B-161035, MAY 19, 1967, 46 COMP. GEN. 807

B-161035: May 19, 1967

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THE DEVIATION OF THE ALTERNATE OFFERINGS FROM WHAT IS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD TO BE . 1967: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS FURNISHING CARBON COPIES OF LETTERS DATED FEBRUARY 8 AND MARCH 7. RECEIPT IS ALSO ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTERS DATED APRIL 26. THE REQUEST ADVISED THAT OFFERORS "ARE AUTHORIZED AND ENCOURAGED" TO SUBMIT MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS PRESENTING DIFFERENT BASIC APPROACHES. TEN CONCERNS WERE SOLICITED BUT ONLY TWO TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED. THE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS OF BOTH OFFERORS WERE DETERMINED TO BE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE. THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS ISSUED ON DECEMBER 5. S-1140A (IN TWO (2) VOLUMES) AND LETTER DATED 7 NOVEMBER 1966 INCORPORATED HEREIN BY REFERENCE. * * * THE TWO BIDS RECEIVED UNDER THE SECOND-STEP INVITATION WERE OPENED ON FEBRUARY 6.

B-161035, MAY 19, 1967, 46 COMP. GEN. 807

BIDS - MULTIPLE - TECHNICAL PROPOSALS - ALTERNATE BIDDING THE ERRONEOUS APPROVAL OF ALTERNATE ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT OFFERED IN ADDITION TO BASIC PROPOSALS UNDER STEP 1 OF A TWO STEP ADVERTISED PROCUREMENT ENCOURAGING BIDDERS TO SUBMIT MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS DOES NOT PRECLUDE CONSIDERATION OF THE LOW MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS CONTAINING THE ALTERNATE ITEMS, THE ACCEPTED TECHNICAL PROPOSALS CONTAINING THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EQUIPMENT IN LIEU OF FIRST RECOMMENDED CHOICES BEING AKIN TO OFFERING THE "ESSENTIALLY DIFFERENT TECHNICAL APPROACHES" PRESCRIBED BY PARAGRAPH 2-503.1 (A) (X) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION. THEREFORE, THE DEVIATION OF THE ALTERNATE OFFERINGS FROM WHAT IS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD TO BE ,MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS," CURED BY UNQUALIFIED ACCEPTANCE, THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY HAVING INVITED SEPARATE BIDS ON ACCEPTABLE PROPOSALS, HAS THE OPTION OF ELECTING THE ALTERNATE DESIRED.

TO JERVIS B. WEBB COMPANY, MAY 19, 1967:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS FURNISHING CARBON COPIES OF LETTERS DATED FEBRUARY 8 AND MARCH 7, 1967, TO THE PROCUREMENT DIVISION, SACRAMENTO ARMY DEPOT, SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, PROTESTING AGAINST THE PROPOSED AWARDS TO EITHER SPEAKER SORTATION SYSTEMS, INC., OR RAPISTAN INCORPORATED UNDER INVITATIONS FOR BIDS NOS. DAAC09-67-B 5201 AND -5217, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISING PROCEDURES OF ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) 2-501, ET SEQ. RECEIPT IS ALSO ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTERS DATED APRIL 26, 1967.

REQUESTS FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS NO. DAAC09-67-R-5201 DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1966, REQUESTED TECHNICAL PROPOSALS FOR FURNISHING AND INSTALLING A PARCEL SORTATION AND CONVEYOR SYSTEM. THE REQUEST ADVISED THAT OFFERORS "ARE AUTHORIZED AND ENCOURAGED" TO SUBMIT MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS PRESENTING DIFFERENT BASIC APPROACHES. TEN CONCERNS WERE SOLICITED BUT ONLY TWO TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED. YOUR FIRM SUBMITTED ONE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL, BUT SPEAKER SORTATION SYSTEMS, INC., SUBMITTED, IN ADDITION TO A BASIC PROPOSAL,"ALTERNATES" TO THE EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE GOVERNMENT. AFTER EVALUATION AND NEGOTIATION, THE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS OF BOTH OFFERORS WERE DETERMINED TO BE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE. THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS ISSUED ON DECEMBER 5, 1966, AS THE SECOND STEP OF THE PROCUREMENT, TO YOUR FIRM AND SPEAKER SORTATION SYSTEMS, INC. THE INVITATION ISSUED TO SPEAKER PROVIDED:

* * * ANY BIDDER WHO HAS SUBMITTED MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS IN THE FIRST STEP OF THIS TWO-STEP PROCUREMENT MAY SUBMIT A SEPARATE BID COVERING EACH TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WHICH HAS BEEN DETERMINED ACCEPTABLE BY THE GOVERNMENT.

* * * * * * * SORTATION AND CONVEYOR SYSTEM IN ACCORDANCE WITH REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS NO. DAAC09-67-R-5201 STEP NO. 1 AND YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL. SPEAKER SORTATION SYSTEMS, INC., PROPOSAL NO. S-1140A (IN TWO (2) VOLUMES) AND LETTER DATED 7 NOVEMBER 1966 INCORPORATED HEREIN BY REFERENCE. * * *

THE TWO BIDS RECEIVED UNDER THE SECOND-STEP INVITATION WERE OPENED ON FEBRUARY 6, 1967, AND YOUR FIRM OFFERED TO FURNISH THE PARCEL SORTATION AND CONVEYOR SYSTEM FOR A LUMP SUM OF $443,748. SPEAKER QUOTED A PRICE OF $360,897 FOR THE SYSTEM AND, IN ADDITION, ON THE FACE OF ITS BID, STATED: "/SEE ATTACHED SHEETS FOR ALTERNATES).' ON THE FOLLOWING PAGE OF SPEAKER'S BID THERE APPEARS THE FOLLOWING NOTATION: "ADD THE FOLLOWING SPEAKER SORTATION SYSTEMS, INC., ALTERNATES.' UNDER THE FOREGOING NOTATION, ITEMS NOS. 1, 2, 14, 15A, 15B, 16, 23, 25, 28, 29 AND 32 ARE LISTED AS ALTERNATES, TOTALING $10,709. WITH REFERENCE TO THESE NOTATIONS, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT THESE ALTERNATE ITEMS IN THE AMOUNT OF $10,709, PLUS THE AMOUNT BID FOR THE SYSTEM, OR A TOTAL OF $371,606, CONSTITUTE A RESPONSIVE BID ON THE COMPLETE SYSTEM FURNISHED AND INSTALLED. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER PROPOSES TO MAKE AN AWARD TO SPEAKER ON THE FOREGOING BASIS. IN THIS REGARD, THE ALTERNATE ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT WERE DESIGNATED AS SUCH IN ITS ACCEPTED TECHNICAL PROPOSAL.

HOWEVER, IN ADDITION TO THE ALTERNATE ITEMS, SPEAKER LISTED TWO ITEMS OF "CLASS A FIRE DOORS," WITH A PRICE OF $2,889 AND DESIGNATED IT AS "ALTERNATE (NOT INCLUDED IN TECHNICAL PROPOSAL).' THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISES THAT, UPON EVALUATION, THIS ALTERNATE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE SINCE IT DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT. ALSO ON A SUCCEEDING PAGE OF ITS BID, SPEAKER INSERTED ANOTHER NOTATION: "ADD THE FOLLOWING -ADD- OR -DEDUCT- ALTERNATES FOR THE CONVEYOR SYSTEM.' THEREAFTER, SEVEN NUMBERED ITEMS ARE LISTED WHICH ARE "DEDUCT" ITEMS, OTHER THAN ITEM 2 WHICH IS AN "ADD" ITEM OF $1,053 AND ITEM 5 WHICH IS A "NO BID" ITEM. IN REGARD TO THESE "ADD OR DEDUCT ALTERNATES," THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES THAT ON FINAL REVIEW OF THE SPECIFICATIONS, IT WAS FOUND THAT SUCH ALTERNATES IN SPEAKER'S BID WERE IN FACT NOT ACCEPTABLE AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXCLUDED FROM THE SECOND STEP. THEREFORE, IN THE OPINION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, THE "ADD OR DEDUCT" ITEMS SHOULD BE TREATED AS NONCONFORMING AND NONACCEPTABLE ALTERNATES.

REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS NO. DAAC09-67-R-5217 FOR A PARCEL CONVEYOR SYSTEM WAS ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1966, AND, LIKE REQUEST NO. - 5201, PERMITTED THE SUBMISSION OF MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS. SIXTEEN FIRMS WERE SOLICITED BUT ONLY TWO TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED. THE PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY YOUR FIRM COVERED ONLY ONE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL. THE PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY RAPISTAN INCLUDED "ALTERNATES AND OPTIONS" TO THE OFFERED SYSTEM. THE TWO PROPOSALS WERE EVALUATED AND BOTH WERE FOUND TO BE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE. AS ELIGIBLE OFFERORS, THE SECOND-STEP INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS ISSUED ON DECEMBER 5, 1966, TO YOUR FIRM AND RAPISTAN. ALSO, AS IN THE CASE OF REQUEST NO. -5201, THE INVITATION FOR BIDS ISSUED TO RAPISTAN INCORPORATED ITS TECHNICAL PROPOSAL AND PERMITTED A SEPARATE BID ON EACH MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL. RAPISTAN REFERENCED IN ITS BID, AS RELATING TO ITS MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL, LISTED ALTERNATES AS ADDITIVES, DEDUCTIVES, OR AS AN OPTION CERTAIN ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT APPEARING ON A "TABLE OF EQUIPMENT" IN ITS ACCEPTED TECHNICAL PROPOSAL. WITH RESPECT TO THESE ALTERNATES AND TO THE OPTION ITEM, IT WAS DETERMINED IN THE EVALUATION OF THE SECOND STEP THAT THE ALTERNATES AND THE OPTION EQUIPMENTS WERE NOT ACCEPTABLE AND, FOR THAT REASON, SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PRICED OR OFFERED IN THE BID ON THE SECOND STEP. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, THEREFORE, PROPOSES TO TREAT THE "ADD" AND "DEDUCT" ITEMS AS NONCONFORMING AND NONACCEPTABLE ALTERNATES AND TO MAKE AN AWARD TO RAPISTAN ON THE BASIS OF ITS BASIC BID OF $127,094. YOUR FIRM SUBMITTED A BID OF $144,786 ON THE BASIS OF YOUR SINGLE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WITHOUT ALTERNATES, OPTIONS, OR THE LIKE.

IN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 26, 1967, TO OUR OFFICE, YOU STATE THAT SINCE THE SITUATION WITH RESPECT TO THE SUBMISSION OF ALTERNATE BIDS UNDER THE SECOND STEP OF EACH OF THE PROCUREMENTS INVOLVING SPEAKER AND RAPISTAN IS EXACTLY THE SAME, YOU WILL RESTRICT YOUR COMMENTS TO THE BID SUBMITTED BY RAPISTAN. YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 26, 1967, PRESENTS THE BASES OF YOUR PROTEST AS FOLLOWS: THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ACCEPTED UNDER STEP 1 A TECHNICAL PROPOSAL FROM RAPISTAN WHICH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ACKNOWLEDGES SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED. WHILE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER MAY CHOOSE TO USE THE WORD "INADVERTENTLY," IT IS AN ERROR AND RAPISTAN RECEIVED APPROVAL ON THE ONE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL THEY SUBMITTED, WHICH APPROVAL SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED ACCORDING TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S OWN ADMISSION. AS SUCH, RAPISTAN WENT IN TO THE SECOND STEP WITH A TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WHICH CONTAINED ITEMS UNACCEPTABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF TWO-STEP PROCUREMENTS, ON THE SECOND STEP FORMAL BID INVITATION BIDDERS WERE ENCOURAGED TO SUBMIT PRICES ON ANY TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WHICH WERE APPROVED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. THEY WERE NEITHER INVITED NOR PERMITTED TO SUBMIT PRICES ON ALTERNATES, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE BID INVITATION. RAPISTAN DID NOT SUBMIT "MULTIPLE" TECHNICAL PROPOSALS, BUT RATHER ONE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL. THEY SHOULD, THEREFORE, HAVE SUBMITTED ONE PRICE ON THE ONE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL. RAPISTAN, HOWEVER, ON THE BID INVITATION DOCUMENT CLEARLY SET FORTH ALTERNATES WITH THE NOTATION OF EITHER DEDUCT OR ADD PRECEDING THE AMOUNT. THEY DID NOT EVEN MAKE CLEAR WHETHER THESE ADD OR DEDUCT ITEMS WERE MANDATORY INSOFAR AS THEIR BID WAS CONCERNED OR WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE THE OPTION OF TAKING ANY OR ALL OF THE ADD OR DEDUCT ITEMS.

THE BID OF RAPISTAN, BASED ON THE ERRONEOUS ACCEPTANCE BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER OF THEIR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL, ALLOWS THIS BIDDER CONSIDERABLE LATITUDE AS TO WHICH COURSE OF ACTION THIS BIDDER COULD FOLLOW, DEPENDING ON THE BID OPENING RESULTS AND THE BIDDER'S DESIRED COURSE OF ACTION AFTER THE BIDS HAD BEEN OPENED. IF THIS BIDDER CHOSE, IT COULD INSIST THAT SINCE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD ACCEPTED THEIR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL THAT ALL OF THE ADD OR DEDUCT ITEMS WERE MANDATORY AND THAT THE "BASE" BID WAS JUST THAT AND THAT IT WAS MANDATORY THAT ALL OF THE ADD OR DEDUCT ITEMS BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION, SINCE THEY WERE APPROVED IN THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL, IN ARRIVING AT THE BIDDER'S NET PRICE TO THE GOVERNMENT. IF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LOW BIDDER AND THE ONLY OTHER BIDDER, OURSELVES, WAS QUITE SUBSTANTIAL, THIS WOULD BE A LOGICAL TACTIC FOR THE LOW BIDDER. AS IT TURNS OUT,THERE WAS NOT A SUBSTANTIAL PRICE INCREASE SO THE BIDDER CAN CONTEND THAT HE WAS GIVING THE GOVERNMENT AN OPTION OF ACCEPTING ANY OR ALL OF HIS ALTERNATES, WHICH ALTERNATES WERE NOT ACCEPTABLE UNDER THE TERMS OF THE SECOND STEP AND WHICH ALTERNATES WERE ERRONEOUSLY APPROVED UNDER THE FIRST STEP.

UPON REVIEW OF THE RECORD BEFORE US, AND HAVING REGARD FOR THE PRINCIPLES INHERENT IN THE TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISING PROCEDURES, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT THE LOW BIDS OF BOTH SPEAKER AND RAPISTAN PROPERLY MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD NOTWITHSTANDING THE ALTERNATE FORMS OF BIDDING INVOLVED.

ALTHOUGH WE ARE NOT PREPARED TO STATE CATEGORICALLY THAT SPEAKER AND RAPISTAN SUBMITTED ,MULTIPLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS" WHEN THEY OFFERED ALTERNATE EQUIPMENTS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS, THE FACT REMAINS THAT THEIR PROPOSALS CONTAINING SUCH ALTERNATES WERE DETERMINED TO BE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE WITHDRAWAL OF "ACCEPTABILITY" OF CERTAIN OF THE ALTERNATES AFTER RECEIPT OF THE PRICED OFFERS UNDER THE SECOND STEP IS DISPOSITIVE OF THE QUESTION WHETHER THE BIDS WERE RESPONSIVE TO THE ADVERTISED NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT. ESSENTIALLY, BOTH TECHNICAL PROPOSALS AS ACCEPTED BY THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY OFFERED DIFFERENT TYPES OF EQUIPMENTS IN LIEU OF THOSE OFFERED AS FIRST OR RECOMMENDED CHOICES. IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO CONCLUDE ON THESE FACTS THAT SUCH AN OFFERING IS AKIN TO OFFERING ,ESSENTIALLY DIFFERENT TECHNICAL APPROACHES" WITHIN THE MEANING OF ASPR 2- 503.1 (A) (X). WHATEVER DEVIATION RESULTED IN SUCH ALTERNATE OFFERINGS FROM WHAT IS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD TO BE "MULTIPLE" TECHNICAL PROPOSALS IS SUBSTANTIALLY CURED BY THE UNQUALIFIED ACCEPTANCE OF THE TWO TECHNICAL PROPOSALS. OBVIOUSLY, WHEN THE PROPOSALS WERE ACCEPTED, THEY WERE FULLY RESPONSIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS; THAT BEING THE CASE, THE QUOTATION OF ALTERNATE PRICES IS NOT A NONRESPONSIVE ALTERNATIVE BID. COMP. GEN. 499; B-157815 DATED JANUARY 21, 1966. IN THE LATTER DECISION WHICH CONSIDERED ALSO A TWO-STEP PROCUREMENT AND THE RESPONSIVENESS OF A BID UNDER THE SECOND STEP, WE HELD:

THIRDLY, YOU REFER TO AN ALLEGED IMPROPER ALTERNATE BID MADE BY S I HANDLING SYSTEMS IN RESPONDING TO ITEM 6 OF THE INVITATION, "AMOUNT TO BE DELETED FROM BID PRICE FOR DELETION OF THE SORTER IN WAREHOUSE 16B.' THE BIDDER INSERTED TWO SEPARATE PRICES TO BE DELETED; ONE IN THE AMOUNT OF $117,990 IF AN AEROJET SORTER WAS ELIMINATED, AND THE OTHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $136,743 IF A SPEAKER SORTER WAS ELIMINATED. OBVIOUSLY, THE QUOTATION OF SEPARATE PRICES FOR DELETION OF TWO DISTINCT SYSTEM COMPONENTS IN ITEM 6, BOTH OF WHICH WERE FULLY RESPONSIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT'S SPECIFICATIONS AND NEEDS, IS NOT A NONRESPONSIVE ALTERNATE BID. SEE 33 COMP. GEN. 499. S I HANDLING SYSTEMS' TECHNICAL PROPOSAL (STEP ONE) OFFERED TO FURNISH EITHER AEROJET GENERAL OR SPEAKER SORTATION COMPANY EQUIPMENT. IN ORDER TO DETERMINE WHAT PRICE REDUCTION WOULD APPLY IF THE SORTER FOR WAREHOUSE 16B WAS DELETED, IT WAS IMPERATIVE FOR THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO KNOW THE COST FOR EACH TYPE OF SORTER THAT WAS INCLUDED IN THE TOTALS INVOLVING THE TWO SYSTEMS. MOREOVER, AS INDICATED ON THE INVITATION SCHEDULE, THIS BIDDER WAS INSTRUCTED TO SO BID BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. UNDER THE TWO -STEP SYSTEM OF ADVERTISING, BIDDERS ARE ALLOWED TO SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL SO AS TO PROVIDE THE GOVERNMENT WITH THE BENEFIT OF ENGINEERING CHANGES AND ADVANCES. UNDER THE FIRST STEP HERE, PROPOSERS WERE ENCOURAGED TO SUBMIT MULTIPLE PROPOSALS (ASPR 2-503.1 (A) (X) ). THE SECOND STEP (INVITATION FOR BIDS) ADVISED ELIGIBLE BIDDERS THAT ALTERNATE BIDS ARE NOT PERMISSIBLE "EXCEPT AS CALLED FOR IN THE SCHEDULE.' THE SCHEDULES PERTAINING TO EACH TECHNICAL PROPOSAL STATED THE NEED FOR MULTIPLE PRICING OF DIFFERENT PROPOSALS OR COMPONENTS IN PROPOSALS. SEE, ALSO, THE INVITATION PROVISION ON PAGE 3, QUOTED BELOW. IN ANY EVENT, THIS SITUATION DID NOT INVOLVE THE TYPE OF ALTERNATE BIDDING WHICH IS OBJECTIONABLE; THAT IS, WHERE AN ALTERNATE BID IS, IN EFFECT, NONRESPONSIVE TO THE ADVERTISED REQUIREMENTS. SEE 9 COMP. GEN. 24; 39 ID. 570; CF. 40 COMP. GEN. 70; ID. 688; 36 ID. 102.

WE FEEL THAT THE FOREGOING IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE ALTERNATE BIDDING INVOLVED HERE, ESPECIALLY SINCE THE SECOND STEP SPECIFICALLY ADVISED BOTH BIDDERS TO SUBMIT "SEPARATE" BIDS ON EACH TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WHICH HAD BEEN DETERMINED ACCEPTABLE BY THE GOVERNMENT. THIS IS WHAT BOTH BIDDERS DID AT THE DIRECTION OF THE GOVERNMENT AND IT WOULD BE MANIFESTLY UNFAIR NOW TO PENALIZE SUCH BIDDERS ON THE SOMEWHAT TENUOUS GROUND THAT THEIR ALTERNATE BIDDING--- BASED UPON THEIR ACCEPTED TECHNICAL PROPOSALS--- IS NONRESPONSIVE BECAUSE, IN RETROSPECT, THOSE OR SOME OF THE OFFERED ALTERNATE WERE "INADVERTENTLY" ACCEPTED. MOREOVER, NEITHER RAPISTAN NOR SPEAKER WAS NOTIFIED PRIOR TO, OR AT THE TIME OF, THE ISSUANCE OF THE INVITATIONS FOR BIDS THAT CERTAIN ,ALTERNATES" IN THEIR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WERE UNACCEPTABLE. UNDER THIS CIRCUMSTANCE, BOTH OFFERORS WERE JUSTIFIED IN BELIEVING THAT THEY WERE ENTITLED NOT ONLY TO SUBMIT BASIC BIDS BUT ALSO BIDS ON THE BASIS OF THE "ALTERNATES" THEY HAD PROPOSED IN THEIR ACCEPTED TECHNICAL PROPOSALS. AND THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY HAS THE SOLE OPTION TO ELECT WHICH OF THE ALTERNATES IT DESIRES TO ACCEPT. CF. B- 153195, FEBRUARY 6, 1964.