B-171855, AUG 13, 1971

B-171855: Aug 13, 1971

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HAS HAD ANY TROUBLE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS INDICATES THAT THEY WERE NOT AMBIGUOUS AS ALLEGED BY PROTESTANT. TO GREGORY ENGINEERING CORPORATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 10. THE SOLICITATION WAS FOR A NUMBER OF STEEL TREADWAYS AND RAMPS FOR TREADWAY BRIDGES. THE ITEMS HAD BEEN ASSIGNED FEDERAL SUPPLY NUMBERS (FSN) AND WERE TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE SPECIFICATIONS. BIDS WERE OPENED ON DECEMBER 28. YOUR BID WAS LOW AT $50. THE BID FROM SCOTT & HILL STEEL CORPORATION WAS SECOND LOW AT $52. ATTACHED TO YOUR BID WAS A DRAWING FURNISHING DESIGN DETAILS FOR A 5 INCH. YOUR DRAWING WAS EVALUATED BY TECHNICAL PERSONNEL AT USAMECO AND IT WAS FOUND THAT YOUR DESIGN DEVIATED FROM THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND WAS UNACCEPTABLE.

B-171855, AUG 13, 1971

BID PROTEST - BID RESPONSIVENESS - INCLUSION OF DRAWINGS INCONSISTENT WITH SPECIFICATIONS DECISION DENYING PROTEST OF GREGORY ENGINEERING CORPORATION AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER IFB ISSUED BY U.S. ARMY MOBILITY EQUIPMENT COMMAND (USAMEC), ST. LOUIS, MO., FOR A NUMBER OF STEEL TREADWAYS AND RAMPS FOR TREADWAY BRIDGES TO SCOTT & HILL STEEL CORPORATION. INCLUSION OF DRAWINGS OF "THE 5" I-BEAM OPEN FLOORING, WHICH DIFFERED FROM THE IFB'S SPECIFICATIONS AND WHICH MUST BE CONSIDERED BY ITS INCLUSION AS PART OF THE BID, RENDERED PROTESTANT'S BID NONRESPONSIVE AND JUSTIFIED ITS REJECTION BY USAMEC. THE FACT THAT NO OTHER BIDDER, ON THIS OR OTHER SIMILAR PROCUREMENTS, HAS HAD ANY TROUBLE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS INDICATES THAT THEY WERE NOT AMBIGUOUS AS ALLEGED BY PROTESTANT.

TO GREGORY ENGINEERING CORPORATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 10, 1971, PROTESTING AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANOTHER CONCERN UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. DAAK01-71-B-1943, ISSUED ON NOVEMBER 30, 1970, BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY MOBILITY EQUIPMENT COMMAND (USAMECO), ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI.

THE SOLICITATION WAS FOR A NUMBER OF STEEL TREADWAYS AND RAMPS FOR TREADWAY BRIDGES. THE ITEMS HAD BEEN ASSIGNED FEDERAL SUPPLY NUMBERS (FSN) AND WERE TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE SPECIFICATIONS. ATTACHMENT "B" TO THE SOLICITATION, THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION, REFERRED BIDDERS TO DRAWINGS NOS. D-2649-1 AND D-2649-2 FOR DETAILS.

BIDS WERE OPENED ON DECEMBER 28, 1970, AND YOUR BID WAS LOW AT $50,180. THE BID FROM SCOTT & HILL STEEL CORPORATION WAS SECOND LOW AT $52,356.

ATTACHED TO YOUR BID WAS A DRAWING FURNISHING DESIGN DETAILS FOR A 5 INCH, I-BEAM OPEN FLOOR. A LEGEND ON THIS DRAWING STATED THAT THE DRAWING MET ALL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED DRAWINGS NOS. D-2649- 1, D-2649-2 AND THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION DATED AUGUST 7, 1970.

YOUR DRAWING WAS EVALUATED BY TECHNICAL PERSONNEL AT USAMECO AND IT WAS FOUND THAT YOUR DESIGN DEVIATED FROM THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND WAS UNACCEPTABLE. YOUR BID WAS THEREFORE REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE AND AWARD WAS MADE TO THE SCOTT & HILL STEEL CORPORATION ON JANUARY 29, 1971, IN THE AMOUNT OF $52,356.

YOU CONTEND THAT PRIOR TO BID OPENING YOU REQUESTED AN INTERPRETATION OF THE SPECIFICATIONS RELATING TO THE REQUIREMENTS FOR FLOORING FROM THE PROCURING ACTIVITY AND THAT THE PROCURING ACTIVITY DECLINED TO GIVE YOU SUCH AN INTERPRETATION. YOU URGE THAT THIS IS THE REASON YOU ATTACHED YOUR COMMERCIAL DRAWING TO YOUR BID. YOUR BASIC CONTENTION IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS WERE SO AMBIGUOUS THAT ANY STEEL FLOOR WHICH INCLUDED 5 INCH I-BEAMS SPACED AT 6 INCH INTERVALS WOULD MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE PROCURING OFFICE REFUSED TO CLARIFY THE SPECIFICATIONS PRIOR TO BID OPENING, A MEMORANDUM BY THE PROCUREMENT SPECIALIST, THE PERSON CONTACTED BY YOU FOR THE SPECIFICATION INTERPRETATION, STATES AS FOLLOWS:

"2. THE REPRESENTATIVE QUESTIONED THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION. HIS QUESTIONS WERE GENERAL IN NATURE AND WERE UNCLEAR AS TO THE INFORMATION HE WANTED. SINCE THIS WAS AN INVITATION FOR BIDS, I COULD ONLY STATE THE REQUIREMENTS CONTAINED IN THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION AND DRAWINGS. APPARENTLY ACCEPTED MY EXPLANATION AND I FELT THE MATTER WAS CLOSED."

IT IS ALSO THE PROCURING ACTIVITY'S VIEW THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE NOT AMBIGUOUS AND THAT FOR THIS REASON IT WAS PROPER TO ANSWER YOUR REQUEST FOR AN INTERPRETATION BY REFERRING YOU TO THE SPECIFICATIONS.

OUR OFFICE HAS BEEN FURNISHED WITH THE FOLLOWING REVIEW PREPARED BY THE USAMECO FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE BY LETTER DATED JULY 27, 1971, COMPARING THE REQUIREMENTS ON THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS WITH THE OFFER ON THE SKETCH FURNISHED WITH YOUR BID WHICH WAS THE BASIS FOR THE DETERMINATION THAT YOUR BID WAS NONRESPONSIVE:

"THE TYPE OF BRIDGE OPEN FLOORING DEPICTED ON THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS IS A TYPE OF STEEL GRID BRIDGE FLOOR DESIGN WHICH WAS GUIDED AND ADOPTED BY THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATE HIGHWAY OFFICIALS (AASHO) SPECIFICATION FOR HIGHWAY BRIDGE DECKS. THE NOMENCLATURE USED FOR SPECIFYING THE '5- INCH I-BEAM OPEN FLOORING' IS GEARED TO AASHO DESIGN STANDARDS AND PERSONS FAMILIAR WITH HIGHWAY BRIDGE DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, OR FABRICATION SHOULD BE FAMILIAR WITH THE PICTORIAL DRAWING DESCRIPTION OF THE DECK SHOWN ON THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS (D 2649-1 & 2) AND WITH THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH (ILLEGIBLE) OF THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION. THE OPEN FLOORING DEPICTED ON THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS WAS MANUFACTURED FOR PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS BY RELIANCE STEEL PRODUCTS CO. AND UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION WHO ARE MAJOR PRODUCERS WITH MANY DISTRIBUTORS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.

"THE 5" I-BEAM OPEN FLOORING IS SHOWN ON THE GOVERNMENT DRAWING D 2649-1 & 2 AND SPECIFIC DETAILS OF THE OPEN FLOORING ARE CONTAINED IN THE PLAN VIEW, SECTIONS H-H, J-J, AND K-K ON THESE DRAWINGS. COMPARISON OF THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS AND GREGORY'S SKETCH (INCLOSURE 1) WILL SHOW THAT THE FLOORING IS NOT IDENTICAL OR SIMILAR. THE VIEWS AND SECTIONS ON THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS SHOW THE BARS PLACED PERPENDICULAR AND PARALLEL TO THE 5 INCH I-BEAM, WHEREAS GREGORY'S SKETCH SHOWS ONLY ONE BAR WHICH IS PERPENDICULAR TO THE I-BEAM. THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS SHOW THE LONG SIDE OF THE BARS TO BE VERTICAL WHEREAS GREGORY'S SKETCH SHOWS THEM TO BE FLAT. THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS SHOW THAT THE TOP OF THE BARS AND I-BEAMS ARE IN THE SAME PLANE, WHEREAS GREGORY'S SKETCH SHOWS THE BARS TO BE 1/4 INCH HIGHER THAN THE I-BEAMS. THE FLOORING DEPICTED ON THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS SUPPORTS A SPECIFIC AASHO LOADING AND SINCE GREGORY'S SKETCH DOES NOT DETAIL THE I-BEAM THERE IS NO WAY TO DETERMINE WHETHER THEIR FLOORING WOULD SUPPORT THE SAME LOAD AS THE FLOORING DEPICTED ON THE GOVERNMENT DRAWINGS."

AS THE ABOVE QUOTE INDICATES, YOUR SKETCH SHOWED DEVIATIONS FROM THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.

PURSUANT TO OUR REVIEW, WE HAVE FOUND NO BASIS TO DISAGREE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE NOT AMBIGUOUS. THE SPECIFICATIONS SEEM TO PROVIDE SUFFICIENT DETAIL TO PERMIT BIDDERS TO DETERMINE WHAT WAS REQUIRED. APPARENTLY, NONE OF THE OTHER BIDDERS HAD DIFFICULTY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS. MOREOVER, THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT BIDDERS HAD DIFFICULTY IN PRIOR PROCUREMENTS OF SIMILAR ITEMS.

THE DRAWINGS ATTACHED TO GREGORY'S BID MUST BE CONSIDERED AS PART OF THE BID. IN THIS REGARD WE FIND NO BASIS TO QUESTION THE DETERMINATION THAT YOUR DRAWING WAS UNACCEPTABLE FOR THE ABOVE-STATED REASONS. THE OVERALL OFFER ON YOUR DRAWING TO COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS WOULD NOT OVERCOME THE DEFICIENCY IN YOUR DRAWING WITH RESPECT TO THE FLOORING REQUIREMENT. B-170693, DECEMBER 9, 1970, AND CASES CITED THEREIN. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE FIND NO BASIS TO QUESTION THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT YOUR BID WAS NONRESPONSIVE.