B-156416, MAY 13, 1965

B-156416: May 13, 1965

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF MARCH 26. THE FABRICATION AND INSTALLATION OF THE SYSTEM WERE REQUIRED TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SPECIFICATION NO. THE COVER SHEET OF THE INVITATION STIPULATES THAT THE BIDDER AGREES "* * * TO FURNISH ANY OR ALL OF THE ITEMS UPON WHICH PRICES ARE QUOTED. AT THE PRICE SET OPPOSITE EACH ITEM * THE RECORD SHOWS THAT 106 PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS WERE SOLICITED AND BIDS WERE RECEIVED FROM FOUR CONCERNS. BIDS WERE OPENED MARCH 1. 910 YOUR LOW BID WAS EVALUATED AND FOUND TO BE TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE BY THE LANGLEY AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGIST FOR THE REASONS SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS: "A TOTAL TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE TRANSDATA'S BID WAS NOT POSSIBLE DUE TO THE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS AND LACK OF BID CLARITY.

B-156416, MAY 13, 1965

TO TRANS-DATA, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF MARCH 26, 1965, AND YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1965, PROTESTING AGAINST AWARD OF CONTRACT TO BECKMAN INSTRUMENTS, INC., UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. L-5180, ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION, LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER.

THE SUBJECT INVITATION, ISSUED ON FEBRUARY 8, 1965, REQUESTED BIDS ON A LOW-SPEED DIGITAL DATA RECORDING SYSTEM, TOGETHER WITH CONTRACTOR PROVIDED SERVICES, TRAINING, AND FINAL CHECKOUT. THE FABRICATION AND INSTALLATION OF THE SYSTEM WERE REQUIRED TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SPECIFICATION NO. L- 5180, DATED FEBRUARY 8, 1965. THE COVER SHEET OF THE INVITATION STIPULATES THAT THE BIDDER AGREES "* * * TO FURNISH ANY OR ALL OF THE ITEMS UPON WHICH PRICES ARE QUOTED, AT THE PRICE SET OPPOSITE EACH ITEM *

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT 106 PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS WERE SOLICITED AND BIDS WERE RECEIVED FROM FOUR CONCERNS. BIDS WERE OPENED MARCH 1, 1965, AND REVEALED THE FOLLOWING QUOTATIONS:

CHART

TRANS-DATA, INC. $76,985

ROBACK CORP. 79,775

BECKMAN INSTRUMENTS, INC. 84,444

INFORMATION MACHINE CORP. 239,910

YOUR LOW BID WAS EVALUATED AND FOUND TO BE TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE BY THE LANGLEY AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGIST FOR THE REASONS SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:

"A TOTAL TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE TRANSDATA'S BID WAS NOT POSSIBLE DUE TO THE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS AND LACK OF BID CLARITY. THEY WERE THEREFORE CONSIDERED TECHNICALLY NON-RESPONSIVE FOR FAILURE OF DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE TO SHOW CLEARLY THAT THE PRODUCT OFFERED CONFORMED TO SUBJECT SPECIFICATIONS.

"TRANSDATA MADE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS AS TO THE EXACT RECORDING RELIABILITY THAT THEY WOULD SUPPLY. THEY ALSO FAILED TO INDICATE THE FULL SCALE ANALOG RANGES AS REQUIRED. THE SYSTEM ACCURACY BREAKDOWN DID NOT INDICATE PERCENTAGES OF ALL CONTRIBUTING ERRORS AND SOURCES TO SYSTEMS INACCURACY IN TERMS OF FULL SCALE AND PERCENT OF READING AS REQUIRED. THEIR VERIFICATION OF SYSTEM LOGIC DOES NOT CLEARLY INDICATE COMPLIANCE WITH SPECIFICATIONS. THE COMMON MODE REJECTION FIGURE QUOTED IS NOT FOR THE CONDITION SPECIFIED BY IFB L-5180. THESE POINTS CONCERN MAJOR OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE INTENDED APPLICATION.'

THE SECOND LOW BID OF ROBACK CORPORATION WAS ALSO FOUND TO BE NONRESPONSIVE AFTER TECHNICAL EVALUATION. THE LANGLEY AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGIST REPORTED THAT BECKMAN FULLY COMPLIED WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS, AND AWARD OF THE CONTRACT WAS MADE TO BECKMAN ON MARCH 19, 1965.

YOUR PROTEST AGAINST AWARD OF THE CONTRACT TO BECKMAN IS BASED ON YOUR CONTENTIONS (1) THAT AS THE LOW RESPONSIVE BIDDER, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO AWARD, AND (2) THAT BECKMAN STATED ON ITS INFORMATION DATA SHEETS ENCLOSED AS PART OF ITS BID RESPONSE THAT "PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE" AND THAT SUCH WAS CONTRARY TO OUR DECISION B 156102, DATED FEBRUARY 24, 1965.

WITH REGARD TO YOUR FIRST CONTENTION, IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY REPORTED THAT YOUR BID WAS TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION. AS THE DETERMINATION OF THIS QUESTION REQUIRES THE USE OF ENGINEERING EXPERTNESS WHICH THIS OFFICE DOES NOT POSSESS WE WILL NOT QUESTION THIS DETERMINATION UNLESS THERE IS EVIDENCE OF ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS ACTION WHICH WE DO NOT FIND IN THIS INSTANCE. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 554; 19 ID. 587; AND 40 ID. 35.

WE DO NOT AGREE WITH YOUR CONTENTION THAT BECKMAN'S BID WAS NONRESPONSIVE BECAUSE IT WAS QUALIFIED AS TO PRICE, AND THEREFORE, CONTRARY TO OUR DECISION B-156102, DATED FEBRUARY 24, 1965. WE HAVE REVIEWED YOUR CONTENTION IN THE LIGHT OF THE CITED DECISION AND DO NOT FIND THE RULING OF THAT CASE AS APPLYING TO THE SITUATION PRESENTED IN YOUR PROTEST. THE FACTS PRESENTED IN B-156102 (THAT THE BIDDER HAD QUALIFIED THE SPECIFIC SPECIFICATION SHEET INVOLVED IN THE PROCUREMENT ON THE BASIS THAT ANY DATA ON ITS SPECIFICATION SHEET RELATING TO THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE EQUIPMENT COULD BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE) DID IN FACT CREATE A REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE BIDDER INTENDED TO FURNISH THE SYSTEM MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. HOWEVER, IN THE INSTANT SITUATION, THE PRINTED NOTATION "ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE," WHICH APPEARS ON THE FIRST PAGE OF SECTION 3 OF BECKMAN'S DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE, RELATES SPECIFICALLY TO THE PRICES OF ASSEMBLIES AND DEVICES. THIS LITERATURE DOES NOT, HOWEVER, LIST THE TOTAL PRICE OF A COMPLETE BECKMAN SYSTEM, NOR DOES IT RELATE OR APPLY TO THE COMPLETE SYSTEM ON WHICH BECKMAN BID, THAT IS,"DIGI-DATA CORP.'S MODEL DSR-1420 AND FRANKLIN ELECTRONICS CORP.'S MODEL NO. 1020-20-2C.' IN VIEW THEREOF, AND SINCE BECKMAN'S LETTER OF FEBRUARY 26, 1965, TRANSMITTING ITS BID, STATES THAT "THIS (IFB FORM) INCLUDES ALL OF THE REQUIRED PRICING INFORMATION," WE THINK THAT THE QUOTED PRICES OF $83,604 FOR ITEM 1, AND $840 FOR ITEM 3 WERE FIRMLY FIXED AND WERE NOT QUALIFIED IN ANY MANNER. ACCORDINGLY, WE SEE NO LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH TO QUESTION THE AWARD AND YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.