B-146045, JUN. 14, 1961

B-146045: Jun 14, 1961

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BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: WE HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2. WAS ORIGINALLY ISSUED ON MARCH 21. THE INVITATION WAS AMENDED TO INCLUDE SCHEDULE NO. 3. ITEM NO. 3 OF THAT SCHEDULE WAS DESCRIBED IN PART AS FOLLOWS: "ONE (1) POWER CIRCUIT BREAKER. INCLUDING OIL (IF CIRCUIT BREAKERS ARE FURNISHED). BIDS WERE OPENED ON APRIL 25. THE PRICES OFFERED ON CONFORMING EQUIPMENT FOR THE UNIT IN QUESTION WERE $14. THE HIGHEST PRICE WAS OFFERED BY ALLIS-CHALMERS. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS ADVISED THAT THE ALLIS-CHALMERS BID FOR THE ITEM HAD BEEN ERRONEOUSLY BASED ON SUPPLYING THREE CIRCUIT BREAKERS RATHER THAN THE ONE CALLED FOR. IT WAS EXPLAINED IN THE LETTER THAT BUT FOR THE ERROR THE BID WOULD HAVE BEEN $12.

B-146045, JUN. 14, 1961

TO MR. B. P. BELLPORT, CHIEF ENGINEER, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION:

WE HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2, 1961, WITH ENCLOSURES, YOUR REFERENCE 150, CONCERNING WHETHER A BID SUBMITTED BY THE ALLIS-CHALMERS MANUFACTURING COMPANY ON SCHEDULE NO. 3, ITEM NO. 3 OF INVITATION NO. DS-5554 MAY BE CORRECTED AND, AS CORRECTED, CONSIDERED FOR AWARD.

THE INVITATION, FOR POWER CIRCUIT BREAKERS, WAS ORIGINALLY ISSUED ON MARCH 21, 1961. BY SUPPLEMENTAL NOTICE NO. 1, ISSUED APRIL 4, 1961, THE INVITATION WAS AMENDED TO INCLUDE SCHEDULE NO. 3. ITEM NO. 3 OF THAT SCHEDULE WAS DESCRIBED IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"ONE (1) POWER CIRCUIT BREAKER, HAVING THE FOLLOWING RATINGS AND FEATURES, FOR DENISON SUBSTATION, SHALL BE FURNISHED COMPLETE, INCLUDING OIL (IF CIRCUIT BREAKERS ARE FURNISHED), IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS INVITATION * * *.'

BIDS WERE OPENED ON APRIL 25, 1961. THE PRICES OFFERED ON CONFORMING EQUIPMENT FOR THE UNIT IN QUESTION WERE $14,975, $17,380, AND $37,950 INCLUDING SPARE PARTS. THE HIGHEST PRICE WAS OFFERED BY ALLIS-CHALMERS. THE DAY FOLLOWING BID OPENING, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS ADVISED THAT THE ALLIS-CHALMERS BID FOR THE ITEM HAD BEEN ERRONEOUSLY BASED ON SUPPLYING THREE CIRCUIT BREAKERS RATHER THAN THE ONE CALLED FOR. SUBSEQUENTLY, BY LETTER OF MAY 29, THE BIDDER FURNISHED A PRICE LIST DATED APRIL 22, 1961, WHICH SHOWED THE PRICE FOR THE ITEM TO BE $12,500. IT WAS EXPLAINED IN THE LETTER THAT BUT FOR THE ERROR THE BID WOULD HAVE BEEN $12,500 PLUS $1,600 FOR SPECIAL ENGINEERING, FOR A TOTAL OF $14,100. PERMIT CORRECTION WOULD, OF COURSE, MAKE THE ALLIS-CHALMERS BID FOR THE ITEM LOW.

THE BID AS SUBMITTED SHOWS A PRICE OF $37,500 (THREE TIMES THE STATED INTENDED UNIT PRICE) PLUS $450 FOR SPARE PARTS. THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN ANY PROVISION FOR THE SPECIAL ENGINEERING REQUIRED, AND THE CORRESPONDENCE FROM THE BIDDER PROVIDES NO SUBSTANTIATION FOR THE $1,600 FIGURE. CORRECTION OF A BID AFTER OPENING MAY BE AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN THE ERROR AND THE INTENDED BID HAVE BEEN CONCLUSIVELY ESTABLISHED BY COMPETENT EVIDENCE. 35 COMP. GEN. 279, 281. IN OUR VIEW, THE NECESSARY AMOUNT OF PROOF HAS NOT BEEN FURNISHED WITH RESPECT TO THE AMOUNT FOR SPECIAL ENGINEERING. ACCORDINGLY, CORRECTION MAY NOT BE PERMITTED.

FURTHERMORE, TO PERMIT CORRECTION IN THIS INSTANCE WOULD RESULT IN DISPLACEMENT OF THE LOW BIDDER. AS WE STATED IN 37 COMP. GEN. 210, 212---

" * * * IN A CASE SUCH AS HERE PRESENTED, WHERE A DOWNWARD CORRECTION WOULD RESULT IN DISPLACEMENT OF ONE OR MORE OTHER BIDDERS, WE FEEL THAT THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT IN PRESERVING AND MAINTAINING THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM REQUIRES THAT THE RIGHTS OF OTHER BIDDERS BE CONSIDERED AS CALLING FOR DENIAL OF THE CORRECTION, EXCEPT WHERE IT CAN BE ASCERTAINED SUBSTANTIALLY FROM THE INVITATION AND THE BID ITSELF.'

THEREFORE, IT IS OUR POSITION THAT CORRECTION COULD NOT BE PERMITTED EVEN IF THE AMOUNT FOR SPECIAL ENGINEERING HAD BEEN SUPPORTED BY COMPETENT EVIDENCE.

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.