B-159658, AUG. 18, 1966

B-159658: Aug 18, 1966

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TO DIRECTOR OF THE MINT: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 7. LUMP-SUM BIDS WERE REQUESTED ON LABORATORY FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT AS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION AND IDENTIFIED THEREIN AS ITEMS II (A) (B) (C) AND (D). THE LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY SCIENTIFIC INDUSTRIAL SALES. 500 AND THE OTHER TWO BIDS RECEIVED WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $7. IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT SCIENTIFIC HAD MADE A MISTAKE IN ITS BID AND VERIFICATION WAS THEREFORE REQUESTED. IN RESPONSE SCIENTIFIC ALLEGED THAT THE PRICE BID COVERED ONLY INSTALLATION AND THAT ITS BID PRICE SHOULD HAVE BEEN $6. WAS VERIFIED BY THE SUBCONTRACTOR (INSTALLER) MR. THE INTENDED PRICE OF THE MATERIAL WAS SUPPORTED BY A QUOTATION OF $4. THAT IT WAS HIS INTENTION TO MARK UP THE MATERIAL COST BY 10 PERCENT.

B-159658, AUG. 18, 1966

TO DIRECTOR OF THE MINT:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 7, 1966, FORWARDING FOR OUR DECISION AN ALLEGED MISTAKE IN BID BY FISHER SCIENTIFIC COMPANY, UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. BM 66-4, ISSUED MAY 24, 1966.

LUMP-SUM BIDS WERE REQUESTED ON LABORATORY FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT AS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION AND IDENTIFIED THEREIN AS ITEMS II (A) (B) (C) AND (D). THE LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY SCIENTIFIC INDUSTRIAL SALES, INC., IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,386.00. HOWEVER, SINCE THIS FIRM HAD PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED A BUDGET ESTIMATE ON THIS PROCUREMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $7,500 AND THE OTHER TWO BIDS RECEIVED WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $7,188.44 AND $9,013, IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT SCIENTIFIC HAD MADE A MISTAKE IN ITS BID AND VERIFICATION WAS THEREFORE REQUESTED. IN RESPONSE SCIENTIFIC ALLEGED THAT THE PRICE BID COVERED ONLY INSTALLATION AND THAT ITS BID PRICE SHOULD HAVE BEEN $6,743, TO INCLUDE $5,357 AS THE COST OF THE FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT ($4,870) PLUS A 10 PERCENT MARK-UP ($487). THE FACT THAT $1,386 REPRESENTED THE INSTALLATION COST OF $1,206, PLUS 15 PERCENT MARK-UP, WAS VERIFIED BY THE SUBCONTRACTOR (INSTALLER) MR. RUSSELL PIPKIN. THE INTENDED PRICE OF THE MATERIAL WAS SUPPORTED BY A QUOTATION OF $4,870 FROM DURALAB EQUIPMENT CORPORATION AND AN AFFIDAVIT OF MR. RALPH GEDNEY, PRESIDENT OF SCIENTIFIC, THAT IT WAS HIS INTENTION TO MARK UP THE MATERIAL COST BY 10 PERCENT, ALTHOUGH NO ORIGINAL WORKSHEETS WERE SUBMITTED.

THE MINT TOOK THE POSITION, HOWEVER, THAT THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF THE INTENDED AMOUNT OF SCIENTIFIC'S BID WAS NOT SUFFICIENTLY CLEAR AND CONVINCING TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 1-2.406-3 (A) (1) OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS FOR CORRECTION OF THE BID. SCIENTIFIC'S BID WAS THEREFORE REJECTED AND AWARD WAS MADE TO FISHER SCIENTIFIC COMPANY, THE SECOND LOW BIDDER. UPON RECEIPT OF THE AWARD FISHER ALLEGED A MISTAKE IN THAT ITEM II (D) HAD BEEN OMITTED FROM ITS BID AS A RESULT OF THE WAY IN WHICH THE ITEMS WERE LISTED IN THE INVITATION, AND REQUESTED THAT ITS BID EITHER BE DISREGARDED OR THAT IT BE INCREASED BY $2,500 TO COVER THE COST OF ITEM II (D), WHICH WOULD INCREASE FISHER'S TOTAL BID PRICE TO $9,688.44. NO EVIDENCE WAS OFFERED BY OR REQUESTED FROM FISHER TO ESTABLISH THAT ITS BID OF $7,188.44 DID NOT IN FACT INCLUDE ITEM II (D).

EXAMINATION OF THE INVITATION DISCLOSES THAT PAGES 3 AND 4 OF THE SCHEDULE WERE TRANSPOSED. THE DESCRIPTION OF ITEMS II (A) (B) AND (C) APPEARS AT THE END OF PAGE 2, BUT BECAUSE OF THE MISNUMBERING OF THE PAGES, THE DESCRIPTION OF ITEM II (D) APPEARS AT THE TOP OF PAGE 4 INSTEAD OF PAGE 3 AND IS SEPARATED FROM THE OTHER ITEMS BY MISNUMBERED PAGE 3 WHICH LISTS GENERAL INFORMATION CONCERNING DELIVERY, BRAND NAME, ETC. WHILE IT APPEARS THAT A REASONABLY CAREFUL READING OF THE INVITATION WOULD HAVE DISCLOSED THE LACK OF CONTINUITY AND THE TRANSPOSITION OF THE PAGES, IT LIKEWISE APPEARS THAT FISHER COULD HAVE BEEN MISLED, AS ALLEGED. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED IN ATTEMPTING TO ENFORCE PERFORMANCE, AND FISHER'S BID MAY THEREFORE BE DISREGARDED.

ADDITIONALLY, WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT IT IS THE INTENTION OF YOUR OFFICE TO READVERTISE THE PROCUREMENT IF FISHER IS RELIEVED. SINCE THE INVITATION IS DEFECTIVE, THE PROPOSED ACTION WOULD APPEAR TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 1-2.404-1 (B) (1) OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS AND WE HAVE NO OBJECTION THERETO. YOUR FILE IS RETURNED AS REQUESTED.