B-176409, DEC 14, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 352

B-176409: Dec 14, 1972

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

BIDS - EVALUATION - DELIVERY PROVISIONS - GUARANTEED SHIPPING WEIGHT - ESTIMATE ACCEPTABILITY THE NON-USE OF POST BID CORRECTED SHIPPING DATA UNDER AN AMENDED INVITATION FOR BIDS THAT REQUIRED BIDDERS TO FURNISH GUARANTEED MAXIMUM SHIPPING WEIGHTS AND DIMENSIONS FOR USE IN THE EVALUATION OF TRANSPORTATION COSTS ON AIR COMPRESSORS MOUNTED ON GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILERS RATHER THAN SKID-MOUNTED - A CHANGE THAT WAS NOT MISLEADING TO THE BIDDER - WAS PROPER EITHER ON THE BASIS THE EXCEPTIONS IN PARAGRAPHS 2 -304 AND 2-305 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION PERMITTING BID MODIFICATION DO NOT APPLY OR THAT CORRECTION AS A BID MISTAKE IS UNACCEPTABLE SINCE THE MISTAKE IS NOT ASCERTAINABLE FROM THE BID.

B-176409, DEC 14, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 352

BIDS - EVALUATION - DELIVERY PROVISIONS - GUARANTEED SHIPPING WEIGHT - ESTIMATE ACCEPTABILITY THE NON-USE OF POST BID CORRECTED SHIPPING DATA UNDER AN AMENDED INVITATION FOR BIDS THAT REQUIRED BIDDERS TO FURNISH GUARANTEED MAXIMUM SHIPPING WEIGHTS AND DIMENSIONS FOR USE IN THE EVALUATION OF TRANSPORTATION COSTS ON AIR COMPRESSORS MOUNTED ON GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILERS RATHER THAN SKID-MOUNTED - A CHANGE THAT WAS NOT MISLEADING TO THE BIDDER - WAS PROPER EITHER ON THE BASIS THE EXCEPTIONS IN PARAGRAPHS 2 -304 AND 2-305 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION PERMITTING BID MODIFICATION DO NOT APPLY OR THAT CORRECTION AS A BID MISTAKE IS UNACCEPTABLE SINCE THE MISTAKE IS NOT ASCERTAINABLE FROM THE BID. FURTHERMORE, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IN ACCEPTING A TRANSPORTATION EXPERT'S SHIPPING DIMENSIONS, WHICH WERE BASED ON STANDARD PROCEDURES BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT CAN ONLY REQUIRE THE CONTRACTOR TO USE STANDARD LOADING AND SHIPPING PROCEDURES, RATHER THAN THE BIDDER'S SPECIAL LOADING ARRANGEMENTS, MADE USE OF THE BEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE.

TO BAKER & MCKENZIE, DECEMBER 14, 1972:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED OCTOBER 6, 1972, AND PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, ON BEHALF OF INGERSOLL-RAND COMPANY, PROTESTING AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO DAVEY COMPRESSOR COMPANY UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. DSA700-72-B-2434, ISSUED BY THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY (DSA), DEFENSE CONSTRUCTION SUPPLY CENTER (DCSC), COLUMBUS, OHIO. ESSENTIALLY, THE PROTEST IS DIRECTED TO THE ALLEGED IMPROPER EVALUATION OF FREIGHT RATES BASED ON SHIPPING DATA FURNISHED BY INGERSOLL-RAND AS PART OF ITS BID.

FOR THE REASONS HEREINAFTER STATED, THE PROTEST OF INGERSOL-RAND IS DENIED.

THE IFB SOLICITED BIDS FOR 150 AIR COMPRESSORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH A MILITARY SPECIFICATION, AS MODIFIED. CONTRACT LINE ITEM (CLIN) 0001 CALLED FOR A PRICE ON AN F.O.B. ORIGIN BASIS FOR ONE COMPRESSOR, NOMINATED THE MAINTENANCE CAPABILITY MODEL, TO BE MOUNTED ON A GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILER. CLIN 0002 REQUESTED PRICES FOR THE REMAINING 149 COMPRESSORS. BIDDERS WERE APPRISED OF THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT EXERCISE AN OPTION TO REQUIRE THE CONTRACTOR TO MOUNT OR INSTALL ALL COMPRESSORS TO BE FURNISHED UNDER THE CONTRACT ON GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILERS. CLAUSE C21 OF THE IFB INFORMED BIDDERS THAT FIVE GOVERNMENT TRAILERS, EACH WEIGHING 1500 POUNDS, WOULD BE FURNISHED - ONE FOR THE ABOVE-MENTIONED MAINTENANCE CAPABILITY MODEL, ONE FOR FIRST ARTICLE TESTING BY THE GOVERNMENT (THE FIRST ARTICLE TESTING REQUIREMENT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY WAIVED), AND THREE FOR INITIAL PRODUCTION UNITS SHIPPED TO THE GOVERNMENT AT CONTRACTOR EXPENSE FOR TESTING AND INSPECTION.

THE "ORDERING DATA" CLAUSE OF THE IFB SET FORTH THE CLASS AND SIZE OF THE DESIRED COMPRESSOR AS "CLASS 1, SIZE 250 CFM AT 100 PSI, SKID MOUNTED AS MODIFIED. (SEE PARA. 3.17.3.3 OF MODIFICATIONS, DTD 6 JAN 72)." AMENDMENT 0001 CLASS 1 WAS DELETED AND CLASS 2 COMPRESSORS WERE SUBSTITUTED. THE APPLICABLE MILITARY SPECIFICATION STATES THAT CLASS 2 COMPRESSORS SHALL BE MOUNTED ON GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILERS AS DISTINGUISHED FROM CLASS 1 WHICH ARE SKID-MOUNTED.

THE F.O.B. ORIGIN EVALUATION CLAUSE OF THE IFB PRESCRIBED BY PARAGRAPH 2- 201(A) DVI) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) PROVIDED THAT THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE BIDDER'S SHIPPING POINT TO DESTINATION WOULD BE ADDED TO THE BID PRICE IN DETERMINING THE OVER-ALL COST OF THE SUPPLIES TO THE GOVERNMENT. SECTION B05 OF THE IFB REQUIRED BIDDERS TO FURNISH GUARANTEED MAXIMUM SHIPPING WEIGHTS AND DIMENSIONS FOR USE IN THE EVALUATION OF TRANSPORTATION COSTS. IF THE BIDDER FAILED TO STATE GUARANTEED WEIGHTS AND DIMENSIONS, THE GOVERNMENT WAS TO USE ITS OWN ESTIMATED WEIGHTS AND DIMENSIONS STATED IN THE IFB. FOR CLIN 0001 THERE WERE INCLUDED AN ESTIMATED MAXIMUM SHIPPING WEIGHT OF 8,650 POUNDS AND ESTIMATED DIMENSIONS IN TERMS OF THE SIZE OF THE CONTAINER IN INCHES AS 140" X 80" X 65." FOR CLIN 0002, THE GOVERNMENT ESTIMATES WERE 7,150 POUNDS AND 110" X 70" X 40", RESPECTIVELY.

THE BID SUBMITTED BY INGERSOLL-RAND CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING GUARANTEED MAXIMUM SHIPPING WEIGHTS AND DIMENSIONS: CLIN 0001 - 8,650 POUNDS AND 220" X 96" X 90", AND CLIN 0002 - 7,150 POUNDS AND 220" X 96" X 90". BENEATH THESE INSERTIONS, THE INGERSOLL-RAND BID STATED:"NOTE: 0002 WEIGHT BASED ON SKID UNIT LESS GOVERNMENT FURNISHED TRAILER." SEVEN DAYS AFTER BID OPENING, INGERSOLL-RAND SENT A TELEGRAM TO DCSC, WHICH READS, AS FOLLOWS:

DIMENSIONS OF 0002 AS SHOWN INCLUDE TRAILER FURNISHED AND SPECIFIED ON PG. 6 OF 31. DIMENSIONS OF COMPRESSOR LESS TRAILER ARE 145" X 94 X 54 MAXIMUM. NORMALLY 3 UNITS ARE SHIPPED ON 40 FT. FLATBED REGARDLESS OF SKIDDED OR WHEELED. NORMAL SHIPMENT OF WHEELED UNITS IS POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF OVERLAPPING TONGUES.

THE DCSC CONTRACTING OFFICER, AFTER CONSULTATION WITH LEGAL PERSONNEL, REFUSED TO CONSIDER FOR EVALUATION THE DIMENSIONS GIVEN IN THE INGERSOLL- RAND TELEGRAM BASED ON HIS CONSIDERATION THAT THE BIDDER WAS ATTEMPTING CORRECTION OF A MISTAKE IN BID BEFORE AWARD. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WAS BELIEVED THAT CORRECTION COULD NOT BE MADE SINCE EVALUATION OF THE NEWLY PROFFERED DIMENSIONS, NOT ASCERTAINABLE FROM ITS BID, WOULD HAVE ALTERED THE COMPUTATION OF TRANSPORTATION COSTS SUFFICIENTLY TO DISPLACE DAVEY COMPRESSOR, THE OTHERWISE LOW BIDDER. CONSEQUENTLY, THE EVALUATION OF THE INGERSOLL-RAND BID BY TRANSPORTATION SPECIALISTS UTILIZED THE DIMENSIONS FOR CLIN 0002 AS CONTAINED IN ITS BID, NOT THE DIMENSIONS GIVEN IN THE POST BID OPENING TELEGRAM. THEREAFTER, AWARD WAS MADE TO DAVEY COMPRESSOR AS THE LOWEST EVALUATED BIDDER.

YOUR INITIAL LETTER OF PROTEST CONTENDS THAT THE EVALUATION OF FREIGHT COSTS FOR INGERSOLL-RAND AT A HIGHER COST WAS BASED UPON DCSC'S IMPROPER ASSUMPTION THAT ONLY 2 OF ITS COMPRESSORS COULD BE SHIPPED ON A 40-FOOT FLATBED TRAILER AND THAT DCSC CONCLUDED AT THE SAME TIME THAT 3 COMPRESSORS OF DAVEY COMPRESSOR COULD BE SHIPPED ON SUCH A TRAILER. ADDITION, YOU STATE THAT 3 TRAILER-MOUNTED COMPRESSORS WITH THE CRITICAL DIMENSION BEING THE LENGTH OF THE GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILER WHICH, ACCORDING TO THE APPLICABLE MILITARY SPECIFICATION, IS 220" X 96" X 90" CAN BE MOUNTED ON A 40-FOOT FLATBED TRAILER. YOU SUPPORT THIS BY REFERRING GENERALLY TO A DCSC PROCUREMENT OF IDENTICAL INGERSOLL-RAND COMPRESSORS MOUNTED ON IDENTICAL GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILERS SHIPPED 3 TO A 40-FOOT FLATBED TRAILER. THEREFORE, YOU STATE THAT, EVEN SHOULD DCSC ARGUE THAT DIFFERENCES IN CALCULATING FREIGHT COSTS ARE DUE TO INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY INGERSOLL-RAND IT WAS INCUMBENT ON DCSC TO MAKE ITS EVALUATION BASED ON THE LOWEST SHIPPING COST WHERE LOADING CHARACTERISTICS ARE OBVIOUS ON THE FACE OF THE BID, AND WHERE THEY ARE KNOWN TO THE GOVERNMENT THROUGH PRIOR PROCUREMENTS OF THE SAME ITEM.

BY LETTER DATED AUGUST 31, 1972, IN RESPONSE TO THE DSA ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT ON THE PROTEST TO OUR OFFICE, YOU STATE SEVERAL NEW POSITIONS IN SUPPORT OF THE PROTEST, AS FOLLOWS:

(1) THE SOLICITATION ISSUED BY DCSC WAS MISLEADING IN THAT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE FOR WHAT CONFIGURATION GUARANTEED MEASUREMENTS ARE TO BE GIVEN;

(2) INGERSOLL-RAND SUBMITTED GUARANTEED MEASUREMENTS BASED UPON A REASONABLE INTERPRETATION OF THE SOLICITATION;

(3) INGERSOLL-RAND NOTIFIED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER OF THE ALTERNATIVE MEASUREMENTS FOR SKID-MOUNTED COMPRESSORS WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN USED IN THE EVALUATION;

(4) THE MEASUREMENT OF THE COMPRESSOR WAS USED ONLY FOR EVALUATION OF FREIGHT RATES AND DID NOT IN ANY WAY GO TO THE RESPONSIVENESS OF INGERSOLL -RAND'S BID;

(5) THE GUARANTEED MEASUREMENTS WERE NOT AN ESSENTIAL FACTOR IN DETERMINING ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE FREIGHT RATES, WHICH DETERMINATION WAS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND NOT OF INGERSOLL RAND;

(6) THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IS CHARGED BY LAW AND BY REGULATION AS WELL AS BY DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, TO USE THE BEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN CALCULATING FREIGHT RATES;

(7) THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, IN PERFORMING HIS EVALUATION, SHOULD HAVE USED THE BEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO HIM WHETHER APPEARING ON THE FACE OF THE BID OR NOT.

YOU ALSO ARGUE THAT THE ISSUANCE OF AMENDMENT 0001, DELETING SKID MOUNTED AND INSERTING TRAILER-MOUNTED COMPRESSORS COUPLED WITH THE GOVERNMENT OPTION TO REQUIRE MOUNTING OF THE COMPRESSORS ON GOVERNMENT FURNISHED TRAILERS, NECESSITATED THE INSERTION OF GUARANTEED DIMENSIONS TO REFLECT SHIPMENT OF THE COMPRESSORS ON GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILERS. WE NOTE HERE THAT THE DIMENSIONS INSERTED IN THE INGERSOLL RAND BID FOR CLIN 0001 AND CLIN 0002 ARE THE SAME DIMENSIONS AS THOSE GIVEN FOR THE GOVERNMENT- FURNISHED TRAILER IN THE SPECIFICATIONS.

IN CONCLUSION, YOU POINT OUT THAT THE DAVEY COMPRESSOR BID WAS NONRESPONSIVE BECAUSE ITS BID FOR CLIN 0001 SHOWED NONSPECIFICATION DIMENSIONS OF 145" X 94" X 52". THIS POINT AND YOUR FURTHER COMPLAINT THAT THE DAVEY COMPRESSOR BID IN THAT IT DID NOT OFFER TO FURNISH AIR CLEANER ELEMENTS IN THE OVERPACK KIT FOR EACH END ITEM WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED SINCE THEY WERE UNTIMELY RAISED. SEE 4 CFR 20.2.

WE DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO YOUR POSITION THAT THE TRANSPORTATION EVALUATION COULD HAVE UTILIZED ALTERNATIVE GUARANTEED SHIPPING INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY INGERSOLL-RAND BY TELEGRAM AFTER BID OPENING. IF WE VIEW THE TELEGRAM AS AN ATTEMPT TO MODIFY THE BID, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE INFORMATION CANNOT BE CONSIDERED. ASPR 2-304 AND -305 PERMIT BID MODIFICATION SO LONG AS IT IS RECEIVED PRIOR TO BID OPENING OR, IS LATE, ACCEPTABLE UNDER THE LATE BID RULES. EXCEPTION IS ALSO PERMITTED IF THE LATE MODIFICATION IS TENDERED BY THE OTHERWISE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER. NONE OF THESE EXCEPTIONS APPLY HERE PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE UTILIZATION OF THE ALTERNATIVE DIMENSION WOULD HAVE DISPLACED A LOWER BIDDER. SEE B-164362, JUNE 28, 1968.

NEITHER CAN WE REGARD THE LATE OFFER OF ALTERNATIVE DIMENSIONS AS CORRECTING A MISTAKE IN BID. THE CORRECTION OF A MISTAKE IN BID RESULTING IN THE DISPLACEMENT OF A LOWER BIDDER CAN BE EFFECTED ONLY WHERE THE EXISTENCE OF THE MISTAKE AND THE BID ACTUALLY INTENDED ARE ASCERTAINABLE SUBSTANTIALLY FROM THE BID ITSELF. SEE ASPR 2-406. THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE ALLEGED CORRECT MEASUREMENTS SUBMITTED AFTER BID OPENING CANNOT BE ASCERTAINED FROM THE INGERSOLL-RAND BID. SEE B-172899, AUGUST 23, 1971, WHERE WE HELD THAT CORRECTED GUARANTEED SHIPPING DATA SUBMITTED APART FROM THE BID COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED.

OUR CONCLUSION IS NOT AFFECTED BY THE FACT THAT ANOTHER CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD KNOWLEDGE OF THE WEIGHT AND DIMENSIONS OF THE SAME ITEMS BECAUSE IT IS THE TRANSPORTATION DATA IN THE BID SUPPLIED TIMELY BY THE BIDDER WHICH GOVERN THE EVALUATION OF F.O.B. BIDS. CF. 49 COMP. GEN. 718(1970); B-172899, SUPRA.

THE TENOR OF YOUR LETTERS CHARACTERIZES THE NON-USE OF THE POST BID OPENING CORRECTED SHIPPING DATA AS A FAILURE ON THE PART OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO USE THE BEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE WHETHER BID DATA OR NOT. HOWEVER, TO ALLOW BIDDERS TO SUPPLY AFTER THE OPENING OF BIDS INFORMATION CRUCIAL TO THE EVALUATION OF BIDS WOULD COMPROMISE THE INTEGRITY OF THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM. WE HAVE STATED IN THE PAST THAT GUARANTEED SHIPPING DATA CLAUSES ARE MATERIAL CONDITIONS WHICH AFFECT CONTRACT COST AND PERFORMANCE, AND THAT INFORMATION SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE THERETO IS ESSENTIAL TO PROPER BID EVALUATION.

WE NOW TURN TO THE ALLEGED IMPROPER EVALUATION OF SHIPPING DIMENSIONS. YOU CLAIM THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSUMPTION THAT THE DIMENSIONS REPRESENTED A RECTANGULAR BOX PLACED END-TO-END ON A FLATBED TRUCK TRAILER WAS WHOLLY ERRONEOUS AND CONTRARY TO THE BEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE. DRAWING AND PHOTOGRAPHS WERE SUBMITTED TO US TO DEMONSTRATE THAT AN L- SHAPED BOX AND PIGGY-BACK ARRANGEMENT MAKES SHIPMENT OF 3 COMPRESSORS TO A 40-FOOT FLATBED TRAILER TRUCK POSSIBLE, THEREBY RESULTING IN A TRANSPORTATION COST EVALUATION WITH INGERSOLL RAND AS THE LOW BIDDER.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER RELIED ON DCSC TRANSPORTATION PERSONNEL INSOFAR AS THE EVALUATION OF TRANSPORTATION COSTS IS CONCERNED. A DCSC TRANSPORTATION EXPERT CONCLUDED IN A REPORT - PREVIOUSLY FURNISHED TO YOU - THAT "THERE IS NO WAY THAT MORE THAN TWO UNMOUNTED COMPRESSORS MEASURING 220" X 96" X 90" COULD BE SHIPPED ON FORTY-FOOT FLATBED TRAILER IF STANDARD PACKING AND SHIPPING PROCEDURES ARE USED." THE TRANSPORTATION EXPERT CONSIDERED SEVERAL POSSIBLE SHIPMENT METHODS FOR A COMPRESSOR OF THOSE DIMENSIONS WITHIN A RECTANGULAR BOX, BUT CONCLUDED THAT "ESTIMATES OF TRANSPORTATION COSTS ON BIDS ARE BASED ON STANDARD PROCEDURES AND NOT THE SPECIAL LOADING ARRANGEMENTS CONSIDERED ABOVE, ***. UNDER THE USUAL CONTRACT PROVISIONS, THE GOVERNMENT CAN ONLY REQUIRE THE CONTRACTOR TO USE STANDARD LOADING AND SHIPPING PROCEDURES."

WHILE DCSC TRANSPORTATION PERSONNEL MAY NOT HAVE CONSIDERED YOUR PROFFERED SHIPPING METHOD, NOTHING IN THE RECORD REVEALS THAT THE TRANSPORTATION EVALUATORS DID NOT, IN GOOD FAITH, RELY ON THE BEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT THE TIME THE EVALUATION WAS MADE. IN THIS REGARD, IT IS REPORTED THAT NO INFORMATION FROM PRIOR PROCUREMENTS INDICATED TO THE TRANSPORTATION EVALUATORS THAT A COMPRESSOR OF THE SPECIFIED DIMENSIONS HAD BEEN SHIPPED 3 TO 40-FOOT FLATBED TRAILER. MOREOVER, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS A RIGHT TO RELY ON FREIGHT EVALUATIONS BY AGENCY TRANSPORTATION EXPERTS, AND THE RECORD INDICATES THAT HIS RELIANCE ON THEIR JUDGMENT WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH ESTABLISHED PROCEDURES. SEE, GENERALLY, 46 COMP. GEN. 123, 132, 133(1969); AND B 168310, FEBRUARY 13, 1970.

FINALLY, YOU MAINTAIN THAT INGERSOLL-RAND SUBMITTED A BID BASED ON A REASONABLE INTERPRETATION OF THE SPECIFICATIONS BY GIVING GUARANTEED DIMENSIONS OF A TRAILER-MOUNTED COMPRESSOR. IN EFFECT, ALSO, IT IS ARGUED THAT THE IFB WAS AMBIGUOUS AS TO THE CONFIGURATION SHIPPING DIMENSIONS REQUESTED.

THE IFB ORIGINALLY CALLED FOR THE FURNISHING OF SKID-MOUNTED COMPRESSORS, WHICH APPARENTLY, FOR SHIPPING PURPOSES, ADD NO APPRECIABLE WEIGHT OR DIMENSIONS TO THE COMPRESSOR. BUT AMENDMENT 0001, DELETING SKID-MOUNTED COMPRESSORS, SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED THE WEIGHT AND DIMENSIONS OF THE ITEM FOR SHIPMENT. THE GOVERNMENT FURNISHED TRAILER ADDS 1,500 POUNDS TO THE WEIGHT OF THE COMPRESSOR AND MEASURES 220" X 96" X 90". IN CONTRAST, THE LENGTH, WIDTH AND HEIGHT OF THE COMPRESSOR ALONE APPEAR TO BE APPROXIMATELY 140" X 90" X 65", TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE VARIOUS ESTIMATES IN THE RECORD. IF INGERSOLL RAND HAD INSERTED THE CORRECT DIMENSIONS OF THE COMPRESSOR WITHOUT THE TRAILER IT COULD WELL HAVE BEEN THE LOW EVALUATED BIDDER. WHILE IT MIGHT APPEAR THAT BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO SUBMIT DIMENSIONS FOR THE 149 COMPRESSORS FOR CLIN 0002 TO BE MOUNTED ON GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILERS, THE RECORD REQUIRES A DIFFERENT CONCLUSION. THE IFB GAVE THE GOVERNMENT AN OPTION TO REQUIRE MOUNTING OF ALL COMPRESSORS TO BE FURNISHED UNDER THE CONTRACT. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS TO EXERCISE THE OPTION BY MAILING OR OTHERWISE FURNISHING TO THE CONTRACTOR A WRITTEN NOTICE AT THE TIME OF AWARD OR AT LATER SPECIFIED PERIODS. HOWEVER, THE OPTION WAS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE EVALUATION OF BIDS UNLESS EXERCISED AT TIME OF AWARD. THEREFORE, WE BELIEVE THAT A REASONABLE BIDDER WOULD NOT HAVE VIEWED THE ISSUANCE OF AMENDMENT 0001 AS AN EXERCISE OF THE OPTION. A MORE REASONABLE INTERPRETATION, WE BELIEVE, OF THE EFFECT OF THE AMENDMENT WAS TO APPRISE BIDDERS OF THE GOVERNMENT'S NEED FOR COMPRESSORS CAPABLE OF BEING MOUNTED ON TRAILERS IF SUCH OPTION WERE EXERCISED AT SOME LATER DATE. IN THIS REGARD, MODIFICATIONS TO THE SPECIFICATIONS OF THE IFB, PRIOR TO AMENDMENT 0001, INFORMED BIDDERS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT FURNISH TRAILERS AND REQUIRED THE FURNISHING OF KITS TO ENABLE THE GOVERNMENT TO MOUNT THE COMPRESSORS CONFORMING TO CLASS 2 COMPRESSORS ON TRAILERS.

THE COMPLETION OF THE GUARANTEED SHIPPING WEIGHT AND DIMENSION CLAUSE BY INGERSOLL-RAND MILITATES AGAINST ANY CONCLUSION THAT IT WAS MISLED INTO SUBMITTING TRAILER-MOUNTED COMPRESSOR DIMENSIONS. THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATED WEIGHTS AND DIMENSIONS FOR CLIN 0001 AND CLIN 0002, 8,650 AND 7,150 POUNDS, AND 140" X 80" X 65" AND 110" X 70" X 40", RESPECTIVELY, REFLECTED THE NON-TRAILER-MOUNTED FEATURE OF CLIN 0002. THE ESTIMATED POUNDAGE DIFFERENCE (1,500) REFLECTED THE WEIGHT OF THE GOVERNMENT- FURNISHED TRAILER. WHILE THE DIMENSION ESTIMATED FOR CLIN 0001, TRAILER- MOUNTED, SEEMS TO BE UNDERSTATED IN VIEW OF THE 220 INCH LENGTH OF THE TRAILER, IT SHOWED A SHIPPING DIMENSION IN EXCESS OF THAT FOR CLIN 0002.

IN RESPONSE TO THESE ESTIMATES, INGERSOLL-RAND GUARANTEED THE ESTIMATED GOVERNMENT WEIGHTS IN THE 2 CLINS AND GAVE IDENTICAL DIMENSIONS FOR CLINS 0001 AND 0002. AS NOTED BEFORE, THE DIMENSIONS GIVEN ARE IDENTICAL TO THOSE OF THE GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED TRAILER. OF PARTICULAR SIGNIFICANCE, INGERSOLL-RAND INSERTED A NOTE ADVISING THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE WEIGHT WAS BASED ON A SKID-MOUNTED UNIT LESS THE TRAILER. THIS INDICATES TO US THAT THE DIMENSIONS WERE BASED ON A NON TRAILER-MOUNTED AIR COMPRESSOR FOR SHIPMENT. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, WE FIND IT DIFFICULT TO PERCEIVE THAT THE TERMS OF THE IFB MISLED INGERSOLL-RAND INTO SUBMITTING THE LARGER DIMENSIONS. WE HAVE OFTEN HELD THAT BIDDERS MAY EITHER GUARANTEE A WEIGHT LESS THAN THE ACTUAL WEIGHT RATHER THAN REDUCE THE ITEM PRICE OR SUBMIT A GUARANTEED WEIGHT IN EXCESS OF ACTUAL WEIGHT AS PROTECTION AGAINST HAVING ITS CONTRACT PRICE DOCKED FOR EXCESS SHIPPING COSTS. SEE 49 COMP. GEN. 558(1970), WITH REFERENCE TO B-172899 SUPRA; AND B-175514, JUNE 29, 1972.

THE PROTEST OF INGERSOLL-RAND IS THEREFORE DENIED.