B-147265, SEP. 29, 1961

B-147265: Sep 29, 1961

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 21. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 21 ITEMS FOR THE PURPOSES OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT FOR THE WORK. 299 AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK WAS $367. SHOULD HAVE BEEN SHOWN AS $0.84 PER CUBIC YARD INSTEAD OF $0.48 PER CUBIC YARD. THE PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION STATED THAT IN TRANSFERRING THE UNIT PRICE OF $0.84 FOR ITEM 102 (1) FROM HIS WORKSHEET TO A COPY SHEET WHICH WAS USED TO MAKE OUT THE BID FORM. THAT THE CORRECT AGGREGATE TOTAL PRICE FOR THE PROJECT IS $400. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE BID OF THE CORPORATION. ARE NOT SUCH AS WOULD WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED.

B-147265, SEP. 29, 1961

TO MR. B. M. FRENCH, CONTRACTING OFFICER, BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1961, WITH ENCLOSURES, FILE REFERENCE 08-71.80, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH THE J. L. JOHNSTON CO., INC., ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON SEPTEMBER 13, 1961.

IN AN INVITATION DATED AUGUST 23, 1961, THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING MATERIALS AND PERFORMING THE WORK FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF IDAHO FOREST HIGHWAY PROJECT 50-A AND S-5711 (2), ST. JOE RIVER ROAD. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 21 ITEMS FOR THE PURPOSES OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT FOR THE WORK. IN RESPONSE THE J. L. JOHNSTON CO., INC., SUBMITTED A BID OFFERING TO PERFORM THE WORK FOR THE AGGREGATE TOTAL PRICE OF $274,119. THE EIGHT OTHER BIDDERS ON THE PROJECT QUOTED AGGREGATE TOTAL PRICES RANGING FROM $410,220 TO $547,299 AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK WAS $367,324.

YOU STATE THAT ON SEPTEMBER 14, 1961, MR. JOHNSTON TELEPHONED THE REGIONAL OFFICE AT PORTLAND, OREGON, AND ALLEGED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN THE CORPORATION'S BID IN THAT THE UNIT PRICE FOR ITEM 102 (1), UNCLASSIFIED EXCAVATION, SHOULD HAVE BEEN SHOWN AS $0.84 PER CUBIC YARD INSTEAD OF $0.48 PER CUBIC YARD.

IN CONFIRMING LETTERS DATED SEPTEMBER 15, 1961, THE PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION STATED THAT IN TRANSFERRING THE UNIT PRICE OF $0.84 FOR ITEM 102 (1) FROM HIS WORKSHEET TO A COPY SHEET WHICH WAS USED TO MAKE OUT THE BID FORM, HE TRANSPOSED THE FIGURES IN SUCH PRICE AND ENTERED THE PRICE ON THE COPY SHEET AS $0.48; THAT AS A RESULT OF SUCH TRANSPOSITION OF FIGURES HE UNDERSTATED THE EXTENDED TOTAL PRICE FOR ITEM 102 (1) BY $126,360; AND THAT THE CORRECT AGGREGATE TOTAL PRICE FOR THE PROJECT IS $400,479. THE PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION REQUESTED THAT THE CORPORATION BE PERMITTED TO CORRECT ITS BID ON ITEM 102 (1). IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE CORPORATION SUBMITTED CERTAIN WORKSHEETS AND AN AFFIDAVIT EXECUTED BY ITS PRESIDENT IN WHICH HE EXPLAINED HOW THE ERROR OCCURRED.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE BID OF THE CORPORATION, AS ALLEGED. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE PRESENT CASE, HOWEVER, ARE NOT SUCH AS WOULD WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERROR WAS ALLEGED AND EXPLAINED PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE J. L. JOHNSTON CO., INC., MAY BE DISREGARDED.