B-169883, APR 9, 1971

B-169883: Apr 9, 1971

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WHILE IT MAY HAVE BEEN INAPPROPRIATE TO INDICATE THAT THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT WERE BASED ON AN EVALUATION OF PROTESTANT'S OLDER MODEL. THE PROCURING ACTIVITY ALSO COMPARED DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE FROM PROTESTANT'S MODEL WITH THE BRAND NAME MODEL AND CONCLUDED THAT ITS FEATURES WERE SUPERIOR TO PROTESTANT'S AND THE COMP. TO STACOR CORPORATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 22. WHICH WAS ISSUED BY THE NAVAL SUPPLY CENTER. THE REQUIREMENTS WERE SET FORTH UNDER FOUR ITEMS IN SECTION 1 OF THE SCHEDULE OF THE IFB. THAT THE ACTIVITY HAD CANCELED THE PROCUREMENT AFTER DETERMINING THAT ALL SUBMITTED BIDS WERE NONRESPONSIVE. INCLUDING THE BID OF YOUR CONCERN WHICH WAS REJECTED FOR FAILURE TO FURNISH DETAILS OF THE INTENDED MODIFICATIONS TO THE STANDARD STACOR CORPORATION UNITS WHICH YOU OFFERED.

B-169883, APR 9, 1971

BID PROTEST - BID RESPONSIVENESS - RESTRICTIVE SPECIFICATIONS DECISION DENYING PROTEST AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO THE DIETERICH POST COMPANY FOR 256 DRAFTING TABLES AND REFERENCE DESKS UNDER AN IFB ISSUED BY THE NAVAL SUPPLY CENTER, PUGET SOUND, BREMERTON, WASHINGTON, ON A BRAND NAME OR EQUAL BASIS. WHILE IT MAY HAVE BEEN INAPPROPRIATE TO INDICATE THAT THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT WERE BASED ON AN EVALUATION OF PROTESTANT'S OLDER MODEL, THE PROCURING ACTIVITY ALSO COMPARED DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE FROM PROTESTANT'S MODEL WITH THE BRAND NAME MODEL AND CONCLUDED THAT ITS FEATURES WERE SUPERIOR TO PROTESTANT'S AND THE COMP. GEN. CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT THE RECORD CLEARLY ESTABLISHES THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS IN QUESTION REPRESENT OTHER THAN MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT. IN ALL OTHER RESPECTS THE SUCCESSFUL BID APPEARS RESPONSIVE AND THE PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.

TO STACOR CORPORATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 22, 1970, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING YOUR PROTEST UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. N00406-70-B-0182, WHICH WAS ISSUED BY THE NAVAL SUPPLY CENTER, PUGET SOUND, BREMERTON, WASHINGTON, ON MARCH 5, 1970, FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF QUANTITIES OF DRAFTING TABLES AND REFERENCE DESKS, "L" CONFIGURATION TO BE USED BY THE PUGET SOUND NAVAL SHIPYARD. THE REQUIREMENTS WERE SET FORTH UNDER FOUR ITEMS IN SECTION 1 OF THE SCHEDULE OF THE IFB, AS AMENDED, WHICH SPECIFIED HAMILTON MANUFACTURING COMPANY STANDARD "DIAL-A-TORQUE" MODELS 27J663, 27J763, 27J764 AND 27J664, AS MODIFIED BY SPECIFICATIONS SHOWN IN THE IFB, OR EQUAL.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE SUBJECT REQUIREMENT HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY ADVERTISED UNDER IFB N00406-70-B-0175, ISSUED JANUARY 15, 1970, UTILIZING A STANDARD HAMILTON MODEL "OR EQUAL" PURCHASE DESCRIPTION, BUT THAT THE ACTIVITY HAD CANCELED THE PROCUREMENT AFTER DETERMINING THAT ALL SUBMITTED BIDS WERE NONRESPONSIVE, INCLUDING THE BID OF YOUR CONCERN WHICH WAS REJECTED FOR FAILURE TO FURNISH DETAILS OF THE INTENDED MODIFICATIONS TO THE STANDARD STACOR CORPORATION UNITS WHICH YOU OFFERED.

IN ITS EFFORTS TO CONSIDER ALL CONSTRUCTION FACETS OF BOTH THE HAMILTON AND THE STACOR UNITS, AND TO DEVELOP SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE NEW SOLICITATION THAT WOULD STATE ONLY THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY AND ENCOURAGE MAXIMUM COMPETITION, A QUALITY-CONTROL ENGINEER, MR. F. D. WARNOCK, FROM THE PUGET SOUND NAVAL SHIPYARD INSPECTED SEVERAL OF THE CURRENT STACOR DRAFTING TABLES AT THE NAVAL SHIP ENGINEERING CENTER, PHILADELPHIA NAVAL SHIPYARD, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. THESE TABLES HAD APPARENTLY BEEN PURCHASED BY THE CENTER UNDER A HAMILTON "OR EQUAL" PURCHASE DESCRIPTION. THE FOLLOWING MEMORANDUM OF HIS REPORT WAS SUBMITTED TO THE PURCHASING ACTIVITY AT BREMERTON:

"ON 27 FEBRUARY 1970 I VISITED THE NAVAL SHIP ENGINEERING CENTER, BUILDING 633, AT PHILADELPHIA NAVAL SHIPYARD, WHERE MR. JIM HONDROS, SUPERVISOR OF THE DRAFTING SECTION, SHOWED ME THEIR DRAFTING ROOM FURNITURE. THE DRAFTING TABLES CONSISTED OF SEVEN STACOR COORDINATE GROUP 'L' SERIES, WHICH WERE DELIVERED TO THEM IN FEBRUARY OF 1969. THESE UNITS WERE PURCHASED UNDER A HAMILTON 'DIAL-A-TORQUE' SPECIFICATION, ENCLOSURE (1).

"THE FURNITURE DID NOT CONFORM TO OUR SPECIFICATION FOR THE SAME TYPE OF EQUIPMENT FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

A. THE DRAFTING BOARDS DO NOT HAVE A FULL LENGTH PENCIL TRAY. TRAY IS SHORT BY APPROXIMATELY 2-1/4 INCHES.

B. NEITHER DRAFTING TABLE OR REFERENCE DESK HAD FLOOR LEVELING DEVICES. (STACOR'S CATALOG CLAIMS THIS FEATURE HOWEVER.)

C. FILE DRAWERS DID NOT HAVE ADJUSTABLE FOLLOWERS.

D. THERE WAS NO BUILT-IN BOOKSHELF ON EITHER SIDE OF THE DRAFTING TABLE PEDESTAL.

E. THE DRAFTING TABLES ARE CERTAINLY NOT 'EQUAL TO' HAMILTON'S DIAL-A TORQUE FOR REASONS DISCUSSED IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPHS.

"IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, THE STACOR UNITS WERE INFERIOR IN OTHER RESPECTS. HEIGHT AND TILT OPERATIONS WERE DIFFICULT, REQUIRING A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF FORCE. FOOT PEDALS CONTROLS WERE DEFINITELY NOT 'EFFORTLESS' AS QUOTED IN THEIR CATALOG. NAVSEC EMPLOYEES SAID THAT WOMEN COULD NOT EFFECTIVELY OPERATE THE TILT AND HEIGHT MECHANISMS.

ENCLOSURE

"THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DRAFTING PEDESTAL AND REFERENCE DESK IS AT ONE POINT ONLY, RESULTING IN POOR STRUCTURAL INTEGRATION OF THE TWO UNITS. NAVSEC PERSONNEL COMPLAINED THAT THE REFERENCE DESK AND DRAFTING PEDESTAL WOULD NOT MAINTAIN THEIR RESPECTIVE 'L' POSITION DUE TO THE INADEQUATE DESIGN OF THIS CONNECTION. DRAWER GLIDES RODE ON NYLON BUTTONS WHICH APPARENTLY REQUIRE SUPPLEMENTAL LUBRICATION IN THE FORM OF GREASE. GENERAL WORKMANSHIP WAS AVERAGE OR BELOW. SOME UNITS HAD IMPROPERLY FITTED SHEET METAL SEAMS WHICH RESULTED IN POOR APPEARANCE. THE DRAFTING TABLES DID, HOWEVER, HAVE AN EXCELLENT APPEARING PLASTIC COVERED DRAWING BOARD, WHICH AFTER THE PRECEDING SEEMS TO BE THE ONLY REDEEMING FEATURE OF THE STACOR COORDINATE GROUP 'L' SERIES.

"THE STACOR DRAFTING AND REFERENCE DESK ENSEMBLE IS DEFINITELY AN INFERIOR PACKAGE WHEN COMPARED WITH SIMILAR HAMILTON UNITS. I FEEL THAT THEY WOULD NOT GIVE US THE TYPE OF LONG-TERM SERVICE WE REQUIRE; THEREFORE, FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, I RECOMMEND EVERY EFFORT BE MADE TO PURCHASE HAMILTON UNITS."

MR. T. M. LIBBY, THE SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PLANNING OFFICER OF THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY, ALSO SUBMITTED A MEMORANDUM TO THE PURCHASING ACTIVITY WHICH INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS:

"DRAFTING TABLES AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENTS ARE THE BASIC TOOLS OF OUR ENGINEERS AND DRAFTSMEN. DRAFTING TABLES ARE AN EXPENSIVE, LONG TERM INVESTMENT AND HISTORICALLY MUST HAVE A USEFUL LIFE OF AT LEAST TWENTY YEARS. ANY MALFUNCTIONING, DIFFICULT OPERATIONS OR ADJUSTMENTS TO THE POSITIONING MECHANISMS OR UNSTEADINESS OF THE BOARD WILL ADVERSELY AFFECT THE PRODUCTIVITY OF THE DRAFTSMAN AND THE QUALITY OF DRAWINGS PRODUCED. THE LARGE NUMBERS OF HIGHLY PAID INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED WITH THESE TABLES OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS REQUIRE THE ACQUISITION OF THE MOST EFFICIENT MAINTENANCE FREE EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE.

"SPECIFICATIONS SUBMITTED WERE DETERMINED TO BE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE DRAFTING TABLES THAT WILL PROVIDE NECESSARY EASE OF OPERATION, RETENTION OF SETTINGS, REQUIRED RIGIDITY, LOW MAINTENANCE, ABILITY TO BE ADJUSTED BY DRAFTING PERSONNEL AND DURABILITY TO PERFORM AS DESIGNED OVER THEIR EXPECTED LIFE. THE FEATURES SPECIFIED PROVIDE A DEGREE OF SAFETY FOUND TO BE LACKING IN OTHER DESIGNS. SPECIFICATIONS SUBMITTED ARE DEEMED TO BE THOSE THAT WILL ENABLE PRODUCTION OF HIGH QUALITY DRAWINGS AT THE LOWEST COST TO THE GOVERNMENT.

"A PORTION OF THE TABLES ORDERED WILL REPLACE STACOR UNITS THAT ARE NOW APPROACHING TWENTY YEARS OF SERVICE. STACOR TABLES HAVE NOT PROVEN SATISFACTORY. SOME HAVE SLIPPED WHEN TILTED, ENDANGERING THE PERSON SITTING AHEAD OF THE TABLE, TILTING AND RAISING OPERATIONS ARE DIFFICULT AND ADJUSTMENTS HARD TO MAKE, OFTEN REQUIRING A SERVICE MECHANIC WITH PROPER TOOLS. THEY ARE NOT RIGID AND REQUIRE FREQUENT MAINTENANCE. CONTRAST, THE HAMILTONS IN USE FOR THE SAME PERIOD REMAIN EASY TO OPERATE, HOLD SETTINGS, HAVE REQUIRED MINIMAL MAINTENANCE AND HAVE RETAINED THEIR RIGIDITY.

"THE MODERN STACOR 'L' UNIT WAS EXAMINED IN DETAIL AND FOUND TO BE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO OPERATE BOTH IN TILTING AND RAISING. WOMEN WERE UNABLE TO OPERATE THE MECHANISMS. THE BOARD WAS NOT RIGID AND OSCILLATED WHEN BUMPED. THE REFERENCE DESK WAS ATTACHED TO THE PEDESTAL SECTION BY A THIN METAL BOLTED BRACKET, ALLOWING THE TWO SECTIONS TO MOVE WITH RESPECT TO EACH OTHER. THE ELECTRICAL OUTLET WAS OPEN IN BACK, ALLOWING CONTACT WITH LINE TERMINALS. DRAWER SUSPENSION WAS ACCOMPLISHED WITH SLIDES REQUIRING LUBRICATION. GREASE SMEARS WERE REPORTED BY USERS. THE TABLES EXAMINED HAD BEEN IN USE FOR APPROXIMATELY ONE YEAR, HAVE SHOWN WEAR AND HAVE REQUIRED ADJUSTMENTS BY MECHANICS EQUIPPED WITH SUITABLE TOOLS. GENERAL, THE STACOR UNIT WAS FAR MORE DIFFICULT TO OPERATE, WAS LESS RIGID AND INFINITELY HARDER TO ADJUST THAN THE HAMILTON. OTHER VERY DESIRABLE FEATURES FOUND ON THE HAMILTON WERE LACKING ON THE STACOR."

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY ALSO EVALUATED DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE CONCERNING THE STACOR MODELS AND THE HAMILTON UNITS AS AN AID IN PREPARING THE SPECIFICATIONS.

PURSUANT TO THIS EVALUATION, AND IN VIEW OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF MESSRS. WARNOCK AND LIBBY, THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY DECIDED TO EXPAND THE LIST OF SALIENT FEATURES OF THE HAMILTON MODELS BY ADDING AND MODIFYING CERTAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HAMILTON MODELS WHICH HAD NOT BEEN SPECIFIED UNDER IFB N00406-70-B-0175. THIS LIST OF FEATURES, AS EXPANDED, WAS SET FORTH IN SECTION 2.0 OF IFB N00406-70-B-0182 AND IS QUOTED IN PERTINENT PART:

"2.2.1 - DRAFTING TABLES AND REFERENCE DESKS SHALL BE OF THE UNITIZED WELDED CONSTRUCTION USING 18 GAUGE SHEET STEEL.

"2.2.10 - DRAWING BOARD HEIGHT SHALL BE CONTROLLED BY A FOOT PEDAL AND SHALL HAVE A COMPLETELY COUNTERBALANCED HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT. THE BRAKE MECHANISM SHALL UTILIZE RACK AND PINIONS WITH A GEAR RACK SECURED TO EACH DRAWING BOARD SUPPORT COLUMN.

"2.2.20 ALL DRAWERS SHALL HAVE A BALL BEARING NYLON TIRED ROLLER SUSPENSION."

IFB N00406-70-B-0182 FURTHER ADVISED BIDDERS THAT ANY "EQUAL" PRODUCTS WOULD BE EVALUATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE BRAND NAME OR EQUAL CLAUSE, WHICH WAS SET OUT ON PAGE 23 OF THE IFB. SECTION C(1) OF THE CLAUSE PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

"(C)(1)IF THE BIDDER PROPOSES TO FURNISH AN 'EQUAL' PRODUCT, THE BRAND NAME, IF ANY, OF THE PRODUCT TO BE FURNISHED SHALL BE INSERTED IN THE SPACE PROVIDED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS, OR SUCH PRODUCT SHALL BE OTHERWISE CLEARLY IDENTIFIED IN THE BID. THE EVALUATION OF BIDS AND THE DETERMINATION AS TO EQUALITY OF THE PRODUCT OFFERED SHALL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT AND WILL BE BASED ON INFORMATION FURNISHED BY THE BIDDER OR IDENTIFIED IN HIS BID, AS WELL AS OTHER INFORMATION REASONABLY AVAILABLE TO THE PURCHASING ACTIVITY. CAUTION TO BIDDERS. THE PURCHASING ACTIVITY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOCATING OR SECURING ANY INFORMATION WHICH IS NOT IDENTIFIED IN THE BID AND REASONABLY AVAILABLE TO THE PURCHASING ACTIVITY. ACCORDINGLY, TO INSURE THAT SUFFICIENT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE, THE BIDDER MUST FURNISH AS A PART OF HIS BID ALL DESCRIPTIVE MATERIAL (SUCH AS CUTS, ILLUSTRATIONS, DRAWINGS, OR OTHER INFORMATION) NECESSARY FOR THE PURCHASING ACTIVITY TO (I) DETERMINE WHETHER THE PRODUCT OFFERED MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS AND (II) ESTABLISH EXACTLY WHAT THE BIDDER PROPOSES TO FURNISH AND WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE BINDING ITSELF TO PURCHASE BY MAKING AN AWARD. THE INFORMATION FURNISHED MAY INCLUDE SPECIFIC REFERENCES TO INFORMATION PREVIOUSLY FURNISHED OR TO INFORMATION OTHERWISE AVAILABLE TO THE REQUIRING LUBRICATION. GREASE SMEARS WERE REPORTED BY USERS. THE TABLES PURCHASING ACTIVITY."

ON MARCH 9, 1970, YOU ASKED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FOR AN EXTENSION OF THE BID OPENING DATE TO APRIL 6, 1970. PURSUANT TO THIS REQUEST THE CONTRACTING OFFICER EXTENDED THE OPENING DATE TO MARCH 30, 1970. ON MARCH 16, 1970, YOU REQUESTED THE PROCURING ACTIVITY TO CLARIFY SPECIFICATION 2.2.1 AND CERTAIN OTHER SPECIFICATIONS OF THE SUBJECT IFB. WITH RESPECT TO SPECIFICATION 2.2.1 YOU ASKED FOR A CLARIFICATION OF THE TERM "UNITIZED -WELDED CONSTRUCTION" AND AN EXPLANATION OF WHAT PORTIONS OF THE UNIT WERE TO BE CONSTRUCTED OF 18-GAUGE SHEET STEEL. YOU ALSO STATED THAT THE BRAKE MECHANISM DESCRIBED IN SPECIFICATION 2.2.10, WHICH REQUIRED THE MECHANISM TO UTILIZE A RACK AND PINIONS WITH A GEAR RACK SECURED TO EACH DRAWING BOARD SUPPORT COLUMN, WAS ONLY CONTAINED IN THE HAMILTON UNIT, AND THAT SUCH REQUIREMENT WAS A PROPRIETARY SPECIFICATION. YOU FURTHER ALLEGED THAT CERTAIN OTHER SPECIFICATIONS LISTED FEATURES WHICH WERE FOUND ONLY ON THE HAMILTON MODELS, INCLUDING THE CHARACTERISTICS SET FORTH IN SPECIFICATION 2.2.20. YOU CONCLUDED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 16 WITH A STATEMENT THAT IT WOULD BE "PROHIBITIVE" FOR YOU TO COMPLY WITH THE AMENDED SPECIFICATIONS.

ON MARCH 19, 1970, YOU FURNISHED ADDITIONAL INFORMATION TO THE PROCURING ACTIVITY CONCERNING THE PROPRIETARY NATURE OF SEVERAL OF THESE FEATURES AND REQUESTED THAT A COMPARATIVE EVALUATION OF THE HAMILTON AND STACOR MODELS BE MADE AT OTHER INSTALLATIONS. ON MARCH 26, 1970, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPLIED TO YOUR REQUESTS IN PERTINENT PART:

"YOUR LETTERS OF 16 AND 19 MARCH 1970, QUESTION VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS SHOWN IN IFB N00406-70-B-0182. SPECIFICALLY, PARAGRAPH 2.2.1 REQUIRES THAT EACH UNIT HAVE SHEET METAL PANELS WELDED TO FORM A SHEET METAL STRUCTURE. THIS METHOD DOES NOT REQUIRE SEPARATE STRUCTURAL FRAMEWORK. PARAGRAPHS 2.2.3, 2.2.5, 2.2.6, 2.2.7, 2.2.8, 2.2.9, 2.2.10, 2.2.14 AND 2.2.28 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS EXPRESS THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY. THESE STRUCTURES ARE CONSIDERED TO BE ESSENTIAL PHYSICAL SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE MINIMUM NEEDS IN THE AREAS OF RIGIDITY, EASE OF OVERALL OPERATION, MAINTENANCE, DURABILITY AND SAFETY FOR OPERATING PERSONNEL AND TO ENABLE THE END USERS OF THE EQUIPMENT TO PRODUCE DRAWINGS OF THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE QUALITY AT THE LOWEST POSSIBLE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT. SINCE THE LIFE OF THE UNITS IS ESTIMATED TO BE IN EXCESS OF 20 YEARS, THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE NECESSARILY STRINGENT TO PROCURE EQUIPMENT THAT WILL NOT BECOME OUTDATED IN A SHORT PERIOD AND WILL WITHSTAND THE RIGORS OF TIME. REGARDING PATENTS, YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO CLAUSE 6.1 ON PAGE 19 OF THE IFB N00406-70-B-0182 WHICH FURNISHES GUIDANCE TO THE SUBJECT UNDER THE REFERENCED ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION CLAUSES, PARAGRAPH 7-108.22, AUTHORIZATION AND CONSENT AND 7-108.23, NOTICE AND ASSISTANCE REGARDING PATENT AND COPY INFRINGEMENT." WHEN BIDS WERE OPENED ON MARCH 30, 1970, THE PROCURING ACTIVITY DETERMINED THAT THE DIETERICH-POST COMPANY OF SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, WAS THE LOWEST BIDDER ON AN FOB ORIGIN BASIS AT $120,787.20 AND THAT YOUR COMPANY WAS THE HIGHEST BIDDER AT $486,400.00. THE DIETERICH-POST BID OFFERED THE REFERENCED HAMILTON MODELS 27J663, 27J763, 27J764 AND 27J664 AS MODIFIED IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN ATTACHED HAMILTON DRAWING, B-0044930, WHICH WAS PREPARED TO REFLECT THE SPECIFICATIONS' SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS REGARDING THE REFERENCED DESKS.

THE PROCURING ACTIVITY DETERMINED THAT THE MODELS OFFERED BY THE DIETERICH-POST COMPANY MET ALL THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE REFERENCED BRAND NAME PRODUCTS, AS MODIFIED, BASED UPON THE HAMILTON DRAWING, THE HAMILTON COMPANY STANDARD CATALOG AND AN ADDENDUM SHEET OF THE COMPANY, WHICH WAS ON FILE AT THE PROCURING ACTIVITY. IN THIS REGARD THE CATALOG CONTAINED A DRAWING WHICH SHOWED THE EXTERNAL CONFIGURATION OF THE MODEL. FROM THE DRAWING THE ACTIVITY DETERMINED THAT THE MODELS CONTAINED A RACK AND PINION ASSEMBLY, REFERENCED IN SALIENT FEATURES 2.2.10 AND THAT SUCH ASSEMBLY WAS A FUNCTIONAL PART OF THE BRAKING SYSTEM OF THE MODELS. ACCORDINGLY, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE OFFERED MODELS WERE IN COMPLIANCE WITH FEATURE 2.2.10.

WITH RESPECT TO FEATURE 2.2.1 THE ADDENDUM SHEET CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT CONCERNING THE HAMILTON "BASE":

"UNITIZED FOR STRUCTURAL STRENGTH - PANELS AND PEDESTALS WELDED TO EACH OTHER - 18 GAUGE PANELS AND PEDESTAL" FROM THIS STATEMENT THE PROCURING ACTIVITY CONCLUDED THAT THE "EQUAL" MODELS FULFILLED THE 18 GAUGE SHEET STEEL REQUIREMENT FOR THE DESK WHICH WAS REFERENCED IN SALIENT FEATURES 2.2.1. WITH RESPECT TO THE REQUIREMENT SET FORTH IN FEATURE 2.2.1 THAT THE REFERENCE TABLE ALSO HAVE THE SAME SHEET STEEL THICKNESS, THE PROCURING ACTIVITY MADE AN ASSUMPTION THAT THE STATEMENT ALSO APPLIED TO THE TABLE.

SINCE THE PROCURING ACTIVITY WAS OF THE OPINION THAT THE MODELS MET THE PERFORMANCE LEVELS WHICH WERE SPECIFIED IN THE LIST OF SALIENT FEATURES, AND AS THE CONCERN WAS OTHERWISE CONSIDERED THE LOWEST, RESPONSIBLE BIDDER FOR THE PROCUREMENT, AN AWARD WAS CONCLUDED WITH THE COMPANY ON APRIL 2, 1970. THE UNITS WERE ACCEPTED BY THE ACTIVITY ON JULY 30, 1970, AND PAID FOR ON AUGUST 21, 1970.

YOU MAINTAIN THAT THE PROCURING ACTIVITY ARBITRARILY SELECTED PROPRIETARY FEATURES OF THE HAMILTON MODELS AS AN EXPRESSION OF THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE ACTIVITY BASED ON AN INACCURATE EVALUATION OF YOUR MODELS AT THE PHILADELPHIA NAVAL SHIPYARD AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN IRRELEVANT EVALUATION OF OLDER STACOR MODELS BY MR. LIBBY; THAT IT IS IMPROPER TO SPECIFY PROPRIETARY FEATURES IN A BRAND NAME OR EQUAL PURCHASE DESCRIPTION; THAT YOUR REQUEST FOR AN EXTENSION OF THE BID OPENING DATE TO APRIL 6 WAS IMPROPERLY DENIED; THAT YOUR REQUEST FOR CLARIFICATION OF SALIENT FEATURES 2.2.1 WAS NOT RESPONSIVELY ANSWERED; AND THAT THE REFERENCED HAMILTON UNITS OFFERED BY THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER WERE NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH SALIENT SPECIFICATIONS 2.2.1, 2.2.10 AND 2.2.20.

IN RESPONSE TO YOUR ALLEGATIONS THE PROCURING ACTIVITY HAS FURNISHED US WITH THREE REPORTS, COPIES OF WHICH HAVE BEEN FURNISHED TO YOU.

WITH RESPECT TO THE EVALUATION IN PHILADELPHIA THE QUALITY CONTROL ENGINEER ASSERTS THAT A MR. HONDROS OF THE PHILADELPHIA ACTIVITY TOLD HIM THAT THE PHILADELPHIA ACTIVITY WAS SATISFIED WITH YOUR UNITS, BUT THAT OTHER EMPLOYEES OF THE CENTER TOLD HIM OF THE DEFECTS EXPERIENCED WITH YOUR CURRENT MODELS WHICH WERE NOTED IN THE ENGINEER'S MEMORANDUM, QUOTED ABOVE. FURTHER, MR. WARNOCK STATES THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE OBSERVATIONS CONTAINED IN HIS MEMORANDUM WERE BASED ON HIS PERSONAL OPERATION AND OBSERVATION OF YOUR MODELS, RATHER THAN ON THE COMMENTS OF THE EMPLOYEES. MR. WARNOCK CONCLUDED HIS RESPONSE TO YOUR ALLEGATION AS FOLLOWS:

"THE DEGREE OF QUALITY REQUIRED FOR DRAFTING TABLES FOR NAVSHIPYDBREM IS MORE STRINGENT THAN THAT AT NAVSEC BECAUSE OF THE LARGE QUANTITY OF UNITS PURCHASED (256). ONE UNDESIRABLE PRODUCT CHARACTERISTIC CAN EFFECT A SUBSTANTIAL AGGREGATE LOSS IN ENGINEERING PRODUCTIVITY, THEREFORE, NAVSHIPYDBREM'S MINIMUM REQUIREMENT'S REFLECT A HIGHER LEVEL OF QUALITY."

WHILE YOU HAVE ALLEGED THAT COGNIZANT PERSONNEL OF THE PHILADELPHIA ACTIVITY HAVE INFORMED YOU THAT THEY ARE SATISFIED WITH YOUR UNITS, WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT YOU HAVE INTRODUCED SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO REBUT THE PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS OF THE QUALITY CONTROL ENGINEER CONCERNING YOUR PRODUCT, WHICH APPEAR TO FORM THE BULK OF THE MEMORANDUM.

YOU ALSO BELIEVE THAT THE "TONE" OF THE REPORT IS "NEGATIVE". IN THIS CONNECTION, THE RECORD CONTAINS NO INDICATION THAT MR. WARNOCK'S OBSERVATIONS WERE REPORTED IN OTHER THAN A GOOD FAITH EVALUATION OF THE OPERATING CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUR PRODUCT.

WITH RESPECT TO THAT PORTION OF MR. LIBBY'S COMMENTS CONCERNING THE ALLEGED DEFICIENCIES OF OLDER STACOR UNITS AT THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY, WE AGREE THAT SUCH VIEWS ARE IRRELEVANT TO A CONSIDERATION OF HOW THE FEATURES OF YOUR PRESENT MODELS MEET THE AGENCY'S MINIMUM NEEDS, TO THE EXTENT THAT YOUR CURRENT MODELS POSSESS DIFFERENT FEATURES FROM THOSE CONTAINED IN THOSE OLDER UNITS.

IN THIS CONNECTION WE MUST DISAGREE WITH YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE EVALUATIONS OF MESSRS. WARNOCK AND LIBBY CONSTITUTED THE ONLY DATA FOR SPECIFYING THE HAMILTON FEATURES IN QUESTION. AS NOTED ABOVE, THE PROCURING ACTIVITY COMPARED DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE FROM YOUR MODEL WITH DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE OF THE HAMILTON MODEL AND CONCLUDED THAT THE FEATURES WERE SUPERIOR TO THOSE FOUND IN YOUR DEVICE. IN THIS REGARD THE ACTIVITY HAS FURNISHED US WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONCERNING THE TECHNICAL SUPERIORITY OF THESE FEATURES, AND A REPLY TO YOUR ALLEGATION THAT SUCH CHARACTERISTICS ARE PROPRIETARY TO THE HAMILTON MODELS, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE MINIMUM NEED OF THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY AS EXPRESSED IN PARAGRAPH 2.2.1 OF THE IFB SPECIFICATIONS 'DRAFTING TABLES AND REFERENCE DESKS SHALL BE OF UNITIZED WELDED CONSTRUCTION USING 18-GAUGE STEEL' WAS ESTABLISHED TO OBTAIN REQUIRED RIGIDITY, DURABILITY, MINIMUM OF MAINTENANCE AND SAFETY. RIGIDITY AFFECTS THE QUALITY OF DRAWINGS THROUGH ELIMINATION OF VIBRATION RESULTING FROM ACCIDENTAL BUMPING OR LEANING ON THE TABLE OR DESK. UNITIZED WELDED CONSTRUCTION PROVIDES THE REQUIRED RIGIDITY AND ELIMINATES THE NECESSITY FOR NUTS, BOLTS AND WASHERS AND MAINTENANCE TO THE BASIC FRAME WORK OF THE TABLES AND DESKS. SAFETY, RIGIDITY AND DURABILITY ARE INHERENT IN THIS TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION. UNITIZED WELDED CONSTRUCTION IS NOT A PROPRIETARY TECHNIQUE AND IS A METHOD USED IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES.

"THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY STATED IN PARAGRAPH 2.2.10 OF THE IFB SPECIFICATIONS THAT 'THE BRAKE MECHANISM SHALL UTILIZE RACK AND PINION WITH A GEAR RACK SECURED TO EACH DRAWING BOARD SUPPORT COLUMN.' A BRAKE MECHANISM UTILIZING A RACK AND PINION WAS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL TO PROVIDE A SAFE AND POSITIVE MEANS OF SECURING THE DRAFTING BOARD AT A DESIRED HEIGHT. A POSITIVE LOCKING DEVICE ENSURES THAT THE BOARD WOULD NOT SLIP OR TILT, ENDANGERING BOTH THE PERSON OPERATING IT AND THE PERSON SITTING IN FRONT OF THE OPERATOR. *** STACOR CORP. ALLEGES THAT THIS FEATURE IS PROPRIETARY TO HAMILTON MFG. CO. DUE TO THE EXISTENCE OF HAMILTON MFG. CO.'S PATENT #3,273,517, ATTACHED TO ENCLOSURE (23). THE SPECIFICATION AS WRITTEN WAS BROADLY STATED TO PERMIT CONSTRUCTION OF A BRAKE MECHANISM WHICH UTILIZES A RACK AND PINION. AS STATED PREVIOUSLY, THIS REQUIREMENT IS EXTREMELY CRITICAL TO PRECLUDE ACCIDENTAL TILTING OR LOWERING OF THE BOARD WHICH COULD RESULT IN THE RUIN OF DRAWINGS, INJURY TO OPERATING OR ADJACENT PERSONNEL AND ALLOW A MINIMUM OF MAINTENANCE ON THE ESTIMATED 20- YEAR LIFE EXPECTANCY OF THE DRAWING TABLE. YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AT THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY INDICATE THAT ONLY THE RACK AND PINION TYPE OF LOCKING DEVICE WILL PROVIDE THE DESIRED LEVEL OF SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE. USE OF A SMOOTH OR SLIGHTLY INDENTED SURFACE IN LIEU OF A RACK AND PINION (TOOTHED) DEVICE FOR THE BRAKE MECHANISM TO LOCK INTO WOULD NOT PROVIDE THE REQUIRED DEGREE OF SAFETY. THE SAFETY OF A CONVENTIONAL SPRING TENSIONING LOCKING DEVICE IS CONTINGENT UPON THE STRENGTH OF THE SPRING AND INDIVIDUAL APPLYING THE PRESSURE TO THE LOCKING DEVICE. EVEN SO, THESE DEVICES HAVE A HISTORY OF SLIPPING THROUGH LOSS OF SPRING TENSION ABILITY DUE TO AGE AND REQUIRING FREQUENT MAINTENANCE, A FACT WHICH IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE TO THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY.

"PARAGRAPH 2.2.20 EXPRESSES THE MINIMUM NEED OF THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY THAT 'ALL DRAWERS SHALL HAVE A BALL BEARING NYLON TIRED ROLLER SUSPENSION.' THIS REQUIREMENT ELIMINATES THE NECESSITY FOR MAINTENANCE (LUBRICATION) AND ELIMINATES THE PROBLEM OF ACCIDENTAL TRANSFER OF GREASE TO CLOTHING AND DRAWINGS. IN ADDITION, OPERATION IS MORE RELIABLE WITH LESS PROBABILITY OF JAMMING OR STICKING UNDER HEAVY LOADING. THIS FEATURE IS NOT PROPRIETARY TO ANY FIRM AND IS USED BY MANY MANUFACTURERS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF DESKS, ETC. *** "

WHILE WE DO NOT ACCEPT MR. WARNOCK'S POSITION THAT THE MERE QUANTITY OF THE UNITS TO BE PROCURED HERE NECESSARILY DICTATED HIGHER QUALITY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ITEMS, WE CAN NOT CONCLUDE THAT THE RECORD CLEARLY ESTABLISHES THE SPECIFICATIONS IN QUESTION REPRESENT OTHER THAN THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE APPARENT DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE PHILADELPHIA NAVAL SHIPYARD AND THE PUGET SOUND NAVAL SHIPYARD AS TO WHAT CONSTITUTES "MINIMUM NEEDS" FOR THESE UNITS, WE ARE SUGGESTING TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY THAT THE MATTER BE REVIEWED SO THAT FUTURE PROCUREMENTS BY THE REQUIRING ACTIVITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT WILL BE ON A SUBSTANTIALLY UNIFORM BASIS.

CONCERNING YOUR ALLEGATION THAT IT WAS IMPROPER TO SPECIFY PROPRIETARY FEATURES OF THE HAMILTON MODELS, EVEN IF SUCH FEATURES REPRESENTED THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE ACTIVITY, AS NOTED ABOVE, MAINTAINS THAT THESE FEATURES ARE NOT PROPRIETARY TO THE HAMILTON MODELS. EVEN IF WE ASSUME, FOR THE PURPOSES OF DISCUSSION, THAT SUCH FEATURES ARE PROPRIETARY TO HAMILTON, OUR OFFICE HAS HELD THAT IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO SPECIFY A PATENTED DEVICE ON A "BRAND NAME OR EQUAL BASIS" SO LONG AS THE PATENTED DEVICE IS, IN FACT, REPRESENTATIVE OF THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY. SEE B-161118, JUNE 1, 1967. SINCE WE DO NOT VIEW THE ALLEGED PROPRIETARY FEATURES AS BEING CLEARLY IN EXCESS OF THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY, WE PERCEIVE NO BASIS FOR QUESTIONING THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT IN THIS RESPECT.

REGARDING YOUR ALLEGATION THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE GRANTED YOUR REQUEST FOR AN EXTENSION OF THE BID OPENING DATE TO APRIL 6, 1970, THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DENIED SUCH REQUEST BECAUSE HE HAD PREVIOUSLY EXTENDED THE TIME OF BID OPENING TO MARCH 30, 1970. IN THIS CONNECTION WE NOTE THAT THE BIDDING TIME PROVIDED IN THE SUBJECT IFB, AS AMENDED, WAS 25 CALENDAR DAYS. ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) 2-202.1 STIPULATES THAT, AS A GENERAL RULE, BIDDING TIME SHALL NOT BE LESS THAN 15 CALENDAR DAYS WHEN PROCURING STANDARD COMMERCIAL ARTICLES AND NOT LESS THAN 30 CALENDAR DAYS WHEN PROCURING OTHER THAN STANDARD COMMERCIAL ORDERS. INASMUCH AS THE NAVY ATTEMPTED TO OBTAIN COMPETITION FROM COMPANIES, SUCH AS YOUR CONCERN, WHICH MIGHT HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO MODIFY THEIR STANDARD EQUIPMENT TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE IFB, WE BELIEVE THE 30-DAY BIDDING TIME SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED AS A MINIMUM HERE. NEVERTHELESS, WE DO NOT FEEL THAT YOU WERE PREJUDICED BY THE SHORTER BIDDING TIME SINCE YOU DID NOT CONSIDER THE REQUIRED MODIFICATIONS TO YOUR EQUIPMENT TO BE ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE, AS INDICATED ON PAGE FIVE OF YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 16, 1970, TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER.

YOU ALSO ALLEGE THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FAILED TO ADEQUATELY CLARIFY SALIENT FEATURE 2.2.1 PRIOR TO BID OPENING. AS NOTED ABOVE, YOU ASKED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO CLARIFY THE TERM "UNITIZED WELDED CONSTRUCTION" AND TO INDICATE TO WHAT EXTENT THE UNIT SHOULD BE MADE OF 18-GAUGE STEEL. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPLIED BY STATING THAT THE PROVISION REQUIRED THE UNITS TO HAVE SHEET METAL PANELS WELDED TO FORM A SHEET METAL STRUCTURE, AND THAT THE CONSTRUCTION METHOD DID NOT REQUIRE SEPARATE STRUCTURAL FRAMEWORK. THE ACTIVITY INDICATES THAT SUCH CONCEPT OF UNITIZED WELDED CONSTRUCTION IS ACCEPTED AND RECOGNIZED IN THE INDUSTRY, AND THAT SINCE 2.2.1 REQUIRED USE OF 18-GAUGE SHEET STEEL IN THAT CONSTRUCTION IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN APPARENT TO ANYONE IN THE BUSINESS THAT THE 18-GAUGE SHEET STEEL REQUIREMENT APPLIED ONLY TO THE PANELS, LEGS AND OTHER PORTIONS OF THE TABLES AND DESKS THAT ARE CRITICAL TO THE UNITIZED METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION. THE RECORD DOES NOT ESTABLISH THAT THE AGENCY'S VIEWS ARE UNREASONABLE, AND WE THEREFORE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT YOU WERE NOT SUFFICIENTLY INFORMED AS TO THAT SPECIFICATION'S REQUIREMENTS.

YOU ALSO ASSERT THAT THE HAMILTON MODELS OFFERED BY THE LOW BIDDER WERE NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS 2.2.1, 2.2.10 AND 2.2.20. WITH RESPECT TO SALIENT FEATURE 2.2.1 YOU STATE THAT THE ADDENDUM SHEET OF THE HAMILTON MODELS, WHICH THE PROCURING ACTIVITY USED IN EVALUATING THE BID OF THE LOW BIDDER, WAS NOT CURRENT. THE PROCURING ACTIVITY STATES THAT THE REFERENCED ADDENDUM IS THE LATEST INFORMATION, WHICH WAS ON FILE AT THE ACTIVITY, CONCERNING THE HAMILTON MODELS AND, THEREFORE, THE DATE WAS ASSUMED TO BE CURRENT. UNDER SECTION (C)(1) OF THE BRAND NAME OR EQUAL CLAUSE ALL BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT ANY "EQUAL" MODELS WOULD BE EVALUATED ON THE BASIS OF INFORMATION SET FORTH IN THE BID AS WELL AS OTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING THESE MODELS WHICH WAS REASONABLY AVAILABLE TO THE PROCURING ACTIVITY PRIOR TO AWARD. IN VIEW THEREOF, AND SINCE DIETERICH-POST DID NOT INDICATE TO THE ACTIVITY THAT THE ADDENDUM SHEET WAS NOT CURRENT, WE BELIEVE THE ACTIVITY PROPERLY UTILIZED SUCH INFORMATION IN DETERMINING THE EQUIVALENCE OF THE COMPANY'S MODELS TO SPECIFICATION 2.2.1.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE ADDENDUM DOES NOT FURNISH SUFFICIENT INFORMATION CONCERNING THE METALLIC THICKNESS OF THE REFERENCE TABLE, THE PROCURING ACTIVITY, AS NOTED ABOVE, ASSUMED THAT THE STATEMENTS SET FORTH IN THE DATA SHEET CONCERNING THE METALLIC THICKNESS OF THE DESK ALSO APPLIED TO THE TABLE. FURTHERMORE, THE ACTIVITY CONTACTED THE CONTRACTOR AFTER AWARD AND ASKED THE CONCERN WHETHER THE MODELS POSSESSED THE REQUIRED METALLIC THICKNESS IN THE REFERENCE TABLE AS WELL AS THE DESK. IN RESPONSE, THE CONTRACTOR SUBMITTED A THREE PAGE COPY OF THE GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS APPLYING TO SPECIAL HAMILTON PRODUCT NO. 30J651/30J851 (PER DRAWING B-004493) WHICH CONTAINS THE DATE, "5-27-70," STAMPED ON THE TITLE PAGE. PAGE ONE OF THE SPECIFICATIONS CONTAINS THE STATEMENT CONCERNING THE TABLE FRAME WHICH INDICATES THAT THE FRAME SHALL BE WELDED TO FORM UNITIZED CONSTRUCTION AND COMPOSED OF COMPONENTS WHICH UTILIZE 18-GAUGE STEEL. THE LETTER ALSO CONTAINED A FIVE PAGE COPY OF GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS DATED "7-24-68," PERTAINING TO THE STANDARD MODEL NUMBERS WHICH DIETERICH-POST ENTERED IN ITS BID. PAGE TWO OF THESE SPECIFICATIONS CONTAINS A STATEMENT OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TABLE FRAME OF THESE UNITS AND SETS FORTH THE SAME STATEMENT CONCERNING THE UNITIZED CONSTRUCTION AND SHEET METAL THICKNESS OF THE TABLE FRAME WHICH IS LISTED ON PAGE ONE OF THE GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS, DATED "5-27-70." VIEW OF THIS DATA THE PROCURING ACTIVITY CONCLUDED THAT THE OFFERED HAMILTON UNITS WOULD MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE IFB AND FOUND NO BASIS FOR DISTURBING THE AWARD TO THE LOW BIDDER.

WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE PROCURING ACTIVITY WAS WARRANTED IN ASSUMING THAT THE REFERENCE TABLES OF THE HAMILTON MODELS OFFERED BY THE LOW BIDDER WERE IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE SHEET METAL THICKNESS REQUIREMENT SET FORTH IN SALIENT FEATURE 2.2.1, WITHOUT HAVING SUFFICIENT DESCRIPTIVE INFORMATION PRIOR TO AWARD SHOWING THAT THE MODELS, IN FACT, MET THIS REQUIREMENT. ACCORDINGLY, WE ARE RECOMMENDING THAT REMEDIAL ACTION BE TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT TO PREVENT A REPETITION OF THIS CIRCUMSTANCE IN THE FUTURE. HOWEVER, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT THE SUBJECT AWARD SHOULD BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE BEEN IMPROPERLY AWARDED FOR THIS REASON, SINCE THE GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS OF THE HAMILTON MODELS, WHICH WERE PREPARED PRIOR TO BID OPENING, CLEARLY SHOWED THAT THE HAMILTON REFERENCE TABLE MET THE REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFICATION 2.2.1. IN THIS CONNECTION OUR OFFICE HAS STATED THAT DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE CONCERNING AN "EQUAL" MODEL, WHICH IS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE PRIOR TO BID OPENING, MAY BE FURNISHED TO THE PROCURING ACTIVITY BY THE BIDDER, OR BE OTHERWISE OBTAINED BY THE ACTIVITY, AFTER BID OPENING. SEE 50 COMP. GEN. (B-170074, AUGUST 25, 1970).

WITH RESPECT TO SALIENT FEATURE 2.2.10 YOU MAINTAIN THAT THE HAMILTON MODEL'S BRAKE MECHANISM IS ENTIRELY DISTINCT FROM THE RACK, PINIONS AND GEAR RACK ON THE DEVICES, AND THE MODELS THEREFORE ARE NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS FEATURE. THE PROCURING ACTIVITY STATES THAT THE RACK AND PINIONS ON THE HAMILTON UNITS ARE SHOWN ON PAGE SIX OF HAMILTON'S CATALOG. FROM SUCH INFORMATION THE PROCURING ACTIVITY DETERMINED THAT THE COMPONENTS COMPRISE A PORTION OF THE TABLE COUNTERBALANCE FORCE ON THE UNITS AND DIRECTLY REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF FORCE THE BRAKE MECHANISM MUST SUSTAIN. FURTHERMORE, THE TECHNICAL PERSONNEL OF THE ACTIVITY MAINTAIN THAT THE BRAKES WILL NOT HOLD THE DRAWING BOARD IN AN ELEVATED POSITION IF THE RACK OR PINION IS DISCONNECTED FROM THE TABLE. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THERE APPEARS TO BE NO DOUBT THAT THE RACK AND PINIONS SERVE AS AN AID TO THE BRAKING SYSTEM, WE ARE INCLINED TO ACCEPT THE PROCURING ACTIVITY'S POSITION THAT THE RACK AND PINION ARE UTILIZED AS AN ADJUNCT OF THE BRAKE MECHANISM IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENT OF THE SPECIFICATION.

YOU ALSO QUESTION WHETHER DIETERICH-POST'S MODELS CONFORM WITH SALIENT FEATURE 2.2.20. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE CONTRACTOR'S BID CONTAINS A STATEMENT IN DRAWING B-0044930 THAT "ALL DRAWERS SHALL HAVE NYLON TIRED BALL BEARING ROLLER SUSPENSION." ACCORDINGLY, THE OFFERED MODELS CLEARLY CONFORM TO THIS REQUIREMENT AS SPECIFIED UNDER SALIENT FEATURE 2.2.20.

FOR THE REASONS SET FORTH ABOVE YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.

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