B-145409, APR. 5, 1961

B-145409: Apr 5, 1961

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 20. TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON MARCH 7. BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING LABOR AND MATERIALS AND FOR PERFORMING ALL WORK REQUIRED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN UNGROUNDED ELECTRICAL SYSTEM FOR THE OPERATING SUITE AT THE HOSPITAL. THE TWO OTHER BIDS ON THE PROJECT WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $6. THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK WAS $6. THE CORPORATION STATED THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE ERROR WAS $991 AND THAT IF THIS AMOUNT WAS ADDED TO ITS ORIGINAL BID PRICE. THE BASIC RULE IS THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE TIME FIXED FOR OPENING. WHERE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IS ON NOTICE OF PROBABLE ERROR PRIOR TO ACCEPTANCE.

B-145409, APR. 5, 1961

TO CONTRACTING OFFICER, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 20, 1961, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR ALLEGED BY THE HENRY ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC., TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON MARCH 7, 1961.

BY INVITATION NO. 61-25, BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING LABOR AND MATERIALS AND FOR PERFORMING ALL WORK REQUIRED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN UNGROUNDED ELECTRICAL SYSTEM FOR THE OPERATING SUITE AT THE HOSPITAL. RESPONSE THE HENRY ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC., SUBMITTED A BID DATED MARCH 7, 1961, OFFERING TO PERFORM THE WORK FOR THE LUMP SUM OF $4,670. THE TWO OTHER BIDS ON THE PROJECT WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $6,100 AND $7,640.77, AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK WAS $6,700.

YOU STATE THAT APPROXIMATELY 20 MINUTES AFTER THE TIME SET FOR THE OPENING OF THE BIDS, THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE HENRY ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC., TELEPHONED ALLEGING THAT HE HAD MADE AN ERROR IN COMPUTING THE CORPORATION'S BID PRICE IN THAT IN THE RECAPITULATION OF HIS WORKSHEETS HE FAILED TO TRANSFER TO THE SUMMARY SHEET THE COST OF MATERIALS, LABOR, NORMAL OVERHEAD AND PROFIT FROM PAGE 6 OF HIS WORKSHEETS.

IN A CONFIRMING LETTER DATED MARCH 7, 1961, THE CORPORATION STATED THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE ERROR WAS $991 AND THAT IF THIS AMOUNT WAS ADDED TO ITS ORIGINAL BID PRICE, THE REVISED BID PRICE WOULD BE $5,661. IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE CORPORATION SUBMITTED ITS ORIGINAL WORKSHEETS CONSISTING OF SIX PAGES. THE CORPORATION STATED THAT IN ADDITION TO FAILING TO TRANSFER THE AMOUNTS SHOWN ON WORKSHEET NO. 6, IT ALSO FAILED TO EXTEND THE AMOUNTS SHOWN THEREON; THAT IF EXTENDED, MATERIALS WOULD TOTAL $748.26 AND LABOR, 17.10 HOURS AT A WAGE RATE OF $3.75 PER HOUR, WOULD TOTAL $64.13; THAT THESE TWO ITEMS MAKE A TOTAL OF $812.39 FOR WORKSHEET NO. 6, AND THAT TO THIS AMOUNT SHOULD BE ADDED ITS NORMAL OVERHEAD AND PROFIT, MAKING A TOTAL OF $991.12 FOR WORKSHEET NO. 6. THE CORPORATION REQUESTED THAT ITS BID PRICE BE INCREASED BY $991 OR, AS AN ALTERNATIVE, THAT IT BE PERMITTED TO WITHDRAW ITS BID ON THE PROJECT.

THE BASIC RULE IS THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE TIME FIXED FOR OPENING. THE EXCEPTION TO SUCH RULE, WHICH PERMITS CORRECTION OF A BID UPON SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THAT THE BIDDER ACTUALLY INTENDED TO BID AN AMOUNT OTHER THAN THAT SET FORTH IN THE BID, WHERE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IS ON NOTICE OF PROBABLE ERROR PRIOR TO ACCEPTANCE, DOES NOT EXTEND TO THE RECALCULATION OR CHANGING OF THE BID WITHOUT CONCLUSIVE PROOF AS TO THE AMOUNT OF THE INTENDED BID. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575, 577, AND 31 ID. 183, 184. IN THE PRESENT CASE THE HENRY ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC., HAS NOT SUBMITTED SUCH PROOF.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE BID OF THE HENRY ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC., MAY NOT BE CORRECTED. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERROR WAS ALLEGED AND EXPLAINED PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE HENRY ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC., MAY BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARD.