B-173477, NOV 9, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 283

B-173477: Nov 9, 1971

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THE UNIT PRICE WILL GOVERN. " WHICH DISPLACED THE BID FROM LOW TO SECOND PLACE WAS PROPER. FOR THE BIDDER'S CONTENTION ITS BID PRICE WAS FIRM AND THE PRICE INTENDED. THAT THE ERRORS IN PLACEMENT OF DECIMAL POINTS IN THE UNIT PRICES WERE CLERICAL ERRORS TO BE WAIVED AS MINOR INFORMALITIES UNDER PARAGRAPH 2-405 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) IS NOT ACCEPTABLE WHERE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FOUND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL WHETHER THE MISPLACED DECIMAL POINTS OCCURRED IN THE UNIT PRICE FIGURES OR THE MULTIPLICATION PERFORMED TO COMPUTE THE PRICE EXTENSION AND. THE ERRORS ARE NOT APPARENT WITHIN THE MEANING AND INTENT OF ASPR 2-406.2 TO PERMIT CORRECTION OF THE UNIT PRICES AND AWARD A CONTRACT ON THE BASIS OF THE LOW TOTAL PRICE.

B-173477, NOV 9, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 283

BIDS - MISTAKES - UNIT PRICE V EXTENSION DIFFERENCES - DECIMAL POINT MISPLACED THE CORRECTION OF A BID IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN INVITATION FOR JANITORIAL SERVICES THAT PROVIDED "IN CASE OF ERROR IN EXTENSION OF PRICE, THE UNIT PRICE WILL GOVERN," WHICH DISPLACED THE BID FROM LOW TO SECOND PLACE WAS PROPER, FOR THE BIDDER'S CONTENTION ITS BID PRICE WAS FIRM AND THE PRICE INTENDED, AND THAT THE ERRORS IN PLACEMENT OF DECIMAL POINTS IN THE UNIT PRICES WERE CLERICAL ERRORS TO BE WAIVED AS MINOR INFORMALITIES UNDER PARAGRAPH 2-405 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) IS NOT ACCEPTABLE WHERE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FOUND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL WHETHER THE MISPLACED DECIMAL POINTS OCCURRED IN THE UNIT PRICE FIGURES OR THE MULTIPLICATION PERFORMED TO COMPUTE THE PRICE EXTENSION AND, THEREFORE, THE ERRORS ARE NOT APPARENT WITHIN THE MEANING AND INTENT OF ASPR 2-406.2 TO PERMIT CORRECTION OF THE UNIT PRICES AND AWARD A CONTRACT ON THE BASIS OF THE LOW TOTAL PRICE. CONTRACTS - PROTESTS - RESOLUTION - AWARD NOTWITHSTANDING PROTEST WHERE A CONTRACTING OFFICER IS AWARE PRIOR TO AWARD THAT A BIDDER CONSIDERED ITS TOTAL BID AND NOT THE UNIT PRICES TO BE CORRECT, AND HE DETERMINED THAT THE ERRORS IN UNIT PRICES WERE NOT FOR CORRECTION, THE PROTEST WAS "RESOLVED" PRIOR TO AWARD WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF PARAGRAPH 2-407.8 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION SINCE IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT ANY DIFFERENT RESULT WOULD HAVE, OR SHOULD HAVE, OBTAINED IF THE AWARD HAD BEEN DELAYED.

TO HUDSON, CREYKE, KOEHLER, BROWN & TACKE, NOVEMBER 9, 1971:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 2, 1971, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE ON BEHALF OF JAYHAWK ENTERPRISE, PROTESTING AWARD OF CONTRACT NO. N62472-71-C -4568, JANITORIAL SERVICE FOR NAVY BUILDINGS, U.S. NAVAL BASE, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA.

THE INVITATION FOR BIDS IN THIS CASE WAS ISSUED ON JUNE 4, 1971, BY THE RESIDENT OFFICER IN CHARGE OF CONSTRUCTION, NAVAL FACILITIES ENGINEERING COMMAND, U.S. NAVAL BASE, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, AND CALLED FOR BIDS ON ONE ITEM, THE ENTIRE WORK COMPLETE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DRAWINGS AND SPECIFICATIONS. THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WAS SET FORTH IN TWELVE SUBITEMS, A THROUGH M, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF H, WHICH DESCRIBED THE BUILDINGS WHERE THE SERVICES WERE TO BE PERFORMED. EACH SUBITEM CONTAINED ELEVEN PARAGRAPHS OF DESCRIPTION OF THE SERVICES AND INCLUDED INFORMATION ON THE FREQUENCY, AREA, ESTIMATED QUANTITY AND UNIT OF SERVICE. CLAUSE 2(B), PREPARATION OF BIDS, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

UNIT PRICES FOR ALL BID ITEMS SHALL BE SHOWN *** . A TOTAL SHALL BE ENTERED FOR EACH ITEM BID ON. IN CASE OF ERROR IN EXTENSION OF PRICE, THE UNIT PRICE WILL GOVERN.

FIVE BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED ON JUNE 24, 1971:

BIDDER TOTAL BID

JAYHAWK ENTERPRISE $552,952.16

KENTUCKY BUILDING MAINTENANCE 566,305.14

ATLANTIC 648,770.00

ADVANCE BUILDING MAINTENANCE 736,103.43

DYNAMIC INTERNATIONAL 859,736.02

EACH BIDDER'S SUBMISSION WAS CHECKED FOR ACCURACY AND NO ERRORS WERE FOUND IN THE BIDS OF KENTUCKY BUILDING MAINTENANCE AND ADVANCE BUILDING MAINTENANCE. HOWEVER, A COMPARISON OF THE BID SUMMARY SHEETS AND THE UNIT PRICES DISCLOSED A NUMBER OF ERRORS IN THE OTHER THREE BIDS. AFTER EXTENDING THE UNIT PRICES SET FORTH IN THE BIDS AND CORRECTING THE ERRORS IN EXTENSION AND ADDITION THE BIDS WERE ENTERED IN THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS AS FOLLOWS:

BIDDER CORRECTED BID

KENTUCKY BUILDING MAINTENANCE $566,305.14 (NO ERROR)

JAYHAWK ENTERPRISE 635,064.59

ATLANTIC 667,363.55

DYNAMIC INTERNATIONAL 859,735.84

ADVANCE BUILDING MAINTENANCE 736,103.43 (NO ERROR)

THE REPORT FROM THE NAVY STATES THAT YOUR CLIENT, JAYHAWK ENTERPRISE, WAS ADVISED OF THIS ACTION ON JUNE 30, 1971, AND THEREAFTER ON THE SAME DATE AWARD WAS MADE TO KENTUCKY BUILDING MAINTENANCE.

YOU SUBMIT THAT JAYHAWK RESPONDED IMMEDIATELY IN WRITING ON JUNE 30, 1971, ACKNOWLEDGING THE EXISTENCE OF CERTAIN DECIMAL ERRORS IN UNIT PRICE, BUT STATING THAT ITS BID PRICE REMAINED FIRM COMPUTED FROM THE UNIT PRICES AFTER PROPER PLACING OF THE DECIMAL POINTS. IN THE FORMAL LETTER OF PROTEST TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, DATED JULY 1, 1971, JAYHAWK STATES THAT ITS TOTAL PRICE OF $552,952.16 IS THE PRICE INTENDED AND THE ERRORS IN PLACEMENT OF DECIMAL POINTS IN THE UNIT PRICES ARE MINOR INFORMALITIES WHICH SHOULD BE WAIVED UNDER ASPR 2 405. IN NEITHER LETTER WERE THE ERRORS IN THE UNIT PRICES IDENTIFIED NOR WERE THE CORRECT UNIT PRICES SET FORTH.

YOUR LETTER OF PROTEST TO OUR OFFICE ON JULY 12, 1971, ASSERTS THAT THIS IS A CASE OF AN APPARENT CLERICAL ERROR UNDER ASPR 2-406.2 AND THAT CORRECTION OF DECIMAL ERRORS IN THE UNIT PRICES WOULD THEREFORE BE PROPER. YOU CONTEND THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DECISION TO CHANGE THE EXTENDED PRICES TO CONFORM TO THE UNIT PRICES IN THE BID WAS ARBITRARY AND CONTRARY TO THE GOVERNING REGULATIONS.

THE NAVY REPORT STATES THAT AN ANALYSIS OF JAYHAWK'S BID SHOWS EIGHT ERRORS IN PRICE EXTENSION AS WELL AS OTHER ERRORS IN TOTALING THAT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL WHETHER MISPLACED DECIMAL POINTS OCCURRED IN THE FIGURES FOR THE BID SUMMARY SHEET. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FOUND THAT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL WHETHER MISPLACED DECIMAL POINTS OCCURRED IN THE UNIT PRICE FIGURES OR IN THE MULTIPLICATION PERFORMED TO COMPUTE THE PRICE EXTENSIONS. THERE WAS NO CONSISTENT PATTERN OF ERROR SINCE SOME ERRORS RAISED THE PRICE WHILE OTHERS LOWERED IT. IN ADDITION TO THE ERRORS IN DECIMAL PLACEMENT IN UNIT PRICES THERE WERE OTHER ERRORS IN TOTALING THE EXTENSIONS OF THE BID SUMMARY SHEET. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT THE ERRORS WERE NOT "APPARENT" WITHIN THE MEANING AND INTENT OF ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) 2 406.2, AND ACCEPTED THE UNIT PRICES SET FORTH IN THE BID AS CONTROLLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISION IN THE INVITATION. WHEN THE BID COMPUTATIONS WERE PERFORMED USING THE UNIT PRICES SET FORTH IN JAYHAWK'S BID, THE RESULTANT TOTAL BID PRICE FOR JAYHAWK WAS $635,064.59, OR THE SECOND LOW BID. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES THAT AWARD WAS MADE TO KENTUCKY BUILDING MAINTENANCE, WHO MADE NO ERROR IN ITS BID, IN THE AMOUNT OF $566,305.14.

YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 10, 1971, IN REBUTTAL OF THE NAVY REPORT, TAKES ISSUE WITH THE CONCLUSION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE ERRORS IN JAYHAWK'S BID WERE NOT "APPARENT" WITHIN THE MEANING AND INTENT OF ASPR 2- 406.2. YOU STATE THAT JAYHAWK MADE THREE KINDS OF ERRORS: ERRORS IN TOTALING EXTENDED PRICES WHICH CAUSED A DISCREPANCY OF $5.64; ERRORS IN "ROUNDING OFF" EXTENDED PRICES WHICH CAUSED A DISCREPANCY OF $0.06; AND ERRORS IN PLACEMENT OF DECIMAL POINTS IN THE UNIT PRICES FOR EIGHT ITEMS, THE NET RESULT OF WHICH WAS TO INCREASE JAYHAWK'S BID BY $81,661.32. YOU AVER THAT ONLY ONE ERROR, IN ITEM 5 B, WAS OF A MAGNITUDE SUFFICIENT TO DISPLACE JAYHAWK AS LOW BIDDER.

YOU POINT OUT THAT THE SERVICE DESCRIBED IN SUBITEM "B" IS "WASH AND RINSE ALL FLOORS IN TOILET ROOMS" AND YOU SUBMIT A CHART SHOWING ALL THE UNIT PRICES BID FOR "B" WORK IN 14 LOCATIONS. YOU CONTEND THAT THE CHART SHOWS A GENERAL PATTERN OF AN INVERSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ESTIMATED SQUARE FOOTAGE AND THE PRICE TO BE CHARGED. IN OTHER WORDS, THE GREATER THE SQUARE FOOTAGE, THE LOWER THE UNIT PRICE. YOU ASSERT THAT THE EXTENDED PRICE FOR ITEM K B, WHEN COMPUTED ON THE UNIT PRICE SHOWN IN THE BID, WAS SO OUT OF LINE WITH OTHER UNIT PRICES AND SO COMPLETELY INCONSISTENT WITH THE EXTENDED PRICE FOR ITEM K B AND OTHER EXTENDED "B" PRICES AS TO LEAVE NO DOUBT CONCERNING THE UNIT PRICE JAYHAWK HAD INTENDED TO BID. IT IS YOUR POSITION THAT CORRECTION OF THE MISTAKE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED.

YOU ALSO INTRODUCED A NEW ARGUMENT IN YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 10 WHICH WAS NOT PRESENT IN YOUR ORIGINAL PROTEST. YOU ASSERT THAT JAYHAWK MADE A WRITTEN PROTEST TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON JULY 1 AND THAT AWARD OF THE CONTRACT WAS NOT MADE UNTIL AFTER RECEIPT OF THE PROTEST, ALTHOUGH THE NAVY REPORT SHOWS AN AWARD WAS MADE ON JUNE 30. YOU INSIST THAT AWARD SHOULD HAVE BEEN HELD UP PENDING RESOLUTION OF THE PROTEST PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ASPR 2-407.8(B)(3) CONCERNING PREAWARD PROTESTS.

WE WILL CONSIDER FIRST YOUR ALLEGATION THAT THE ERRORS IN JAYHAWK'S BID WERE APPARENT ON THE FACE OF THE BID AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN CORRECTED PURSUANT TO ASPR 2-406.2. WE AGREE WITH YOUR ARGUMENT THAT THE PROVISION IN THE INVITATION THAT "IN CASE OF ERROR IN EXTENSION OF PRICE, THE UNIT PRICE WILL GOVERN" IS NOT CONTROLLING. AS INDICATED IN THE NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE YOU HAVE CITED, THAT CLAUSE MEANS PRECISELY WHAT IT SAYS: IF THE ERROR IS IN THE EXTENSION, THE UNIT PRICE IS OBVIOUSLY CORRECT AND SHOULD GOVERN. HOWEVER, IF THERE IS CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE ERROR OCCURRED IN THE UNIT PRICE, THE ERROR IS DEALT WITH IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLES OF ERROR CORRECTION. 36 COMP. GEN. 429 (1956); 37 ID. 829 (1958); 39 ID. 185 (1959); B-164453, JULY 16, 1968; B-165454, NOVEMBER 8, 1968; B 164869, AUGUST 6, 1968; B-161147, AUGUST 6, 1968; B-161147, AUGUST 6, 1967.

OUR EXAMINATION OF JAYHAWK'S BID DISCLOSES THAT, EXCLUDING ITEM K B, JAYHAWK BID UNIT PRICES ON THIRTEEN ITEMS OF "B" WORK, RANGING FROM A HIGH OF $0.0545 PER SQUARE FOOT FOR AN ESTIMATED QUANTITY OF 2,184 SQUARE FEET IN ITEM C B TO A LOW OF $0.000621 PER SQUARE FOOT FOR AN ESTIMATED QUANTITY OF 213,696 SQUARE FEET IN ITEM B B. AS YOU HAVE INDICATED, THERE IS A GENERAL PATTERN OF AN INVERSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ESTIMATED SQUARE FOOTAGE AND THE UNIT PRICE TO BE CHARGED, IN THAT SOME OF THE UNIT PRICES FOR THE LARGER QUANTITIES TEND TO BE LOWER.

THERE IS ALSO, AS YOU OBSERVED, AN INCONSISTENCY BETWEEN THE UNIT PRICE OF $0.015 PER SQUARE FOOT FOR 7,199,640 SQUARE FEET IN ITEM K B AND THE UNIT PRICE OF $0.000646 PER SQUARE FOOT FOR 5,638,608 SQUARE FEET IN ITEM J B, THE NEAREST COMPARABLE QUANTITY. YOUR ARGUMENT OF AN INVERSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNIT PRICE AND THE QUANTITY WOULD APPEAR TO LEAD TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE UNIT PRICE FOR ITEM K B SHOULD BE LESS THAN THE UNIT PRICE FOR ITEM J B, BECAUSE OF THE INCREASE IN QUANTITY. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO DISCERNIBLE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BID PRICES FOR ITEMS K B AND J B. EVEN IF THE UNIT PRICE FOR ITEM K B IS CORRECTED TO CONFORM TO THE EXTENSION PRICE, THE CORRECTED UNIT PRICE OF $0.0015 IS STILL ALMOST TWO AND ONE-HALF TIMES HIGHER THAN THE UNIT PRICE OF $0.000646 FOR ITEM J B, INSTEAD OF BEING LOWER. BOTH THE UNIT PRICE AND THE EXTENDED PRICE OF ITEM K B ARE OUT OF LINE WITH THE UNIT PRICE AND EXTENDED PRICE FOR ITEM J B UNDER THE THEORY OF AN INVERSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN QUANTITY AND UNIT PRICE.

ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE THEORY OF INVERSE RELATIONSHIP IS ABANDONED, WE FIND THAT BOTH THE UNIT PRICE AS STATED AND AS CORRECTED ARE WITHIN THE RANGE OF UNIT PRICES QUOTED FOR THE SAME SERVICES IN OTHER BUILDINGS. THESE CIRCUMSTANCES WE THINK IT IS UNREASONABLE TO ASSERT THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER COULD DETERMINE FROM THE FACE OF THE BID WHAT PRICE JAYHAWK INTENDED TO BID FOR ITEM K B. THE SAME LACK OF CORRELATION BETWEEN BID PRICES FOR THE SAME SERVICES IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS MAY BE OBSERVED IN THE SEVEN OTHER INSTANCES WHERE THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE UNIT PRICE AND THE EXTENSION. IN ITEMS C E, C I, M F, M G AND M H, BOTH THE UNIT PRICE AS STATED AND THE UNIT PRICE AS CHANGED TO CONFORM TO THE EXTENSION ARE WITHIN THE RANGE OF UNIT PRICES BID FOR THE SAME SERVICES IN OTHER BUILDINGS. IN A SECOND BID UNDER ITEM C I, BOTH THE UNIT PRICE AS STATED AND AS CORRECTED ARE OUTSIDE THE RANGE OF OTHER BIDS FOR THE SAME SERVICES. IN ONLY ONE INSTANCE, ITEM C H, IS THE UNIT PRICE STATED OUTSIDE THE RANGE OF OTHER BID PRICES, WHILE THE CORRECTED UNIT PRICE IS WITHIN THAT RANGE.

BASED ON OUR EXAMINATION OF JAYHAWK'S BID, AS OUTLINED ABOVE, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS CORRECT IN HIS CONCLUSION THAT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL WHETHER THE MISPLACED DECIMAL POINTS OCCURRED IN THE UNIT PRICES OR IN THE MULTIPLICATION PERFORMED TO COMPUTE THE PRICE EXTENSION. IN 49 COMP. GEN. 12 (1969) WE STATED AT PAGE 14:

WHILE ASPR 2-406.2 AUTHORIZES THE CORRECTION OF A CLERICAL MISTAKE WHICH IS "APPARENT ON THE FACE OF A BID," WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT SUCH A SITUATION IS NOT PRESENT HERE, SINCE IT IS NOT APPARENT FROM THE FACE OF THE BID WHETHER THE ERROR OCCURRED IN THE UNIT PRICE OR IN THE EXTENDED PRICE.

IN OUR OPINION, THE PRESENT CASE FALLS SQUARELY WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THIS PRINCIPLE AND CORRECTION OF THE EIGHT DECIMAL ERRORS IN JAYHAWK'S BID WAS PROPERLY DENIED UNDER ASPR 2-406.2.

THERE REMAINS THE QUESTION OF WHETHER IT WOULD BE PROPER TO REFER TO EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE, SUCH AS THE JAYHAWK WORKSHEETS, TO DETERMINE JAYHAWK'S INTENDED BID. AS INDICATED ABOVE, JAYHAWK'S BID IS LOW ON THE BASIS OF THE TOTAL SHOWN ON ITS FACE, AND SECOND LOW WHEN COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE UNIT PRICES STATED THEREIN. IN 49 COMP. GEN. 107 (1969) AND 43 COMP. GEN. 817 (1964) WE HELD THAT WHERE A BID IS READILY SUSCEPTIBLE OF BEING INTERPRETED AS OFFERING EITHER ONE OF TWO PRICES SHOWN ON ITS FACE, ONE OF WHICH IS LOW WHILE THE OTHER IS NOT, IT IS UNFAIR TO THE OTHER BIDDER OR BIDDERS AFFECTED TO PERMIT THE BIDDER WHO CREATED SUCH AMBIGUITY TO ELECT WHICH PRICE TO SUPPORT. IN LINE WITH THESE DECISIONS, ASPR 2-406.3(A)(3) PROVIDES THAT A DETERMINATION SHALL NOT BE MADE TO PERMIT A BIDDER TO CORRECT A MISTAKE WHERE THE CORRECTION WOULD RESULT IN DISPLACING ONE OR MORE LOWER BIDS UNLESS THE MISTAKE AND THE BID ACTUALLY INTENDED ARE ASCERTAINABLE FROM THE INVITATION AND THE BID ITSELF.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, WE SEE NO BASIS ON WHICH CORRECTION OF JAYHAWK'S BID COULD PROPERLY BE PERMITTED.

YOUR REMAINING CONTENTION IS THAT JAYHAWK'S LETTER OF PROTEST OF JULY 1 WAS DELIVERED TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER BEFORE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT AND THE AWARD SHOULD HAVE BEEN DELAYED UNTIL THE PROTEST WAS RESOLVED. WHILE THIS RAISES A DISPUTED QUESTION OF FACT IN THAT THE NAVY REPORT STATES THAT THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED ON JUNE 30, THE POINT IS, AS YOU HAVE OBSERVED, IRRELEVANT. A CONTRACTING AGENCY IS PERMITTED, UNDER ASPR 2- 407.8, TO RESOLVE A PROTEST FILED WITH A CONTRACTING OFFICER. IN THIS INSTANCE, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS AWARE, PRIOR TO AWARD, THAT JAYHAWK CONSIDERED ITS TOTAL BID AND NOT THE UNIT PRICES TO BE CORRECT. HE MADE A DETERMINATION - AND PROPERLY SO, IN OUR OPINION - THAT THE ERRORS IN UNIT PRICES WERE NOT FOR CORRECTION. IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT ANY DIFFERENT RESULT WOULD HAVE, OR SHOULD HAVE, OBTAINED IF THE AWARD HAD BEEN DELAYED. WE MUST THEREFORE CONCLUDE THAT THE MATTER WAS "RESOLVED" PRIOR TO AWARD WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF ASPR 2 407.8. SEE 46 COMP. GEN. 307 (1966). FOR THE REASONS STATED, WE FIND NO BASIS ON WHICH TO OBJECT TO THE AWARD TO KENTUCKY BUILDING MAINTENANCE. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.