B-150368, MAR. 26, 1963:

B-150368: Mar 26, 1963

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YOU PROTESTED A DECISION BY AIR FORCE OFFICIALS THAT YOUR PRODUCT WAS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE SPECIFICATIONS. IT SHOULD BE NOTED AT THE OUTSET THAT YOUR CONTENTION IS GENERALLY NOT A BASIS FOR RELIEF. SINCE THERE IS NO STATUTE WHICH PROHIBITS A GOVERNMENT PRIME CONTRACTOR FROM AWARDING SUBCONTRACTS TO OTHER THAN THE LOW BIDDER. SHEETS WITH CORRUGATIONS HAVING A DEPTH OF 1.6625 INCHES WOULD HAVE BEEN ACCEPTABLE. IT CLEARLY EXCEEDED THE MINUS 5 PERCENT TOLERATION AND THEREFORE WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE. IT IS NOTED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR MAINTENANCE DOCKS AT TWO OF THE BASES REQUIRED THE SHEETS TO HAVE A ZINC COATING WEIGHING 1.5 OUNCES PER SQUARE FOOT. THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS ARE NECESSARY TO MEET THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY IS NOT ORDINARILY CONSIDERED TO BE WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THIS OFFICE.

B-150368, MAR. 26, 1963:

TO GRANCO STEEL PRODUCTS COMPANY:

IN YOUR TELEGRAM DATED NOVEMBER 27, 1962, YOU ALLEGED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR ROOFING AND SIDING MATERIAL, FOR USE IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF MAINTENANCE DOCKS AT CANNON, LUKE, NELLIS AND PERRIN AIR FORCE BASES, DO NOT CLEARLY DEFINE THE CORRUGATION PATTERN FOR THE REQUIRED METAL SHEETING, AND YOU PROTESTED A DECISION BY AIR FORCE OFFICIALS THAT YOUR PRODUCT WAS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE SPECIFICATIONS.

IT SHOULD BE NOTED AT THE OUTSET THAT YOUR CONTENTION IS GENERALLY NOT A BASIS FOR RELIEF, SINCE THERE IS NO STATUTE WHICH PROHIBITS A GOVERNMENT PRIME CONTRACTOR FROM AWARDING SUBCONTRACTS TO OTHER THAN THE LOW BIDDER.

THE RECORD ESTABLISHES THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS AND DRAWINGS FOR THIS WORK REQUIRED DEEP CORRUGATED SHEETS HAVING CORRUGATIONS NOT EXCEEDING 1.75 INCHES IN DEPTH. THE SPECIFICATIONS ALLOWED A DEPTH TOLERANCE OF MINUS 5 PERCENT, I.E., SHEETS WITH CORRUGATIONS HAVING A DEPTH OF 1.6625 INCHES WOULD HAVE BEEN ACCEPTABLE. THE MATERIAL YOU OFFERED HAD A CORRUGATION DEPTH OF 1.3125 INCHES AND, WHILE THIS DEPTH DID NOT EXCEED 1.75 INCHES, IT CLEARLY EXCEEDED THE MINUS 5 PERCENT TOLERATION AND THEREFORE WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE. FURTHERMORE, YOU OFFERED ROLLED CORRUGATED SHEETING, ALTHOUGH THE SPECIFICATIONS AND DRAWINGS INDICATED THE USE OF V-BEAM SHEETS, A PATTERN COMPATIBLE WITH THE DESIGN STRENGTH REQUIREMENTS RESULTING FROM A 1.75-INCH DEPTH. FINALLY, IT IS NOTED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR MAINTENANCE DOCKS AT TWO OF THE BASES REQUIRED THE SHEETS TO HAVE A ZINC COATING WEIGHING 1.5 OUNCES PER SQUARE FOOT, AND THAT THE ZINC COATING OF THE SHEETS WHICH YOU SUBMITTED FOR THIS PROCUREMENT WEIGHED ONLY 1.25 OUNCES PER SQUARE FOOT.

THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS ARE NECESSARY TO MEET THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY IS NOT ORDINARILY CONSIDERED TO BE WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THIS OFFICE. OUR DECISION B-139830, DATED AUGUST 19, 1959, WE MADE THE FOLLOWING OBSERVATION:

"THIS OFFICE HAS NEITHER AN ENGINEERING STAFF NOR A TESTING LABORATORY TO EVALUATE THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF SPECIFICATIONS. MOREOVER, IN DISPUTES OF FACT BETWEEN A PROTESTANT AND A GOVERNMENT AGENCY, WE USUALLY ARE REQUIRED TO ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT AS CORRECT. WHETHER A PARTICULAR BID IS RESPONSIVE TO THE TECHNICAL DETAILS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS IS NOT A MATTER, ORDINARILY, FOR OUR DETERMINATION. * *

IN THIS REGARD, WE HELD IN OUR DECISION B-143389, DATED AUGUST 26, 1960, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE QUESTION AS TO THE ACTION, IF ANY, WHICH OUR OFFICE SHOULD TAKE IN CASES INVOLVING THE EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFICATIONS, ETC., HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF A NUMBER OF DECISIONS BY OUR OFFICE. YOUR PROTEST IS BASED UPON SUCH AN EVALUATION. OF NECESSITY, OUR OFFICE HAS ESTABLISHED A RULE GOVERNING SUCH SITUATIONS. IN A DECISION DATED JANUARY 8, 1938, TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PUBLISHED AT 17 COMP. GEN. 554, 557, WE SET FORTH THE FOLLOWING RULE WHICH WE CONSIDER TO BE CONTROLLING IN THE INSTANT MATTER:

"IT IS IN THE PROVINCE OF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS TO DRAFT PROPER SPECIFICATIONS NECESSARY TO SUBMIT FOR FAIR COMPETITIVE BIDDING PROPOSED CONTRACTS TO SUPPLY GOVERNMENTAL NEEDS, AND TO DETERMINE FACTUALLY WHETHER ARTICLES OFFERED MEET THOSE SPECIFICATIONS. * * *" "

ON THE BASIS OF THE FOREGOING RECORD, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT THERE IS NO REASON TO OBJECT TO THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE.