B-145460, APR. 10, 1961

B-145460: Apr 10, 1961

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 27. BECAUSE OF AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS DATED FEBRUARY 28. IT IS REPORTED THAT A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BIDDER ASSISTED GOVERNMENT ENGINEERS IN THE PREPARATION OF A PRELIMINARY ESTIMATE OF THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED UNDER THE PROJECT. THAT NO MENTION WAS MADE AT THAT TIME OF ANY REPAIRS TO BE MADE TO THE FLOW LINE. THAT THERE WAS MISCONSTRUED THAT PORTION OF THE FINAL SPECIFICATIONS WHICH REQUIRED THAT THE BOTTOM OF THE DITCH BE INLAID WITH ABUTTING LIMESTONE SLABS AT LEAST 12 INCHES BY 12 INCHES. IT IS NOTED. THE BIDDER STATES THAT "WE ARE BY NO MEANS REFUSING TO ACCEPT THIS JOB.'.

B-145460, APR. 10, 1961

TO E. A. REISING, CONTRACTING OFFICER, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 27, 1961, WITH ENCLOSURES, FILE REFERENCE 5114/134, SUBMITTING FOR OUR CONSIDERATION AND DECISION THE QUESTION WHETHER THERE MAY BE GRANTED THE RELIEF REQUESTED BY CRAVENS AND CRAVENS, INCORPORATED, BECAUSE OF AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS DATED FEBRUARY 28, 1961, FOR PROJECT NO. E-1064-61.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT AFTER THE OPENING OF THE BIDS ON MARCH 14, 1961, BUT BEFORE AWARD, THE BIDDER NOTIFIED YOUR ENGINEERING DIVISION THAT IT HAD MADE A MISTAKE IN THE COMPUTATION OF ITS OFFERING PRICE BY FAILING TO INCLUDE THEREIN THE COST OF CERTAIN WORK REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS. IT IS REPORTED THAT A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BIDDER ASSISTED GOVERNMENT ENGINEERS IN THE PREPARATION OF A PRELIMINARY ESTIMATE OF THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED UNDER THE PROJECT; THAT NO MENTION WAS MADE AT THAT TIME OF ANY REPAIRS TO BE MADE TO THE FLOW LINE; AND THAT THERE WAS MISCONSTRUED THAT PORTION OF THE FINAL SPECIFICATIONS WHICH REQUIRED THAT THE BOTTOM OF THE DITCH BE INLAID WITH ABUTTING LIMESTONE SLABS AT LEAST 12 INCHES BY 12 INCHES, SUCH REQUIREMENT HAVING BEEN INTERPRETED TO MEAN THAT THE BOTTOM LAYER OF THE WALL WOULD BE AT LEAST 12 INCHES BY 12 INCHES. AS A RESULT THEREOF THE BIDDER HAS REQUESTED THAT ITS BID PRICE OF $7,417 BE INCREASED BY $1,590.60, TO COVER THE COST OF LABOR AND MATERIAL NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH THE ADDITIONAL WORK. IT IS NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT IN LETTER OF MARCH 23, 1961, THE BIDDER STATES THAT "WE ARE BY NO MEANS REFUSING TO ACCEPT THIS JOB.'

IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR THE CORPORATION HAS SUBMITTED COPIES OF ITS WORKSHEET SHOWING SIX ITEMS OF LABOR AND MATERIAL, EXCLUSIVE OF OVERHEAD AND PROFIT, WHICH INCLUDES $2,475 FOR THE ROCK WORK, THAT ELEMENT BEING APPROXIMATELY ONE-THIRD OF THE BID PRICE. WHILE THAT AMOUNT APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN COMPUTED ON A LINEAR FOOT BASIS, THERE IS NOTHING TO SHOW THE EXTENT OF THE ROCK WORK CONTEMPLATED. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE SUBSTANTIAL GROUNDS FOR CONCLUDING THAT CONCLUSIVE PROOF TO ESTABLISH THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE AS ALLEGED IS LACKING. HOWEVER, THE ONLY OTHER BID RECEIVED WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $12,050, AND IN VIEW OF THE WIDE DISPARITY BETWEEN THE TWO PROPOSALS WE FEEL THAT SOME BONA FIDE MISTAKE WAS MADE.

IT IS A BASIC RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE TIME FIXED FOR OPENING. 17 COMP. GEN. 575, 38 ID. 76. AND, IN THAT CONNECTION IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT CORRECTION OF AN ERRONEOUS OFFER IS NOT CONSIDERED TO BE AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE, BUT RATHER AS THE SUBSTITUTION OF AN INTENDED BID, ESTABLISHED BY VIRTUALLY CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE, FOR THE BID INCORRECTLY PREPARED. THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED IS INSUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY CORRECTION OF THE BID. ACCORDINGLY, THE BID OF CRAVENS AND CRAVENS, INCORPORATED, SHOULD BE DISREGARDED UNLESS, AS INDICATED IN ITS LETTER OF MARCH 23, 1961, SUPRA, IT IS WILLING TO PERFORM THE WORK AT ITS ORIGINAL BID PRICE.