B-140678, SEP. 24, 1959

B-140678: Sep 24, 1959

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 4. THE OTHER TWO BIDS RECEIVED WERE $20. THE HUFFMAN-WOLFE COMPANY WAS REQUESTED TO VERIFY ITS BID. THE COMPANY STATED THAT IT HAD MISINTERPRETED THE SPECIFICATION AND THAT ITS BID WAS BASED ON REUSING THE EXISTING CONTROLS WHERE POSSIBLE. IF NEW CONTROLS ARE REQUIRED. THE ENGINEERING DIVISION OF THE HOSPITAL INTERPRETED THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE REQUIRING ALL NEW CONTROLS. THE BASIC RULE IS THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE TIME FIXED FOR THE OPENING. WHEN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IS ON NOTICE OF PROBABLE ERROR PRIOR TO ACCEPTANCE. TO ALLOW THE HUFFMAN-WOLFE COMPANY TO CHANGE ITS BID WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO ALLOWING IT TO HAVE TWO CHANCES TO BID.

B-140678, SEP. 24, 1959

TO MR. J. H. A. ANDERSON, CONTRACTING OFFICER, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 4, 1959, WITH ENCLOSURES, YOUR FILE NO. 5097/134, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR THE HUFFMAN-WOLFE COMPANY ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID OPENED AUGUST 27, 1959.

BY INVITATION ISSUED AUGUST 6, 1959, THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, CHILLICOTHE, OHIO REQUESTED BIDS FOR AIR CONDITIONING OF THE OPERATING SUITE IN BUILDING 31 AT THE HOSPITAL. THE HUFFMAN- WOLFE COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID OFFERING TO PERFORM THE WORK FOR $14,545. THE OTHER TWO BIDS RECEIVED WERE $20,650 AND $20,706.

YOU STATE THAT IN VIEW OF THE WIDE DIFFERENCE IN THE AMOUNTS OF THE BIDS, THE HUFFMAN-WOLFE COMPANY WAS REQUESTED TO VERIFY ITS BID. BY LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1959, THE COMPANY STATED THAT IT HAD MISINTERPRETED THE SPECIFICATION AND THAT ITS BID WAS BASED ON REUSING THE EXISTING CONTROLS WHERE POSSIBLE. THE COMPANY REQUESTED THAT, IF NEW CONTROLS ARE REQUIRED, ITS BID BE INCREASED BY $3,000. THE ENGINEERING DIVISION OF THE HOSPITAL INTERPRETED THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE REQUIRING ALL NEW CONTROLS.

THE BASIC RULE IS THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE TIME FIXED FOR THE OPENING. THE EXCEPTION TO SUCH RULE, WHICH PERMITS CORRECTION OF A BID UPON SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THAT THE BIDDER ACTUALLY INTENDED TO BID AN AMOUNT OTHER THAN THAT SET FORTH IN THE BID, WHEN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IS ON NOTICE OF PROBABLE ERROR PRIOR TO ACCEPTANCE, DOES NOT EXTEND TO THE RECALCULATION OR CHANGING OF THE BID WITHOUT CONCLUSIVE PROOF AS TO THE AMOUNT OF THE INTENDED BID. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575, 577; AND 31 ID. 183, 184.

TO ALLOW THE HUFFMAN-WOLFE COMPANY TO CHANGE ITS BID WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO ALLOWING IT TO HAVE TWO CHANCES TO BID, WHICH WOULD NOT BE FAIR TO THE OTHER BIDDERS.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE BID OF THE COMPANY MAY NOT BE CORRECTED. HOWEVER, SINCE THE COMPARISON OF BIDS RECEIVED INDICATES THAT IS BID WAS IN ERROR, AND SINCE THE ERROR WAS ALLEGED PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE HUFFMAN-WOLFE COMPANY SHOULD BE DISREGARDED.

THE QUESTIONS OF REJECTING ALL BIDS AND READVERTISING IS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION.