B-181489, SEP 6, 1974

B-181489: Sep 6, 1974

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WHERE AN ITEM WAS LISTED WITH A MONTHLY UNIT PRICE RATHER THAN AN ANNUAL UNIT PRICE. BERC BUILDING MAINTENANCE COMPANY: INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. 62477-74-C-0872 WAS ISSUED ON MAY 7. THE AWARD WAS TO BE MADE ON THE "LOW TOTAL BID PRICE PER THE CONRACT PERIOD.". SIX BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED ON JUNE 11. WAS PERMITTED TO WITHDRAW ITS BID ON THE BASIS OF ERROR. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT IT WAS URGENT AND ESSENTIAL TO THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE AN AWARD. ONCE UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE BEEN LISTED WITH ANNUAL UNIT PRICES. WERE CORRECTLY EXTENDED TO THE TOTAL PRICES BID FOR EACH ITEM. THE SOLE ITEM NOW ALLEGED TO BE AMBIGUOUS IS ITEM 17. 540.00 DAY AS DIRECTED THERE IS AN OBVIOUS DISCREPANCY BETWEEN OLD ATLANTIC'S "ANNUAL UNIT PRICE" AND "ANNUAL TOTAL" WHEN COMPUTED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE PRIOR 16 ITEMS (205 X $19.

B-181489, SEP 6, 1974

AN INCONSISTENCY WHICH MAY EXIST IN THE LOW TOTAL BID, WHERE AN ITEM WAS LISTED WITH A MONTHLY UNIT PRICE RATHER THAN AN ANNUAL UNIT PRICE, IN CONTRAST TO ALL OTHER ITEMS, DOES NOT RENDER THE BID NONRESPONSIVE, SINCE A PER OCCURRENCE UNIT PRICE CAN BE ASCERTAINED TO SATISFY THE PURPOSES OF THE IFB.

BERC BUILDING MAINTENANCE COMPANY:

INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. 62477-74-C-0872 WAS ISSUED ON MAY 7, 1974, BY THE NAVAL ORDNANCE STATION, INDIAN HEAD, MARYLAND. THE IFB REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING JANITORIAL SERVICES AT THE STATION, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS PROVIDED, DURING THE PERIOD JULY 1, 1974 THROUGH JUNE 30, 1975. THE SOLICITATION SCHEDULE LISTED 17 DIFFERENT ITEMS, AND PROVIDED BLANKS FOR A "UNIT" PRICE FOR EACH ITEM AND A "TOTAL" PRICE. THE AWARD WAS TO BE MADE ON THE "LOW TOTAL BID PRICE PER THE CONRACT PERIOD."

SIX BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED ON JUNE 11, 1974. THE THREE LOWEST BIDS READ AS FOLLOWS:

TOTAL BID DISCOUNT NET BID

KENTUCKY BUILDING

MAINTENANCE, INC. $283,134.16 5% $268,997.45

OLD ATLANTIC

SERVICES, INC. 348,647.58 4-1/2% 332,958.44

BERC BUILDING

MAINTENANCE CO. 341,491.20 2% 334,955.38

THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER, KENTUCKY BUILDING MAINTENANCE, INCORPORATED, WAS PERMITTED TO WITHDRAW ITS BID ON THE BASIS OF ERROR, THEREBY LEAVING OLD ATLANTIC SERVICES, INCORPORATED, WITH THE LOWEST BID.

BERC BUILDING MAINTENANCE COMPANY THEN PROTESTED TO OUR OFFICE AGAINST AGAINST ANY AWARD TO BE MADE TO OLD ATLANTIC. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS PROTEST, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT IT WAS URGENT AND ESSENTIAL TO THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE AN AWARD, IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) 2 407.8(B)(3)(I).

BERC INITIALLY ALLEGED THAT OLD ATLANTIC SUBMITTED AN AMBIGUOUS BID BECAUSE DISCREPANCIES EXISTED BETWEEN UNIT PRICES AND EXTENDED TOTALS FOR THE 17 ITEMS ON THE BID SCHEDULE. OLD ATLANTIC INSERTED ON ITS BID THE WORD "ANNUAL" ABOVE THE "UNIT PRICE" AND "TOTAL" COLUMNS ON ITS BID SCHEDULE IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:

BID

ANNUAL

ESTIMATED UNIT ANNUAL

ITEM SERVICES QUANTITY UNIT PRICE TOTAL

11 DISINFECTION 1,000 S.F. $.552 $552.00

COUNSEL FOR THE PROTESTER SUBSEQUENT CONCEDED THAT THE FIRST 16 ITEMS IN THE BID SCHEDULE, ONCE UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE BEEN LISTED WITH ANNUAL UNIT PRICES, WERE CORRECTLY EXTENDED TO THE TOTAL PRICES BID FOR EACH ITEM. THE SOLE ITEM NOW ALLEGED TO BE AMBIGUOUS IS ITEM 17, WHICH IN COMPARISON TO BERC'S BID, READ AS FOLLOWS:

ANNUAL

ITEM ESTIMATED UNIT ANNUAL

NO. SERVICES QUANTITY UNIT PRICE TOTAL

OLD ATLANTIC 17 HRS. PER 205 HRS. $19,852.72 $238,232.64

DAY AS

DIRECTED

ITEM ESTIMATED UNIT

NO. SERVICES QUANTITY UNIT PRICE TOTAL

BERC 17 HRS. PER 205 HRS. $3.15 $168,540.00

DAY AS

DIRECTED

THERE IS AN OBVIOUS DISCREPANCY BETWEEN OLD ATLANTIC'S "ANNUAL UNIT PRICE" AND "ANNUAL TOTAL" WHEN COMPUTED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE PRIOR 16 ITEMS (205 X $19,852.72 $238,232.64), A DISCREPANCY WHICH BERC CLAIMS RENDERS OLD ATLANTIC'S BID AMBIGUOUS.

AN EXAMINATION OF OLD ATLANTIC'S BID REVEALS CLEARLY THAT A "MONTHLY UNIT PRICE" HAS BEEN INSERTED IN PLACE OF AN "ANNUAL UNIT PRICE" ($19,852.72 IS 1/12 OF THE ANNUAL TOTAL OF $238,232.64). REALIZING THIS, ONE CAN READILY DERIVE A UNIT PRICE PER OCCURRENCE, IF SO DESIRED:

$19,852.72 PER MONTH X 21.75 DAYS* $4.45 PER HOUR 205 HOURS

*(DAYS PER MONTH EQUALS 261 DAYS IN THE NORMAL WORK YEAR, DIVIDED BY 12, OR 21.75.)

ALTHOUGH BERC'S ATTORNEY POINTS OUT THAT THIS COMPUTATION ACTUALLY COMES TO $4.45253041771 PER HOUR, WE FIND THAT THE OBVIOUS ROUNDING OFF OF THE FIGURE IS PROPER AND RENDERS A FIGURE OF SUFFICIENT EXACTITUDE FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE IFB.

ALTHOUGH THE IFB STATED THAT THE CONTRACT WAS TO BE AWARDED ON THE LOW TOTAL BID PRICE PER THE CONRACT PERIOD, UNIT PRICES WERE REQUIRED BECAUSE THE IFB PROVIDED:

"5.5 BASIS OF PAYMENTS. - PAYMENTS WILL BE MADE FOR WORK SATISFACTORILY PERFORMED, BASED ON THE SCHEDULE OF UNIT PRICES SUBMITTED ON NAVFAC FORM 4330/24. PAYMENT REQUESTS SHALL BE SUBMITTED AS DIRECTED, BUT NOT MORE FREQUENTLY THAN MONTHLY. IN CASE THE ACTUAL SQUARE FOOT AREAS OF WORK PERFORMED VARY FROM THE GIVEN SQUARE FOOT AREAS, THE CONTRACT PRICE SHALL BE COMPUTED OR ADJUSTED SOLELY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE UNIT PRICES BID ON NAVFAC FORM 4330/24, PROVIDED THAT THE ACTUAL QUANTITIES DO NOT VARY MORE THAN 25 PERCENT PLUS OR MINUS, FROM THE ESTIMATED QUANTITIES. THE CONTRACT CHARGES PROVISION SHALL APPLY FOR ACTUAL QUANTITIES THAT VARY MORE THAN 25 PERCENT FROM ESTIMATED QUANTITIES."

OLD ATLANTIC HAS SUBMITTED A BID SCHEDULE WHICH ALLOWS ASCERTAINMENT OF A UNIT PRICE PER OCCURRENCE FOR EACH ITEM LISTED. WE BELIEVE THAT ITS UNIT PRICES SUFFICIENTLY SERVE THE PURPOSE OF THE IFB.

BERC'S COUNSEL HAS CITED OUR DECISION 49 COMP. GEN. 48 (1969) TO SUPPORT THE CONTENTION THAT WHEN THE BID UNIT PRICE IS AMBIGUOUS, AN AWARD CANNOT BE MADE TO THAT BIDDER. WE DO NOT AGREE WITH HIS INTERPRETATION OF THAT DECISION, IN WHICH THE PROTESTER WAS NOT ALLEGING AMBIGUITY IN A UNIT PRICE BUT RATHER THE IMPROPRIETY OF ALLOWING A BID TO BE CORRECTED AFTER OPENING. THE "AMBIGUITIES" PRESENT IN THAT CASE WERE IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS, NOT THE BID ITSELF. FURTHERMORE, UNIT PRICES PLAYED A DISSIMILAR AND SOMEWHAT MORE IMPORTANT ROLE IN THAT CASE THAN IN THE INSTANT CASE: THE LOW AGGREGATE OFFEROR WAS TO BE DETERMINED BY MULTIPLYING THE UNIT PRICE ON EACH ITEM BY THE ESTIMATED QUANTITY SPECIFIED AND ADDING THE RESULTANT EXTENSIONS. SIMILARLY, IN OUR DECISION B-173733, NOVEMBER 17, 1971, UNIT PRICE PLAYED A MUCH MORE IMPORTANT ROLE THAN IT DOES HERE.

COUNSEL HAS ALSO ARGUED THAT THE CONTRACTING AGENCY FAILED TO READ ALOUD THE ENTIRE BID AT THE BID OPENING, ALLEGEDLY OMITTING THE DISCOUNT PROVISIONS. WE HAVE NOT CONSIDERED THIS CONTENTION SINCE IT WAS NOT RAISED WITHIN 5 DAYS AFTER THE BASIS FOR PROTEST WAS KNOWN OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN KNOWN, AS REQUIRED BY 4 CFR 20.2(A).

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, WE FIND NO BASIS FOR DISTURBING THE AWARD MADE TO OLD ATLANTIC. ACCORDINGLY, BERC'S PROTEST IS DENIED.