B-161810, SEP. 20, 1967

B-161810: Sep 20, 1967

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LOW BIDDER WHOSE BID AND DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE DID NOT ESTABLISH THAT MODEL WOULD MEET THE REQUIREMENTS MAY NOT HAVE DETERMINATION TO AWARD CONTRACT TO FIRM MEETING SPECIFICATIONS REGARDED AS ARBITRARY OR UNSUPPORTED AND THEREFORE CANCELLATION OF CONTRACT WITH RETURN OF MELTERS WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED. INASMUCH AS D.C.'S NEEDS RELATE PRIMARILY TO PERFORMANCE RATHER THAN TO MANUFACTURING DETAILS MATTER IS CALLED TO ATTENTION OF D.C. TO INSURE THAT OPERATING MERITS OF ANOTHER MODEL BE CONSIDERED IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS AND THAT SPECIFICATIONS STATE ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS AND ARE NOT DRAWN AROUND DETAILS OF ONE TYPE. INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR PROTEST AGAINST THE ACTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC) IN REJECTING YOUR LOW BID OF $26.

B-161810, SEP. 20, 1967

BIDS - SPECIFICATIONS - COMPLIANCE DECISION TO S.M. CHRISTHILF AND SONS, INC., CONCERNING PROTEST AGAINST REJECTION OF BID FOR SNOW MELTERS BY D.C. AND AWARD TO NEXT LOW BIDDER, CHESAPEAKE SUPPLY AND EQUIPMENT CO. LOW BIDDER WHOSE BID AND DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE DID NOT ESTABLISH THAT MODEL WOULD MEET THE REQUIREMENTS MAY NOT HAVE DETERMINATION TO AWARD CONTRACT TO FIRM MEETING SPECIFICATIONS REGARDED AS ARBITRARY OR UNSUPPORTED AND THEREFORE CANCELLATION OF CONTRACT WITH RETURN OF MELTERS WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED. HOWEVER, INASMUCH AS D.C.'S NEEDS RELATE PRIMARILY TO PERFORMANCE RATHER THAN TO MANUFACTURING DETAILS MATTER IS CALLED TO ATTENTION OF D.C. TO INSURE THAT OPERATING MERITS OF ANOTHER MODEL BE CONSIDERED IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS AND THAT SPECIFICATIONS STATE ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS AND ARE NOT DRAWN AROUND DETAILS OF ONE TYPE.

TO S.M. CHRISTHILF AND SON, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR PROTEST AGAINST THE ACTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC) IN REJECTING YOUR LOW BID OF $26,950 ON TWO SNOW MELTERS (THERMAL MODEL 50-TM) AND AWARDING A CONTRACT TO CHESAPEAKE SUPPLY AND EQUIPMENT CORPORATION FOR THE SNOW MELTERS (AEROTRONICS MODEL SM-50) AT THE NEXT LOWEST PRICE OF $32,000 UNDER ITEM NO. 2 OF INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 38-151-7-0255-W ISSUED NOVEMBER 17, 1966.

THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE SNOW MELTERS STATED THAT IT WAS THE INTENT THEREOF TO OBTAIN SNOW MELTERS FULLY CAPABLE OF MELTING 50 TONS OF SNOW PER HOUR, AND REQUIRED THE BIDDER, UPON REQUEST, TO DEMONSTRATE THE PROPOSED MACHINE AND TO FURNISH A LISTING OF CUSTOMERS USING SAME. UNDER THE INVITATION'S SPECIAL CONDITIONS THE BIDDER WAS REQUIRED TO SUPPLY WITH HIS BID SUFFICIENT CATALOGUE MATERIAL AND TECHNICAL DATA TO ADEQUATELY DESCRIBE SUCH MACHINE. WHILE THE SPECIFICATIONS SET FORTH DIMENSIONS, CAPACITIES, PERFORMANCE DATA, ETC., GENERALLY IN APPROXIMATE TERMS, FOR VARIOUS COMPONENTS OF THE MELTERS, THE RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE THAT ALL OF THE SPECIFIED DETAILS ACTUALLY REPRESENTED, OR CONSTITUTED AN EXPRESSION OF, THE MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE DC SO AS TO RENDER NONRESPONSIVE A BID OFFERING MELTERS WHICH FAILED TO CONFORM TO SUCH TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. TO THE CONTRARY, THE HISTORY OF THE PROCUREMENT EVIDENCES THAT THE DC'S PRINCIPAL CONCERN, AS INDICATED BY THE STATEMENT OF INTENT, WAS TO OBTAIN REGULARLY MANUFACTURED MELTERS OF PROVEN DEPENDABILITY, WITH A NORMAL OPERATING CAPACITY OF MELTING 50 TONS OF SNOW PER HOUR, AND HAVING ADEQUATE LOADING BIN SIZE TO PERMIT THE MOST EFFICIENT USE OF FRONT-END LOADING MACHINES TO MAINTAIN SUCH CAPACITY. ALTHOUGH THE SPECIFICATIONS SHOWN IN THE INVITATION WERE COMPARABLE IN MANY RESPECTS TO THOSE OF THE AEROTRONICS MODEL SM-50 MELTER, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT SUCH SPECIFICATIONS WERE DRAFTED WITH THE INTENT TO EXCLUDE FROM CONSIDERATION THE THERMAL TYPE OF SNOW MELTER, WHICH FUNCTIONS IN A SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT MANNER THAN THE AEROTRONICS MELTER, NOR DOES THE RECORD ESTABLISH THAT DEVIATIONS FROM THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS SERVED, IN FACT, AS THE PRINCIPAL BASIS FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION TO REJECT THE LOW BID OFFERING THE THERMAL MELTER AND TO PROCEED WITH THE PROCUREMENT OF THE AEROTRONICS MELTER. ACTUALLY, IT IS QUESTIONABLE THAT STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS COULD PRODUCE A MELTER CAPABLE OF MELTING 50 TONS OF SNOW PER HOUR INASMUCH AS THE OVERFLOW CAPACITY OF APPROXIMATELY 160 GALLONS PER MINUTE FOR THE MELTING TANK AS SHOWN UNDER PARAGRAPH 5 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS PERTAINS MORE NEARLY TO A 40 TON MACHINE.

IN ARRIVING AT THE ORIGINAL DECISION THAT THE THERMAL MODEL 50-TM MELTER DID NOT SATISFY THE DC REQUIREMENTS FOR A 50-TON MACHINE, CONSIDERATION WAS GIVEN TO A VARIETY OF FACTORS, MANY OF WHICH WERE NOT SET FORTH IN THE SPECIFICATIONS, BUT ALL OF WHICH APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN RELEVANT TO THE ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE CAPABILITIES REQUIRED. THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE USING AGENCY, MOBILE EQUIPMENT DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS AND TRAFFIC, TO THE DC PROCUREMENT OFFICER WAS AS FOLLOWS:

"UNDER ITEM NO. 2, RECOMMEND ACCEPTANCE OF THE SECOND LOW BID OF CHESAPEAKE SUPPLY AND EQUIPMENT CORPORATION WHO PROPOSES TO FURNISH A SNOW MELTER AT AN AMOUNT OF $16,000.00 EACH OR A TOTAL NET AMOUNT OF $32,000.00 FOR REASONS INDICATED BELOW.

"1. THIS MACHINE IS IN CURRENT PRODUCTION AND CAN BE DELIVERED WITHIN 30 DAYS.

"2. THE MACHINE MEETS ALL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE DISTRICT SPECIFICATIONS.

"3. THE AGITATION SYSTEM IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN THE THERMAL MACHINE (38 OUTLETS THROUGH THE BOTTOM OF MELTING TANK WITH FORCED HOT AIR).

"4. NO WATER IS REQUIRED TO BE POURED INTO MELTING TANK BEFORE STARTING THE MACHINE.

"5. THE BURNERS ARE POSITIONED OUTSIDE OF THE MELTING TANK AND DO NOT INTERFERE WITH LOADING.

"6. THE MELTER CAN BE LOADED FROM THREE (3) SIDES.

"7. MELTING CHAMBER HAS NO MOVING PARTS.

"8. SNOW MELTER PROPOSED BY THE ALTERNATE COMPANY IS NOT IN CURRENT PRODUCTION.

"9. THE THERMAL COMPANY DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTOMATIC FUEL SHUT-OFF, BUT IS OFFERED AS AN EXTRA AND NOT RECOMMENDED BY THE COMPANY.

"10. DESIGN OF THE THERMAL HEATER DOES NOT APPEAR TO HEAT THE ENTIRE MELTING TANK SUFFICIENTLY, AS THE BURNER IS INSTALLED IN ONE END OF THE TANK AND HEAT IS FORCED STRAIGHT DOWN INTO THE WATER. THIS ACTS AS A SPACE HEATER AND DOES NOT DISTRIBUTE THE HEAT EVENLY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE MELTING TANK.

"IT IS, THEREFORE, THE OPINION OF THIS OFFICE THE AEROTRONICS MACHINE AS OFFERED BY CHESAPEAKE SUPPLY AND EQUIPMENT CORPORATION HAS GREATER EFFICIENCY DUE TO THE FOREGOING STATEMENTS AND DUE TO A MORE EVEN DISTRIBUTION OF THE HEATING SYSTEM OF THE MELTING TANK WHICH DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH LOADING OF THE TANK OR OBSTRUCT THE CAPACITY OF THE MELTING TANK. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT AEROTRONICS SM 50-TON MELTER BE ACCEPTED.'

THE MANUFACTURER'S LISTING OF CUSTOMERS SUBMITTED WITH YOUR BID FAILED TO SHOW ANY USERS OF THE THERMAL MODEL 50-TM MELTER BEING OFFERED, NOR DID THE DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE ACCOMPANYING THE BID CONTAIN ANY REFERENCE TO A MOBILE THERMAL MELTER RATED AT 50 TONS PER HOUR. INSTEAD THE LITERATURE SHOWED MOBILE MELTERS RATED AT ONLY 25, 40 AND 75 TONS PER HOUR. YOUR FIRM WAS THEREAFTER REQUESTED TO FORWARD A LISTING OF CUSTOMERS THEN USING THE PARTICULAR THERMAL MODEL WHICH YOU PROPOSED TO FURNISH. IN RESPONSE THERETO, YOU FURNISHED A LETTER BY THERMAL RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING CORPORATION, ADDRESSED TO THE DC PROCUREMENT OFFICE UNDER DATE OF JANUARY 10, 1967, ENCLOSING A PARTIAL LIST OF CUSTOMERS USING THERMAL MACHINES BUT SUCH LIST LIKEWISE DID NOT INCLUDE ANY LISTINGS FOR THE THERMAL MODEL 50- TM MELTER WHICH YOU PROPOSED TO FURNISH IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION. AFTER CONTACTING VARIOUS USERS OF THE AEROTRONICS MODEL SM-50 MELTER AND THE THERMAL MODEL 40-TM MELTER, AND HAVING OBSERVED OPERATION OF THE AEROTRONICS MACHINE AND A MOBILE THERMAL MACHINE (WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY REPRESENTED AS A 40-TON MODEL AND SUBSEQUENTLY STATED TO BE A 25-TON MODEL), THE USING AGENCY AGAIN RECOMMENDED PROCUREMENT OF THE AEROTRONICS MELTER. THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED FOR TWO AEROTRONICS MELTERS ON FEBRUARY 8, 1967, AND BY LETTER OF FEBRUARY 9, 1967, YOU FILED A PROTEST WITH THE DC PROCUREMENT OFFICER.

IT APPEARS THAT AT A MEETING HELD ON FEBRUARY 13, 1967, THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER ADVISED REPRESENTATIVES OF THERMAL RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING CORPORATION (MANUFACTURERS OF THE THERMAL MELTERS) THAT THE THERMAL MODEL 50-TM MELTERS OFFERED BY YOUR FIRM WERE REJECTED FOR THE PRIMARY REASON THAT THE PREAWARD INVESTIGATION ESTABLISHED THAT SUCH EQUIPMENT WAS NOT STANDARD PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT BUT EQUIPMENT BUILT UP TO MEET THE IFB SPECIFICATIONS, AND THAT THE NAME OF A USER OF SUCH EQUIPMENT HAD NOT BEEN FURNISHED. IT WAS AGREED, HOWEVER, THAT COMPARATIVE FIELD TESTING WOULD BE MADE OF THE THERMAL MODEL 50 TM MELTER AND THE AEROTRONICS MODEL SM-50 MELTER. THE CHESAPEAKE SUPPLY AND EQUIPMENT CORPORATION WAS ADVISED OF THE PROTEST, AND BY LETTER OF MARCH 1, 1967, SUCH FIRM WAS NOTIFIED OF THE PROPOSED TESTS AND THAT ITS CONTRACT FOR THE MELTERS WAS SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. EFFORTS WERE UNDERTAKEN BY THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER TO ARRANGE FOR THE PERFORMANCE TESTS, BUT, ALTHOUGH YOU PROMPTLY FURNISHED A THERMAL MODEL 50-TM MELTER FOR COMPARATIVE TESTING AND EVALUATION, THE LACK OF SUFFICIENT SNOW MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO CONDUCT SUCH TESTS. LETTER OF APRIL 4, 1967, THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER INFORMED YOU THAT SINCE IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO PERFORM THE TESTS WITHIN THAT FISCAL YEAR, AND AS FUNDS FOR PURCHASE OF THE MELTERS WOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE AFTER JUNE 30, 1967, THE DC CONSIDERED THE CONTRACT AWARDED TO CHESAPEAKE SUPPLY AND EQUIPMENT CORPORATION ON FEBRUARY 8 TO BE PROPER AND IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE DC, AND THE CONTRACTOR HAD BEEN REQUESTED TO PROCEED WITH DELIVERY OF THE AEROTRONICS MELTERS. THAT LETTER CLOSED WITH THE ADVICE:

"IN THE EVENT THE DISTRICT MAY HAVE NEED FOR ANY ADDITIONAL SNOW MELTING EQUIPMENT IN THE FUTURE WE WILL MAKE EVERY EFFORT, PRIOR TO ANY SOLICITATION OF BIDS, TO ARRANGE TO OBSERVE THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR EQUIPMENT.' IN CONFIRMING THE ORIGINAL AWARD ACTION, THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER LISTED VARIOUS REASONS FOR REJECTION OF YOUR BID, INCLUDING DEVIATIONS FROM THE SPECIFICATIONS, AND FURNISHED YOU A COPY OF THE ENGINEERING COMMITTEE'S REPORT OF MARCH 25, 1967, SUPPORTING THE PURCHASE OF THE AEROTRONICS MELTERS. IN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20, 1967, YOU REBUTTED VARIOUS STATEMENTS, CALCULATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS SET FORTH IN THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER'S LETTER OF APRIL 4 AND IN THE ENGINEERING COMMITTEE'S REPORT.

WITHOUT ADDRESSING THE COLLATERAL POINTS IN CONTENTION, IT APPEARS THAT THE DECISIVE FACTOR FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE REJECTION OF YOUR LOW BID WAS THAT THE INFORMATION OF RECORD INDICATED THAT THE THERMAL MODEL 50-TM MELTERS WHICH YOU PROPOSED TO FURNISH WERE ESSENTIALLY AND BASICALLY THE MANUFACTURER'S 40-TON RATED MACHINE INSTEAD OF 50-TON MACHINES AS DESIRED BY THE DC, AND THAT INFORMATION FURNISHED DID NOT ADEQUATELY ESTABLISH THAT THE MODIFICATIONS OR DIFFERENCES PROPOSED WOULD SUFFICIENTLY INCREASE ITS CAPACITY TO MEET THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS. IN ITS REPORT OF MARCH 25, 1967, THE ENGINEERING COMMITTEE MADE THE FOLLOWING OBSERVATIONS:

"A REVIEW OF THE THERMAL SPECIFICATIONS SUBMITTED WITH CHRISTHILF'S BID FOR THE MODEL 50-TM MACHINE ALSO RAISES SOME QUESTIONS. THE BURNER SPECIFIED FOR THIS MACHINE IS THE THERMAL MODEL 12049. THIS IS THE SAME BURNER SPECIFIED BY THERMAL FOR THE STANDARD 40-TON CAPACITY MACHINE. THE BLOWER SPECIFIED IN THE BID FOR THE MODEL 50-TM IS THE ROBINSON RL40-32 WHICH IS THE SAME BLOWER SPECIFIED BY THERMAL ON THE STANDARD 40-TON CAPACITY MACHINE. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT THE MODEL 50-TM THERMAL MACHINE IS NOT A STANDARD MANUFACTURE MACHINE BUT CONSISTS OF A STANDARD MODEL 40-TM MACHINE MODIFIED TO INCREASE CAPACITY. HOWEVER, THE ITEMS LISTED ABOVE, BLOWER AND BURNER, WHICH ARE THE PRINCIPAL COMPONENTS FOR DETERMINING EFFECTIVENESS OF HEAT PRODUCTION SHOW NO INCREASE IN CAPACITY WHICH WOULD BE NECESSARY FOR THE MODIFICATION TO PROVIDE GREATER HEAT FOR SNOW MELTING.' WHILE YOU HAVE MAINTAINED THAT THE THERMAL MODEL 50-TM MELTER IS A REGULAR PRODUCTION MODEL AND NOT A "BUILT-UP" MODEL 40-TM UNIT MODIFIED FOR THE PURPOSE OF QUALIFYING UNDER THE SUBJECT SPECIFICATIONS, WE BELIEVE THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT FROM THE MANUFACTURER'S LETTER OF JANUARY 10 CLEARLY ESTABLISHES THE CONTRARY: "IN YOUR REQUEST OF JANUARY 5, 1967 YOU ADVISE THAT A REQUIREMENT OF THIS GENERAL SPECIFICATION IS THAT THE MANUFACTURER SUPPLY A LIST OF USERS OF THIS EQUIPMENT. THERMAL RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING CORP. HAS BEEN MANUFACTURING MELTERS OF THIS TYPE FOR OVER EIGHT YEARS AND HAVE FURNISHED HUNDREDS OF UNITS OF VARIOUS TYPES THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES, CANADA AND OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD. OUR STANDARD MOBILE MODELS HAVE HAD A CAPACITY OF 25, 40 AND 75 TONS PER HOUR. OUR STATIONARY SYSTEMS VARY IN SIZE FROM FIVE TONS PER HOUR UP TO APPROXIMATELY 600 TONS PER HOUR. IN NONE OF THE MODELS WE HAVE FURNISHED HAVE WE EVER HAD ANY DIFFICULTY IN MEETING RATED CAPACITY. "IN THE CASE OF THE 50-TM COVERED BY THE SUBJECT PROPOSAL, WE WISH TO ADVISE THAT THIS HAS BEEN A MODIFIED 40-TM. TO ACHIEVE THE RATED CAPACITY OF 70 GALLONS OF FUEL OIL PER HOUR WE HAVE MODIFIED THE COMBUSTION EQUIPMENT TO MEET THE REQUIRED BTU INPUT AS OUTLINED IN THE SPECIFICATION. THERE WERE NO OTHER DESIGN CHANGES NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE THIS RATING.' ALTHOUGH SUCH LETTER STATES THAT NO DESIGN CHANGES, OTHER THAN IN THE COMBUSTION EQUIPMENT, WERE NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE THE RATING OF 70 GALLONS OF FUEL PER HOUR, AND YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20 THAT "TO MEET YOUR SPECIFICATIONS, WE MUST MERELY REPLACE A 60 (64) GPH NOZZLE WITH A 70 GPH NOZZLE," IT IS NOTED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS FURNISHED WITH YOUR BID ON THE THERMAL MODEL 50-TM MELTER REFLECT THAT THE WATER DRAIN-OFF CAPACITY WAS ALSO INCREASED TO 200 GALLONS PER MINUTE FROM THE 160 GALLONS PER MINUTE SHOWN IN THE DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE FOR THE THERMAL MODEL 40-TM MELTER.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING WE BELIEVE THE RECORD SUPPORTS THE DC'S CONCLUSION THAT THE THERMAL MODEL 50-TM MELTER OFFERED BY YOUR FIRM, WAS ESSENTIALLY AND BASICALLY THE THERMAL MODEL 40-TM MELTER WHICH HAD BEEN DESIGNED, ENGINEERED AND MANUFACTURED FOR OPERATION AT THE RATE OF 40 TONS PER HOUR, AND NO ENGINEERING DOCUMENTATION HAS BEEN FURNISHED WHICH WOULD REQUIRE OUR DISAGREEING WITH THE VIEWS OF THE DC ENGINEERING PERSONNEL THAT THE MINOR MODIFICATIONS MADE IN THE THERMAL MODEL 40-TM MELTER WERE UNLIKELY TO PRODUCE A SOUNDLY DESIGNED, DEPENDABLE AND EFFICIENTLY OPERATING UNIT OF 25 PERCENT GREATER CAPACITY. IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS DESIGNED TO MEET THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND DETERMINATIONS AS TO WHETHER THE BIDS RECEIVED ARE FACTUALLY RESPONSIVE TO SUCH SPECIFICATIONS ARE PRIMARILY A RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PARTICULAR AGENCY INVOLVED. HERE, THE DC DETERMINED THAT IT NEEDED 50-TON CAPACITY MELTERS, AND IT APPEARS THAT THE INTENT OF THE SPECIFICATIONS TO OBTAIN REGULARLY MANUFACTURED UNITS WHICH HAD BEEN DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED TO MELT SNOW AT THE RATE OF 50 TONS PER HOUR UNDER NORMAL OPERATIONS WAS FULLY UNDERSTOOD BY YOUR FIRM. SINCE THE JUDGMENT OF THE DC OFFICIALS, THAT THE LITERATURE AND DATA FURNISHED WITH YOUR BID (AND THE USING CUSTOMERS LISTS) DID NOT ESTABLISH THAT THE MODIFIED THERMAL MODEL 40-TM MELTER WOULD MEET THE DC'S BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR 50- TON MELTERS, DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN ARBITRARY OR COMPLETELY UNSUPPORTED BY THE RECORD, AND AS SUCH FACTOR APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN THE PRIMARY REASON FOR AWARDING THE CONTRACT TO CHESAPEAKE SUPPLY AND EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE FROM THE RECORD AS A WHOLE THAT YOU WERE, IN FACT, PREJUDICED BY THOSE OTHER DETAILS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS WHICH MAY, OR MAY NOT, HAVE BEEN ESSENTIAL FOR A 50-TON MELTER OPERATING ON THE ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES AND DESIGN OF THE THERMAL MACHINE.

ACCORDINGLY, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT WE WOULD BE JUSTIFIED IN REQUIRING CANCELLATION OF THE CONTRACT AND RETURN OF THE AEROTRONICS MELTERS, WHICH HAVE BEEN DELIVERED, AND YOUR PROTEST IS THEREFORE DENIED. HOWEVER, INASMUCH AS IT APPEARS THAT THE DC'S NEEDS AS TO SNOW MELTERS RELATE PRIMARILY TO ACTUAL PERFORMANCE RATHER THAN TO MANUFACTURING DETAILS, WE ARE CALLING THIS MATTER TO THE ATTENTION OF THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, TO INSURE THAT THE OPERATING MERITS OF THE THERMAL TYPE OF MACHINE ARE FULLY CONSIDERED IN ANY FUTURE PROCUREMENT OF SNOW MELTERS BY THE DC, AND THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS STATE ONLY ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS, AND ARE NOT DRAWN AROUND PARTICULAR DETAILS OF ONE TYPE OF MELTER SO AS TO UNDULY RESTRICT COMPETITION OR IMPOSE AN UNNECESSARY BURDEN ON THE MANUFACTURERS OF MELTERS FUNCTIONING ON DIFFERENT BUT ACCEPTABLE PRINCIPLES.