B-142923, MAY 26, 1960

B-142923: May 26, 1960

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16. SIXTEEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED. THE FOUR LOWEST BIDS AND THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE ARE AS FOLLOWS: TABLE M. 547.00 YOU STATE THAT WHEN THE BIDS WERE EXAMINED IT WAS NOTICED THAT THE COLEMAN BID WAS SUBSTANTIALLY OUT OF LINE IN TOTAL AMOUNT FROM THE OTHERS AND IT WAS THE ONLY BID LOWER THAN THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE. REPRESENTATIVE OF COLEMAN WAS PRESENT AT THE BID. AN IMMEDIATE TELEGRAM WAS SENT ON MAY 3. COLEMAN EXPLAINED THAT HIS BOOKKEEPER IN MAKING UP THE FORMAL BID FOR UNCLASSIFIED EXCAVATION INSERTED A UNIT PRICE OF $0.35 PER CUBIC YARD WHEN THE INTENDED PRICE WAS $0.65 PER CUBIC YARD. COLEMAN HAD FURNISHED HIM THE INTENDED UNIT PRICES PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION OF A BID AND THE INTENDED UNCLASSIFIED EXCAVATION PRICE WAS $0.65 PER CUBIC YARD.

B-142923, MAY 26, 1960

TO MR. B. M. FRENCH, CONTRACTING OFFICER, BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, FILE 08-01.81, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH M. J. COLEMAN, INC., AND M. J. COLEMAN ALLEGES THAT IT MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON MAY 3, 1960.

IN RESPONSE TO AN INVITATION FOR FURNISHING THE MATERIAL AND PERFORMING THE WORK FOR CONSTRUCTING OREGON FOREST HIGHWAY PROJECT 17 B3,C, CRATER LAKE HIGHWAY, ROGUE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST, JACKSON COUNTY, OREGON, M. J. COLEMAN, AN INDIVIDUAL, AND M. J. COLEMAN, INC., SUBMITTED ITS BID TO PERFORM THE WORK, BASED ON THE STATED ESTIMATED QUANTITIES OF WORK, FOR THE AMOUNT OF $635,217.62. SIXTEEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED. THE FOUR LOWEST BIDS AND THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE ARE AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

M. J. COLEMAN, INC. AND

M. J. COLEMAN $635,217.62

FRED H. SLATE CO. AND

E. C. HALL CO. 832,966.10

STANLEY WILT 837,826.00

PETER KIEWIT SONS' CO. 859,116.00

ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE 800,547.00

YOU STATE THAT WHEN THE BIDS WERE EXAMINED IT WAS NOTICED THAT THE COLEMAN BID WAS SUBSTANTIALLY OUT OF LINE IN TOTAL AMOUNT FROM THE OTHERS AND IT WAS THE ONLY BID LOWER THAN THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE. REPRESENTATIVE OF COLEMAN WAS PRESENT AT THE BID. AN IMMEDIATE TELEGRAM WAS SENT ON MAY 3, 1960, TO COLEMAN REQUESTING A STATEMENT OF QUALIFICATION AND ABILITY TO UNDERTAKE THE PROPOSED WORK. ON MAY 6, 1960, MR. COLEMAN PHONED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE AND ADVISED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN PREPARATION OF THE BID. SUBSEQUENTLY, ON MAY 9, MR. COLEMAN EXPLAINED THAT HIS BOOKKEEPER IN MAKING UP THE FORMAL BID FOR UNCLASSIFIED EXCAVATION INSERTED A UNIT PRICE OF $0.35 PER CUBIC YARD WHEN THE INTENDED PRICE WAS $0.65 PER CUBIC YARD. IN SUPPORT OF THE ALLEGATION OF ERROR, MR. COLEMAN SUBMITTED A WRITTEN STATEMENT SIGNED BY THE BOOKKEEPER EXPLAINING HOW THE ERROR OCCURRED AND A ROUGH DRAFT OF THE BID SCHEDULE USED AS A WORKSHEET. ALSO, IN A LETTER DATED MAY 10, 1960, TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICE, MR. GEORGE FINSTER ADVISED THAT MR. COLEMAN HAD FURNISHED HIM THE INTENDED UNIT PRICES PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION OF A BID AND THE INTENDED UNCLASSIFIED EXCAVATION PRICE WAS $0.65 PER CUBIC YARD. THE AMOUNTS OF THE UNIT PRICES OF THE NEXT THREE LOWEST BIDS WERE $0.70; $0.70; AND $0.67, WHILE THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE WAS $0.63 PER CUBIC YARD.

SINCE ERROR WAS ALLEGED PROMPTLY AFTER THE OPENING OF BIDS AND SINCE THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD REASONABLY ESTABLISHES THAT AN ERROR WAS IN FACT MADE, THE BID OF COLEMAN SHOULD BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING AWARD.

THE BID OF COLEMAN, TOGETHER WITH ITS LETTER OF MAY 11, 1960, AND ENCLOSURES, IS RETURNED HEREWITH.