B-144739, JAN. 10, 1961

B-144739: Jan 10, 1961

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BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED DECEMBER 23. BIDS UNDER THE INVITATION IN QUESTION WERE OPENED AT 10:00 A.M. WAS FOUND TO BE LOW. THE BID APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY O. WHO WAS PRESENT AT BID OPENING AND WAS ASKED TO VERIFY THE BID. THIS WAS. AN ERROR OBVIOUS ON THE FACE OF THE BID WHICH WOULD HAVE REQUIRED CORRECTION AND EVALUATION OF THE BID AT $87. THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE ON ITEM 9 IS $39 PER CUBIC YARD AND A TOTAL PRICE OF $14. MCVEAN SUBMITTED WORKSHEETS SHOWING THAT THE UNIT PRICE WAS COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF A LABOR AND EQUIPMENT COST OF $305 PER DAY. WHICH WAS ARRIVED AT BY ADDING $140 FOR LABOR (LISTED AS FOUR LABORERS AT $35 PER DAY). MCVEAN SHOWS THAT THE DAILY COST WAS THEN MULTIPLIED BY 15 DAYS AND DIVIDED BY 370 CUBIC YARDS TO ARRIVE AT THE ITEM 9 UNIT BID PRICE OF $12.36 AND THE TOTAL ITEM BID PRICE OF $4.

B-144739, JAN. 10, 1961

TO MR. H. T. NELSON, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED DECEMBER 23, 1960, FILE 220, FORWARDING ALLEGATIONS OF ERRORS IN THE BID SUBMITTED BY HARBERT CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION UNDER SPECIFICATIONS NO. 100C-424 FOR WEBER WASTEWAY UNDERDRAIN EXTENSION, COLUMBIA BASIN PROJECT, AND REQUESTING OUR ADVICE ON THE DISPOSITION TO BE MADE OF SUCH BID.

BIDS UNDER THE INVITATION IN QUESTION WERE OPENED AT 10:00 A.M., PACIFIC STANDARD TIME, ON DECEMBER 8, 1960, AND THE BID BY HARBERT CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, OSTENSIBLY IN THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $67,943.50, WAS FOUND TO BE LOW. THE BID APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY O. R. MCVEAN, GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF HARBERT CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, WHO WAS PRESENT AT BID OPENING AND WAS ASKED TO VERIFY THE BID. AT ABOUT 12:40 P.M. ON THE DATE OF BID OPENING MR. MCVEAN ADVISED PERSONNEL AT THE BUREAU'S EPHRATA OFFICE THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN HARBERT'S BID ON ITEM 11, WHICH SHOWED A UNIT PRICE OF $2,224.30 AND AN EXTENDED PRICE IN THE SAME AMOUNT FOR 10 UNITS, RATHER THAN AN EXTENDED PRICE OF $22,243. THIS WAS, OF COURSE, AN ERROR OBVIOUS ON THE FACE OF THE BID WHICH WOULD HAVE REQUIRED CORRECTION AND EVALUATION OF THE BID AT $87,962.20, AS PROPERLY SHOWN IN THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS.

BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 12, 1960, MR. MCVEAN FURTHER ALLEGED THAT AN ADDITIONAL ERROR HAD OCCURRED IN HARBERT'S BID ON ITEM 9 THROUGH FAILURE TO PROPERLY COMPUTE LABOR AND EQUIPMENT RENTAL COSTS ON THAT ITEM. ITEM 9 CALLED FOR THE REMOVAL OF 370 CUBIC YARDS OF EXISTING REINFORCED CONCRETE IN LINING, AND HARBERT'S BID LISTED A UNIT PRICE OF $12.36 AND A TOTAL PRICE OF $4,573.20. THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE ON ITEM 9 IS $39 PER CUBIC YARD AND A TOTAL PRICE OF $14,430. THE OTHER THREE BIDDERS QUOTED UNIT PRICES OF $20, $31, AND $50 RESPECTIVELY FOR THAT ITEM.

IN SUPPORT OF THE ALLEGED ERROR IN THE BID ON ITEM 9, MR. MCVEAN SUBMITTED WORKSHEETS SHOWING THAT THE UNIT PRICE WAS COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF A LABOR AND EQUIPMENT COST OF $305 PER DAY, WHICH WAS ARRIVED AT BY ADDING $140 FOR LABOR (LISTED AS FOUR LABORERS AT $35 PER DAY), AND $165 FOR EQUIPMENT, ITEMIZED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

3 COMPRESSORS $25.00

6 JACK HAMMERS 30.00

6 SETS BITS 10.00

1 CONCRETE SAW 75.00

1 WATER TANK 25.00

TOTAL $165.00

AN ORIGINAL LEDGER SHEET SUBMITTED BY MR. MCVEAN SHOWS THAT THE DAILY COST WAS THEN MULTIPLIED BY 15 DAYS AND DIVIDED BY 370 CUBIC YARDS TO ARRIVE AT THE ITEM 9 UNIT BID PRICE OF $12.36 AND THE TOTAL ITEM BID PRICE OF $4,573.20.

AS EXPLAINED TO BUREAU PERSONNEL BY MR. MCVEAN ON DECEMBER 12, THE FOLLOWING ERRORS ARE CLAIMED TO HAVE OCCURRED IN THE ABOVE COMPUTATIONS ON ITEM 9:

1. THE COST OF EQUIPMENT RENTALS, AS SHOWN ON THE WORKSHEET AND SET OUT ABOVE, ARE UNIT RENTAL COSTS PER DAY AND SHOULD PROPERLY HAVE BEEN EXTENDED TO SHOW TOTAL COSTS PER DAY AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

3 COMPRESSORS AT $25.00 $75.00

6 JACK HAMMERS AT 30.00 180.00

6 SETS BITS AT 10.00 60.00

1 CONCRETE SAW 75.00

1 WATER TANK 25.00

TOTAL $415.00

2. THE ESTIMATE FOR LABOR, IN PROVIDING FOR ONLY FOUR LABORERS, WAS IN ERROR, SINCE THE ABOVE-LISTED EQUIPMENT REQUIRED SIX MEN TO OPERATE THE JACK HAMMERS, TWO MEN TO OPERATE THE CONCRETE SAW, ONE MAN ON THE WATER TANK, AND ONE MAN FOR MISCELLANEOUS WORK. THE LABOR COST SHOULD THEREFORE BE CORRECTED TO 10 MEN AT $35 PER DAY, OR A TOTAL DAILY LABOR COST OF $350.

3. THAT THE TOTAL COST OF CONSTRUCTION HAD BEEN DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF PERFORMING ALL OF THE WORK IN A MAXIMUM OF 30 WORKING DAYS, AND THAT THE COST OF LABOR AND MATERIAL ON ITEM 9 SHOULD ALSO HAVE BEEN COMPUTED ON THAT BASIS, INSTEAD OF A 15 DAY BASIS AS SHOWN ON THE LEDGER SHEET.

BASED UPON THE ABOVE INFORMATION, MR. MCVEAN CONTENDS THAT THE TOTAL EQUIPMENT AND LABOR COST ON ITEM 9 SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPUTED AT $765 PER DAY FOR A PERIOD OF 30 DAYS, AND THAT THE CORRECT UNIT PRICE SHOULD HAVE BEEN $62.03 AND THE CORRECT TOTAL PRICE FOR THIS ITEM SHOULD HAVE BEEN $22,951.10. BASED UPON THIS CORRECTION, TOGETHER WITH THE CORRECTION OF THE EXTENSION ON ITEM 11, THE HARBERT CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION HAS REQUESTED THAT ITS TOTAL BID PRICE BE CORRECTED TO $106,340.10, OR THAT ITS BID AS SUBMITTED BE REJECTED AS UNREALISTIC, OR THAT IT BE PERMITTED TO REBID THE PROJECT.

TO JUSTIFY CORRECTION OF A BID THE BIDDER MUST ESTABLISH BY CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE PRICE BID IS IN ERROR, THE MANNER IN WHICH THE ERRORS OCCURRED, AND THE PRICE WHICH WAS INTENDED AND WOULD HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED IN THE ABSENCE OF ERROR. WITH RESPECT TO THE CONTENTION THAT THE EQUIPMENT RENTAL RATES SHOWN ON THE WORKSHEETS REPRESENTED UNIT COSTS WHICH SHOULD PROPERLY HAVE BEEN TREBLED IN THE CASE OF AIR COMPRESSORS OR MULTIPLIED BY 6 IN THE CASE OF JACK HAMMERS AND BIT SETS, YOU REPORT THAT, WHILE A UNIT CHARGE OF $25 PER DAY FOR A SINGLE AIR COMPRESSOR MAY BE CONSIDERED REASONABLE, THE RENTAL CHARGES OF $30 PER DAY FOR JACK HAMMERS AND $10 PER DAY FOR BITS APPEAR TO BE REASONABLE DAILY CHARGES FOR SIX EACH RATHER THAN FOR SINGLE ITEMS. IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE TO SUBSTANTIATE SUCH RENTAL CHARGES, WE ARE THEREFORE OF THE OPINION THAT THE RECORD DOES NOT SUPPORT THE BIDDER'S ALLEGATIONS ON THIS POINT.

CONCERNING THE CONTENTION THAT BOTH LABOR AND MATERIAL COSTS ON ITEM 9 SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXTENDED FOR 30 DAYS, RATHER THAN 15 DAYS AS SHOWN ON THE LEDGER SHEET, THE ONLY EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT THEREOF APPEARS TO BE THE NOTATION "LAB AND EQU 305.00 30 DAYS EQUALS 12.36 PR YD., " WHICH APPEARS ON THE WORKSHEET LISTING EQUIPMENT AND RENTAL RATES. SINCE THE UNIT PRICE OF $12.36 STATED IN THAT NOTATION WAS IN FACT BASED UPON 15 DAYS, AS SHOWN ON THE LEDGER SHEET, AND DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE 30 DAY PERIOD MENTIONED, WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT SUCH NOTATION ESTABLISHES ERROR ON THE PART OF THE BIDDER IN COMPUTING LABOR AND MATERIAL COSTS ON A 15 DAY BASIS AS SHOWN ON THE LEDGER SHEET AND SUBSEQUENTLY ADOPTED IN THE BID.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT, WHILE THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED IS SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH ERROR IN THE BID ON ITEM 9, IT IS INSUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT CORRECTION OF THE BID ON THAT ITEM TO $22,951.10, AS REQUESTED BY THE BIDDER. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE BIDDER'S REQUEST FOR CORRECTION OF ITS TOTAL BID PRICE TO $106,340.10 MUST BE DENIED. SEE 35 COMP. GEN. 279; 31 ID. 183. HOWEVER, SINCE ERROR WAS ALLEGED PRIOR TO AWARD, AND THE EVIDENCE, CONSIDERED WITH THE DISPARITY BETWEEN THE BID AND THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE, REASONABLY ESTABLISHES THAT THERE WAS SOME ERROR IN PREPARING 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 SPECIFICATIONS NO. 100C- 424.