B-182669, MAR 10, 1975

B-182669: Mar 10, 1975

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WAS INITIALLY DTERMINED WITHIN COMPETITIVE RANGE AND ELIGIBLE FOR NEGOTIATIONS. WAS PROPERLY REJECTED WHERE REVISED PROPOSAL WAS CONSIDERED UNACCEPTABLE SINCE DETERMINATION WHETHER PROPOSAL IS WITHIN COMPETITIVE RANGE. WILL NOT BE DISTURBED ABSENT CLEAR SHOWING OF ABUSE. PRICE NEED NOT BE CONSIDERED WHEN UNACCEPTABLE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL IS INVOLVED. 2. CONTRACTING OFFICER'S ELIMINATION FROM COMPETITIVE RANGE OF PROTESTER'S TECHNICAL PROPOSAL ON BASIS THAT REVISED OFFER DID NOT INDICATE FIRM UNDERSTOOD SCOPE OF WORK WAS NOT DETERMINATION OF NONRESPONSIBILITY. AS A DETERMINATION OF THIS NATURE RELATES TO WHETHER PROPOSAL IS ACCEPTABLE AND WITHIN COMPETITIVE RANGE FOR NEGOTIATION PURPOSES AND DOES NOT INVOLVE MATTERS OF CAPACITY AND CREDIT WHICH.

B-182669, MAR 10, 1975

1. UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR INTERIOR PRODUCTION OF FOUR GOVERNMENT OWNED VANS, TECHNICAL PROPOSALS OF OFFEROR WHICH DID NOT DEMONSTRATE TO ACTIVITY THAT FIRM UNDERSTOOD SCOPE OF WORK, BUT WAS INITIALLY DTERMINED WITHIN COMPETITIVE RANGE AND ELIGIBLE FOR NEGOTIATIONS, WAS PROPERLY REJECTED WHERE REVISED PROPOSAL WAS CONSIDERED UNACCEPTABLE SINCE DETERMINATION WHETHER PROPOSAL IS WITHIN COMPETITIVE RANGE, EITHER AS INITIALLY SUBMITTED OR AS REVISED, WILL NOT BE DISTURBED ABSENT CLEAR SHOWING OF ABUSE. MOREOVER, PRICE NEED NOT BE CONSIDERED WHEN UNACCEPTABLE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL IS INVOLVED. 2. CONTRACTING OFFICER'S ELIMINATION FROM COMPETITIVE RANGE OF PROTESTER'S TECHNICAL PROPOSAL ON BASIS THAT REVISED OFFER DID NOT INDICATE FIRM UNDERSTOOD SCOPE OF WORK WAS NOT DETERMINATION OF NONRESPONSIBILITY, AS A DETERMINATION OF THIS NATURE RELATES TO WHETHER PROPOSAL IS ACCEPTABLE AND WITHIN COMPETITIVE RANGE FOR NEGOTIATION PURPOSES AND DOES NOT INVOLVE MATTERS OF CAPACITY AND CREDIT WHICH, IN CASE OF SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN, MUST BE JUDGED BY SBA.

GENERAL EXHIBITS, INC.:

ON OCTOBER 1, 1974, THE U.S. MARINE CORPS (USMC) ISSUED REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. M00027-72-R-0018 FOR THE INTERIOR PRODUCTION OF FOUR (4) GOVERNMENT FURNISHED VANS TO BE USED FOR MARINE CORPS PARTICIPATION IN THE "U. S. ARMED FORCES BICENTENNIAL EXHIBIT VANS PROJECT." ALTHOUGH THE SOLICITATION FURNISHED PROSPECTIVE OFFERORS WITH A COMPLETE SPECIFICATION, INCLUDING A COPY SCRIPT, A SET OF 27 BLUEPRINTS AND NUMEROUS PHOTOGRAPHIC SLIDES PROVIDING A COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW OF THE VAN INTERIOR PRODUCTION REQUIREMENTS, OFFERORS WERE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT A TECHNICAL PROPOSAL AS WELL AS A PRICE PROPOSAL. THE RFP SET FORTH THE FOLLOWING EVALUATION CRITERIA FOR THE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS:

"EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL PROPOSALS

"EACH OFFEROR'S TECHNICAL PROPOSAL MUST ENABLE U.S. MARINE CORPS PERSONNEL TO MAKE A THOROUGH EVALUATION SO AS TO ARRIVE AT A SOUND DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE PROPOSAL MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SOLICITATION. TO THIS END THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL MUST BE SPECIFICALLY DETAILED AND COMPLETE SO AS TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE OFFEROR HAS A THOROUGH UNDERSTANDING OF THE REQUIREMENT. CLARITY AND COMPLETENESS ARE PARAMOUNT IN THE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS.

"TECHNICAL PROPOSALS SHALL BE EVALUATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING EVALUATION FACTORS WHICH ARE LISTED IN ORDER OF THEIR IMPORTANCE:

"(1) UNDERSTANDING OF THE REQUIREMENT AND EVIDENCE OF ABILITY TO MEET THE REQUIRED TIME OF DELIVERY.

"(2) MEANS PROPOSED FOR PROTECTING VANS FROM ELEMENTS.

"(3) EXPERIENCE IN PERFORMING SIMILAR EFFORT. "AWARD WILL BE MADE TO THAT RESPONSIBLE PROSPECTIVE OFFEROR WHOSE ACCEPTABLE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL OFFERS THE LOWEST EVALUATED PRICE.

"EVALUATION FACTOR - MARCORPS PROJECT OFFICER VISITS

"IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT THE U.S. MARINE CORPS PROJECT OFFICER WILL VISIT THE CONTRACTOR'S PRODUCTION FACILITY FIVE (5) TIMES DURING THE PRODUCTION UNDER THIS CONTRACT. IT IS ANTICIPATED EACH VISIT WOULD BE FOR APPROXIMATELY FOUR HOURS. ACCORDINGLY THESE ESTIMATED COSTS TO THE GOVERNMENT (PER DIEM, COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION AND TAXI FARE) ARE RECOGNIZED AS ULTIMATE COSTS IN ARRIVING AT THE LOWEST COST TO THE GOVERNMENT."

FURTHERMORE, EACH OFFEROR WAS REQUIRED TO SUBMIT AS PART OF ITS TECHNICAL PROPOSAL, A PLAN FOR ACCOMPLISHING THE EFFORT REQUIRED IN THE SOLICITATION SCHEDULES E AND F, SETTING FORTH THE STATEMENT OF WORK AND APPLICABLE SPECIFICATIONS, RESPECTIVELY, WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIME OF DELIVERY. THE PLAN WAS TO INCLUDE MILESTONES FOR MAJOR TASKS AND DISCUSSION OF EFFORT DEMONSTRATING AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE REQUIREMENT BEING PROCURED.

ON THE CLOSING DATE OF OCTOBER 18, 1974, PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED FROM NINE FIRMS, INCLUDING GENERAL EXHIBITS, INC. (GENERAL) AND CREATIVE PRODUCTIONS. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE INITIAL TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS RESULTED IN A DETERMINATION BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT GENERAL'S PROPOSAL WAS NOT SUFFICIENTLY DETAILED. SPECIFICALLY, THE PROPOSAL CONTAINED NO DISCUSSION AS TO WHETHER GENERAL "UNDERSTOOD THE REQUIREMENT TO PICK-UP GOVERNMENT FURNISHED ARTWORK, TIME IT WOULD INSPECT IT FOR QUALITY, ARRANGEMENTS FOR REPRODUCTION, AND OTHER KEY EVENTS WHICH WOULD DEMONSTRATE TO THE MARINE CORPS THAT IT UNDERSTOOD ASPECTS OF THE REQUIREMENT THAT HAD TO BE MET IN ORDER TO ASSURE TIMELY DELIVERY OF AN AESTHETICALLY HIGH QUALITY VAN." IN LIEU OF THE EXPRESSLY REQUIRED MILESTONE PLAN, PART II OF GENERAL'S PROPOSAL, ENTITLED "PROJECTED CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS", SET FORTH DATES WHEN SOME OF THE GENERAL MAJOR EVENTS MAY BE EXPECTED TO OCCUR. NEVERTHELESS, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT GENERAL'S TECHNICAL PROPOSAL COULD INITIALLY BE CONSIDERED WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE, ALONG WITH SEVEN OTHER OFFERORS FROM WHOM ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WAS BEING REQUESTED.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT ON OCTOBER 24, 1974, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TELEPHONED THE EIGHT OFFERORS DETERMINED TO BE WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE TO DISCUSS THOSE AREAS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE PROPOSALS WHICH REQUIRED ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR CLARIFICATION. DURING THE COURSE OF THESE DISCUSSIONS, OFFERORS WERE REQUESTED TO REPRICE OR CONFIRM THE PRICES QUOTED IN THEIR INITIAL PRICE PROPOSALS. LETTERS OF THAT SAME DATE WERE SENT TO EACH OF THE EIGHT OFFERORS CONFIRMING THE TELEPHONE DISCUSSIONS OF THAT DATE AND ADVISING THE FIRMS THAT THE REPRICING REQUEST WAS CONSIDERED BY THE PROCURING ACTIVITY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH ASPR SEC. 3-805.3 (1974 ED.), AS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT A "BEST AND FINAL" OFFER. DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF REVISED PROPOSALS WAS ESTABLISHED AS NOVEMBER 1, 1974. THE FOLLOWING AREAS OF GENERAL'S TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WERE IDENTIFIED IN THE DISCUSSION AND LETTER AS THOSE REQUIRING CLARIFICATION, AMPLIFICATION OR DISCUSSION:

"1. EXPAND DISCUSSION OF EXPERIENCE IDENTIFYING MARINE CORPS VAN.

"2. CLARIFY INSTALLATION OF RUG AND PROTECTION OF SAME DURING PRODUCTION.

"3. PROVIDE MILESTONES OR SCHEDULE OF EVENTS INCLUDING SUGGESTED IN PROCESS PROGRESS INSPECTIONS.

"4. DISCUSSION OF FACILITIES FOR PROTECTION OF VANS WHILE IN CONTRACTOR'S POSSESSION.

"5. INCLUDE YARDAGE FOR ONE SPARE CARPET.

"6. DISCUSS MANNEQUIN - NO GOVERNMENT PATTERN OTHER THAN PICTURE IS AVAILABLE."

GENERAL RESPONDED BY LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1974, TO USMC'S REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. IN RESPONSE TO AREA NO. 3 OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S REQUEST, GENERAL, AT PARAGRAPH 3 OF ITS LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1974, SUBMITTED THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

"3. TYPICAL TRAILER PRODUCTION SCHEDULE AND INSPECTION POINTS:

"A. COMPLETION OF EXHIBIT CONSTRUCTION CARPENTRY AND TRAILER PAINTING.

"B. COMPLETION OF AMENITIES, MODELS, ETC.

"C. COMPLETION OF COPY, GRAPHICS AND TRAILER INTERIOR.

"D. INSTALLATION OF ELEMENTS INTO THE TRAILER.

"E. TEST, CHECK AND MAKE READY FOR FINAL APPROVAL.

INSPECTION POINTS:

"A. 60 DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF THE TRAILER.

"B. 80 DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF THE TRAILER.

"C. 100 DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF THE TRAILER.

"D. 120 DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF THE TRAILER.

"E. 130 DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF THE TRAILER."

FOLLOWING THE CLOSE OF NEGOTIATIONS, THE REVISED TECHNICAL PROPOSALS OF ALL THE OFFERORS WERE EVALUATED BY THE PROJECT OFFICER WHO DETERMINED THAT GENERAL'S PROPOSAL COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE FOR AWARD. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THIS CONCLUSION WAS BASED PRIMARILY ON THE OFFEROR'S FAILURE TO PROVIDE A MILESTONE PLAN DEMONSTRATING AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE REQUIREMENT TO PRODUCE THE INTERIOR OF THE USMC BICENTENNIAL VANS. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONCURRED WITH THE PROJECT OFFICER'S EVALUATION OF GENERAL'S PROPOSAL AND A USMC PROCUREMENT REVIEW BOARD CONSIDERED AND APPROVED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION. SUBSEQUENTLY, ON NOVEMBER 12, 1974, GENERAL WAS INFORMED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT ITS TECHNICAL PROPOSAL, AS REVISED, WAS CONSIDERED TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND THAT AWARD UNDER THE SOLICITATION WAS MADE TO CREATIVE PRODUCTIONS AT A TOTAL PRICE OF $106,936.00.

FOR THE REASONS DISCUSSED BELOW, GENERAL'S PROTEST AGAINST THE AWARD IS DENIED.

AT THE REQUEST OF GENERAL, A DEBRIEFING CONFERENCE WAS CONDUCTED ON NOVEMBER 13, 1974, BY THE MARINE CORPS, DURING WHICH THE REASONS FOR DETERMINING GENERAL'S PROPOSAL UNACCEPTABLE WERE DISCUSSED. ON THAT SAME DATE, GENERAL, THROUGH ITS ATTORNEYS, PROTESTED TO OUR OFFICE THE AWARD TO CREATIVE PRODUCTIONS, INC. THE FIRST AREA OF DISPUTE CONCERNS USMC'S DETERMINATION THAT THE GENERAL STATEMENTS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 3 OF GENERAL'S LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1974, REVISING ITS PROPOSAL, FAILED TO PROVIDE MILESTONES OR A SCHEDULE OF EVENTS DEMONSTRATING A THOROUGH UNDERSTANDING OF THE REQUIREMENT. USMC STATES THAT WHILE IT EXPECTED "A DETAILED EXPRESSION OF UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE SIGNIFICANT ASPECTS OF THE UNDERTAKING ARE AND HOW THE OFFEROR WILL MEET THEM IN ORDER TO PROVIDE AN AESTHETICALLY HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT ON TIME, PROTESTANT MERELY OFFERS GENERAL INDUSTRY PRACTICES AND EIGHTEEN YEARS OF EXPERIENCE." USMC REPORTS THAT WHILE GENERAL IDENTIFIED VARIOUS STAGES OF THE PRODUCTION SCHEDULE, IT DID NOT COMMUNICATE TO USMC THAT IT UNDERSTOOD WHAT IT TAKES TO PERFORM THE REQUIRED SERVICE. SPECIFICALLY, IT IS POINTED OUT THAT GENERAL OMITTED SIGNIFICANT MILESTONES, SUCH AS THE RECEIPT OF GOVERNMENT FURNISHED ARTWORK, LEADING USMC TO BELIEVE THAT GENERAL DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT THE RECEIPT THEREOF WAS CRITICAL. MOREOVER, USMC STATED THAT THE FAILURE OF GENERAL TO ESTABLISH THE MILESTONES AROUND EACH OF THE FIVE INSPECTION VISITS (PER TRAILER) CONTEMPLATED TO BE MADE BY THE PROJECT OFFICER DURING THE COURSE OF PRODUCTION REFLECTED GENERAL'S LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF THE EVALUATION FACTOR AND ITS DISREGARD FOR THE NEED TO RELATE MILESTONES TO CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION FUNCTIONS PERFORMED BY THE DEFENSE CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION SERVICE. FURTHERMORE, USMC STATED THAT IT WAS NOT CLEAR IF THE OFFEROR WAS RELATING GENERAL EVENTS IN THE FIRST PART OF ITEM 3 TO INSPECTION POINTS IN THE SECOND PART, OR IF THE INSPECTION POINTS WERE VIEWED AS MILESTONES IN AND OF THEMSELVES.

IN RESPONSE TO THE ACTIVITY'S STATEMENTS, THE PROTESTER ASSERTED THAT THE MILESTONES AND INSPECTION POINTS PROPOSED IN ITS LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, WERE TYPICAL OF THOSE UNIVERSALLY USED IN THE EXHIBITS INDUSTRY. FURTHERMORE, GENERAL CONTENDS THAT A CAREFUL READING OF ITS MILESTONES WOULD LEAD TO THE CONCLUSION THAT GENERAL ANTICIPATED THE RECEIPT OF GOVERNMENT FURNISHED ARTWORK AND, IN ANY EVENT, RECEIPT THEREOF IS NOT NECESSARILY A CRITICAL MILESTONE SINCE THE ARTWORK IS NOT REQUIRED UNTIL THE END OF THE JOB AND EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN THAT THE GOVERNMENT FURNISHES ARTWORK IN A TIMELY FASHION. MOREOVER, SINCE THE RFP STATES THAT PICK UP OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY BY THE CONTRACTOR WOULD OCCUR AT THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD, GENERAL DID NOT CONSIDER IT A CRITICAL MATTER AND SAW NO REASON FOR RESTATING IT IN THE PROPOSAL. FINALLY, GENERAL CONTENDS THAT IF THE GOVERNMENT WAS CONFUSED AS TO THE INTENT OF THE MILESTONES PROPOSED IN ITS LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1974, IT SHOULD HAVE CALLED THE FIRM FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATION.

THE SECOND AREA OF DISPUTE CONCERNS GENERAL'S ALLEGATION THAT AT THE DECEMBER 13 DEBRIEFING IT WAS INFORMED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ACTIVITY THAT ITS PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED ON THE BASIS THAT, WHILE IT APPEARED GENERAL HAD AMPLE EXPERIENCE IN THE PREPARATION OF EXHIBITS, IT DID NOT DEMONSTRATE SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE IN FINISHING THE INSIDE OF ENCLOSURES SUCH AS THE VANS COVERED BY THE RFP. GENERAL CONTENDS THAT IT HAS AS MUCH OR MORE EXPERIENCE IN MANUFACTURING ENCLOSED EXHIBITS THAN ANY OTHER EXHIBIT PRODUCER AND, TO THE EXTENT THAT ITS PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED DUE TO A LACK OF EXPERIENCE IN PRODUCING SUCH EXHIBITS, SUCH REJECTION WITHOUT REFERRAL TO THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA) FOR A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY REGARDING ITS CAPACITY AND CREDIT (PRODUCTION EXPERIENCE) WAS A DIRECT VIOLATION OF ASPR SEC. 1-705.4 (1974 ED.) AND 15 U.S.C. 637(B)(7).

IT IS THE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION THAT GENERAL'S PROPOSAL WAS NOT REJECTED ON THE BASIS OF LACK OF CAPACITY OR PRODUCTION EXPERIENCE, BUT ON THE BASIS OF ITS FAILURE TO DEMONSTRATE AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT WAS WANTED. THE USMC POINTS OUT THAT WHILE THE REQUIRED PLAN OF ACCOMPLISHMENT (INCLUDING MILESTONES) WOULD REVEAL TO SOME EXTENT AN OFFEROR'S CAPACITY (AS DEFINED BY ASPR SEC. 1-705.4(A) (1974 ED.)), ITS PURPOSE WAS TO SOLICIT INFORMATION FROM WHICH THE PROCURING ACTIVITY COULD DETERMINE WHETHER A PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTOR HAD THE SAME UNDERSTANDING AS THE PROCURING ACTIVITY AS TO WHAT WAS INVOLVED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE PROPOSED CONTRACT. SINCE GENERAL'S TECHNICAL PROPOSAL, AS INITIALLY SUBMITTED AND AS REVISED, DID NOT REFLECT AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROPOSED CONTRACT, THE QUESTION OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY (CAPACITY) WAS NEVER REACHED.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON THE BASIS OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY'S INITIAL EVALUATION, GENERAL WAS DETERMINED WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE AND ELIGIBLE FOR NEGOTIATIONS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT ITS INITIAL TECHNICAL PROPOSAL FAILED TO PROVIDE A DETAILED PLAN FOR ACCOMPLISHING THE PROCUREMENT AND FAILED TO INCLUDE MILESTONES OR A SCHEDULE OF EVENTS DEMONSTRATING A THOROUGH UNDERSTANDING OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE PROPOSED CONTRACT. IT WAS FELT THAT THESE DEFICIENCIES WERE CORRECTABLE THROUGH THE NEGOTIATION PROCESS.

NEGOTIATIONS WERE UNDERTAKEN WITH GENERAL IN ACCORDANCE WITH ASPR SEC. 3- 805.3(A) (1974 ED.), BY ADVISING THE OFFEROR OF THE DEFICIENCIES IN ITS PROPOSAL AND AFFORDING IT AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVISE THE PROPOSAL IN ORDER TO MAKE IT CONFORM TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE SOLICITATION. HOWEVER, GENERAL'S REVISED PROPOSAL WAS ALSO FOUND TO BE LACKING IN THE SAME RESPECTS AND, THEREFORE, "IT NO LONGER HAD A REASONABLE CHANCE OF BEING SELECTED FOR AWARD."

SINCE GENERAL'S PROPOSAL REVISIONS SUBMITTED AS A RESULT OF NEGOTIATIONS FAILED TO RESOLVE THE PROCURING ACTIVITY'S INITIAL OBJECTION, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS UNDER NO DUTY TO REOPEN THE NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISCUSSING THE "MILESTONES" PROPOSED BY GENERAL IN ITS LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1974. 51 COMP. GEN. 621 (1972). IN THIS CONNECTION, WE HAVE HELD THAT WHERE A PROPOSAL DOES NOT CONTAIN DETAILED INFORMATION REGARDING HOW THE SCOPE OF WORK IS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED, SUCH INFORMATIONAL DEFICIENCIES MAY PROPERLY BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHETHER THE PROPOSAL IS IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE. SEE B-176761(1), JANUARY 24, 1973. MOREOVER, THE MERE FACT THAT AN OFFEROR IS INITIALLY DETERMINED TO BE WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE FOR THE PURPOSE OF NEGOTIATIONS DOES NOT PREVENT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FROM SUBSEQUENTLY EXCLUDING THAT OFFEROR FROM FURTHER AWARD CONSIDERATION WHERE ITS REVISED PROPOSAL IS DETERMINED TO BE OUTSIDE THE COMPETITIVE RANGE. 52 COMP. GEN. 198, 208 (1972). THE CIRCUMSTANCES REPORTED HERE, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT GENERAL'S REVISED PROPOSAL WAS REASONABLY DETERMINED TO BE TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND NO LONGER WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE.

GENERAL HAS STRESSED THE FACT THAT ITS PROPOSAL WAS LOW AS TO PRICE IN COMPARISON TO CREATIVE'S PROPOSAL. HOWEVER, WHEN AN OFFEROR SUBMITS AN UNACCEPTABLE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL, SUCH OFFEROR MAY BE EXCLUDED FROM THE COMPETITIVE RANGE WITHOUT REGARD TO ITS LOWER PROPOSED PRICE. 52 COMP. GEN. 382, 389 (1972).

FINALLY, IN REGARD TO GENERAL'S CONTENTION THAT THE REJECTION OF ITS OFFER CONSTITUTED, IN PART, A DETERMINATION OF NONRESPONSIBILITY WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF AN SBA CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY REVIEW, WE DO NOT AGREE THAT IN THIS NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT REJECTION WAS, IN ESSENCE, A DETERMINATION OF NONRESPONSIBILITY. AS WE STATED IN B 170890, NOVEMBER 18, 1970, THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER A PROPOSAL IS ACCEPTABLE AND WITHIN A COMPETITIVE RANGE FOR NEGOTIATION PURPOSES DOES NOT INVOLVE MATTERS OF CAPACITY AND CREDIT WHICH, IN A CASE INVOLVING A SMALL BUSINESS FIRM, MUST BE JUDGED BY THE SBA. 53 COMP. GEN. 388 (1973), MATTER OF HOME AND FAMILY SERVICES, INC., B-182290, DECEMBER 20, 1974; MATTER OF MEI CHARLTON, INC., B-179793, FEBRUARY 26, 1972.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR OUR OFFICE TO DISTURB THE AWARD.