B-154007, MAY 4, 1964

B-154007: May 4, 1964

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TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED APRIL 20. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR ALLEGED BY THE STURBAUM CONSTRUCTION COMPANY TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. 33179 IS BASED. UNDER ITEM 1 BIDDERS WERE REQUESTED TO INSERT A PRICE FOR CONSTRUCTING THE ENTIRE PROJECT AND UNDER ITEM 1A BIDDERS WERE TO STATE THE AMOUNT BY WHICH THE PRICE FOR THE ENTIRE PROJECT WOULD BE REDUCED IF CERTAIN ITEMS OF WORK WERE EXCLUDED FROM THE PROJECT. 349 IF THE ITEMS OF WORK DESCRIBED UNDER ITEM 1A WERE EXCLUDED FROM THE PROJECT. THE BID OF THE STURBAUM CONSTRUCTION COMPANY WAS ACCEPTED AS TO ITEM 1 (ENTIRE PROJECT) ON JANUARY 23.

B-154007, MAY 4, 1964

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED APRIL 20, 1964, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR ALLEGED BY THE STURBAUM CONSTRUCTION COMPANY TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. 33179 IS BASED.

THE FOREST SERVICE, DENVER, COLORADO, REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING LABOR AND MATERIALS AND PERFORMING ALL WORK REQUIRED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PONDEROSA CAMPGROUND INSTALLATION, SAN ISABEL NATIONAL FOREST, PUEBLO COUNTY, COLORADO. UNDER ITEM 1 BIDDERS WERE REQUESTED TO INSERT A PRICE FOR CONSTRUCTING THE ENTIRE PROJECT AND UNDER ITEM 1A BIDDERS WERE TO STATE THE AMOUNT BY WHICH THE PRICE FOR THE ENTIRE PROJECT WOULD BE REDUCED IF CERTAIN ITEMS OF WORK WERE EXCLUDED FROM THE PROJECT. RESPONSE THE STURBAUM CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID DATED JANUARY 21, 1964, OFFERING TO PERFORM THE WORK COVERED BY ITEM 1 (ENTIRE PROJECT) FOR THE PRICE OF $21,549.22 AND TO REDUCE ITS PROJECT PRICE BY $2,349 IF THE ITEMS OF WORK DESCRIBED UNDER ITEM 1A WERE EXCLUDED FROM THE PROJECT. THE BID OF THE STURBAUM CONSTRUCTION COMPANY WAS ACCEPTED AS TO ITEM 1 (ENTIRE PROJECT) ON JANUARY 23, 1964.

IN A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 14, 1964, THE STURBAUM CONSTRUCTION COMPANY ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AS FOLLOWS:

"IN BIDDING THE PONDEROSA CAMP GROUND INSTALLATION IFB-R2-64-76, AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE LISTING.

"OUR TOTAL PROJECT BID SHOULD HAVE BEEN $23,898.22 ITEM NO. 1 THE NINE FAMILY UNITS WERE DEDUCTED 2,349.00 ITEM NO. 1A THIS GAVE THE AMOUNT LISTED AS 21,549.22

"THE ERROR WAS IN THE LISTING OF THE TOTAL PROJECT BID WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN $23,898.22 INSTEAD OF THE $21,549.22.

"WE ARE, THEREFORE, SUBMITTING A CLAIM FOR THE ERROR OF $2,349.00"

BY LETTER DATED MARCH 9, 1964, THE COMPANY SUBMITTED ITS ESTIMATE SHEETS IN SUPPORT OF THE ALLEGED ERROR. THE SUMMARY ESTIMATE SHEET SHOWS THE PRICES FOR THE ITEMS OF WORK REQUIRED FOR COMPLETION OF THE ENTIRE PROJECT AND THE TOTAL OF SUCH PRICES IS SHOWN AS $23,898.22, THE COMPANY'S ALLEGED INTENDED BID PRICE FOR ITEM 1. THE ESTIMATE SHEET ALSO SHOWS THAT THE COMPANY LISTED THE PRICE OF $23,898.22 AT THE BOTTOM OF SUCH SHEET AND THAT FROM SUCH AMOUNT IT DEDUCTED THE SUM OF $2,349--- THE AMOUNT TO BE DEDUCTED FOR EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN ITEMS OF WORK COVERED BY ITEM 1A--- TO ARRIVE AT A TOTAL PRICE OF $21,549.22, THE AMOUNT WHICH THE COMPANY ERRONEOUSLY INSERTED IN ITS BID AS THE PRICE FOR THE ENTIRE PROJECT.

THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT THE THREE OTHER BIDDERS ON ITEM 1 QUOTED PRICES OF $24,441, $24,569 AND $25,260. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE GOVERNMENT ENGINEER'S ESTIMATE WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $22,000. ARE ADVISED INFORMALLY THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON FOR COMPARISON PURPOSES BECAUSE IT IS NOT BASED ON CURRENT WAGE RATES. SINCE THE RANGE OF THE THREE OTHER BIDS WAS APPROXIMATELY $800 IT APPEARS THAT THE TYPE OF WORK REQUIRED BY THIS INVITATION IS A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE ONE. IN VIEW OF THE RANGE OF THE OTHER BIDS AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COMPANY'S BID AND THOSE BIDS, IT APPEARS THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE BEEN AWARE OF THE PROBABILITY OR ERROR IN THE COMPANY'S BID OF $21,549.22 FOR ITEM 1 AND, CONSEQUENTLY, THE BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED WITHOUT REQUESTING THE COMPANY TO VERIFY ITS BID.

IT IS REPORTED THAT ISSUANCE OF A NOTICE TO PROCEED TO THE COMPANY HAS BEEN WITHHELD PENDING A DECISION IN THE MATTER. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE WORKSHEETS FURNISHED BY THE STURBAUM CONSTRUCTION COMPANY LEAVE LITTLE, IF ANY, DOUBT THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE ON ITEM 1 OF THE BID, AS ALLEGED, CONTRACT NO. 33179 MAY BE CANCELED WITHOUT LIABILITY TO THE COMPANY.