARDED ITS ESTIMATOR'S ORIGINAL WORKSHEETS AND CALLED ATTENTION TO THE SUMMARY SHEET, WHICH ALSO CONTAINED A NEW ITEM OF $400 FOR CRATING AS WELL AS REVISED FIGURES UPWARDS FOR ALL ITEMS MAKING UP THE BID--- EXCEPT FOR MATERIAL AND PAINT WHICH WERE REVISED DOWNWARDS--- AND SHOWED A MISTAKE OF $1,167.19 IN ITS TOTAL BID PRICE, RESULTING IN A CORRECTED TOTAL BID PRICE OF $3,281.24 OR $328.12 PER UNIT. IT WAS EXPLAINED THAT THE ESTIMATOR WHO MADE THE "TAKE-OFF" SHEETS HAD BEEN IN THE COMPANY'S EMPLOY ONLY TWO WEEKS AND THAT THE ERROR WAS DUE TO THE FACT THAT HIS FORMER EMPLOYMENT WAS IN A PLANT WHICH WAS A PRODUCTION SHOP ONLY. ALSO, IN A CERTIFIED STATEMENT, THE EMPLOYEE STATES THAT IN MAKING UP THE ESTIMATE FOR THE BID OF IFB 213-WB-58 HE USED THE COMPANY'S "PRODUCTION WAGE RATE OF $1.50 PER HOUR" INSTEAD OF ITS "CUSTOM WAGE RATE OF $3.50 PER HOUR.'

ON THE RECORD, THERE APPEARS LITTLE, IF ANY, DOUBT THAT MUSTANG SHEET METAL AND MFG. CO. MADE A MISTAKE IN ITS BID PRICE, AS ALLEGED. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE ARE NOT SUCH, HOWEVER, AS WOULD WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN ..END :