B-144410, NOV. 22, 1960

B-144410: Nov 22, 1960

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BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 4. THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED ON EACH OF THE TWO SCHEDULES. BIDS WERE OPENED ON OCTOBER 27. WERE FOUND TO BE AS FOLLOWS: CHART SCHEDULE 1 SCHEDULE 2 TOTAL J. 222.20 THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE WAS $9. 570.00" WHILE THIS WORKSHEET DOES NOT SUBSTANTIATE THE ALLEGATION THAT THE UNIT PRICES OF FIVE AND ONE-HALF CENTS PER LINEAL FOOT AND $5.50 PER STATION WERE INTENDED TO INCLUDE MOVEMENT OF EARTH FROM ONLY ONE SIDE OF THE DITCH. ITS VALUE TO ASCERTAIN EITHER THE AMOUNT OF ERROR OR THE MANNER IN WHICH THE ERROR OCCURRED IS DOUBTFUL. THE FACT REMAINS THAT THE ENGINEERS' ESTIMATE VALUED THE SCHEDULE 2 WORK AT $12.50 PER STATION AND THE TWO OTHER BIDS RECEIVED WERE COMPUTED AT $13.20 AND $14.00 PER STATION.

B-144410, NOV. 22, 1960

TO MR. H. G. ARTHUR, ACTING REGIONAL DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 4, 1960, REQUESTING OUR DECISION ON WHETHER THE BID SUBMITTED BY J. W. MERZ UNDER IFB SPECIFICATIONS NO. 636C-2 MAY BE DISREGARDED BECAUSE OF AN ERROR ALLEGED BY THE BIDDER PRIOR TO AWARD.

THE INVITATION IN QUESTION REQUESTED BIDS UNDER SCHEDULES 1 AND 2 FOR EARTHWORK AND STRUCTURES FOR MINOR COMPLETION OF THE HELENA VALLEY UNIT, MISSOURI RIVER BASIN PROJECT. THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED ON EACH OF THE TWO SCHEDULES, WITH EACH OF THREE BIDDERS SUBMITTING A BID ON BOTH SCHEDULES. BIDS WERE OPENED ON OCTOBER 27, 1960, AND WERE FOUND TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

CHART

SCHEDULE 1 SCHEDULE 2 TOTAL

J. W. MERZ $12,556.10 $3,575.00 $16,131.10

A AND B CONST.CO. 8,811.95 9,100.00 17,911.95

FRED STRANDBERG CONST.CO. 9,642.208,580.00 18,222.20

THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE WAS $9,927.95 FOR SCHEDULE 1 AND $8,125.00 FOR SCHEDULE 2.

SHORTLY AFTER BID OPENING ON OCTOBER 27, MR. J. W. MERZ VISITED THE BUREAU'S CONSTRUCTION OFFICE IN HELENA, MONTANA, AND MADE AN ORAL ALLEGATION OF ERROR IN HIS BID UNDER SCHEDULE 2. ON OCTOBER 29 YOUR OFFICE RECEIVED A LETTER FROM MR. MERZ IN WHICH HE EXPLAINED THAT IN ESTIMATING THE COST OF THE WORK UNDER SCHEDULE 2, WHICH CONSISTED OF ELIMINATING AN EXISTING DITCH SYSTEM BY MOVING EARTH MATERIAL FROM THE BANKS INTO THE DITCH SECTION AND ROUGHLY LEVELING TO PERMIT FARMING OPERATIONS, HE HAD INITIALLY ESTIMATED A UNIT PRICE OF SIX CENTS PER LINEAL FOOT FOR EACH SIDE OF THE DITCH, OR A TOTAL OF $12.00 FOR EACH OF THE 650 STATIONS INVOLVED. HOWEVER, IN COMPUTING THE JOB ON HIS WORKSHEETS HE REVERTED TO THE INITIAL UNIT PRICE OF SIX CENTS PERLINEAL FOOT OR $6.00 PER STATION AND, ON THE MORNING OF BID OPENING REDUCED THIS UNIT FIGURE TO FIVE AND ONE-HALF CENTS PER LINEAL FOOT, OR $5.50 PER STATION. AS A RESULT HE HAD INCLUDED ONLY THE EARTH TO BE MOVED FROM ONE SIDE OF THE DITCH IN HIS BID PRICE.

UNDER DATE OF NOVEMBER 7, 1960, MR. MERZ SUBMITTED AN ORIGINAL WORKSHEET WHICH SHOWS THE FOLLOWING UNDER SCHEDULE 2:

"EARTH WORK ON DITCHES 6 CENTS LF.--- 6.50--- STA. AT 6.00--- 3900.00

SCHED NO 2 650 STA AT 5.50 3,570.00"

WHILE THIS WORKSHEET DOES NOT SUBSTANTIATE THE ALLEGATION THAT THE UNIT PRICES OF FIVE AND ONE-HALF CENTS PER LINEAL FOOT AND $5.50 PER STATION WERE INTENDED TO INCLUDE MOVEMENT OF EARTH FROM ONLY ONE SIDE OF THE DITCH, AND ITS VALUE TO ASCERTAIN EITHER THE AMOUNT OF ERROR OR THE MANNER IN WHICH THE ERROR OCCURRED IS DOUBTFUL, THE FACT REMAINS THAT THE ENGINEERS' ESTIMATE VALUED THE SCHEDULE 2 WORK AT $12.50 PER STATION AND THE TWO OTHER BIDS RECEIVED WERE COMPUTED AT $13.20 AND $14.00 PER STATION. THESE FIGURES WOULD APPEAR TO LEND CREDENCE TO THE EXPLANATION OFFERED BY MR. MERZ.

IN VIEW THEREOF, AND IN VIEW OF YOUR ADVICE THAT PERFORMANCE OF THE SCHEDULE 2 WORK AT THE PRICE BID WOULD UNDOUBTEDLY RESULT IN FINANCIAL LOSS TO MR. MERZ, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT IT WOULD BE UNCONSCIONABLE TO ATTEMPT TO REQUIRE PERFORMANCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BID. SEE B 134953, FEBRUARY 12, 1958. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THERE IS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT CORRECTION OF THE BID, IT MAY BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARD.

A COPY OF THIS DECISION SHOULD BE ATTACHED TO THE INITIAL PAYMENT VOUCHER ISSUED UNDER ANY CONTRACT AWARDED PURSUANT TO IFB SPECIFICATIONS NO. 636C- 2.

THE ENCLOSURES RECEIVED WITH YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 4, 1960, ARE RETURNED.