B-143264, AUG. 23, 1960

B-143264: Aug 23, 1960

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

TO LAKE SHORE ELECTRIC CORPORATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 13. WERE RESTRICTIVE AND DESIGNED FOR ONE MANUFACTURER. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT. SIXTEEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION AND WERE OPENED. AWARD OF A CONTRACT WAS MADE ON DECEMBER 11. THAT PARAGRAPH STATES: "THE TRANSFER SWITCH SHALL BE OF THE HEAVY DUTY TYPE IN A NEMA TYPE 1 A INCLOSURE. * * * THE SWITCH SHALL HAVE A SINGLE OPERATING COIL AND SHALL BE MECHANICALLY INTERLOCKED TO PREVENT ACCIDENTAL CONNECTION TO NORMAL AND EMERGENCY SOURCES SIMULTANEOUSLY. * * *.'. YOUR "TRANS-O-MATIC" TRANSFER SWITCH WAS DISAPPROVED AS NOT COMPLYING WITH THE ABOVE-MENTIONED SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENT THAT THE SWITCH HAVE A SINGLE OPERATING COIL.

B-143264, AUG. 23, 1960

TO LAKE SHORE ELECTRIC CORPORATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 13, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, ALLEGING THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 44-110-60- 6, ISSUED BY THE U.S. CORPS OF ENGINEERS, WERE RESTRICTIVE AND DESIGNED FOR ONE MANUFACTURER.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, INVITING BIDS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF AMMUNITION STORAGE, LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE. SIXTEEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION AND WERE OPENED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INVITATION, ON DECEMBER 3, 1959. AWARD OF A CONTRACT WAS MADE ON DECEMBER 11, 1959, TO THE LOW BIDDER, J. B. DENNY, JR., IN THE ESTIMATED AMOUNT OF $613,823.

SUBSEQUENT TO AWARD OF THE CONTRACT, THE LAKE SHORE ELECTRIC CORPORATION, A SUPPLIER TO THE ELECTRICAL SUBCONTRACTOR FOR J. B. DENNY, JR., REQUESTED THAT YOUR "TRANS-O-MATIC" TRANSFER SWITCH BE APPROVED FOR INSTALLATION IN COMPLIANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 37-25 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS, ENTITLED ,AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH.' THAT PARAGRAPH STATES:

"THE TRANSFER SWITCH SHALL BE OF THE HEAVY DUTY TYPE IN A NEMA TYPE 1 A INCLOSURE. * * * THE SWITCH SHALL HAVE A SINGLE OPERATING COIL AND SHALL BE MECHANICALLY INTERLOCKED TO PREVENT ACCIDENTAL CONNECTION TO NORMAL AND EMERGENCY SOURCES SIMULTANEOUSLY. * * *.'

YOUR "TRANS-O-MATIC" TRANSFER SWITCH WAS DISAPPROVED AS NOT COMPLYING WITH THE ABOVE-MENTIONED SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENT THAT THE SWITCH HAVE A SINGLE OPERATING COIL, SINCE THE "TRANS-O-MATIC" SWITCH IS MOTOR OPERATED AS OPPOSED TO THE SINGLE COIL METHOD OF OPERATION. NEITHER THE PRIME CONTRACTOR NOR HIS ELECTRICAL SUBCONTRACTOR HAS COMPLAINED REGARDING THE DISAPPROVAL OF YOUR SWITCH OR INDICATED THAT THEY CANNOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS, NOR DOES IT APPEAR THAT THE CONTRACTOR'S BID WAS CONDITIONED UPON THE USE OF YOUR SWITCH.

THE U.S. CORPS OF ENGINEERS REPORTS THAT THE SINGLE COIL METHOD OF OPERATING A TRANSFER SWITCH IS SIMPLE, DIRECT AND POSITIVE AND IS SUBJECT TO LESS WEAR-AND-TEAR THAN A MOTOR OPERATED MECHANISM; THAT THE COIL IS CONSIDERED SUPERIOR TO THE MOTOR OPERATED MECHANISM; AND THAT TRANSFER SWITCHES OF THE SINGLE OPERATING COIL TYPE HAVE DEMONSTRATED THEIR RELIABILITY OVER A PERIOD OF MANY YEARS. FOR THIS REASON SUCH A SWITCH WAS SPECIFIED IN THE PARTICULAR PROJECT IN QUESTION AND HAS BEEN SPECIFIED FOR OTHER PROJECTS. THE ENGINEER CORPS ALSO STATES THAT INSOFAR AS IS KNOWN THERE IS NO REASON WHY VARIOUS MANUFACTURERS COULD NOT INCORPORATE THE SINGLE COIL OPERATING PRINCIPLE IN SWITCHES OF THEIR OWN DESIGN. NONE OF THE 16 BIDS RECEIVED TOOK EXCEPTION TO PARAGRAPH 37-25 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. MOTOR OPERATION OF A TRANSFER SWITCH IS NOT CONSIDERED BY THE PROCURING AGENCY TO BE EQUAL TO SINGLE COIL OPERATION AND FOR THAT REASON, AND THAT REASON ONLY, YOUR MOTOR OPERATED SWITCH WAS NOT APPROVED.

ACTUAL DETERMINATIONS AS TO THE PARTICULAR TYPE OF ARTICLE BEST SUITED FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S NEED, AND THE REJECTION OF OTHER TYPES AS UNSUITABLE, ARE PECULIARLY WITHIN THE PROVINCE OF THE PROCURING AGENCIES. UNLESS THEY APPEAR TO BE WHOLLY ARBITRARY AND WITHOUT SUBSTANTIAL BASIS, SUCH DETERMINATIONS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO QUESTION BY THIS OFFICE.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE APPEARS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR DISTURBING THE ACTION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ..END :