B-150365, JAN. 21, 1963

B-150365: Jan 21, 1963

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TO THE UNITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED DECEMBER 13. WHICH IS REPORTED TO BE A PROSPECTIVE SUPPLIER TO THE ACTUAL BIDDERS. IN ITS PROTEST TO THIS OFFICE CONTENDS THAT THE ABOVE-MENTIONED INVITATION IS RESTRICTIVE IN THAT IT ELIMINATES ALL COMPETITION BY MANUFACTURERS OF EQUAL PRODUCTS. THAT THE NAVAL REACTOR FACILITY CONSISTS OF THREE OTHER PROJECT AREAS ADJACENT TO THE S5G AREA AND THAT THEY ALL WILL BE MAINTAINED BY THE SAME CONTRACTOR. HE FURTHER STATES THAT STANDARDIZATION OF PARTITIONS WITH THOSE NOW IN USE IN OTHER AREAS IS DESIRED TO EFFECT ECONOMIES THROUGH MINIMUM STOCKING OF PARTY AND SPARE PARTITIONS AND TO PROVIDE MAXIMUM INTERCHANGEABILITY OF PARTITIONS.

B-150365, JAN. 21, 1963

TO THE UNITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED DECEMBER 13, 1962, FROM MR. E. J. BLOCH, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER FOR OPERATIONS, ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, CONCERNING A PROTEST OF ROCKAWAY METAL PRODUCTS ON THE WORDING OF INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. AE-63-SCH-569 AS IT RELATES TO OFFICE DIVIDERS, OR PARTITIONS.

ROCKAWAY METAL PRODUCTS, WHICH IS REPORTED TO BE A PROSPECTIVE SUPPLIER TO THE ACTUAL BIDDERS, IN ITS PROTEST TO THIS OFFICE CONTENDS THAT THE ABOVE-MENTIONED INVITATION IS RESTRICTIVE IN THAT IT ELIMINATES ALL COMPETITION BY MANUFACTURERS OF EQUAL PRODUCTS. THAT PORTION OF THE SPECIFICATION UNDER PROTEST APPEARS TO BEGIN WITH PARAGRAPH TP-A-22-6, ENTITLED "MANUFACTURE AND TYPE," WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"/A) METAL OFFICE DIVIDERS NOTED AS TYPES "P," "R," "W," "X," AND "Y," SHALL BE AS MANUFACTURED BY THE ARNOT FURNITURE DIVISION OF ROYAL METAL MANUFACTURING CO., NO SUBSTITUTE ALLOWED, MUST MATCH EXISTING UNITS AT THE SITE.'

IN HIS LETTER DATED DECEMBER 13, MR. BLOCH ADVISES THAT THE INVITATION FOR BIDS INVOLVES CONSTRUCTION WORK ON PROJECT S5G, NAVAL REACTOR FACILITY, NATIONAL REACTOR TESTING STATION, IDAHO; THAT THE NAVAL REACTOR FACILITY CONSISTS OF THREE OTHER PROJECT AREAS ADJACENT TO THE S5G AREA AND THAT THEY ALL WILL BE MAINTAINED BY THE SAME CONTRACTOR. HE FURTHER STATES THAT STANDARDIZATION OF PARTITIONS WITH THOSE NOW IN USE IN OTHER AREAS IS DESIRED TO EFFECT ECONOMIES THROUGH MINIMUM STOCKING OF PARTY AND SPARE PARTITIONS AND TO PROVIDE MAXIMUM INTERCHANGEABILITY OF PARTITIONS. IT IS STATED THAT THE PARTITIONS PRESENTLY IN USE WERE OBTAINED THROUGH FEDERAL SUPPLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION SPECIFICATIONS, AND THAT THOSE PARTITIONS WERE MANUFACTURED BY THE ARNOT FURNITURE DIVISION OF THE ROYAL METAL MANUFACTURING COMPANY UNDER A GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION CONTRACT.

IT ALSO IS REPORTED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS USED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS NOT THE SPECIFICATION INTENDED TO BE USED, IT HAVING BEEN INTENDED TO USE THE SAME SPECIFICATION THAT HAD BEEN USED FOR THE PARTITIONS ALREADY ON HAND, WHICH WAS THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION SPECIFICATION. AS A RESULT, THEREFORE, THE SPECIFICATION SET OUT IN THE INVITATION WAS NOT THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION SPECIFICATION USED BY ARNOT IN THE PREVIOUS PARTITIONS BUT, THROUGH INADVERTENCE, WAS ARNOT'S OWN COMMERCIAL SPECIFICATION.

IT IS NOTED THAT THE GOVERNMENT ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK COVERED BY THE INVITATION IS $1,464,500, INCLUDING $32,460 FOR THE PARTITIONS. FURTHERMORE, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO LOW BIDS IS $73,468, AS COMPARED TO THE ESTIMATE OF $32,460 FOR THE PARTITIONS. IN THE LIGHT OF THIS SITUATION, OUR OFFICE HAS BEEN REQUESTED TO CONCUR IN YOUR PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE SPECIFICATION SO AS TO ELIMINATE THE RESTRICTION WHICH INADVERTENTLY HAS RESULTED. IN THESE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES WE BELIEVE THAT THE PROPOSED CORRECTION OF THE SPECIFICATIONS WOULD NOT BE PREJUDICIAL TO THE RIGHTS OF BIDDERS. THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE SINCE ROCKAWAY'S COMPLAINT IS INDEPENDENT OF WHOEVER THE LOW BIDDER MIGHT BE, SO LONG AS THE PROCUREMENT OF PARTITIONS BY SUCH BIDDER IS NOT LIMITED TO A SINGLE SUPPLIER. FURTHERMORE, CORRECTION OF THE RESTRICTIVE SPECIFICATIONS APPEARS PREFERABLE TO READVERTISING THE PROCUREMENT AFTER BIDS HAVE BEEN EXPOSED.

SUBSEQUENT TO THE RECEIPT OF MR. BLOCH'S LETTER OF DECEMBER 13, WE WERE INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT THE SPECIFICATION HAS BEEN CORRECTED AND THAT ROCKAWAY METAL PRODUCTS HAS BEEN SO INFORMED.