B-148731, MAY 7, 1962

B-148731: May 7, 1962

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: WE HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20. BIDS WERE OPENED AS SCHEDULED ON APRIL 9. WAS SO LOW AS COMPARED TO THE OTHER BIDS AND THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE AS TO INDICATE THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR. THE LOW BIDDER WAS REQUESTED TO CONFIRM ITS PRICE BY TELEGRAM OF APRIL 13. IN REPLY THE BIDDER STATED THAT THE INTENDED BID SHOULD HAVE BEEN $4. THE RULE IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT A BID MAY BE CORRECTED AFTER OPENING AND PRIOR TO AWARD ONLY UPON THE TIMELY PRESENTATION OF CONVINCING EVIDENCE OF THE ERROR AND THE INTENDED BID PRICE. 38 COMP. THIS CASE THE NATURE OF THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED AS TO WHAT THE BID PRICE WOULD HAVE BEEN EXCEPT FOR THE ERROR FALLS FAR SHORT OF MEETING THE ESTABLISHED STANDARD.

B-148731, MAY 7, 1962

TO CONTRACTING OFFICER, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:

WE HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20, 1962, YOUR REFERENCE D-289A, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING OUR ADVICE AS TO THE DISPOSITION OF THE LOW BID SUBMITTED UNDER INVITATION NO. (D) J-33,047-A, ISSUED MARCH 16, 1962, FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF A QUANTITY OF STEEL ANCHORAGE BOLTS.

BIDS WERE OPENED AS SCHEDULED ON APRIL 9, 1962. THE 11 BIDS RECEIVED RANGED FROM A LOW OF $3,875 TO A HIGH OF $13,601.51 AS COMPARED TO THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE OF $5,000. YOU STATE THAT THE LOW BID, SUBMITTED BY BERKELEY STEEL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., WAS SO LOW AS COMPARED TO THE OTHER BIDS AND THE ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE AS TO INDICATE THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR. ACCORDINGLY, THE LOW BIDDER WAS REQUESTED TO CONFIRM ITS PRICE BY TELEGRAM OF APRIL 13, 1962. IN REPLY THE BIDDER STATED THAT THE INTENDED BID SHOULD HAVE BEEN $4,292. SUBSEQUENTLY THE BIDDER EXPLAINED THAT THE ERROR AROSE BECAUSE PRICES OBTAINED BY TELEPHONE FROM ITS SUPPLIER FAILED TO INCLUDE THE PROTECTIVE RUST PREVENTIVE COATING AND WRAPPING REQUIRED UNDER THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION. IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR THE LOW BIDDER FURNISHED ITS ORIGINAL ESTIMATE SHEETS SHOWING COMPUTATIONS USED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE BID AND THE ORIGINAL PENCIL NOTATIONS BASED ON THE SUPPLIER'S TELEPHONE QUOTATION. THE BERKELEY BID WOULD STILL BE LOW IF CORRECTION AS REQUESTED SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED.

THE RULE IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT A BID MAY BE CORRECTED AFTER OPENING AND PRIOR TO AWARD ONLY UPON THE TIMELY PRESENTATION OF CONVINCING EVIDENCE OF THE ERROR AND THE INTENDED BID PRICE. 38 COMP. GEN. 78. THIS CASE THE NATURE OF THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED AS TO WHAT THE BID PRICE WOULD HAVE BEEN EXCEPT FOR THE ERROR FALLS FAR SHORT OF MEETING THE ESTABLISHED STANDARD, SINCE IT IS APPARENT THAT A SPECIFIC PRICE OTHER THAN THAT INCLUDED IN THE BID WAS NOT INTENDED. ACCORDINGLY CORRECTION MAY NOT BE PERMITTED.

HOWEVER, THE DEGREE OF PROOF REQUIRED TO JUSTIFY WITHDRAWAL OF A BID BEFORE AWARD IS IN NO WAY COMPARABLE TO THAT NECESSARY TO PERMIT CORRECTION. SINCE IN THIS INSTANCE YOU WERE PUT ON NOTICE OF POSSIBLE ERROR BECAUSE OF THE LOW BID PRICE, AND THAT POSSIBILITY WAS CONFIRMED BY INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE BIDDER PRIOR TO AWARD, THE LOW BID MAY BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARD. 36 COMP. GEN. 441.

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