B-153796, JUN. 25, 1964

B-153796: Jun 25, 1964

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TO INGERSOLL-RAND COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 20. WHICH WAS ISSUED ON DECEMBER 27. THE DATE SPECIFIED FOR BID OPENING WAS JANUARY 20. THE REQUEST WAS DENIED ON THE BASIS THAT ADEQUATE TIME HAD BEEN ALLOWED FOR SUBMISSION OF BIDS AND NO OTHER REQUESTS FOR AN EXTENSION HAD BEEN RECEIVED. YOU PROTESTED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE RESTRICTIVE. THE SLEEVE REQUIREMENT WAS EXPLAINED AS AN OBVIOUS MISPRINT. THE INTENDED WORD WAS "SHEAVE.'. THE SHEAVE IS REPORTED TO BE STANDARD FOR THIS TYPE EQUIPMENT AND MADE BY ANY COMPRESSOR MANUFACTURER. THE REVERSIBLE PLUG IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE FOR OPERATION OF THE COMPRESSOR AT EITHER OF TWO OUTPUT PRESSURES AS REQUIRED FOR NORMAL OPERATION AND TESTING.

B-153796, JUN. 25, 1964

TO INGERSOLL-RAND COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 20, 1964, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, RELATIVE TO YOUR PROTEST AGAINST REJECTION BY THE NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY (NOL), SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND, OF ALL BIDS SUBMITTED UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 60921-70-64B AND READVERTISEMENT OF THE PROCUREMENT.

THE INVITATION, WHICH WAS ISSUED ON DECEMBER 27, 1963, SOLICITED BIDS FROM 14 SOURCES ON A BOOSTER AIR COMPRESSOR TO BE FURNISHED WITH CERTAIN EQUIPMENT AND TO COMPLY WITH DETAILED SPECIFIED REQUIREMENTS, INCLUDING A PISTON DISPLACEMENT OF 11.3 CFM, COMPRESSOR SPEED OF 327 RPM, AND VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY OF 74.5 PERCENT. THE DATE SPECIFIED FOR BID OPENING WAS JANUARY 20, 1964. THIS ALLOWED A PERIOD OF 25 DAYS FOR SUBMISSION OF BIDS.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON JANUARY 10, 1964, YOU REQUESTED AN EXTENSION OF THE BID OPENING DATE, BUT THE REQUEST WAS DENIED ON THE BASIS THAT ADEQUATE TIME HAD BEEN ALLOWED FOR SUBMISSION OF BIDS AND NO OTHER REQUESTS FOR AN EXTENSION HAD BEEN RECEIVED.

THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT BY LETTER OF JANUARY 15, 1964, YOU PROTESTED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE RESTRICTIVE, THAT THEY SHOULD BE CLARIFIED, AND THAT THE MATTER OF CAPACITY CONTROL SHOULD BE LEFT UP TO THE COMPRESSOR MANUFACTURER. YOU SPECIFICALLY QUESTIONED THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A GROOVED COMPRESSOR "SLEEVE" AND A REVERSIBLE CLEARANCE PLUG.

THE SLEEVE REQUIREMENT WAS EXPLAINED AS AN OBVIOUS MISPRINT, WHICH YOU ACKNOWLEDGED. THE INTENDED WORD WAS "SHEAVE.' THE SHEAVE IS REPORTED TO BE STANDARD FOR THIS TYPE EQUIPMENT AND MADE BY ANY COMPRESSOR MANUFACTURER. THE REVERSIBLE PLUG IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE FOR OPERATION OF THE COMPRESSOR AT EITHER OF TWO OUTPUT PRESSURES AS REQUIRED FOR NORMAL OPERATION AND TESTING.

IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE METHOD OF CAPACITY CONTROL COULD NOT BE LEFT UP TO THE COMPRESSOR MANUFACTURER FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

"/A) THE EQUIPMENT TO BE PROVIDED UNDER THIS PROCUREMENT IS A HIGH PRESSURE COMPRESSOR WHICH MUST CONVERT THE DISCHARGE OF TEN 3000 PSI COMPRESSORS AND DISCHARGE NORMALLY INTO A BANK OF 5000 PSI STORAGE BOTTLES.

"/B) UNDER BI-ANNUAL TEST REQUIREMENTS THIS SAME MACHINE WILL DISCHARGE INTO 6250 PSI STORAGE BANK UNDER CONTROLLED CONDITIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF EFFECTING A PNEUMATIC TEST ON THE ENTIRE SYSTEM AND STORAGE FIELD.

"NO OTHER METHOD OF CAPACITY CONTROL WILL SATISFY THESE REQUIREMENTS WITHOUT ADDITIONAL, EXPENSIVE SAFETY DEVICES.'

WHILE YOU CONTEND THAT THERE ARE OTHER METHODS OF ACCOMPLISHING THE SAME RESULT, YOUR BID PROPOSED TO MEET THIS ITEM OF THE SPECIFICATION AND IT THEREFORE DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THIS POINT IS MATERIAL.

NOTWITHSTANDING YOUR PROTEST, THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE NOT MODIFIED AND BIDS WERE OPENED AS SCHEDULED ON JANUARY 20, 1964. OF THE TWO BIDS RECEIVED, YOUR BID OF $11,876 WAS LOW. HOWEVER, IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT YOUR BID DID NOT MEET THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS, PARTICULARLY WITH RESPECT TO THE COMPRESSOR SPEED.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S REPORT ON THE EVALUATION OF YOUR BID READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * IN THE MINIMUM REQUIRED SPECIFICATIONS, NOL REQUESTED A MACHINE OPERATING WITH A COMPRESSOR SPEED OF 327 RPM. THE MACHINE OFFERED BY INGERSOL-RAND WILL RUN AT A COMPRESSOR SPEED OF 435 RPM, OR 35 PERCENT IN EXCESS OF THE SPEED SPECIFIED IN ORDER TO MEET THE PERFORMANCE SPECIFIED. CONSEQUENTLY, THIS MACHINE WILL DETERIORATE 35 PERCENT FASTER. THIS IS DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE MANUFACTURER MUST BUILD INTO HIS MACHINE EXTREMELY CLOSE TOLERANCES TO PUSH UP THE VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY TO MEET THE ACTUAL CAPACITY SECTION OF THE MINIMUM REQUIRED SPECIFICATION. ADDITION, THE COMPRESSORS OFFERED BY INGERSOLL-RAND WITH THE EXCESSIVE RPM WILL RESULT IN RAPID WEAR, THEREBY DROPPING THE VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY RAPIDLY. THE END RESULT WILL BE A DROP IN ACTUAL CAPACITY AND FURTHER RESULT IN A SUPERCHARGED SUCTION PRESSURE. THE REACTION WILL RESULT IN AN UPSURGE IN HORSEPOWER AND PRESENT A DANGEROUS CONDITION UNLESS OVER- PRESSURE DEVICES BLOW OFF, WHICH WAS NOT INTENDED IN THE ENGINEERING OF THIS INSTALLATION, NOR OFFERED BY INGERSOLL-RAND AS A METHOD OF OVERCOMING THIS DANGEROUS CONDITION.'

AFTER DISCUSSION WITH TECHNICAL PERSONNEL FOLLOWING THE BID OPENING IT WAS DETERMINED THAT NOL'S MINIMUM REQUIRED SPECIFICATIONS AS STATED IN THE INVITATION WERE INADEQUATE, PRESUMABLY BECAUSE THE COMPRESSOR SPEED OF 327 RPM WAS STATED UNDER THE HEADING "MINIMUM REQUIRED SPECIFICATION" AND MIGHT THEREFORE BE INTERPRETED AS STATING A MINIMUM SPEED WITHOUT ANY MAXIMUM LIMIT, WHICH WAS NOT THE INTENTION OF THE AGENCY. ACCORDINGLY, IT WAS DETERMINED TO BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT TO CANCEL THE INVITATION AND READVERTISE THE REQUIREMENTS WITH ADEQUATE SPECIFICATIONS.

THE SECOND INVITATION, NO. 60921-121-64, ISSUED MARCH 20, 1964, PROVIDED FOR BID OPENING ON APRIL 3, 1964. HOWEVER, AS THE RESULT OF YOUR PROTEST, THE BID OPENING DATE HAS BEEN EXTENDED.

IN THE SECOND INVITATION THE SPECIFICATIONS CONTAIN MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM LIMITS TO ELIMINATE ANY POSSIBILITY OF MISUNDERSTANDING ON THE PART OF ALL BIDDERS. THE CHANGES IN THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

IFB-60921-70-64B IFB-60921-121-64

TYPE OF GAS - AIR TYPE OF GAS - AIR

STAGE OF COMPRESSION - ONE STAGE OF COMPRESSION - SINGLE

PISTON DISPLACEMENT C.F.M. - PISTON DISPLACEMENT C.F.M. -

11.3 11.1 TO 11.5

COMPRESSOR SPEED R.P.M. - 327 COMPRESSOR SPEED IN R.P.M. -

NOT LESS THAN 318 AND NOT

MORE THAN 335

ALTITUDE - SEA LEVEL ALTITUDE - SEA LEVEL

INTAKE PRESSURE P.S.I.G. INTAKE PRESSURE AT ALL

3000 - 3000 OPERATING CONDITIONS -

3000 PSIG

DISCHARGE PRESSURE P.S.I.G. DISCHARGE PRESSURE NORMAL

5000 - 6250 OPERATION - 5000 PSIG,

WITH REVERSED PLUG

6250 PSIG

VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY PERCENT - VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY NORMAL

74.5 - 55OPERATION NOT TO EXCEED

77 PERCENT WITH REVERSED

PLUG NOT TO EXCEED 57

PERCENT

ACTUAL CAPACITY C.F.M. ACTUAL CAPACITY C.F.M. NORMAL -

8.4 - 6.2 NOT LESS THAN 8.4 C.F.M.

AND REVERSED PLUG - NOT

LESS THAN 6.1 C.F.M.

BRAKE HORSE POWER BRAKE HORSE POWER - NOT TO

88.4 - 96 EXCEED 100

CAPACITY CONTROL - MANUAL THE REVERSE PLUG NOT TO EXCEED

REVERSIBLE CLEARANCE PLUG 100

MOTOR RATING H.P./R.P.M. - MOTOR RATING H.P./R.P.M. -

100/1800 100/1800

MOTOR TYPE - INDUCTION DRIP MOTOR TYPE - INDUCTION DRIP

PROOF PROOF

MOTOR PHASE/CYCLE/VOLT/P.F. - MOTOR PHASE/CYCLE/VOLTAGE/P.F. -

3/60/440).9 3/60/480).9

NOTWITHSTANDING THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATIONS, YOU CONTEND THAT AWARD SHOULD BE MADE TO YOU ON THE BASIS OF YOUR LOW BID UNDER THE ORIGINAL INVITATION. YOU STATE THAT "50 PERCENT" OF THE BIDDERS REQUESTED AN EXTENSION--- APPARENTLY MEANING YOUR FIRM AS ONE OF THE TWO BIDDERS. YOU ASSERT THAT THE POOR RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION IS EVIDENCE IN ITSELF THAT THE SPECIFICATION WAS RESTRICTIVE AND THAT THE REVISED SPECIFICATION, THOUGH LESS RIGID, IS MORE RESTRICTIVE WITH THE UNNECESSARY LIMITATION ON COMPRESSOR SPEED AND WITH NO REFERENCE TO PISTON SPEED.

YOU CLAIM THAT YOUR OFFERING WAS IN COMPLETE ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATION. FURTHER, YOU QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF THE NOL STATEMENT THAT RAPID WEAR AND LOSS OF VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY FOLLOW FROM EXCESSIVE ROTATIVE SPEED. SUCH PROBLEMS YOU CONTEND, ARE CAUSED BY EXCESSIVE PISTON SPEED, AND THE MACHINE WHICH YOU OFFER HAS LOW PISTON SPEED (WHICH YOU REGARD AS THE MAIN CRITERION) WITH CORRESPONDINGLY LOW ROTATIVE SPEED. YOU POINT OUT THAT THERE IS NO LIMITATION ON COMPRESSOR RPM IN THE MILITARY SPECIFICATIONS FOR AIR COMPRESSORS SIMILAR TO THOSE BEING PURCHASED, AND THE PISTON SPEED ON THE UNIT WHICH YOU OFFER IS WITHIN THE LOWER LIMITS RECOMMENDED IN MARKS' HANDBOOK (MECHANICAL ENGINEERS' HANDBOOK--- 4TH EDITION 1945).

FINALLY, YOU CONTEND THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MEET THE REVISED SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS FIXED FOR CAPACITY AND PISTON DISPLACEMENT. THIS CONTENTION, HOWEVER, APPARENTLY IS BASED UPON THE COMPARATIVE TABULATION CONTAINED IN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S REPORT, IN WHICH THE NEW VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY REQUIREMENT IS ERRONEOUSLY WRITTEN "TO EXCEED 77 PERCENT," WHEREAS THE ACTUAL REQUIREMENT STATED IN THE INVITATION IS "NOT TO EXCEED 77 PERCENT.'

WITH RESPECT TO THE CONTENTIONS STATED IN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 8, WE HAVE BEEN FURNISHED STATEMENTS FROM THE COGNIZANT NOL ENGINEER, THE SUBSTANCE OF WHICH IS AS FOLLOWS:

(1) THE PROCUREMENT REQUEST IS NOT A PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION BUT A PROPERLY DESCRIBED REQUEST FOR A HEAVY-DUTY, LOW-SPEED MACHINE. THEREFORE, THE INVITATION DID NOT MAKE REFERENCE TO THE MILITARY SPECIFICATIONS.

(2) THE REVISED SPECIFICATION CLEARLY STATES THE SIZE, TYPE AND PRINCIPLE OF THE MACHINE DESIRED BY NOL AND PARTICULARLY LIMITS SPEED. IT IS COMPETITIVE AND CAN BE MET BY MANUFACTURERS BIDDING IN GOOD FAITH ON THE SPECIFIED EQUIPMENT.

(3) YOUR BID CONSTITUTES A PERFORMANCE PROPOSAL AND COMPLETELY IGNORES THE DETAILS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. FINAL CFM PERFORMANCE IS NOT THE SOLE REQUIREMENT; RATHER, THE ADMINISTRATIVE INTENT IS TO HAVE SAFETY, LONG- TIME SERVICE AND TROUBLE-FREE PERFORMANCE, AVOIDING POSSIBLE SUPERCHARGED SUCTION PRESSURES.

(4) AS TO THE PROBLEMS OF RAPID WEAR AND LOSS OF VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY, NO DIFFERENCE IS SEEN BETWEEN EXCESSIVE RPM; THEY ARE DIRECTLY RELATED.

AS TO THE ALLEGATION THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE RESTRICTIVE, THE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION IS THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS REFLECT THE ACTUAL BONA FIDE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT BASED ON THE JUDGMENT OF THE NOL TECHNICAL EXPERTS CONCERNED WITH THE PROCUREMENT, AND THAT THEY CAN READILY BE MET BY ANY COMPETENT MANUFACTURER WHO WISHES TO DO SO.

THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE FACTUAL DETERMINATION WHETHER ARTICLES OFFERED BY BIDDERS COMPLY WITH SUCH SPECIFICATIONS IS PRIMARILY WITHIN THE PROVINCE OF THE CONTRACTING AGENCIES. 17 COMP. GEN. 554. FURTHERMORE, THERE IS NOT REQUIREMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT PURCHASE EQUIPMENT BECAUSE IT IS OFFERED AT A LOWER PRICE, WITHOUT INTELLIGENT REFERENCE TO THE PARTICULAR NEEDS TO BE SERVED. NOR IS THE GOVERNMENT TO BE PLACED IN THE POSITION OF ALLOWING BIDDERS TO DICTATE SPECIFICATIONS WHICH WILL PERMIT ACCEPTANCE OF EQUIPMENT WHICH DOES NOT, IN THE CONSIDERED JUDGMENT OF THE CONTRACTING AGENCY, REASONABLY MEET THE AGENCY'S NEED. 36 COMP. GEN. 251.

WHILE YOU STATE THAT THE MACHINE YOU OFFERED ON THE FIRST INVITATION IS IN COMPLETE ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS, YOU ADMITTEDLY OFFERED A MACHINE WITH A GREATER COMPRESSOR SPEED THAN IS CONSIDERED BY NOL TO BE SATISFACTORY FOR THEIR ACTUAL NEEDS. IF THE SPECIFICATIONS BE INTERPRETED AS PERMITTING THIS EXCESSIVE SPEED, THEY DID NOT ACCURATELY STATE THE REQUIREMENTS, WITH THE RESULT THAT THE AGENCY WAS FACED WITH THE CHOICE OF CANCELLING THE INVITATION AND READVERTISING UNDER PROPER SPECIFICATIONS OR PURCHASING AN ITEM WHICH DID NOT MEET THEIR TRUE NEEDS.

AS TO THE FACT THAT ONLY TWO BIDS WERE RECEIVED, IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS PRECLUDED ALL BUT ONE BIDDER FROM MEETING THE PRESCRIBED REQUIREMENTS, THE FAILURE OF THE POTENTIAL BIDDERS TO RESPOND DOES NOT ESTABLISH THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE IMPROPERLY RESTRICTIVE OF COMPETITION. NOR DOES THE FACT THAT ONE BIDDER MAY BE UNABLE OR UNWILLING TO MEET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS TO FULFILL THE GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS WARRANT A CONCLUSION THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE UNDULY RESTRICTIVE. 30 COMP. GEN. 368, 33 ID. 586.

IN SUMMARY, THE RECORD SUPPORTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIED IN THE ORIGINAL INVITATION WERE INADEQUATELY STATED. ACCORDINGLY, THE DETERMINATION TO DISCARD ALL BIDS AND READVERTISE THE PROCUREMENT UNDER MORE CLEARLY DEFINED SPECIFICATIONS MUST BE REGARDED AS PROPER. AS TO THE SPECIFICATIONS IN THE SECOND INVITATION, THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE REQUIREMENTS PRESCRIBED REFLECT THE CONSIDERED JUDGMENT OF THE NOL TECHNICAL PERSONNEL CONCERNED AS TO THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT. SINCE WE ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO DETERMINE THE MERITS OF THE DISPUTED ENGINEERING AND TECHNICAL OPINIONS INVOLVED, WE MUST ACCEPT THE VIEWS OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MAKING DETERMINATIONS OF THAT NATURE FOR THE GOVERNMENT, IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR INDICATIONS OF BAD FAITH OR OTHER IMPROPER CONDUCT, NOT HERE PRESENT.