B-174906, FEB 22, 1972

B-174906: Feb 22, 1972

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ALTHOUGH NATIONAL'S BID WAS ALMOST 50 PERCENT LOWER THAN THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATED COST. VERIFICATION WAS RECEIVED AND THE PREAWARD SURVEY RESULTED IN AN AFFIRMATIVE FINDING OF RESPONSIBILITY. THE PROTEST IS DENIED SINCE AN AWARD MAY NOT BE DISTURBED MERELY BECAUSE THE CONTRACTOR SUBMITS AN UNPROFITABLE BID. INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 6. SIX BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER WAS NATIONAL AIR DUCT (NATIONAL) WITH A BID OF $7. 933.30 WAS SECOND LOWEST. YOU CONTEND THAT AWARD SHOULD NOT BE MADE TO NATIONAL AS ITS BID PRICE IS NEARLY 50 PERCENT LESS THAN THE GOVERNMENT ESTIMATE FOR THE PROJECT OF $15. YOU ALLEGED THAT THE NATIONAL BID IS SO LOW AS TO RAISE SERIOUS DOUBT AS TO THEIR ABILITY TO PERFORM IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATION.

B-174906, FEB 22, 1972

BID PROTEST - RESPONSIVENESS - UNPROFITABLE BID DECISION DENYING PROTEST OF VENTILATION CLEANING ENGINEERS, INC., AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO NATIONAL AIR DUCT UNDER AN IFB ISSUED BY BEALE AFB, CALIF., FOR DISINFECTING HOSPITAL AIR DUCTS. ALTHOUGH NATIONAL'S BID WAS ALMOST 50 PERCENT LOWER THAN THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATED COST, VERIFICATION WAS RECEIVED AND THE PREAWARD SURVEY RESULTED IN AN AFFIRMATIVE FINDING OF RESPONSIBILITY. THE PROTEST IS DENIED SINCE AN AWARD MAY NOT BE DISTURBED MERELY BECAUSE THE CONTRACTOR SUBMITS AN UNPROFITABLE BID.

TO VENTILATION CLEANING ENGINEERS, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 6, 1972, PROTESTING THE PROPOSED AWARD OF CONTRACT TO ANOTHER BIDDER UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) F04666-72-B-0022, ISSUED BY BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA.

THE SUBJECT INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS FOR THE FURNISHING OF ALL LABOR, EQUIPMENT, APPLIANCE, MATERIAL AND PERFORMING ALL OPERATIONS IN THE CLEANING AND DISINFECTING OF AIR DUCTS AT THE BEALE AIR FORCE BASE HOSPITAL.

SIX BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER WAS NATIONAL AIR DUCT (NATIONAL) WITH A BID OF $7,421. YOUR BID IN THE AMOUNT OF $14,933.30 WAS SECOND LOWEST.

YOU CONTEND THAT AWARD SHOULD NOT BE MADE TO NATIONAL AS ITS BID PRICE IS NEARLY 50 PERCENT LESS THAN THE GOVERNMENT ESTIMATE FOR THE PROJECT OF $15,000. YOU ALLEGED THAT THE NATIONAL BID IS SO LOW AS TO RAISE SERIOUS DOUBT AS TO THEIR ABILITY TO PERFORM IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATION.

WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT AWARD OF THE CONTRACT WAS MADE TO NATIONAL IN JANUARY 1972, AS THE SERVICES WERE URGENTLY REQUIRED DUE TO INFECTIONS EXPERIENCED BY HOSPITAL PATIENTS WHICH APPARENTLY WERE CAUSED BY THE AIR- CONDITIONING DUCTS.

THE REPORT THE PROCUREMENT ACTIVITY HAS FURNISHED OUR OFFICE REGARDING YOUR PROTEST STATES THAT NATIONAL, IN RESPONSE TO AN INQUIRY FROM THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, CHECKED ITS ESTIMATES AND VERIFIED ITS BID PRICE AS BEING CORRECT. IT IS FURTHER REPORTED THAT A PREAWARD SURVEY CONDUCTED UPON NATIONAL RESULTED IN AN AFFIRMATIVE FINDING OF RESPONSIBILITY AND A RECOMMENDATION THAT AWARD BE MADE TO IT.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE SEE NO REASON TO QUESTION AN AWARD TO NATIONAL AS THE LOW, RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. EVEN IF NATIONAL CANNOT PERFORM THE CONTRACT AT ITS BID PRICE, WE ARE AWARE OF NO LEGAL PRINCIPLE UPON WHICH AN AWARD MAY BE DISTURBED MERELY BECAUSE THE LOW BIDDER SUBMITTED AN UNPROFITABLE PRICE. B-171794, MAY 21, 1971.

IN YOUR LETTER TO OUR OFFICE YOU CITE THE DECISION IN 7 COMP. GEN. 325 (1927) AS AUTHORITY FOR YOUR CONTENTION THAT NATIONAL'S BID SHOULD BE REJECTED. IN THAT CASE THE LOW BID RECEIVED WAS CONSIDERABLY BELOW THE ESTIMATE FOR THE PROJECT AND WHEN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REQUESTED THE LOW BIDDER TO VERIFY ITS BID, THE LOW BIDDER ADVISED THAT IT HAD MADE A MISTAKE IN BID AND OUR OFFICE ALLOWED THE LOW BID TO BE WITHDRAWN. IN THE INSTANT CASE WHEN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REQUESTED NATIONAL TO VERIFY ITS BID, NATIONAL DID NOT ALLEGE ERROR BUT RATHER VERIFIED ITS BID AS BEING CORRECT.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.