B-147444, OCT. 30, 1961

B-147444: Oct 30, 1961

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 27 ITEMS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT FOR THE WORK. 914 AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK WAS $718. YOU STATE THAT UPON REVIEWING THE BIDS IT WAS NOTED THAT THE BID OF THE PACIFIC CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AND ASSOCIATES WAS SUBSTANTIALLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE NEXT LOWEST BID AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE. THAT IN VIEW OF THE DISPARITY BETWEEN THE COMPANY'S BID AND THE NEXT THREE LOWEST BIDS A TELEPHONE CALL WAS PLACED TO MR. THAT THE BID TOTALS WERE READ TO MR. IF THE BID OF THE COMPANY IS CORRECTED TO SHOW A UNIT PRICE OF $3.25 FROM ITEM 102 (1).

B-147444, OCT. 30, 1961

TO MR. WILLIAM J. NIEMI, BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16, 1961, FILE REFERENCE 10- 20, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH THE PACIFIC CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AND ASSOCIATES ALLEGES IT MAY IN ITS BID OPENED ON OCTOBER 10, 1961.

IN AN INVITATION DATED SEPTEMBER 8, 1961, THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING MATERIALS AND PERFORMING THE WORK FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF ALASKA FOREST HIGHWAY PROJECTS FH 4-E, B5 AND FH 32-2 (1), CORDOVA AND COPPER RIVER HIGHWAYS. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS DIVIDED INTO 27 ITEMS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING BIDS AND MAKING PAYMENT FOR THE WORK. IN RESPONSE THE PACIFIC CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AND ASSOCIATES, FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, SUBMITTED A BID OFFERING TO PERFORM THE WORK FOR THE AGGREGATE TOTAL PRICE OF $544,537. THE EIGHT OTHER BIDDERS ON THE PROJECT QUOTED AGGREGATE TOTAL PRICES RANGING FROM $719,903.50 TO $1,201,914 AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK WAS $718,049.43.

YOU STATE THAT UPON REVIEWING THE BIDS IT WAS NOTED THAT THE BID OF THE PACIFIC CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AND ASSOCIATES WAS SUBSTANTIALLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE NEXT LOWEST BID AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE, AND THAT IN VIEW OF THE DISPARITY BETWEEN THE COMPANY'S BID AND THE NEXT THREE LOWEST BIDS A TELEPHONE CALL WAS PLACED TO MR. LUNDGREN OF THE PACIFIC CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AND ASSOCIATES; THAT THE BID TOTALS WERE READ TO MR. LUNDGREN WITHOUT FURTHER COMMENT; AND MR. LUNDGREN STATED THAT HE WOULD CHECK HIS BID AND CONFIRM IT. YOU ALSO STATE THAT IN ABOUT 10 MINUTES MR. LUNDGREN CALLED BACK AND STATED THAT HE HAD DISCOVERED FROM HIS WORKSHEETS THAT HE HAD ERRONEOUSLY USED THE FIGURE OF $2.25 PER CUBIC YARD FOR ITEM 102 (1) INSTEAD OF HIS ESTIMATOR'S FIGURE OF $3.25 PER CUBIC YARD.

IN A CONFIRMING LETTER DATED OCTOBER 10, 1951, MR. LUNDGREN STATED THAT IN TRANSFERRING THE UNIT PRICE OF $3.25 FOR ITEM 102 (1), UNCLASSIFIED EXCAVATION, FROM HIS ESTIMATOR'S WORKSHEET TO THE BID SCHEDULE, HE INADVERTENTLY COPIED ONTO THE BID SCHEDULE THE FIGURE OF $2.25 AND THEN EXTENDED THAT FIGURE INTO THE TOTAL AMOUNT COLUMN AND THAT AS A RESULT OF SUCH ERROR HE UNDERSTATED THE EXTENDED TOTAL PRICE FOR ITEM 102 (1) BY $153,000. MR. LUNDGREN REQUESTED THAT THE COMPANY BE PERMITTED TO CORRECT ITS BID ON ITEM 102 (1) OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, THAT IT BE PERMITTED TO WITHDRAW ITS BID ON THE PROJECT. IF THE BID OF THE COMPANY IS CORRECTED TO SHOW A UNIT PRICE OF $3.25 FROM ITEM 102 (1), THE COMPANY'S REVISED AGGREGATE TOTAL PRICE FOR THE WORK WOULD BE $697,537. IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE COMPANY SUBMITTED CERTAIN WORKSHEETS AND AN AFFIDAVIT EXECUTED BY MR. LUNDGREN 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 COMPANY, 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 IT WAS BELIEVED THAT THE BID WAS ERRONEOUS AND SINCE SUCH BELIEF WAS CONFIRMED AND THE ERROR WAS EXPLAINED BY THE COMPANY PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE PACIFIC CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AND ASSOCIATES MAY BE DISREGARDED.