B-150799, APR. 1, 1963

B-150799: Apr 1, 1963

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF FEBRUARY 8 AND LETTER OF FEBRUARY 12. WAS UNNECESSARY AND SERVED ONLY TO LESSEN COMPETITION. ON THAT BASIS YOU REQUEST THAT THE ORIGINAL INVITATION BE REINSTATED AND SINCE YOU WERE THE LOW BIDDER THEREON AWARD OF A CONTRACT SHOULD BE MADE TO YOU. YOUR BID WAS THE LOWEST OF THE FOUR BIDS RECEIVED. DURING THE COURSE OF A PREAWARD SURVEY IT WAS ESTABLISHED THAT YOU INTENDED TO USE A SLAB METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION. UPON BEING INFORMED THAT SUCH METHOD WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE YOU AGREED TO COMPLY WITH THE "FOAMED- IN-PLACE" SPECIFICATION BY USING A BUCKET TO POUR THE HEATED INSULATION. WHILE THIS PROCEDURE MAY HAVE COMPLIED WITH THE LANGUAGE OF THE INVITATION REQUIREMENTS SUCH UNCONTROLLED METHOD WAS NOT CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE BECAUSE OF THE PROBABILITY OF VOIDS OCCURRING BETWEEN THE INNER AND OUTER WALLS.

B-150799, APR. 1, 1963

WICKES INDUSTRIES, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF FEBRUARY 8 AND LETTER OF FEBRUARY 12, 1963, PROTESTING AGAINST THE ACTION TAKEN BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROCUREMENT OF THREE ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT SHELTERS. YOU STATE IN SUBSTANCE THAT THE CANCELLATION OF IFB NO. 2793, AND THE READVERTISEMENT UNDER IFB NO. 2843, WAS UNNECESSARY AND SERVED ONLY TO LESSEN COMPETITION. ON THAT BASIS YOU REQUEST THAT THE ORIGINAL INVITATION BE REINSTATED AND SINCE YOU WERE THE LOW BIDDER THEREON AWARD OF A CONTRACT SHOULD BE MADE TO YOU.

THE FIRST INVITATION SOUGHT BIDS ON THE FURNISHING OF THREE ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT SHELTERS TO BE FABRICATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS AND SPECIFICATIONS MADE A PART THEREOF. PARAGRAPH 1.3.2 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS PROVIDED THAT--- "THE PANELS FOR WALLS, ROOF, AND FLOOR SHALL BE CONSTRUCTED OF TWO ONE-PIECE SKINS ENCLOSING A FOAMED-IN-PLACE POLYURETHANE FOAM CORE.' YOUR BID WAS THE LOWEST OF THE FOUR BIDS RECEIVED. DURING THE COURSE OF A PREAWARD SURVEY IT WAS ESTABLISHED THAT YOU INTENDED TO USE A SLAB METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION. UPON BEING INFORMED THAT SUCH METHOD WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE YOU AGREED TO COMPLY WITH THE "FOAMED- IN-PLACE" SPECIFICATION BY USING A BUCKET TO POUR THE HEATED INSULATION. WHILE THIS PROCEDURE MAY HAVE COMPLIED WITH THE LANGUAGE OF THE INVITATION REQUIREMENTS SUCH UNCONTROLLED METHOD WAS NOT CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE BECAUSE OF THE PROBABILITY OF VOIDS OCCURRING BETWEEN THE INNER AND OUTER WALLS. IN VIEW THEREOF IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS IN THAT REGARD WERE INADEQUATE AND, THEREFORE THE INVITATION WAS CANCELLED. THE SECOND INVITATION SET FORTH MORE FULLY THE REQUIRED PROCEDURE KNOWN AS "FOAMED-IN-PLACE" AS DESCRIBED IN THE 1963 EDITION OF MODERN PLASTIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, AND PROVIDED FOR AN INSPECTION BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY DURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS TO INSURE COMPLIANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS. BECAUSE OF THE TIME WHICH HAD ELAPSED DELIVERY OF THE SHELTERS WAS REDUCED TO 45 CALENDAR DAYS.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE METHOD YOU PROPOSED TO USE IS SUPERIOR TO THAT SPECIFIED, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE PERSONNEL DO NOT SHARE THAT OPINION. A TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF THE TWO METHODS WAS MADE IN A REPORT BY THE CHIEF, SATELLITE TRACKING PROGRAM, WHICH IS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"A. TO PREVENT MOISTURE FROM COLLECTING IN VOIDS WITHIN THE WALLS, IT APPEARED THAT THE BEST INSULATION WOULD BE A TYPE THAT WOULD COMPLETELY FILL ALL VOIDS. THIS WOULD BE PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT TO PROTECT THE COMPLEX ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT IN OUR SYSTEMS. SINCE, THE USE OF SLAB TYPE INSULATION DOES NOT FILL ALL VOIDS, THE USE OF A COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE LIQUID FOAMING INSULATION THAT FILLS ALL VOIDS WAS INDICATED.

"B. IT IS A MATTER OF RECORD THAT A POLYURETHANE TYPE INSULATION HAS THE BEST INSULATION CHARACTERISTICS (LOWEST K-FACTOR) OF COMMONLY USED INSULATIONS. BY A METHOD KNOWN AS ,FOAMING-IN-PLACE," POLYURETHANE COMPLETELY FILLS ALL VOIDS AND MAINTAINS AN ADHESION SHEAR STRENGTH OF 10 PSI BETWEEN THE INNER SKIN AND CORE MATERIAL AND BETWEEN THE OUTER SKIN AND THE CORE MATERIAL AS SPECIFIED IN MIL-S 52059/SIGC);3.2.2.1. THE FACT THAT SOME OTHER TYPES OF INSULATION OFFERED STRUCTURAL STRENGTH TO THE SHELTER WITH LESS INSULATION ADVANTAGES DID NOT APPEAR TO BE A DECIDING FACTOR SINCE IT WAS EXPECTED THAT THE SHELTER WOULD BE STRUCTURALLY SOUND WITHOUT INSULATION.

"C. ONE OF THE MANUFACTURERS OF POLYURETHANE, THE NOPCO CORP., CLIFTON, NEW JERSEY, STATED THAT THE PREFERRED METHOD FOR APPLYING THIS TYPE INSULATION IN ORDER TO FILL ALL VOIDS WAS THE FOAMED-IN-PLACE METHOD. REPRESENTATIVE OF THIS COMPANY STATED THAT OTHER METHODS OF APPLYING POLYURETHANE, SUCH AS THE "BUCKET POURING" METHOD WOULD NOT MEET THE SHEAR STRENGTH REQUIREMENTS INDICATED IN THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH. FURTHERMORE, THIS IMPROVISED PROCESS WOULD NOT YIELD CONSISTENCY IN THE LIQUID POLYURETHANE AND THE FOAMING PROCESS WOULD POSSIBLY UNEVEN TO THE POINT OF HAVING VOIDS.

"D. IN HOT DESERT AREAS, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT ROOF TEMPERATURES CAN EXCEED 220 DEGREES F. DUE TO SOLAR RADIATION, AND THEREFORE THE INSULATION SHOULD HAVE A SERVICEABLE TEMPERATURE RANGE IN EXCESS OF THIS FIGURE. POLYURETHANE INSULATION HAS A SERVICEABLE TEMPERATURE RANGE OF PLUS 250 DEGREES F., WHILE A STYROFOAM MATERIALS HAS A RANGE UP TO PLUS 175 DEGREES F.

"E. POLYURETHANE INSULATION IS COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE AND CAN BE FOAMED- IN-PLACE (BY) A NUMBER OF COMPANIES, AND THEREFORE IS NOT A PROPRIETARY ITEM.'

WE ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE RELATIVE MERITS OF THE METHODS EMPLOYED IN THE APPLICATION OF THE INSULATING MATERIAL SPECIFIED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS AND, THEREFORE, WE ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO SUBSTITUTE OUR JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE PURCHASING OFFICIALS. THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS FOR USE WITH GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENTS AND THE FACTUAL DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER THE SUPPLIES OR SERVICES OFFERED COMPLY WITH THOSE SPECIFICATIONS ARE PRIMARILY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE CONCERNED. WHAT MAY BE AN ACCEPTABLE METHOD OF FABRICATION IS THUS FOR DETERMINATION BY THE PROCUREMENT AUTHORITIES IN THE SAME MANNER AS ANY OTHER FACTUAL MATTER PROPERLY FOR CONSIDERATION BY THEM UNDER THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, AND SINCE WE HAVE FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF BAD FAITH OR ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT, THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY WILL NOT BE DISTURBED.