B-143726, NOV. 3, 1960

B-143726: Nov 3, 1960

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OPERATING CURRENT FOR TRANSFER SHALL BE OBTAINED FROM THE SOURCE TO WHICH THE LOAD IS TO BE TRANSFERRED. ALL POLES SHALL HAVE ARC CHUTES AND BLOW-OUT COILS. THE SWITCH SHALL HAVE A CONTINUOUS CURRENT RATING OF 600 AMPERES FULLY ENCLOSED AND A 10 CYCLE SHORT TIME RATING OF 40. INDUCTIVE AND NON-INDUCTIVE AND SHALL HAVE CAPACITY TO WITHSTAND INRUSH CURRENTS 20 TIMES NORMAL FULL LOAD RATING.'. YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER THAT YOU MANUFACTURE A TRANSFER SWITCH WHICH WILL PERFORM SATISFACTORILY IN THE INTENDED APPLICATION ALTHOUGH IT DOES NOT INCORPORATE A SINGLE SOLENOID MOMENTARILY ENERGIZED COIL AS DESCRIBED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS BUT UTILIZES INSTEAD A REVERSIBLE MOTOR DRIVE MECHANISM TO OPERATE MOLDED CASE TYPE CIRCUIT BREAKERS TO PERFORM THE TRANSFER SWITCH FUNCTION.

B-143726, NOV. 3, 1960

TO LAKE SHORE ELECTRIC CORPORATION:

YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 8, 1960, PROTESTS THE ALLEGED RESTRICTIVE NATURE OF SPECIFICATIONS USED IN CONNECTION WITH GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION PROJECT NO. 0918, CONTRACT NO. GS-R3-B-7993, FOR THE INSTALLATION OF AN EMERGENCY DIESEL GENERATOR AT THE U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITAL, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND.

PARAGRAPH 21-31 OF THE APPLICABLE SPECIFICATIONS PROVIDES FOR THE INSTALLATION OF A TRANSFER SWITCH AS FOLLOWS:

"THE TRANSFER SWITCH SHALL BE ARRANGED VERTICAL TANDEM SUITABLE FOR MOUNTING IN A FREE STANDING PANEL AS SHOWN ON THE DRAWINGS. THE TRANSFER SWITCH SHALL BE A DOUBLE THROW SWITCH OPERATED BY A SINGLE SOLENOID MOMENTARILY ENERGIZED. THE SWITCH SHALL BE INHERENTLY INTERLOCKED MECHANICALLY AND ELECTRICALLY. OPERATING CURRENT FOR TRANSFER SHALL BE OBTAINED FROM THE SOURCE TO WHICH THE LOAD IS TO BE TRANSFERRED. FAILURE OF ANY COIL OR DISARRANGEMENT OF ANY PART SHALL NOT PERMIT A NEUTRAL POSITION. THE SWITCH SHALL BE POSITIVELY LOCKED MECHANICALLY ON EITHER SOURCE WITHOUT THE USE OF HOOKS, LATCHES, SEMI PERMANENT MAGNETS, OR SPRINGS. MAIN CONTACTS SHALL BE SILVER SURFACED AND PROTECTED BY ARCHING CONTACTS. ALL POLES SHALL HAVE ARC CHUTES AND BLOW-OUT COILS. ALL CONTACTS AND COILS SHALL BE READILY ACCESSIBLE FOR REPLACEMENT FROM THE FRONT OF THE PANEL WITHOUT MAJOR DISASSEMBLY OF ASSOCIATED PARTS. THE SWITCH SHALL HAVE A CONTINUOUS CURRENT RATING OF 600 AMPERES FULLY ENCLOSED AND A 10 CYCLE SHORT TIME RATING OF 40,000 AMPERES R.H.S. THE SWITCH SHALL ALSO BE SUITABLE FOR MIXED LOADS, INDUCTIVE AND NON-INDUCTIVE AND SHALL HAVE CAPACITY TO WITHSTAND INRUSH CURRENTS 20 TIMES NORMAL FULL LOAD RATING.'

YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER THAT YOU MANUFACTURE A TRANSFER SWITCH WHICH WILL PERFORM SATISFACTORILY IN THE INTENDED APPLICATION ALTHOUGH IT DOES NOT INCORPORATE A SINGLE SOLENOID MOMENTARILY ENERGIZED COIL AS DESCRIBED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS BUT UTILIZES INSTEAD A REVERSIBLE MOTOR DRIVE MECHANISM TO OPERATE MOLDED CASE TYPE CIRCUIT BREAKERS TO PERFORM THE TRANSFER SWITCH FUNCTION. YOU STATE THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS DESCRIBE A PRODUCT MANUFACTURED BY ONLY ONE DOMESTIC MANUFACTURER AND FOR THAT REASON YOU BELIEVE THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE RESTRICTIVE.

IN A REPORT ON THE MATTER FROM THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, DATED SEPTEMBER 29, 1960, IT IS STATED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH WERE NOT WRITTEN WITH THE INTENT OR PURPOSE OF RESTRICTING ANY MANUFACTURER'S PRODUCT BUT WERE INTENDED TO COVER QUALITY, PERFORMANCE AND GENERAL CONSTRUCTION FEATURES. THE REPORT STATES THAT THOSE SPECIFICATIONS WERE IN NO WAY WRITTEN TO PROHIBIT ACCEPTANCE OF AN EQUAL OR BETTER AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH, BUT OVER THE YEARS OF ENGINEERING EXPERIENCE AND PRACTICES, THE REQUIREMENTS AS SPECIFIED HAVE PROVED TO BE THE MOST DEPENDABLE FOR TRANSFERRING FROM NORMAL TO EMERGENCY ELECTRIC SERVICE IN A HOSPITAL WHERE PROTECTION OF LIFE DEPENDS ON CONTINUITY OF ELECTRIC SERVICE.

THE REPORT POINTS OUT THAT THE REQUIREMENTS AS SPECIFIED IS NOT AN EXCLUSIVE PATENTED DEVICE, PARTLY OR OTHERWISE. IT IS SIMPLE IN CONSTRUCTION AND DOES NOT REQUIRE AN APPRECIABLE AMOUNT OF EQUIPMENT OR TOOLING TO BE USED IN ITS CONSTRUCTION. ANY MANUFACTURER WHO SO WISHES CAN BUILD A TRANSFER SWITCH TO MEET THE SUBJECT SPECIFICATIONS.

SINCE PARAGRAPH 1-19 OF THE GENERAL PROVISIONS IN THE SPECIFICATIONS PROVIDES THAT THE CONTRACTOR MAY MAKE SUBSTITUTIONS EQUAL TO THE ITEMS SPECIFIED IF APPROVED IN ADVANCE BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, WHEN THE LAKE SHORE SWITCH WAS SUBMITTED FOR APPROVAL, AN ANALYSIS OF THE SWITCH WAS MADE IN AN ATTEMPT TO QUALIFY IT AS SATISFACTORY FOR THE PROJECT.

GSA REPORTS THAT THE ANALYSIS SHOWED THE LAKE SHORE SWITCH IS NOT A TRUE DOUBLE-THROW TRANSFER TYPE IN THAT IT USES TWO SINGLE THROW SWITCHES HAVING PLASTIC OPERATOR HANDLES LOOSELY CONNECTED WITH LEVERS TO THE MOTOR OPERATOR. THE INHERENT INTERLOCKING FEATURE NECESSARY FOR THIS APPLICATION IS THEREFORE NOT PRESENT AND THE LOOSE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO CIRCUIT BREAKERS TOGETHER WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF BREAKAGE OF A PLASTIC HANDLE PRESENT THE POSSIBILITY OF BOTH SWITCHES BEING OPEN OR CLOSED AT THE SAME TIME.

THE GSA REPORT FURTHER STATES THE ANALYSIS OF YOUR SWITCH DISCLOSED THE NECESSITY OF A VERY PRECISE ADJUSTMENT OF THE LIMIT SWITCH WHICH STOPS THE MOTOR OPERATOR. THE GREATER TIME REQUIRED FOR THE MOTOR OPERATION OF YOUR SWITCH AS COMPARED TO THE TIME NEEDED FOR THE OPERATION OF THE SINGLE SOLENOID TYPE WAS ALSO POINTED OUT. THE REPORT ALSO STATES THAT REPLACEMENT OF A CONTACT IN THE CIRCUIT BREAKER REQUIRES REMOVAL OF THE ENTIRE OPERATING MECHANISM AND THAT REPLACEMENT OF THE MOTOR DRIVE MECHANISM WOULD BE EQUALLY DIFFICULT AND POSSIBLY BEYOND THE ABILITY OF AN ORDINARY MAINTENANCE MAN.

FOR THE REASONS STATED, THE REPORT CONCLUDED THAT THE LAKE SHORE TRANSFER SWITCH DOES NOT COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR THIS PARTICULAR APPLICATION.

THE DRAFTING OF PROPER SPECIFICATIONS REFLECTING THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS A FUNCTION OF THE PROCURING AGENCY. 17 COMP. GEN. 554. WHILE THE LAW CONTEMPLATES FAIR AND UNRESTRICTED COMPETITION, THE MERE FACT THAT A PARTICULAR SUPPLIER MAY NOT BE ABLE TO MEET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF AN INVITATION IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT A CONCLUSION THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE UNDULY RESTRICTIVE. 30 COMP. GEN. 368. OTHER WORDS, THE PROCURING AGENCY CANNOT BE REQUIRED TO ADVERTISE ON THE BASIS OF SPECIFICATIONS REFLECTING SOMETHING LESS THAN ITS REQUIREMENTS SIMPLY TO EXPAND COMPETITION. 36 COMP. GEN. 251.

THEREFORE, IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR A TRANSFER SWITCH IN CONTRACT NO. GS-B3-B-7993 DID NOT IN FACT REPRESENT THE BONA FIDE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT, THERE APPEARS NO BASIS UPON WHICH WE CAN OBJECT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN IN THIS MATTER.