B-155322, JAN. 26, 1965

B-155322: Jan 26, 1965

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TO MICROWAVE MANUFACTURING CORPORATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED OCTOBER 4. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BIDS WERE OPENED ON JUNE 5. THE BIDS AND DESCRIPTIVE DATA WERE SUBMITTED TO THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY. AT THIS POINT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONSIDERED IT ADVISABLE THAT FURTHER TECHNICAL EVALUATION BE PERFORMED AND THE BIDS WERE SUBMITTED ON AN INFORMAL BASIS TO THE INDUSTRIAL MANAGER. ANALYSIS OF ELECTRICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ANTENNAS WAS PERFORMED BY THAT ACTIVITY AND ANALYSIS OF STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS WAS PERFORMED BY THE BUREAU OF YARDS AND DOCKS. YOU CONTEND THAT THIS LETTER BASIS FOR REJECTION OF YOUR ANTENNAS IS UNREALISTIC. YOUR PROTEST IS BASED UPON SUCH AN EVALUATION.

B-155322, JAN. 26, 1965

TO MICROWAVE MANUFACTURING CORPORATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED OCTOBER 4, 1964, AND DECEMBER 16, 1964, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING AN AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER BIDDER UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS IFB600-664-64, FOR 81 CONICAL MONOPOLE ANTENNAS.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BIDS WERE OPENED ON JUNE 5, 1964, WITH MICROWAVE MANUFACTURING CORPORATION AS THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER. THE INVITATION REQUIRED THAT BIDDERS SUBMIT DRAWINGS, IMPEDANCE DATA AND A MATHEMATICAL STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS SHOWING COMPLIANCE WITH WIND LOADING CRITERIA AND SPECIFIED THAT FAILURE OF DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE TO SHOW THAT THE PRODUCT OFFERED CONFORMED TO THE SPECIFICATIONS AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION WOULD REQUIRE REJECTION OF THE BID. THE BIDS AND DESCRIPTIVE DATA WERE SUBMITTED TO THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY, UNITED STATES NAVAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM HEADQUARTERS, FOR TECHNICAL EVALUATION. THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY FOUND THAT OF THE TEN BIDS SUBMITTED, SIX FAILED TO CONFORM OR MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION OR SPECIFICATIONS. MICROWAVE DISPUTED THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY FINDINGS AS TO ITS ANTENNAS, ON THREE GROUNDS. HOWEVER, THE UNITED STATES NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM MAINTAINED ITS POSITION IN A LETTER DATED JULY 29, 1964, TO THE UNITED STATES NAVY PURCHASING OFFICE. AT THIS POINT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONSIDERED IT ADVISABLE THAT FURTHER TECHNICAL EVALUATION BE PERFORMED AND THE BIDS WERE SUBMITTED ON AN INFORMAL BASIS TO THE INDUSTRIAL MANAGER, POTOMAC RIVER NAVAL COMMAND. ANALYSIS OF ELECTRICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ANTENNAS WAS PERFORMED BY THAT ACTIVITY AND ANALYSIS OF STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS WAS PERFORMED BY THE BUREAU OF YARDS AND DOCKS. THE REPORT OF THESE ANALYSES STATED THAT THE ANTENNA OFFERED BY MICROWAVE DOES NOT MEET THE PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENT OF PARAGRAPH 3.4.10 OF THE SPECIFICATION, WHICH CALLS FOR ANTENNAS CAPABLE OF WITHSTANDING WINDS OF 120 M.P.H. IN A "NO-ICING CONDITION.'

YOU CONTEND THAT THIS LETTER BASIS FOR REJECTION OF YOUR ANTENNAS IS UNREALISTIC, PARTICULARLY SINCE YOU HAD "SPECIFICALLY CALLED TO THE ATTENTION OF THE INDEPENDENT ENGINEERING EVALUATING PERSONNEL THAT MICROWAVE ANTENNAS INSTALLED AT CECIL FIELD, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, IN SEPTEMBER 1964 HAD BEEN SUBJECTED TO HURRICANE WINDS UP TO 130 MPH WITHOUT DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION TO THE ANTENNAS.'

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, 17 COMP. GEN. 554, 557, WE SET FORTH THE FOLLOWING RULE WHICH WE CONSIDER TO BE CONTROLLING IN THE INSTANT MATTER:

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

IN 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. * * *"

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES EXISTING HERE WE FIND NO IMPROPRIETY IN THE AWARD AND MUST, THEREFORE, DENY YOUR PROTEST.