B-144745, MAR. 17, 1961

B-144745: Mar 17, 1961

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INC.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 9. THE WORK CONTEMPLATED WAS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION AS FOLLOWS: "DESCRIPTION OF WORK. ALSO TO MAKE AWARD TO THE BIDDER WHOSE AGGREGATE BID ON ANY COMBINATION OF BID ITEMS IS LOW.'. FIVE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $299. CONTENDING THAT THE BIDDING WAS NONCOMPETITIVE SINCE E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY HAD DRAWN UP THE PLANS AND HAD ACCESS TO CERTAIN INFORMATION NOT REVEALED IN THE PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS. YOU CONTENDED PARTICULARLY THAT E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY HAD KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTING CONDUIT RUNS AVAILABLE FOR REUSE BUT THAT THIS INFORMATION WAS NOT REVEALED IN THE DRAWINGS AND SPECIFICATIONS.

B-144745, MAR. 17, 1961

TO GOTTLIEB CONTRACTING, INC.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 9, 1960, PROTESTING AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY UNDER INVITATION NO. SC-30-006-61-9 FOR REHABILITATION OF INTERIOR ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS FOR BUILDINGS NOS. 1 AND 2 AT THE ARMY PICTORIAL CENTER, 35-11 35TH AVENUE, LONG ISLAND CITY 1, NEW YORK.

THE INVITATION, DATED OCTOBER 12, 1960, REQUESTED BIDS TO BE OPENED NOVEMBER 28, 1960. THE WORK CONTEMPLATED WAS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION AS FOLLOWS:

"DESCRIPTION OF WORK--- THE WORK CONSISTS OF FURNISHING ALL LABOR AND MATERIALS NECESSARY FOR THE REHABILITATION OF INTERIOR ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS FOR BUILDINGS NOS. 1 AND 2, ARMY PICTORIAL CENTER, 35-11 35TH AVENUE, LONG ISLAND CITY 1, NEW YORK, IN ACCORDANCE WITH APC DRAWINGS NOS. 481-1 AND 2 (9 SHEETS) AND SPECIFICATIONS DATED 28 DECEMBER 1959, REVISED 10 OCTOBER 1960. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPAL FEATURES:

"A. CONDUIT AND WIRING SYSTEMS.

B. DISTRIBUTION PANELS.

C. SERVICE ENTRANCE.

D. MAIN SWITCHBOARDS.

E. STUDIO--- STAGE CONTRACTOR AND PLUG-IN CONTROL FACILITIES.

F. STAGE--- REAR SCREEN PROJECTION SYSTEM.

G. RECTIFIERS.

H. ZONE AREA CONTROL OF ALL BRANCH CIRCUITS.

I. FIRE PUMP CONTROL.

J. SPRINKLER SYSTEM ALARM.

K. TEMPORARY WIRING.

L. REMOVALS--- CONDUITS, WIRING, PANELS, ETC.

M. CONSTRUCTION MODIFICATIONS TO ROOM 10, BUILDING NO. 1.'

THE BID FORM REQUIRED BIDDERS TO QUOTE SEPARATE PRICES ON THE FEATURES LISTED ABOVE AS WELL AS A TOTAL BID PRICE. PARAGRAPH 11 (C) OF INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION RESERVED THE RIGHT "TO ACCEPT OR REJECT ANY OR ALL ITEMS OF ANY BID, UNLESS THE BIDDER QUALIFIES SUCH BID BY SPECIFIC LIMITATION; ALSO TO MAKE AWARD TO THE BIDDER WHOSE AGGREGATE BID ON ANY COMBINATION OF BID ITEMS IS LOW.'

IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY SUBMITTED THE LOW BID IN THE AMOUNT OF $278,800. FIVE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $299,762 (YOUR BID), $311,500, $312,149, $315,200 AND $358,200. THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THE GOVERNMENT ESTIMATE TO BE $300,569.

IN A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 1, 1960, TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, YOU PROTESTED ANY AWARD TO E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY, CONTENDING THAT THE BIDDING WAS NONCOMPETITIVE SINCE E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY HAD DRAWN UP THE PLANS AND HAD ACCESS TO CERTAIN INFORMATION NOT REVEALED IN THE PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS. YOU CONTENDED PARTICULARLY THAT E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY HAD KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTING CONDUIT RUNS AVAILABLE FOR REUSE BUT THAT THIS INFORMATION WAS NOT REVEALED IN THE DRAWINGS AND SPECIFICATIONS. YOU ALSO SUGGESTED AWARDS TO THE LOW BIDDERS ON SEPARATE ITEMS INSTEAD OF A LUMP-SUM AWARD.

ON JUNE 11, 1959, E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY WAS AWARDED NEGOTIATED CONTRACT NO. DA 30-006-SC-261 IN THE AMOUNT OF $8,850 FOR SERVICES AND MATERIALS NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH AN ENGINEERING STUDY RELATIVE TO THE IMPROVEMENT, REHABILITATION AND REPAIR OF THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM IN BUILDINGS NOS. 1 AND 2, ARMY PICTORIAL CENTER, 35 11 35TH AVENUE, LONG ISLAND CITY 1, NEW YORK. THE CONTRACT WORK WAS PERFORMED,THE RESULT BEING THE PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS SUBSEQUENTLY USED IN INVITATION NO. SC-30-006-61-9.

THE REFERRED-TO PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS WERE APPROVED BY THE POST ENGINEER OF THE ARMY PICTORIAL CENTER, THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, AND THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER. IT IS REPORTED THAT NO COMPLAINT WAS RECEIVED FROM YOUR CORPORATION OR ANY OTHER PROSPECTIVE BIDDER AS TO THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS DURING THE PERIOD OF 45 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE INVITATION TO THE DATE OF THE OPENING OF BIDS.

IN A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 28, 1960, TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, E J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY CONTENDS THAT THE PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS WERE ENGINEERED ACCORDING TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING AND COVERED EVERY ITEM OF WORK IN DETAIL SO THAT NO BIDDER, INCLUDING ITSELF, WOULD HAVE ANY ADVANTAGE IN BIDDING. IT DENIES THAT IT HAD ANY ORIGINAL DRAWINGS WHICH WOULD HAVE GIVEN IT AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE OVER OTHER BIDDERS. IT IS STATED ALSO IN THE LETTER THAT IT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE TO KNOW WHAT EXISTING CONDUIT RUNS COULD BE REUSED UNTIL ACTUAL PERFORMANCE OF THE NEW INSTALLATION BECAUSE OF THE UNKNOWN CONDITION OF THE EXISTING CONCEALED CONDUITS, THE EXISTENCE OF HIDDEN PULL-BOXES AND THE UNCERTAINTY AS TO WHETHER OLD FEEDERS CAN BE REMOVED FROM CONDUITS. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT, SINCE THE ARMY PICTORIAL CENTER IS IN DAILY OPERATION AND REQUIRES CONTINUITY OF SERVICE, THE COST OF MAKING TEMPORARY CONNECTIONS AND PROVIDING TEMPORARY FACILITIES WHILE OLD FEEDERS ARE BEING WITHDRAWN FROM CONDUITS AND REPLACED WITH NEW ONES WOULD OFFSET MUCH OF THE APPARENT SAVING WHICH WOULD RESULT FROM USING EXISTING CONDUITS.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES THAT THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION IN THIS CASE WERE CLEARLY, ACCURATELY AND COMPLETELY PRESENTED TO THE BIDDERS AND REFLECT ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS AND THAT ALL BIDDERS WERE AFFORDED EQUAL ACCESS TO THE REQUIRED DRAWINGS, DESIGN INFORMATION AND SPECIFICATIONS. HE STATES FURTHER THAT THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED BY A BIDDER AS A RESULT OF WORK PREVIOUSLY PERFORMED BY HIM AT THE SITE OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROJECT IS NOT NECESSARILY REFLECTED IN A LOWER BID AND THAT FREQUENTLY COMPANIES WHICH HAVE DONE THE ENGINEERING OR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT WORK HAVE NOT SUBMITTED THE LOW BIDS ON THE PROJECTS.

THE POST ENGINEER HAS STATED THAT THE REFERRED-TO CONTRACT NO. DA 30-006- SC-261 WITH E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY DID NOT REQUIRE THE DETERMINATION OF THE REUSABILITY OF THE EXISTING CONDUIT RUNS AND THAT IT IS NOT FEASIBLE BY VISUAL INSPECTION DURING AN ENGINEERING STUDY TO DETERMINE WHETHER EXISTING CONDUITS ARE REUSABLE, SINCE MOST OF THEM ARE CONCEALED. HE STATES ALSO THAT IT WAS DETERMINED THAT CERTAIN RECENTLY INSTALLED EXPOSED CONDUITS COULD BE REUSED AND THAT THEY WERE INDICATED ON THE FINAL DRAWINGS (SHEET NO. 8). IT IS STATED BY THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS THAT THE WIRING INVOLVED IS APPROXIMATELY 40YEARS OLD AND THAT DETERMINATION AS TO WHICH CONDUITS MAY BE REUSED IS NOT PRACTICABLE SINCE WIRING WHICH HAS BEEN IN PLACE FOR 25 YEARS OR MORE OFTEN BECOMES WELDED OR VULCANIZED TO THE CONDUIT AND CANNOT BE REMOVED.

IN YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 9, 1960, YOU REFER TO THE FACT THAT YOUR BID ON THE ITEM COVERING THE CONDUIT AND WIRING SYSTEM WAS $82,841 AND THE BID OF E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY ON THAT ITEM WAS $85,000 BUT THAT ON THE ITEM COVERING DISTRIBUTION PANELS THE BID OF E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY WAS ONLY $8,000 THOUGH YOUR BID WAS $22,890. THE FILE SHOWS THAT THE GOVERNMENT ESTIMATE ON THE CONDUIT AND WIRING SYSTEM WAS $93,970. TO ITS BID OF $8,000 ON DISTRIBUTION PANELS, E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY STATES THAT ITS BID PRICE INCLUDED ONLY THE ACTUAL "DISTRIBUTION PANELS," NONE OF THE POWER PANELS OR LIGHTING PANELS BEING INCLUDED IN THAT ITEM BUT BEING INCLUDED IN THE ITEM COVERING "ZONE AREA CONTROL OF ALL BRANCH CIRCUITS.' IN THIS CONNECTION, IT IS NOTED THAT E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY'S BID ON THE LATTER ITEM WAS $33,000 WHEREAS YOUR BID ON THIS ITEM WAS ONLY $25,980.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR SUGGESTION THAT AWARDS BE MADE TO THE LOW BIDDERS ON SEPARATE ITEMS, IT IS STATED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE THAT BECAUSE OF THE INTERLOCKING NATURE OF THE CONTRACT WORK SEPARATE AWARDS WOULD NOT BE TECHNICALLY FEASIBLE. IT APPEARS THAT ALL BIDDERS WERE VERBALLY ADVISED PRIOR TO SUBMITTING BIDS THAT AWARD WOULD BE MADE ON THE TOTAL BID PRICE, THE RIGHT TO MAKE SUCH AWARD BEING RESERVED TO THE GOVERNMENT IN PARAGRAPH 11 (C) OF THE INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS ABOVE QUOTED.

WE FIND NO BASIS FOR HOLDING THAT E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY HAD AN UNFAIR OR UNDUE ADVANTAGE IN BIDDING ON THE PROJECT MERELY BECAUSE IT HAD MADE AN ENGINEERING STUDY OF THE WORK TO BE DONE THEREON. FURTHER, IT APPEARS THAT THE PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS WERE COMPLETE AND FURNISHED TO ALL BIDDERS SUCH FULL AND SPECIFIC INFORMATION AS WAS AVAILABLE TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND TO E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THERE IS NO VALID REASON FOR OBJECTION BY OUR OFFICE TO CONSIDERATION OF THE BID OF E-J ELECTRIC INSTALLATION COMPANY IN MAKING THE AWARD.