B-161788, AUG. 31, 1967

B-161788: Aug 31, 1967

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OFFEROR WHO PROTESTS METHOD OF AWARD OF NEGOTIATED CONTRACT FOR RESEARCH ENGINEERING STUDY ON BASIS THAT CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS OBLIGATED TO AFFORD OFFEROR OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLAIN AND ENLARGE PROPOSAL MUST HAVE PROTEST DENIED SINCE SOLICITATION ADVISED OFFERORS THAT GOVT. SINCE IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT PROPOSAL WOULD NOT PRODUCE CALIBER OF STUDY REQUIRED THERE IS NO BASIS TO QUESTION FAILURE TO NEGOTIATE FURTHER WITH PROTESTANT. GRELLER AND ASSOCIATES: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 12. PROTESTING THE METHOD BY WHICH AWARD OF CONTRACT WAS MADE PURSUANT TO SOLICITATION NO. THREE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE SOLICITIATION. EACH OF THE PROPOSALS WAS EVALUATED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROCUREMENT.

B-161788, AUG. 31, 1967

BIDS - NEGOTIATED - DURATION DECISION TO GELLER AND ASSOCIATES PROTESTING METHOD OF NEGOTIATED CONTRACT FOR RESEARCH ENGINEERING STUDY FOR GSA. OFFEROR WHO PROTESTS METHOD OF AWARD OF NEGOTIATED CONTRACT FOR RESEARCH ENGINEERING STUDY ON BASIS THAT CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS OBLIGATED TO AFFORD OFFEROR OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLAIN AND ENLARGE PROPOSAL MUST HAVE PROTEST DENIED SINCE SOLICITATION ADVISED OFFERORS THAT GOVT. MIGHT AWARD CONTRACT BASED ON INITIAL OFFERS WITHOUT DISCUSSION AND REQUIRED SUBMISSION OF INITIAL OFFERS ON BASIS OF MOST FAVORABLE TERMS. SINCE IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT PROPOSAL WOULD NOT PRODUCE CALIBER OF STUDY REQUIRED THERE IS NO BASIS TO QUESTION FAILURE TO NEGOTIATE FURTHER WITH PROTESTANT.

TO NELSON P. GRELLER AND ASSOCIATES:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 12, 1967, PROTESTING THE METHOD BY WHICH AWARD OF CONTRACT WAS MADE PURSUANT TO SOLICITATION NO. FPNMV-S-96037-N-5-3-67, ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION.

THE SOLICITATION REQUESTED OFFERS, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN 41 U.S.C. 252 (C) (10), FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF A RESEARCH ENGINEERING STUDY TO COMPARE, EVALUATE, AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS WITH RESPECT TO SYSTEMS OF INTERNAL TRANSPORTATION IN EXISTING OR PROPOSED GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION FEDERAL SUPPLY SERVICE SUPPLY DEPOTS. EXHIBIT "A" OF THE SOLICITATION CONTAINED A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERNAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS INVOLVED, ITEMIZED THE SYSTEMS TO BE STUDIED, SPECIFIED THAT IN ORDER TO ASSURE THAT RECOMMENDATIONS WOULD BE AS PRACTICABLE AND USEFUL AS POSSIBLE INVESTIGATIONS SHOULD BE MADE OF ACTUAL OPERATIONS AND CONDITIONS AT FSS WAREHOUSES, AND DESCRIBED THE ELEMENTS TO BE CONSIDERED IN EVALUATING EACH SYSTEM AS WELL AS WHAT THE END RESULT OF THE STUDY SHOULD INCLUDE. THE SOLICITATION ALSO STATED THAT TRAVEL WOULD BE REQUIRED FOR ON-SITE STUDY, WITH A MINIMUM OF ONE VISIT TO ONE WAREHOUSE IN EACH OF FOUR SPECIFIED CATEGORIES. ALSO A COVERING LETTER ADVISED THAT OFFERS IN RESPONSE TO THE SOLICITATION SHOULD DESCRIBE IN DETAIL THE MANNER IN WHICH THE OFFEROR PROPOSED TO PERFORM THE SERVICES REQUIRED AND SHOULD INCLUDE THE INFORMATION REQUESTED IN AN ATTACHED QUESTIONNAIRE.

THREE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE SOLICITIATION. EACH OF THE PROPOSALS WAS EVALUATED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROCUREMENT, WHO CONCLUDED THAT YOUR PROPOSAL, ALTHOUGH CONSIDERABLY LOWER IN COST, SHOULD BE REJECTED IN FAVOR OF THAT SUBMITTED BY DRAKE, SHEAHAN, SWEENEY AND HUPP, THE NEXT LOW OFFEROR. THIS CONCLUSION IS REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN BASED UPON A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF YOUR PROPOSAL WHICH SHOWED THAT ALTHOUGH IT WAS PROPOSED TO VISIT THREE GSA FACILITIES AND ONE OTHER GOVERNMENT INSTALLATION, A PLAN WHICH MET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS SET FORTH IN THE SOLICITATION, THE PLAN DID NOT FOLLOW SOUND ENGINEERING PRACTICES, IN THE OPINION OF THE GSA ENGINEERING STAFF, SINCE IT CONTAINED NO UNDERTAKING TO COMPARE AND VERIFY THE RESULTS OBTAINED. MOREOVER, THE TRAVEL EXPENSE WHICH YOU INDICATED WOULD BE INCURRED, AND THE ABBREVIATED STATEMENT OF WORK WHICH YOU PRESENTED, SHOWED THAT THE SURVEYS AND ANALYSES INVOLVED IN THE STUDY WOULD BE MADE BY ONLY ONE PERSON, WHEREAS THE GSA STAFF WAS OF THE VIEW THAT A TEAM EFFORT WAS REQUIRED IF THE STUDY WAS TO BE COMPLETED WITHIN THE TIME REQUIRED BY THE SOLICITATION. ALSO YOUR PROPOSAL DID NOT INCLUDE EITHER A COMPREHENSIVE WORK PLAN OR A SCHEDULE WHICH WOULD BE INDICATIVE OF THE PROGRESS EXPECTED, BOTH OF WHICH WERE CONSIDERED NECESSARY IN ORDER TO INSURE TIMELY, ACCURATE RESULTS.

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT YOUR PROPOSAL INDICATED AN APPROACH WHICH IN ALL LIKELIHOOD WOULD NOT PRODUCE AN ENGINEERING STUDY OF THE CALIBER REQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND, THEREFORE, NO USEFUL PURPOSE WOULD BE SERVED BY FURTHER DISCUSSIONS. ACCORDINGLY, THE AWARD WAS MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY THE NEXT LOW OFFEROR.

YOUR PROTEST CONCERNS THE METHOD OF AWARD, RATHER THAN THE AWARD ITSELF, AND APPARENTLY IS PREDICATED ON THE BELIEF THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICIALS WERE OBLIGATED TO AFFORD YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLAIN ANY MATTERS WHICH WERE NOT CLEAR AND TO ENLARGE THE WORK SCHEDULE WHICH WAS SUBMITTED WITH YOUR PROPOSAL. IN ADDITION YOU QUESTION ONE OF THE REASONS GIVEN FOR THE REJECTION OF YOUR PROPOSAL, FAILURE TO INCLUDE PROVISION FOR VERIFICATION OF RESULTS, ON THE BASIS THAT IT WAS NOT SPECIFICALLY REQUIRED BY THE STATED REQUIREMENTS.

AS STATED ABOVE, THE LETTER OF APRIL 17, 1967, TRANSMITTING COPIES OF THE SOLICITATION ADVISED POTENTIAL OFFERORS THAT THEY SHOULD DESCRIBE IN DETAIL THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY PROPOSED TO PERFORM THE SERVICES REQUIRED. IN ADDITION, PARAGRAPH 1 (SCOPE OF CONTRACT) OF THE SPECIAL PROVISIONS (PAGE 13) AND EXHIBIT "A" (PAGE 16 THROUGH 18) SET FORTH IN GENERAL TERMS THE REQUIREMENTS REGARDING THE DESIRED ENGINEERING STUDY. IT IS REPORTED THAT BECAUSE OF THE MANY DIFFERENT APPROACHES AND METHODS WHICH MIGHT BE EMPLOYED, THE SOLICITATION DID NOT UNDERTAKE TO DESCRIBE IN DETAIL THE MANNER IN WHICH THE STUDY SHOULD BE PERFORMED AND THAT THE PRINCIPAL BASIS FOR MAKING THE PROCUREMENT ON A NEGOTIATED, RATHER THAN AN ADVERTISED, BASIS WAS THE FACT THAT IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO DRAFT DEFINITIVE SPECIFICATIONS WHICH WOULD ADEQUATELY DESCRIBE THE VARIOUS POSSIBLE METHODS OF CONDUCTING THE SURVEY AND PROVIDING THE SERVICES TO BE PERFORMED. PARAGRAPH 10 (G) OF STANDARD FORM 33 A ADVISED OFFERORS THAT THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT AWARD A CONTRACT, BASED ON INITIAL OFFERS RECEIVED WITHOUT DISCUSSION OF SUCH OFFERS AND THEREFORE THAT EACH INITIAL OFFER SHOULD BE SUBMITTED ON THE MOST FAVORABLE TERMS FROM A PRICE AND TECHNICAL STANDPOINT WHICH THE OFFEROR COULD SUBMIT TO THE GOVERNMENT.

SINCE IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT YOUR PROPOSAL INDICATED AN APPROACH WHICH IN ALL LIKELIHOOD WOULD NOT PRODUCE AN ENGINEERING STUDY OF THE CALIBER REQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND SINCE THERE IS NOTHING OF RECORD TO INDICATE THAT SUCH DETERMINATION WAS NOT MADE IN GOOD FAITH, WE FIND NO BASIS TO QUESTION THE FAILURE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS TO NEGOTIATE FURTHER WITH YOU.