B-141242, DEC. 9, 1959

B-141242: Dec 9, 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 CENTER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16. - WERE ISSUED FOR THE PAINTING OF THE INTERIOR OF BUILDING 226 AT VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CENTER AT LOS ANGELES. THE WORK WAS DESCRIBED AS THE FURNISHING OF ALL LABOR. BIDDERS WERE CAUTIONED TO VISIT THE SITE BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. IT WAS STATED THAT THE WORK INVOLVES APPROXIMATELY 28. WERE TO BE PAINTED. NO WORKSHEET WAS REQUIRED IN SUPPORT OF THE BIDS. TWELVE BIDS WERE RECEIVED. THE FOUR LOWEST BIDS WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $4. THE LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY GANO F. CULWELL CORPORATION AND UPON DETERMINATION THAT THIS COMPANY WAS THE LOW BIDDER. MENTION WAS MADE OF THE SERVICE ROOM WHICH IS PART OF THE INTERIOR OF BUILDING 226.

B-141242, DEC. 9, 1959

TO MR. L. BARCLAY, CHIEF, SUPPLY DIVISION, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CENTER

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16, 1959, FILE 134D32/GH, RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE ON NOVEMBER 13, 1959, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE PROPER ACTION TO BE TAKEN IN REGARD TO THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT FOR THE PAINTING OF THE INTERIOR OF BUILDING 226 AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CENTER, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.

INVITATION FOR BIDS--- TO BE OPENED SEPTEMBER 14, 1959--- WERE ISSUED FOR THE PAINTING OF THE INTERIOR OF BUILDING 226 AT VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CENTER AT LOS ANGELES. THE WORK WAS DESCRIBED AS THE FURNISHING OF ALL LABOR, MATERIALS, TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT NECESSARY TO PAINT THE INTERIOR OF THE DOMICILIARY THEATER BUILDING (NO. 226). BIDDERS WERE CAUTIONED TO VISIT THE SITE BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 4 P.M. (MONDAYS THROUGH FRIDAYS) BY CONTACTING THE CHIEF, ENGINEERING DIVISION, AT THE CENTER, TO TAKE THEIR OWN MEASUREMENTS AND TO FAMILIARIZE THEMSELVES WITH THE LOCATION AND GENERAL WORKING CONDITIONS. IT WAS STATED THAT THE WORK INVOLVES APPROXIMATELY 28,000 SQUARE FEET. INSOFAR AS APPEARS FROM THE RECORD, THE SPECIFICATIONS DID NOT GIVE ANY INDICATION AS TO HOW MANY ROOMS, ETC., WERE TO BE PAINTED. NO WORKSHEET WAS REQUIRED IN SUPPORT OF THE BIDS. TWELVE BIDS WERE RECEIVED, RANGING IN AMOUNTS FROM $4,333 TO $11,436. THE FOUR LOWEST BIDS WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $4,333, $6,538, $6,640, AND $6,663.

THE LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY GANO F. CULWELL CORPORATION AND UPON DETERMINATION THAT THIS COMPANY WAS THE LOW BIDDER, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONTACTED MR. CULWELL OF THAT COMPANY AND ASKED HIM TO VISIT THE CENTER TO DISCUSS THE METHOD OF PROCEDURE. DURING THE DISCUSSION IN CONNECTION WITH THE VISIT, MENTION WAS MADE OF THE SERVICE ROOM WHICH IS PART OF THE INTERIOR OF BUILDING 226, BUT WHICH MAY BE ENTERED ONLY THROUGH TWO DOUBLE DOORS FROM THE EXTERIOR OF THE BUILDING. MR. DONAGHUE WHO ESTIMATED THIS JOB FOR THE CULWELL CORPORATION MAINTAINED THAT HE WAS NOT SHOWN THE SERVICE ROOM AND THAT THE PAINTING OF THAT ROOM WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE BID. SUBSEQUENT TO THIS DISCUSSION, MR. CULWELL ADDRESSED A LETTER ON SEPTEMBER 28, 1959, TO THE CENTER, ENCLOSING THE COMPANY'S WORKSHEETS AND REQUESTING THAT THE CONTRACT BE AWARDED FOR THE WORK THAT IT HAD CONSIDERED IN SUBMITTING ITS BID, THAT IS, WITHOUT REQUIRING THE PAINTING OF THE CONCRETE WALLS AND CEILINGS OR THE APPURTENANCES CONNECTED TO THEM, WHICH MEANS THAT THE SERVICE ROOM WOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE PAINTING JOB. IN SUPPORT OF THE STATEMENT THAT THE ESTIMATOR WAS NOT SHOWN THE SERVICE ROOM OR ROOMS, MR. CULWELL STATES THAT WHEN THE AREA COVERED THEREBY IS EXCLUDED, THE SURFACE TO BE PAINTED IS STILL 25 PERCENT IN EXCESS OF THE APPROXIMATE 25,000 SQUARE FEET TO BE PAINTED, AS MENTIONED IN THE INVITATION.

IN YOUR LETTER YOU STATE THAT THE SECOND AND THIRD LOW BIDDERS WERE CONTACTED AND THEY HAVE STATED VERBALLY THAT THEIR BIDS DID NOT INCLUDE THE SERVICE ROOM SINCE THEY WERE NOT SHOWN THIS ROOM. THE FOURTH LOW BIDDER HAS STATED THAT HE WAS SHOWN THE SERVICE ROOM AND HAS INCLUDED THIS PORTION OF THE JOB IN HIS PROPOSAL. YOU REQUEST ADVICE AS TO THE PROPER AWARD OF THE CONTRACT.

SINCE IT APPEARS FROM THE FACTS IN THIS CASE THAT THE INVITATION FOR BIDS FAILED TO PUT PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS ON NOTICE OF THE VARIOUS AREAS TO BE PAINTED AND SINCE THERE APPEARS NO CONTRADICTION OF THE STATEMENTS OF THREE BIDDERS THAT THEY WERE NOT SHOWN THE SERVICE ROOM BY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHEN THEY VISITED THE SITE PREPARATORY TO SUBMISSION OF BIDS, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THERE IS A PROPER BASIS FOR COMPARISON OF BIDS AND THE CULWELL CORPORATION HAS NOT BEEN AFFORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO QUOTE ON THE COMPLETE JOB THROUGH NO FAULT ON ITS PART. ALTHOUGH THE LOW BIDDER INDICATES THAT IT WOULD BE WILLING TO PAINT ALL THE INTERIOR OF THE INVOLVED BUILDING EXCEPTING THE SERVICE ROOM, AT ITS BID PRICE OF $4,333, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT IT WOULD BE PROPER TO PERMIT IT TO PROCEED ON THIS BASIS, SINCE OTHER BIDDERS HAVE NOT BEEN AFFORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON THE WORK, OMITTING THE SERVICE ROOM.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING AND IN VIEW OF THE TIME THAT HAS ELAPSED SINCE THE OPENING OF BIDS, THE WORK SHOULD BE READVERTISED AND ATTENTION SPECIFICALLY DRAWN TO THE FACT THAT THE CONTEMPLATED WORK INCLUDES THE PAINTING OF THE SERVICE ROOM.

THE PAPERS SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16, 1959, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.