B-163103, FEB. 14, 1968

B-163103: Feb 14, 1968

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

SINCE ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD SUPPORTS CONCLUSION THAT INVITATION FOR SECOND-STEP PROCUREMENT NEEDED REVISION AND CLARIFICATION AND WAS NOT AS ALLEGED TO GIVE OTHER BIDDER A CHANCE TO UNDERBID LOW BIDDER PROTEST AGAINST READVERTISEMENT MUST BE DENIED. INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED DECEMBER 14. THE AIR FORCE REPORTS THAT THE PROCUREMENT WAS FOR THE MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND (MAC). THAT THE STANDS WERE OF A SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT CONFIGURATION THAN C-141 STANDS USED AT ROBINS AFB AND THAT THE FIRST STAND WAS TO BE SUBJECTED TO FIRST ARTICLE TESTS AND APPROVAL AT TRAVIS AFB. IT IS FURTHER REPORTED THAT MAC DID NOT WANT DATA. THAT SINCE WRAMA WAS TO BE THE ITEM MANAGER. IT WAS DECIDED THAT DATA FOR REPROCUREMENT WOULD BE REQUIRED.

B-163103, FEB. 14, 1968

BIDS - REJECTION AND READVERTISEMENT - TWO-STEP PROCUREMENT DECISION TO BROWN ENGINEERING CO., INC., LOW BIDDER, DENYING PROTEST AGAINST READVERTISEMENT OF SECOND-STEP OF PROCUREMENT OF 10 C-141 AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE WORK STANDS FOR DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE. SINCE ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD SUPPORTS CONCLUSION THAT INVITATION FOR SECOND-STEP PROCUREMENT NEEDED REVISION AND CLARIFICATION AND WAS NOT AS ALLEGED TO GIVE OTHER BIDDER A CHANCE TO UNDERBID LOW BIDDER PROTEST AGAINST READVERTISEMENT MUST BE DENIED.

TO BROWN ENGINEERING COMPANY, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED DECEMBER 14, 1967, AND LETTERS OF DECEMBER 15 AND 18, 1967, WITH ENCLOSURES, CONCERNING YOUR PROTEST OF THE SECOND-STEP READVERTISEMENT OF THE PROCUREMENT OF 10 C 141 AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE WORK STANDS AND DATA BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, WARNER ROBINS AIR MATERIEL AREA (WRAMA), UNDER SOLICITATION NO. F09603-68- B-0388.

THE AIR FORCE REPORTS THAT THE PROCUREMENT WAS FOR THE MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND (MAC), THAT THE STANDS WERE OF A SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT CONFIGURATION THAN C-141 STANDS USED AT ROBINS AFB AND THAT THE FIRST STAND WAS TO BE SUBJECTED TO FIRST ARTICLE TESTS AND APPROVAL AT TRAVIS AFB, CALIFORNIA. IT IS FURTHER REPORTED THAT MAC DID NOT WANT DATA, BUT THAT SINCE WRAMA WAS TO BE THE ITEM MANAGER, IT WAS DECIDED THAT DATA FOR REPROCUREMENT WOULD BE REQUIRED, TO SUPPORT THE STANDS WITH SPARE PARTS. THE TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISING METHOD OF PROCUREMENT WAS SELECTED AND A LETTER REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WAS ISSUED JUNE 23, 1967. AT A PRE-BID CONFERENCE HELD AT WRAMA ON JULY 6, 1967, PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE TOLD THAT THE DATA SHOULD BE PRICED SEPARATELY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES, SINCE THE DATA REQUIREMENTS WERE SUBJECT TO CANCELLATION PRIOR TO AWARD IF THE PRICES WERE CONSIDERED TO BE PROHIBITIVE BY WRAMA DATA TECHNICIANS. TWO APPARENTLY ACCEPTABLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED, ONE FROM YOUR FIRM AND ONE FROM R-AND-D CONSTRUCTORS, INC. SOLICITATION NO. F09603-68 B- 0135 WAS ISSUED SEPTEMBER 1, 1967, AND REQUESTED BIDS UNDER ITEM 1 FOR FURNISHING 10 SETS OF C-141 AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE WORK STANDS, F.O.B. EIGHT DESIGNATED DESTINATIONS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CITED SPECIFICATION AND THE BIDDER'S TECHNICAL PROPOSAL. ITEM 2 COVERED THE COST OF FIRST ARTICLE TEST REQUIREMENTS, UNLESS INCLUDED BY THE BIDDER IN THE PRICE OF THE END ARTICLE, AND ITEM 3, PLUS SUB-ITEMS 3AA THROUGH 3AG, COVERED DATA IN ACCORDANCE WITH ATTACHED DD FORMS 1423, WHICH IDENTIFIED THE DATA ITEMS AS A001 THROUGH A008. TWO BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED SEPTEMBER 22, 1967, AS FOLLOWS:

BROWN R-AND-D

ITEM 1 $2,178,910 $2,151,980

ITEM 2 INCLUDED IN ITEM 1 NO CHARGE

ITEM 3 INCLUDED IN ITEM 1 53,250

AT THE BID OPENING R-AND-D LODGED A VERBAL COMPLAINT, LATER CONFIRMED BY LETTER OF OCTOBER 2, 1967, THAT IT WAS THEIR UNDERSTANDING AND INTENTION THAT THE PRICE QUOTED FOR ITEM 1 SHOULD INCLUDE ALL DATA AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS, AND THAT THE AMOUNT INCLUDED FOR DATA WAS SHOWN SEPARATELY PURSUANT TO INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN BY THE AIR FORCE AT THE PRE-BID CONFERENCE. THEREAFTER BY LETTER OF NOVEMBER 2, 1967,R-AND-D REPEATED ITS POSITION AND FORWARDED A COPY OF A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 21, 1967, RECEIVED FROM CHAMPION STEEL PRODUCTS CORP., SUBMITTING A SUB-BID FOR CERTAIN MATERIALS AND ENGINEERING SERVICES, INCLUDING ENGINEERING FOR ALL DATA SUB-ITEMS EXCEPT 3AF. THE EXACT AMOUNTS BID BY CHAMPION FOR THESE DATA ITEMS WERE ENTERED BY R-AND-D ON ITS DD FORM 1423 AND TOTAL $52,500. THE AMOUNT ENTERED BY R-AND-D ON DD FORM 1423 FOR SUB-ITEM 3F WAS $750 WHICH, WHEN ADDED TO THE ABOVE FIGURE OF $52,500, TOTALS $53,250, THE AMOUNT ENTERED BY R-AND-D FOR ITEM 3. HOWEVER, CHAMPION'S TOTAL OF $1,172,325 (REDUCED FOR BID PURPOSES TO $1,170,000) INCLUDES THE ABOVE $52,500, AND R-AND-D HAS FURNISHED A COPY OF ITS RECAPITULATION WORK SHEET SHOWING THAT THIS $1,170,000 WAS INCLUDED IN ITS TOTAL BID OF $2,151,980. IF CORRECTION OF THE R-AND-D BID COULD BE PERMITTED ON THE BASIS OF THIS EVIDENCE, IT WOULD BE EVALUATED AT $2,151,980 AND THEREFORE BE THE LOW BID.

IT WAS ALSO DETERMINED UPON REVIEW OF THE BIDS THAT, AS WILL BE MORE FULLY DEVELOPED BELOW, THE STIPULATION IN YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD FURNISH A 60-TON CRANE FOR ERECTION OF THE STANDS, AND THE INDICATION THEREIN THAT YOUR PROPOSAL INCLUDED THE ASSEMBLY OR ERECTION OF ONLY ONE OF THE TEN STANDS, MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO EVALUATE THE BIDS ON A COMMON BASIS.

AFTER REVIEWING THE ENTIRE BID PACKAGES CONSISTING OF (1) PURCHASE DESCRIPTION; (2) AIR FORCE LETTERS OF JULY 17 AND 28, 1967; (3) TECHNICAL PROPOSALS; AND (4) IFB F09603-68-B-0135, AND BIDS SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE THERETO, IT WAS CONCLUDED BY PROCUREMENT OFFICIALS THAT A LEGALLY VALID AWARD COULD NOT BE MADE. ACCORDINGLY, A CONFERENCE WAS HELD AT WRAMA ON DECEMBER 5, 1967, ATTENDED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF BOTH BIDDERS, AT WHICH THE EXISTING PROBLEMS WERE DISCUSSED, AND BY LETTER OF THE SAME DATE BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT THE INITIAL IFB (0135) WAS BEING CANCELLED IN ITS ENTIRETY, DUE TO AMBIGUITIES IN THE DATA REQUIREMENTS AND OTHER DISCREPANCIES, AND THAT THE GOVERNMENT PROPOSED TO NEGOTIATE THE REQUIREMENT. BIDDERS WERE THEREFORE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS BEFORE THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON DECEMBER 20, 1967, BASED ON IFB 0135, AS REVISED BY AMENDMENT NO. 1 AND BY FURTHER AMENDMENTS, INSTRUCTIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS SET FORTH IN ATTACHMENT NO. 1 TO THE ABOVE LETTER OF DECEMBER 5, 1967. IN YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 6, 1967, TO WRAMA, YOU MAINTAINED THAT THE CANCELLATION OF THE IFB WAS UNWARRANTED, THAT THE BASIC EFFECT OF SAME WAS TO CHANGE THE PROCUREMENT FROM ADVERTISED TO NEGOTIATED WITH ONLY INSIGNIFICANT CHANGES, AND THAT ITS REAL PURPOSE WAS NOT CANCELLATION, BUT TO GIVE THE HIGH BIDDER A SECOND OPPORTUNITY TO UNDERBID THE LOW BIDDER. YOU FURTHER CONTENDED THAT THE ATTEMPTED CANCELLATION WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY ANY COMPELLING REASON AND THAT THE INTEGRITY OF THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM WOULD BE ERODED BY SUCH A PRACTICE.

THE DECISION TO NEGOTIATE THE SECOND STEP WAS DUE TO APPREHENSION ON THE PART OF PROCUREMENT PERSONNEL THAT ADDITIONAL AMBIGUITIES AND DISCREPANCIES MIGHT ARISE WHICH COULD BE CLARIFIED AND LEGALLY IRONED OUT BY NEGOTIATION, BUT WHICH WOULD AGAIN PREVENT AN AWARD UNDER A FORMAL ADVERTISEMENT. HOWEVER, WHEN NO REQUESTS FOR CLARIFICATION WERE RECEIVED FROM EITHER BIDDER, A REAPPRAISAL WAS MADE AND IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS WERE NOT STATED WITH SUFFICIENT COMPLETENESS AND CLARITY TO JUSTIFY FORMAL ADVERTISING. THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS OF DECEMBER 5 WAS THEREFORE CANCELLED AND SOLICITATION NO. F09603-68-B-0388 WAS ISSUED DECEMBER 11, 1967, AS THE SECOND STEP OF THE TWO-STEP ADVERTISED PROCUREMENT. YOUR TELEGRAM OF DECEMBER 14 AND LETTERS OF DECEMBER 15 AND 18, 1967, TO THIS OFFICE, RAISE SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME OBJECTIONS SET FORTH IN YOUR PROTEST TO THE AIR FORCE.

SECTION 2-404-1 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"2-404.1 CANCELLATION OF INVITATION AFTER OPENING.

"/A) THE PRESERVATION OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE COMPETITIVE BID SYSTEM DICTATES THAT AFTER BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED, AWARD MUST BE MADE TO THAT RESPONSIBLE BIDDER WHO SUBMITTED THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE BID, UNLESS THERE IS A COMPELLING REASON TO REJECT ALL BIDS AND CANCEL THE INVITATION. EVERY EFFORT SHALL BE MADE TO ANTICIPATE CHANGES IN A REQUIREMENT PRIOR TO THE DATE OF OPENING AND TO NOTIFY ALL PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS OF ANY RESULTING MODIFICATION OR CANCELLATION, THEREBY PERMITTING BIDDERS TO CHANGE THEIR BIDS AND PREVENTING THE UNNECESSARY EXPOSURE OF BID PRICES. AS A GENERAL RULE, AFTER OPENING, AN INVITATION FOR BIDS SHOULD NOT BE CANCELED AND READVERTISED DUE SOLELY TO INCREASED REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ITEMS BEING PROCURED; AWARD SHOULD BE MADE ON THE INITIAL INVITATION FOR BIDS AND THE ADDITIONAL QUANTITY REQUIRED SHOULD BE TREATED AS A NEW PROCUREMENT.

"/B) WHERE IT IS DETERMINED PRIOR TO AWARD BUT AFTER OPENING THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF 1-1203 (RELATING TO THE AVAILABILITY AND IDENTIFICATION OF SPECIFICATIONS) HAVE NOT BEEN MET, THE INVITATION FOR BIDS SHALL BE CANCELED. INVITATIONS FOR BIDS MAY BE CANCELED AFTER OPENING BUT PRIOR TO AWARD WHERE SUCH ACTION IS CONSISTENT WITH (A) ABOVE AND THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINES IN WRITING THAT --

"/I) INADEQUATE OR AMBIGUOUS SPECIFICATIONS WERE CITED IN THE INVITATION;

"/II) SPECIFICATIONS HAVE BEEN REVISED;

"/III) THE SUPPLIES OR SERVICES BEING PROCURED ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED;

"/IV) THE INVITATION DID NOT PROVIDE FOR CONSIDERATION OF ALL FACTORS OF COST TO THE GOVERNMENT, SUCH AS COST OF TRANSPORTING GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED PROPERTY TO BIDDERS' PLANTS;

"/V) BIDS RECEIVED INDICATE THAT THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT CAN BE SATISFIED BY A LESS EXPENSIVE ARTICLE DIFFERING FROM THAT ON WHICH THE BIDS WERE INVITED; * * *.'

THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONCLUSION THAT THE ORIGINAL DATA REQUIREMENTS WERE NOT CLEARLY STATED WAS BASED IN PART ON THE RADICALLY DIFFERENT RESPONSES RECEIVED FROM YOUR FIRM AND FROM R-AND-D AS TO THE CONTENT AND PRICES OF SAME. EXAMINATION OF FORMS DD-1423 SHOWS THAT YOUR ESTIMATED PRICES FOR DATA ITEMS 3AA, 3AB AND 3AC WERE $60, $25 AND $5,167, RESPECTIVELY, WHEREAS R-AND-D SHOWED RESPECTIVE PRICES OF$22,000, $5,500 AND $20,000. ALSO, YOUR ESTIMATE OF THE NUMBER OF PAGES TO BE FURNISHED FOR ITEMS 3AB AND 3AC WAS 5 AND 15, RESPECTIVELY, WHEREAS R-AND-D ESTIMATED 50 AND 150, RESPECTIVELY. IT FURTHER APPEARS FROM AN EXAMINATION OF ATTACHMENT NO. 1 TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S LETTER OF DECEMBER 5, 1967, THAT MANY OF THE CHANGES MADE THEREBY WERE NECESSARY AND MATERIAL. THIS ATTACHMENT IS TITLED "REVISIONS TO IFB F09603-68-B-0135" AND CONSISTS OF 25 ITEMS OF ADDITION, DELETION, REVISION AND CLARIFICATION. SOME OF THE ITEMS WHICH APPEAR CLEARLY TO BE MATERIAL, AND THEIR EFFECT, ARE AS FOLLOWS:

2. DELETES DATA ITEM A002 (CONTRACT ITEM 3AA) IN ITS ENTIRETY.

3. AMENDS AND CLARIFIES DATA ITEM A003 (CONTRACT ITEM 3AB).

4.ADDS DATA ITEM A009 (CONTRACT ITEM 3AH) "ACCEPTANCE TEST REPORT".

5. CLARIFIES DATA ITEM A004 (CONTRACT ITEM 3AC).

6. PROVIDES FOR SEPARATE ENTRY OF DATA PRICES AND THAT THEY WILL DEFINITELY BE AWARDED AND INCLUDED IN THE EVALUATION. THIS WAS CHANGED AGAIN BY IFB 0388 WHICH PROVIDED THAT THE PRICE FOR ALL DATA SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN ITEM 1 AND NOT SHOWN SEPARATELY ON THE BID FORM.

13. FIXES WARRANTY PERIOD AT ONE YEAR, WHICH HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN STATED BOTH AS ONE YEAR AND AS 180 DAYS. IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, IFB 0388 CHANGED THE DATA REQUIREMENTS BY SUBSTITUTING ,ENGINEERING DATA FOR DESIGN EVALUATIONS" IN LIEU OF THE DELETED ITEM A002, AND BY INSERTING AS ITEM A004 A REQUIREMENT FOR "DATA, ENGINEERING, REPORTS AND LISTS FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT WORK PERFORMED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.' THE FOREGOING CHANGES APPEAR TO JUSTIFY THE DETERMINATION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT IFB 0135 WAS PROPERLY FOR CANCELLATION WITHIN THE RATIONALE OF ASPR 2.404-1 (B) (I), (II), (III) AND (V).

ADDITIONALLY, THERE WAS A MATERIAL DEVIATION RELATING TO THE ERECTION OF THE WORK STANDS WHICH ALONE, IN OUR OPINION, MADE THE ORIGINAL INVITATION DEFECTIVE AND SUBJECT TO CANCELLATION. THE AIR FORCE REPORTS THAT IT WAS CONTEMPLATED THAT THE CONTRACTOR ERECT THE STANDS AT ALL DESTINATIONS. HOWEVER, THERE WAS NO SUCH PROVISION IN THE ORIGINAL IFB, WHICH MERELY PROVIDES UNDER "INSPECTION AND ACCEPTANCE" THAT SUPPLIES SHALL BE SHIPPED DIRECT BY THE CONTRACTOR TO THE SPECIFIED DESTINATION AT THE EXPENSE OF THE CONTRACTOR AND THAT FINAL INSPECTION AND ACCEPTANCE SHALL BE AT DESTINATION. THE "LETTER REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL" PROVIDES THAT THE PROPOSAL SHOULD INCLUDE:

"A WRITTEN DESCRIPTION OF THE PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTOR'S TECHNICAL APPROACH TO THE JOB. THIS SHOULD INCLUDE HIS ORGANIZATIONAL PLANS FOR:

(1) WORK PHASES:

PHASE I - DESIGN, ANALYSIS AND DOCUMENTATION

PHASE II - MANUFACTURE, IN-PLANT ASSEMBLY AND CHECK OUT

PHASE III - DISASSEMBLY AND SHIPPING

PHASE IV - ON-SITE INSTALLATION AND CHECK OUT.' IN SUBMITTING YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL YOU STATED UNDER "SCOPE OF PROPOSED WORK" THAT "THE FIRST SET WILL BE TESTED AT BROWN FACILITIES, SHIPPED TO TRAVIS AFB, ERECTED AND CHECKED OUT FOR FORM AND FIT.' YOU FURTHER STATED UNDER "WORK PHASE IV - ON-SITE INSTALLATION AND CHECK OUT" AS FOLLOWS:

"UPON DELIVERY, BROWN ENGINEERING WILL ASSUME THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ERECTING THE FIRST SET OF WORK DOCKS. A 60 FOOT (HOOK HEIGHT) CRANE WILL BE REQUIRED GFE AT TRAVIS AFB FOR ERECTION.' THE QUOTED PROVISIONS OF YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL INDICATE THAT YOU INTENDED TO ERECT ONLY THE FIRST SET OF WORK STANDS AND THE AIR FORCE IN ACCEPTING YOUR PROPOSAL, DID NOT QUESTION THIS, OR YOUR REQUIREMENT FOR A 60 FOOT CRANE AS GOVERNMENT FURNISHED EQUIPMENT, DESPITE THE FACT THAT SUCH A CRANE IS AVAILABLE AT ONLY ONE OF THE EIGHT DESTINATIONS. IT APPEARS THAT THE ONLY REFERENCE TO INSTALLATION WAS THAT QUOTED ABOVE AS WORK PHASE IV AND THIS, STANDING ALONE, COULD NOT REASONABLY BE INTERPRETED AS A REQUIREMENT THAT THE CONTRACTOR ERECT THE WORK STANDS AT ALL DESTINATIONS, ALTHOUGH IT MAY HAVE BEEN SO INTENDED. THE SUBSTANCE OF PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF ASPR RELATING TO TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISING IS AS FOLLOWS:

2-501 (I) STEP ONE CONSISTS OF THE REQUEST FOR, AND SUBMISSION, EVALUATION, AND, IF NECESSARY, DISCUSSION OF A TECHNICAL PROPOSAL TO DETERMINE THE ACCEPTABILITY OF THE SUPPLIES OR SERVICES OFFERED.

2-502 (A) (II) TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISING SHALL BE USED IN PREFERENCE TO NEGOTIATION WHEN DEFINITE CRITERIA EXIST FOR EVALUATING TECHNICAL PROPOSALS, SUCH AS DESIGN, MANUFACTURING, TESTING, AND PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS.

2-503.1 (A) (IV) AND (VIII) THE REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS SHALL CONTAIN THE CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL (SEE 2-502 (A) (II) (, AND A STATEMENT THAT PROPOSALS SHOULD BE FULLY AND CLEARLY ACCEPTABLE WITHOUT ADDITIONAL EXPLANATION OR INFORMATION, BUT THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY, IN ITS DISCRETION, REQUEST ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CLARIFYING OR SUPPLEMENTING BUT NOT BASICALLY CHANGING ANY PROPOSAL.

SINCE THE AIR FORCE INTENDED THAT THE CONTRACTOR BE RESPONSIBLE FOR INSTALLATION AT ALL DESTINATIONS, AND SINCE YOUR PROPOSAL INDICATED THAT YOU INTENDED TO ERECT ONLY THE FIRST SET OF WORK STANDS, AND YOUR INTERPRETATION OF THE REQUIREMENT WAS NOT UNREASONABLE, IT WAS INCUMBENT UPON THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO CLARIFY THE GOVERNMENT'S INTENTIONS AND GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO AMEND YOUR PROPOSAL BEFORE ISSUING AN IFB. THE ABOVE SECTIONS OF ASPR PROVIDE THAT A PROPOSAL MAY BE CLARIFIED OR SUPPLEMENTED, BUT NOT BASICALLY CHANGED. HOWEVER, THEY NO DOUBT ASSUME THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS WILL HAVE BEEN ACCURATELY STATED AND THAT ONLY THE PROPOSAL MIGHT NEED CLARIFICATION. WHEN THE SERVICES TO BE PERFORMED HAVE NOT BEEN STATED CLEARLY AND FULLY, A DISCUSSION AND CLARIFICATION WOULD APPEAR TO BE IN ORDER REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT RESULTS IN A BASIC CHANGE IN A PROPOSAL. ANY PROBLEM PRESENTED BY YOUR REQUEST FOR A GOVERNMENT FURNISHED CRANE WOULD ALSO APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN SUBJECT TO RESOLUTION BY DISCUSSION.

THE AMBIGUITY CONCERNING INSTALLATION WAS CLARIFIED BY ITEM 11 OF ATTACHMENT NO. 1 TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S LETTER OF DECEMBER 5, 1967, AS FOLLOWS:

"11. SECTION E-2 IS CHANGED TO READ AS FOLLOWS: "INSPECTION AND ACCEPTANCE: FINAL INSPECTION AND ACCEPTANCE SHALL BE AT DESTINATION. THE CONTRACTOR WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ERECTION AT ALL DESTINATIONS, PRIOR TO FINAL INSPECTION AND ACCEPTANCE. THE CONTRACTOR RETAINS COMPLETE LIABILITY UNTIL ACCEPTANCE BY THE GOVERNMENT. ALL OF THESE ACTIONS WILL BE AT THE CONTRACTOR'S EXPENSE.' ALSO, IFB 0388 ADDS THE FOLLOWING NOTE TO ITEM 1,"NOTE 1: THE SUCCESSFUL CONTRACTOR WILL ERECT ALL WORK STANDS AT ALL DESTINATIONS, PRIOR TO FINAL INSPECTION AND ACCEPTANCE," AND THE ABOVE -QUOTED REVISION OF SECTION E-2 WAS CARRIED FORWARD TO IFB 0388 IN SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME LANGUAGE. SECTION F-19 WAS ALSO ADDED TO IFB 0388 PROVIDING THAT "THE GOVERNMENT WILL FURNISH A 60 FOOT CRANE AND OPERATOR FOR SAME AT NO CHARGE TO THE CONTRACTOR FOR ERECTION OF WORK STANDS AT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, GEORGIA ONLY. NO OTHER GOVERNMENT FURNISHED PROPERTY OR LABOR WILL BE AVAILABLE TO THE CONTRACTOR AT ANY DESTINATION.

THE RECORD, AS SUMMARIZED ABOVE, DOES NOT APPEAR TO SUPPORT YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE REAL PURPOSE OF THE CANCELLATION WAS TO GIVE R-AND D A SECOND OPPORTUNITY TO UNDERBID YOU -- IN FACT IT TENDS TO REFUTE YOUR CONTENTION THAT YOUR BID WAS LOW. IT APPEARS THAT AN HONEST EFFORT WAS MADE TO BE FAIR TO BOTH BIDDERS, AND WHILE THE AIR FORCE ADMITTEDLY DID NOT TAKE THE PROPER ACTION DURING THE INITIAL STAGE OF THE PROCUREMENT, THE STEPS TAKEN THEREAFTER TO REMEDY THE SITUATION APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN FULLY JUSTIFIED AND IN ACCORD WITH EXISTING REGULATIONS. YOUR PROTEST IS THEREFORE DENIED.