B-181195, OCT 21, 1974

B-181195: Oct 21, 1974

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AWARD TO LOW BIDDER ON LOTS 1 AND 2 WAS. IT WAS TO SUBMIT A GRAND TOTAL PRICE FOR LOT 3. BIDDERS WERE TO PRICE MANY DEFINITE AND INDEFINITE LINE ITEMS OF WORK IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN APPLICABLE SPECIFICATION. PRICES RECEIVED WERE AS FOLLOWS: LOT 1 LOT 2 LOT 3 BETHLEHEM $291. 914 AWARD WAS MADE TO NORFOLK ON THE BASIS OF ITS BIDS ON LOTS 1 AND 2 LESS LINE ITEM 0.01 ON EACH LOT FOR A TOTAL PRICE OF $495. BETHLEHEM'S BID ON LOTS 1 AND 2 AFTER DELETION OF THAT LINE ITEM WAS $508. BETHLEHEM'S BID WAS REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE FOR TWO REASONS. THERE WAS NO EXPLANATION IN THE BETHLEHEM BID FOR THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE LOT 3 PRICE AND THE SUM OF THE PRICES OF LOTS 1 AND 2. IT IS THE POSITION OF HEADQUARTERS.

B-181195, OCT 21, 1974

IFB SOLICITING LOT BIDDING FOR REPAIR OF TWO BARGES SEPARATELY (LOTS 1 OR 2) AND AS TOTAL JOB (LOT 3), WHICH REQUIRED SUBMISSION OF PRICES FOR LINE ITEMS UNDER LOTS 1 AND 2 BUT ONLY GRAND TOTAL PRICE ON LOT 3, MADE AWARD FOR LESS THAN ALL OF WORK IMPOSSIBLE UNDER LOT 3, AND AWARD TO LOW BIDDER ON LOTS 1 AND 2 WAS, THEREFORE, PROPER.

BETHLEHEM STEEL CORPORATION:

THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CORPORATION (BETHLEHEM) PROTESTS THE REJECTION OF ITS BID AND THE AWARD MADE TO THE NORFOLK SHIPBUILDING AND DRYDOCK CORPORATION (NORFOLK) UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. DAAK01-74-B-2207, ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY TROOP SUPPORT COMMAND, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, FOR THE CLEANING, PAINTING, AND REPAIR OF TWO SELF-ELEVATING PIER BARGES. ENABLE PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS TO PERFORM ONLY PORTIONS OF THE WORK WHERE THE SCOPE OF THE COMBINED WORK ON BOTH BARGES WOULD BE BEYOND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, THE INVITATION CALLED FOR LOT BIDDING WHERE WORK ON ONE OF THE TWO BARGES CONSTITUTED LOT 1 AND WORK ON THE OTHER BARGE LOT 2. IF A BIDDER COULD HANDLE THE WORK ON BOTH BARGES, IT WAS TO SUBMIT A GRAND TOTAL PRICE FOR LOT 3. UNDER LOTS 1 AND 2, BIDDERS WERE TO PRICE MANY DEFINITE AND INDEFINITE LINE ITEMS OF WORK IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN APPLICABLE SPECIFICATION. THE INVITATION REQUIRED BIDDERS TO INSERT A PRICE FOR, OR THE WORDS "NO CHARGE" BESIDE, EACH LINE ITEM WITH THE WARNING THAT A FAILURE TO COMPLY MIGHT RESULT IN REJECTION OF THE BID.

PRICES RECEIVED WERE AS FOLLOWS:

LOT 1 LOT 2 LOT 3 BETHLEHEM $291,207 $291,207 $545,624 NORFOLK

275,457 275,457 550,914

AWARD WAS MADE TO NORFOLK ON THE BASIS OF ITS BIDS ON LOTS 1 AND 2 LESS LINE ITEM 0.01 ON EACH LOT FOR A TOTAL PRICE OF $495,914. BETHLEHEM'S BID ON LOTS 1 AND 2 AFTER DELETION OF THAT LINE ITEM WAS $508,814.

BETHLEHEM'S BID WAS REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE FOR TWO REASONS. FIRST, BETHLEHEM HAD ENTERED DASH MARKS INSTEAD OF A PRICE OR THE WORDS "NO CHARGE" FOR A LINE ITEM UNDER LOTS 1 AND 2 DEALING WITH PREPARATION OF THE BARGES FOR TOWING. SECONDLY, THERE WAS NO EXPLANATION IN THE BETHLEHEM BID FOR THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE LOT 3 PRICE AND THE SUM OF THE PRICES OF LOTS 1 AND 2.

IT IS THE POSITION OF HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES ARMY MATERIEL COMMAND (AMC), THE PARENT ORGANIZATION OF THE PROCUREMENT ACTIVITY, THAT NEITHER OF THESE REASONS PROVIDED A SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR FINDING THE BETHLEHEM BID NONRESPONSIVE. AMC, HOWEVER, RECOGNIZED THAT THE PROCUREMENT ACTIVITY'S DETERMINATION WAS TENABLE AND MADE IN GOOD FAITH. IN REPORTS TO OUR OFFICE DATED JUNE 18 AND JULY 17, 1974, AMC CONCLUDED THAT A TERMINATION OF THE CONTRACT AWARDED TO NORFOLK WOULD NOT BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE OF THE STATUS OF PERFORMANCE AND THE URGENT NEED FOR THE VESSELS. IN RESPONSE TO AN INQUIRY MADE BY GAO ON JULY 5, 1974, THE ARMY INDICATED THE WORK ON ONE BARGE TO HAVE BEEN APPROXIMATELY 26- PERCENT COMPLETE AND ON THE OTHER APPROXIMATELY 45-PERCENT COMPLETE. OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1974, WE UNDERSTAND FROM THE ARMY THAT THE CONTRACT HAS BEEN COMPLETED.

THE IFB PROVIDED IN PERTINENT PART:

"LOT 3 CONSISTS OF LOTS 1 AND 2. IF ANY OFFEROR CAN HANDLE THE ENTIRE JOB, SUBMIT GRAND TOTAL PRICE ON BOTH VESSELS HERE $ "

FURTHER DOWN THE SAME PAGE WAS ANOTHER PROVISION IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"THE FOLLOWING 'NOTE' APPLIES TO EACH VESSEL OR LOT: NOTE: BIDDERS MUST EITHER SUBMIT A UNIT PRICE AND TOTAL PRICE FOR EACH ITEM LISTED BELOW OR INDICATE 'NO CHARGE' BESIDE EACH ITEM. FAILURE TO INSERT A SPECIFIC PRICE OR 'NO CHARGE' FOR ANY ITEM MAY RESULT IN REJECTION OF SUCH BID AS NONRESPONSIVE TO THE SOLICITATION. ***"

WE NOTE THAT THIS REFERS TO EACH ITEM SUBMITTED BELOW, NOT ABOVE. FOLLOWING THIS PROVISION ARE TWO PAGES, ONE PROVIDING A LISTING OF AND SPACES FOR UNIT, EXTENDED, AND TOTAL PRICES FOR EACH ITEM UNDER LOT 1 AND ANOTHER WITH THE SAME FOR LOT 2. NO LIKE PAGE IS INCLUDED FOR LOT 3. THESE PAGES ADVISED THE BIDDER THAT:

"ALL BIDS MUST BE SUBMITTED ON THIS FORM. USE OF ANY OTHER FORM SHALL RESULT IN REJECTION OF BID."

HOWEVER, THE INVITATION PROVIDED THAT

"THE GOVERNMENT MAY ACCEPT ANY ITEM OR GROUP OF ITEMS OF ANY OFFER, *** AND THE GOVERNMENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE AWARD ON ANY ITEM FOR A QUANTITY LESS THAN THE QUANTITY OFFERED AT THE UNIT PRICES OFFERED UNLESS THE OFFEROR SPECIFIES OTHERWISE IN HIS OFFER."

WHILE WE DO NOT BELIEVE IT NECESSARY TO DECIDE WHETHER BETHLEHEM RENDERED ITS BID NONRESPONSIVE BY BIDDING AS IT DID ON LOT 3, EVEN ASSUMING IT WAS RESPONSIVE, THE AWARD COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE ON BETHLEHEM'S LOT 3 BID INASMUCH AS THE AWARD DID NOT COVER ALL LINE ITEMS OF WORK ON LOTS 1 AND 2, AND IT CANNOT BE ASCERTAINED FROM THE BETHLEHEM BID ON LOT 3 WHAT PRICE IS TO BE CHARGED FOR LESS THAN THE ENTIRE WORK. NOTHING IN THE BID WOULD PERMIT A PERCENTAGE PRORATION OF THE LOT 3 PRICE. WE NOTE THAT THE AWARD PRICE IS LOWER THAN BETHLEHEM'S LOT 3 PRICE. THUS, AWARD WAS PROPERLY MADE TO NORFOLK.

AMC HAS RECOGNIZED THE DEFICIENCIES IN THE PROCUREMENT AND HAS ADVISED THAT "FUTURE SOLICITATIONS FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH SERVICES WILL BE RESTRUCTURED TO AVOID THE RECURRENCE OF SIMILAR PROBLEMS."

IN VIEW OF OUR CONCLUSION, THE OTHER ISSUES RAISED NEED NOT BE CONSIDERED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.