B-143889, NOV. 21, 1960

B-143889: Nov 21, 1960

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TO MONTEREY SAND CO.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1. PROTESTING THAT THE SPECIFICATION USED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROCUREMENT OF ABRASIVE BLASTING MATERIAL UNDER DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY INVITATION IFB-123-32-61 IS RESTRICTIVE AND NOT IN CONFORMITY WITH MIL S-17726A. NAVAL ACTIVITIES WERE FURNISHED A SPECIFICATION FOR THEIR CONSIDERATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROCUREMENT OF BLASTING ABRASIVES TO BE USED PRIMARILY FOR THE PREPARATION OF SHIP HULLS AND TANKS FOR PAINTING. THE SUBJECT INVITATION WAS BASED UPON THAT SPECIFICATION WITH SOME VARIATION WITHIN THE PERMITTED DISCRETION OF THE USING ACTIVITY TO ACCOMMODATE THE SPECIFICATION TO ITS INDEPENDENT REQUIREMENTS.

B-143889, NOV. 21, 1960

TO MONTEREY SAND CO.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1960, PROTESTING THAT THE SPECIFICATION USED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROCUREMENT OF ABRASIVE BLASTING MATERIAL UNDER DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY INVITATION IFB-123-32-61 IS RESTRICTIVE AND NOT IN CONFORMITY WITH MIL S-17726A, DATED MAY 21, 1954, COVERING SAND.

THE SPECIFICATION TO WHICH YOU REFER COVERS SAND ONLY. BY BUSHIPS INSTRUCTION 9190.31, DATED SEPTEMBER 26, 1957, NAVAL ACTIVITIES WERE FURNISHED A SPECIFICATION FOR THEIR CONSIDERATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROCUREMENT OF BLASTING ABRASIVES TO BE USED PRIMARILY FOR THE PREPARATION OF SHIP HULLS AND TANKS FOR PAINTING. THE SUBJECT INVITATION WAS BASED UPON THAT SPECIFICATION WITH SOME VARIATION WITHIN THE PERMITTED DISCRETION OF THE USING ACTIVITY TO ACCOMMODATE THE SPECIFICATION TO ITS INDEPENDENT REQUIREMENTS. HOWEVER, PRIOR TO AWARD, IT CAME TO THE ATTENTION OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY THAT THE SPECIFICATION BURNISHED UNDER THE BUSHIPS INSTRUCTION HAD BEEN SUPERSEDED BY MIL-S-22262 (SHIPS), DATED DECEMBER 4, 1959, WHICH CONTAINS REFINEMENTS TO THE ORIGINAL PROPOSED SPECIFICATION, AND THE ACTIVITY DECIDED TO CANCEL THE SUBJECT INVITATION AND TO ISSUE A NEW INVITATION SOLICITING BIDS FOR CLASS 2 LOW FREE SILICA ABRASIVE GRAINS IN ACCORDANCE WITH MIL-S-22262 (SHIPS).

THE USING ACTIVITY JUSTIFIES ITS PROPOSED AND PAST PROCUREMENT FOR CLASS 2 MATERIAL AS FOLLOWS:

"A. RESULTS OF EXTENSIVE FULL SCALE DRY BLASTING PRODUCTION TESTS ON VARIOUS ABRASIVE MATERIALS DURING THE PAST TEN YEARS AT THIS ACTIVITY HAS PROVEN CONCLUSIVELY THAT THE PROCUREMENT OF CLASS 2 MATERIAL IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT EVEN THOUGH CLASS 2 MATERIALS HAVE A HIGHER INITIAL COST. END COSTS ARE BASED UPON MATERIAL COST, BLASTING LABOR COST, LABOR COST OF CLEAN-UP AFTER BLASTING, COST OF COMPRESSED AIR, BUT RECORD COSTS HAVE NOT INCLUDED OTHER INCIDENTAL COSTS SUCH AS EQUIPMENT, MAINTENANCE, TRANSPORTATION AND CRANE SERVICE.

"B. PROCUREMENT OF CLASS 2 MATERIAL IS JUSTIFIED BASED UPON THE FOLLOWING ADVANTAGES:

"/1) GREATER PRODUCTION RATE.

"/A) LESS PRODUCTION TIME IS USED IN DRY BLASTING ONE SQUARE FOOT OF AREA ON SHIPS HULLS AND TANKS.

"/2) LESS MATERIAL IS REQUIRED.

"/A) LESS MATERIAL IS REQUIRED TO DRY BLAST ONE SQUARE FOOT OF AREA.

"/B) LESS MATERIAL USED RESULTS IN LESS TRANSPORTATION COSTS.

"/C) LESS MATERIAL USED RESULTS IN LESS LABOR TO UNLOAD MATERIAL FROM RAILROAD CARS TO SILO AND TO LOAD PRODUCTION HOPPERS FROM SILO.

"/D) LESS MATERIAL USED RESULTS IN LESS CRANE LIFTS TO LOAD AND UNLOAD HOPPERS ON/OFF BLASTING UNITS AT DOCKS OR PIERS AND TO REMOVE SPENT ABRASIVES FROM DRYDOCKS AND SHIPS TANKS.

"/E) LESS MATERIAL USED RESULTS IN LESS LABOR TO CLEAN-UP DRYDOCK FLOORS AND SHIPS TANKS.

"/F) LESS MATERIAL RESULTS IN LESS MATERIAL GOING THROUGH THE SILO, BLASTING MACHINES, HOSES, AND NOZZLES, RESULTING IN LOWER MAINTENANCE COST.

"/3) LESS DUST CAUSED BY FRACTURE (FRIABILITY).

"/A) LESS DUST MEANS LESS LABOR REQUIRED FOR WIPE OR BLOW DOWN.

"/B) LESS DUST RESULTS IN LESS MECHANICAL HAZARDS FOR EXPOSED SHIP EQUIPMENTS.

"/C) LESS DUST RESULTS IN LESS MECHANICAL HAZARDS TO SHIPYARD EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES.

"/D) LESS DUST IN TANKS RESULTS IN BETTER VISIBILITY TO BLASTERS, RESULTING IN SAVINGS OF EXTRA LABOR HOURS FOR OVER OR UNDER BLASTING.

"/4) HEALTH HAZARDS OF DUST AND FREE SILICA EXPOSURE TO SHIP AND SHIPYARD PERSONNEL.

"/A) CLASS 2 MATERIAL CONTAINS APPROXIMATELY 5 PERCENT FREE SILICA, WHILE SANDS, CLASS 1 MATERIAL, EMIT FROM 60 PERCENT TO 90 PERCENT FREE SILICA.

"/B) THE AMOUNT OF FINES (DUST) FROM CLASS 1 MATERIAL OF THE 210 AND 74 MICRON SIZES RUNS AS HIGH AS TWENTY TIMES THAT AMOUNT FOUND INCLASS 2 MATERIAL. A RECENT TEST OF CLASS 1 MATERIAL SHOWED 6.6 PERCENT FINE MATERIAL DUST OF 210 AND 70 MICRON SIZES COMPARED TO 0.34 PERCENT OF THIS CLASS 2 MATERIAL.'

THUS, IT APPEARS THAT IN THE CONSIDERED JUDGMENT OF THE NAVAL ACTIVITY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF THE BLASTING MATERIAL THE NEEDS AND INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE BEST SERVED BY CLASS 2 MATERIAL. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINING THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND FOR DRAFTING SPECIFICATIONS WHICH REFLECT THOSE NEEDS IS A FUNCTION PRIMARILY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES. 17 COMP. GEN. 554, 557. AND THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT REQUIRED TO PURCHASE MATERIAL NOT FULFILLING ITS PARTICULAR NEEDS SOLELY BECAUSE IT CAN BE PURCHASED CHEAPER. 36 COMP. GEN. 251, 252. MOREOVER, SPECIFICATIONS ARE NOT UNDULY RESTRICTIVE OF COMPETITION MERELY BECAUSE THE PRODUCT OF SOME MANUFACTURERS DO NOT MEET THEIR REQUIREMENTS.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE DO NOT FEEL THAT ANY FURTHER ACTION ON OUR PART IS REQUIRED.

THE COPY OF YOUR BID ON INVITATION IFB-123-32-61 FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1960, IS RETURNED AS YOU REQUESTED.