B-165601, DEC. 27, 1968

B-165601: Dec 27, 1968

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TO CABLE PRODUCTS CORPORATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF NOVEMBER 8. N00163-69-B-0192 WAS ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 19. WAS OPENED ON OCTOBER 9. N00163-69-B 0198 WAS ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 27. WAS OPENED ON OCTOBER 14. CONTRACTS UNDER BOTH INVITATIONS WERE AWARDED TO AIRCRAFT AND ELECTRONICS SPECIALTIES AS THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR FIRM WAS DISQUALIFIED BECAUSE IT WAS DETERMINED THAT YOU FAILED TO MEET THE MINIMUM RESPONSBILITY REQUIREMENTS. THE ITEMS TO BE FURNISHED ARE ASSEMBLIES NECESSITATING HIGH SHIELD INTEGRITY TO AVOID ACCIDENTAL BOMB DETONATION FROM STRAY RADIATION ON AIRCRAFT CARRIER DECKS. TORQUE AND TENSILE REQUIREMENTS ARE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO ATTAIN BY HYDRAULIC SWAGING METHODS WHICH HAVE LED TO GROSS FAILURES BY OTHER MANUFACTURES ON SIMILAR CABLES IN THE PAST. "5.

B-165601, DEC. 27, 1968

TO CABLE PRODUCTS CORPORATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF NOVEMBER 8, 1968, PROTESTING THE AWARDS OF CONTRACTS UNDER INVITATIONS FOR BIDS NOS. N00163-69-B 0192 AND N00163-69-B-0198, ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AVIONICS FACILITY, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, TO ANY BIDDER OTHER THAN YOUR FIRM, A SELF CERTIFIED SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN.

INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. N00163-69-B-0192 WAS ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 19, 1968, AND WAS OPENED ON OCTOBER 9, 1968. THE INVITATION PROVIDED FOR THE FURNISHING OF 337 EACH CABLE ASSEMBLY, POWER, ELECTRICAL, IN ACCORDANCE WITH NAVAIR DRAWING 64A15F1063. INVITATION NO. N00163-69-B 0198 WAS ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 27, 1968, AND WAS OPENED ON OCTOBER 14, 1968. THIS INVITATION PROVIDED FOR THE FURNISHING OF 38 EACH UMBILICAL CABLE ASSEMBLY WI, NAVAIR DRAWING 67A58F55, REVISION "D.'

CONTRACTS UNDER BOTH INVITATIONS WERE AWARDED TO AIRCRAFT AND ELECTRONICS SPECIALTIES AS THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE, RESPONSIBLE BIDDER EVEN THOUGH THE BID ABSTRACTS REVEAL THAT YOUR FIRM SUBMITTED THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE BID UNDER EACH INVITATION. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR FIRM WAS DISQUALIFIED BECAUSE IT WAS DETERMINED THAT YOU FAILED TO MEET THE MINIMUM RESPONSBILITY REQUIREMENTS. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER GAVE AS HIS REASONS FOR FINDING CABLE PRODUCTS CORPORATION NONRESPONSIBLE AS FOLLOWS: "4. THE ITEMS TO BE FURNISHED ARE ASSEMBLIES NECESSITATING HIGH SHIELD INTEGRITY TO AVOID ACCIDENTAL BOMB DETONATION FROM STRAY RADIATION ON AIRCRAFT CARRIER DECKS. IN ADDITION TO THE STRINGENT REQUIREMENTS ON SHIELDING, TORQUE AND TENSILE REQUIREMENTS ARE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO ATTAIN BY HYDRAULIC SWAGING METHODS WHICH HAVE LED TO GROSS FAILURES BY OTHER MANUFACTURES ON SIMILAR CABLES IN THE PAST. "5. ON 18 OCT 68 A PREAWARD SURVEY OF CABLE PRODUCTS CORP. WAS REQUESTED FROM DCASD NEWARK. THE REPORT WAS REQUESTED BY 28 OCT 68. THE PREAWARD SURVEY WAS CONDUCTED ON 24 OCT 68 AND A TECHNICAL TEAM FROM NAVAL AVIONICS FACILITY FAMILIAR WITH THE DIFFICULTIES INVOLVED IN FABRICATING CABLE ASSEMBLIES OF THIS TYPE PARTICIPATED. * * * MAJOR OBJECTIONS TO THE AWARD INCLUDE LACK OF EXPERIENCE ON THE PART OF THE COMPANY IN FABRICATING CABLE ASSEMBLIES OF THIS COMPLEXITY. CABLE PRODUCTS CORP. IS A NEW COMPANY JUST FORMED IN 1968. THE COMPANY ALSO LACKS A BRAIDING MACHINE AND FACILITIES FOR SECURING THE BRAIDED SHIELD TO THE SHIELD ADAPTERS. * * *"

THE PREAWARD SURVEY OF CABLE PRODUCTS CORPORATION COMPLETED ON OCTOBER 31, 1968, WHICH RECOMMENDED THAT NO AWARD BE MADE FULLY SUBSTANTIATES THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION OF NONRESPONSIBILITY.

IN THIS REGARD, IT IS A LONG-ESTABLISHED RULE OF OUR OFFICE THAT THE DETERMINATION OF THE QUALIFICATIONS OF A BIDDER IS PRIMARILY THE FUNCTION OF THE CONTRACTING AGENCY AND, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY SHOWING OF BAD FAITH OR LACK OF REASONABLE FACTUAL BASIS FOR THE DETERMINATION, WE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE DETERMINATION AS MADE. 38 COMP. GEN. 248. THE REASONS FOR THIS RULE ARE SET OUT IN OUR DECISION AT 39 COMP. GEN. 705, 711, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * WHILE SUCH JUDGMENT SHOULD BE BASED ON FACT AND SHOULD BE ARRIVED AT IN GOOD FAITH, IT MUST PROPERLY BE LEFT LARGELY TO THE SOUND ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICES INVOLVED, SINCE THEY ARE IN THE BEST POSITION TO ASSESS RESPONSIBILITY, THEY MUST BEAR THE MAJOR BRUNT OF ANY DIFFICULTIES EXPERIENCED BY REASON OF THE CONTRACTOR'S LACK OF ABILITY, AND THEY MUST MAINTAIN THE DAY TO DAY RELATIONS WITH THE CONTRACTOR ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT. FOR THESE REASONS, IT WOULD BE UNREASONABLE TO SUPERIMPOSE THE JUDGMENT OF OUR OFFICE OR ANY OTHER AGENCY OR GROUP ON THAT OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICALS. * * *"

WHILE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 1-705.4 (C) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) A CONTRACTING OFFICER IS REQUIRED TO REFER TO THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA) BIDS OF SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS WHICH ARE REJECTED SOLELY BECAUSE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS DETERMINED THAT THE CONCERN IS NONRESPONSIBLE AS TO CAPACITY OR CREDIT, THIS WAS NOT DONE IN THIS INSTANCE BECAUSE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CERTIFIED THAT AWARD HAD TO BE MADE WITHOUT DELAY. THIS PROCEDURE WAS IN CONFORMANCE WITH ASPR 1-705.4 (C) (IV) WHICH PROVIDES THAT A REFERRAL NEED NOT BE MADE TO SBA IF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CERTIFIES IN WRITING THAT THE AWARD MUST BE MADE WITHOUT DELAY. B-162098, OCTOBER 9, 1967.

ON THE RECORD BEFORE US WE FIND NO BASIS TO DISTURB THE DETERMINATION MADE AS TO YOUR TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.