B-182555, NOV 21, 1974

B-182555: Nov 21, 1974

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PROTEST THAT SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR IS UNKNOWN AND PRESUMABLY WAS UNQUALIFIED FOR AWARD UNDER RFP IS ONE INVOLVING THE AWARDEE'S RESPONSIBILITY AND WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED ON MERITS SINCE FIRM WAS ISSUED A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY BY SBA AND SUCH CERTIFICATION IS CONCLUSIVE ON MATTERS RAISED BY PROTESTER. NASA STIPULATED THAT THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE OFFEROR AND ITS PAST APPLICABLE EXPERIENCE WERE MOST IMPORTANT IN ASCERTAINING THE QUALIFICATIONS AND PRESENT CAPABILITIES OF EACH OFFEROR. TENNEY STATES THAT ALTHOUGH IT IS FAMILIAR WITH ALL QUALIFIED FIRMS IN THE FIELD RELATING TO THE PREPARATION OF THIS SIMULATOR. IT HAS "NEVER COME ACROSS" ESSEX BEFORE AND IN FACT IS UNABLE TO LOCATE THE ESSEX PLANT OR FACILITIES.

B-182555, NOV 21, 1974

PROTEST THAT SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR IS UNKNOWN AND PRESUMABLY WAS UNQUALIFIED FOR AWARD UNDER RFP IS ONE INVOLVING THE AWARDEE'S RESPONSIBILITY AND WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED ON MERITS SINCE FIRM WAS ISSUED A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY BY SBA AND SUCH CERTIFICATION IS CONCLUSIVE ON MATTERS RAISED BY PROTESTER.

TENNEY ENGINEERING, INCORPORATED:

TENNEY ENGINEERING, INCORPORATED (TENNEY) PROTESTS THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ESSEX CRYOGENICS, INCORPORATED (ESSEX), THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. 9-WSRE-3-4-14-P, ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION (NASA), WHITE SANDS TEST FACILITY, LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO, FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL SIMULATION FACILITY.

TENNEY CONTENDS THAT, THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF PREPARATION AND NEGOTIATION UNDER THIS RFP, NASA STIPULATED THAT THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE OFFEROR AND ITS PAST APPLICABLE EXPERIENCE WERE MOST IMPORTANT IN ASCERTAINING THE QUALIFICATIONS AND PRESENT CAPABILITIES OF EACH OFFEROR. TENNEY STATES THAT ALTHOUGH IT IS FAMILIAR WITH ALL QUALIFIED FIRMS IN THE FIELD RELATING TO THE PREPARATION OF THIS SIMULATOR, IT HAS "NEVER COME ACROSS" ESSEX BEFORE AND IN FACT IS UNABLE TO LOCATE THE ESSEX PLANT OR FACILITIES. THEREFORE, TENNEY QUESTIONS WHETHER ESSEX IS QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THIS CONTRACT.

THE RFP IN QUESTION PROVIDED FOR EVALUATION OF OFFERORS ON THE BASIS OF TECHNICAL APPROACH, DELIVERY SCHEDULE, AND THE QUALIFICATIONS OF OFFERORS, INCLUDING PRESENT CAPABILITIES AND PAST APPLICABLE EXPERIENCE. THE SOLICITATION ALSO PROVIDED THAT THE CONTRACT WOULD BE AWARDED TO THE RESPONSIBLE OFFEROR WHO SUBMITS THE LOWEST AGGREGATE OFFER FOR ALL OF THE ITEMS SPECIFIED IN THE SCHEDULE. AS ALL FOUR OFFERORS WERE ULTIMATELY DETERMINED TO MEET THE EVALUATION CRITERIA, ESSEX, WHICH PROPOSED THE LOWEST PRICE, WAS SELECTED FOR AWARD. IN ORDER TO DETERMINE IF ESSEX WAS QUALIFIED FOR AWARD, NASA DIRECTED THAT A PRE-AWARD SURVEY BE PERFORMED ON THAT FIRM AND THE QUESTION OF ESSEX'S CAPACITY AND CREDIT SUBSEQUENTLY WAS REFERRED TO THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA), WHICH ISSUED A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY (COC) ON ESSEX. ON THIS BASIS, NASA DETERMINED ESSEX TO BE RESPONSIBLE.

IN REGARD TO THE LOCATION OF ESSEX'S PLANT AND FACILITIES, NASA REPORTS THAT ESSEX IS A RECENTLY-FORMED SUBSIDIARY OF INDUSTRIAL COIL, INCORPORATED, OF MIDDLETON, MASSACHUSETTS, AND THAT ESEEX IS PHYSICALLY LOCATED IN THE FACILITIES OF INDUSTRIAL COIL.

TENNEY'S PROTEST CONCERNS WHETHER ESSEX IS A QUALIFIED, CAPABLE FIRM, AND IS THEREFORE A PROTEST PRIMARILY INVOLVING ESSEX'S RESPONSIBILITY. HOWEVER, ESSEX, A SMALL BUSINESS FIRM, HAS BEEN ISSUED COC BY THE SBA FOR THIS PROCUREMENT. THE CERTIFICATION IS CONCLUSIVE WITH RESPECT TO ESSEX'S CAPACITY AND CREDIT TO PERFORM THE CONTRACT AND UNDER OUR DECISIONS CLEARLY ENCOMPASSES EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS. 52 COMP. GEN. 87, 89 (1972).

ACCORDINGLY, NO FURTHER ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IN THIS MATTER.