B-146038, JUN. 19, 1961

B-146038: Jun 19, 1961

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AXTON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 1. IN THE "AMOUNT" COLUMN BIDDERS ARE TO SHOW THE TWO LUMP-SUM PRICES AND THE TOTAL FOR THE OTHER ITEMS (UNIT PRICE MULTIPLIED BY QUANTITY). A SPACE IS PROVIDED AT THE BOTTOM FOR SHOWING THE TOTAL FOR ALL ITEMS OF THE SCHEDULE. BIDDERS ARE REQUIRED TO QUOTE ON ALL ITEMS OF THE SCHEDULE AND AWARD IS TO BE MADE TO ONE BIDDER. BIDDERS ARE REQUIRED TO FURNISH A GUARANTEE WITH THEIR BIDS IN AN AMOUNT NOT LESS THAN 20 PERCENT OF THEIR BID. THE FOUR BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION ARE IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNTS OF $15. THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE WAS $19. E. WILLIAMS AND SONS IS IRREGULAR IN THAT (1) UNIT PRICES WERE NOT GIVEN FOR ITEMS NOS. 5.

B-146038, JUN. 19, 1961

TO MR. N. L. AXTON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 1, 1961, REQUESTING A DECISION REGARDING AN AWARD OF CONTRACT TO THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER FOR WORK TO BE PERFORMED IN DRILLING A POTABLE WATER WELL AT THE MESA SUBSTATION, A FACILITY OF THE PARKER-DAVIS PROJECT, PURSUANT TO SPECIFICATIONS NO. 304C- 124.

THE SPECIFICATIONS COVER THE DRILLING OF A 700-FOOT WELL AND THE SCHEDULE OF THE INVITATION DIVIDES THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED INTO 14 ITEMS FOR BIDDING AND PAYMENT PURPOSES. TWO OF THE ITEMS CALL FOR LUMP-SUM PRICES FOR THE WORK INVOLVED. THE OTHER ITEMS CALL FOR UNIT PRICES BASED UPON THE ESTIMATED QUANTITIES SPECIFIED. IN THE "AMOUNT" COLUMN BIDDERS ARE TO SHOW THE TWO LUMP-SUM PRICES AND THE TOTAL FOR THE OTHER ITEMS (UNIT PRICE MULTIPLIED BY QUANTITY). ALSO, A SPACE IS PROVIDED AT THE BOTTOM FOR SHOWING THE TOTAL FOR ALL ITEMS OF THE SCHEDULE. BIDDERS ARE REQUIRED TO QUOTE ON ALL ITEMS OF THE SCHEDULE AND AWARD IS TO BE MADE TO ONE BIDDER. BIDDERS ARE REQUIRED TO FURNISH A GUARANTEE WITH THEIR BIDS IN AN AMOUNT NOT LESS THAN 20 PERCENT OF THEIR BID.

THE FOUR BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION ARE IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNTS OF $15,709 (C. E. WILLIAMS AND SONS); $22,938, $26,441.35 AND $27,832.80. THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE WAS $19,085.

THE BID OF C. E. WILLIAMS AND SONS IS IRREGULAR IN THAT (1) UNIT PRICES WERE NOT GIVEN FOR ITEMS NOS. 5, 7 AND 12--- ONLY TOTAL AMOUNTS IN THE EXTENDED PRICE COLUMN; (2) NO PRICE WAS SHOWN IN THE UNIT PRICE COLUMN OR THE EXTENDED PRICE COLUMN FOR ITEM NO. 13, COVERING "BACK FILLING ABANDONED WELL; " AND (3) NO AMOUNT WAS INSERTED IN THE BLANK SPACE AT THE BOTTOM FOR SHOWING THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF ALL ITEMS OF THE SCHEDULE.

IT IS REPORTED THAT MR. C. E. WILLIAMS, REPRESENTING C. E. WILLIAMS AND SONS, WAS PRESENT AT THE OPENING OF THE BIDS. AFTER THE FORMAL BID OPENING HE WAS REQUESTED TO EXPLAIN THE FAILURE TO COMPLETE ITEM NO. 13 AND HE STATED THAT IT WAS INTENDED AS NO CHARGE. THIS WAS CONFIRMED BY LETTER DATED MAY 10, 1961. IN THAT CONNECTION THE SECOND LOW BIDDER QUOTED THE NOMINAL AMOUNT OF $1 FOR ITEM NO. 13. THE WILLIAMS BID WAS ADDED UP TO THE TOTAL OF $15,709 AND MR. WILLIAMS CONFIRMED SUCH TOTAL AMOUNT. THE INTENDED AMOUNT OF THE AGGREGATE BID IS SUBSTANTIATED BY THE AMOUNT OF THE BID GUARANTEE WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE BID, A CASHIER'S CHECK IN THE AMOUNT OF $3,142, WHICH IS ALMOST EXACTLY 20 PERCENT OF $15,709.

ALTHOUGH THE SPECIFICATIONS PROVIDE THAT THE QUANTITIES SET FORTH IN THE SCHEDULE ARE APPROXIMATIONS FOR COMPARING BIDS AND THAT PAYMENT FOR THE WORK UNDER THE ITEMS WILL BE MADE AT THE UNIT PRICES BID THEREFOR IN THE SCHEDULE, IT APPEARS THAT THE QUANTITIES SET FORTH IN THE BID SCHEDULE ARE RATHER FIRM. IT IS STATED THAT THE PRICES ON ITEMS NOS. 5, 7 AND 12 WERE CONSIDERED TO BE THE TOTAL PRICE BASED ON THE NUMBER OF UNITS STIPULATED IN THE RESPECTIVE ITEMS OF THE SCHEDULE, AND THAT THE BIDDER HAD NOT BEEN REQUESTED TO EXPLAIN THE BIDS ON THESE ITEMS. THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS RECOMMENDS AWARD TO C. E. WILLIAMS AND SONS AND THE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER AND CHIEF ENGINEER OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION CONCUR IN THE RECOMMENDATION, PROVIDED THE BID IS OTHERWISE ACCEPTABLE.

BY LETTER DATED MAY 11, 1961, C. E. WILLIAMS AND SONS WAS NOTIFIED THAT A PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF THE BIDS INDICATED THAT IT WOULD BE THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER AND THAT FORMS OF CONTRACT, PERFORMANCE BOND, AND PAYMENT BOND, ENCLOSED THEREWITH, SHOULD BE EXECUTED BY IT AND ITS SURETY AND RETURNED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE LETTER STATED, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH ACTION WAS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AN AWARD OF THE CONTRACT NOR AS A COMMITMENT THAT AN AWARD WOULD BE MADE, AND NO WORK SHOULD BE COMMENCED UNLESS OR UNTIL THERE WAS RECEIVED AN AWARD AND A NOTICE TO PROCEED. THE CONTRACT AND THE BONDS HAVE BEEN EXECUTED BY THE BIDDER AND SURETY AND RETURNED.

A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER AN AWARD MAY BE MADE TO C. E. WILLIAMS AND SONS IN VIEW OF THE IRREGULARITIES IN THE BID AND, IF SO, WHETHER THE BIDDER SHOULD BE REQUESTED TO EXPLAIN ITS BID WITH RESPECT TO ITEMS NOS. 5, 7 AND 12 TO AVOID ANY AMBIGUITY WITH RESPECT TO PAYMENT FOR WORK PERFORMED PURSUANT TO SUCH ITEMS.

FOR THE REASONS STATED IN YOUR LETTER AND REFERRED TO ABOVE, THE BID OF C. E. WILLIAMS AND SONS IS REASONABLY CLEAR AND THERE APPEARS TO BE NO BASIS TO QUESTION YOUR INTERPRETATION THEREOF. ACCORDINGLY, WE SEE NO REASON WHY AN AWARD SHOULD NOT BE MADE TO THE LOW BIDDER, IF OTHERWISE PROPER, OR WHY HE SHOULD BE REQUESTED AT THIS TIME FOR AN EXPLANATION OF THE BID ON THE THREE ITEMS.

THE ENCLOSURES TO YOUR LETTER ARE RETURNED AS REQUESTED. ALSO PURSUANT TO YOUR REQUEST, A COPY OF THIS LETTER IS BEING FORWARDED TO THE COMMISSIONER, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION.