Request for Reconsideration Alleging Nonresponsive Bid

B-202647.2: Oct 2, 1981

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A firm, the proposed awardee, requested reconsideration of a previous decision which recommended that a solicitation issued by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) for bus and taxi services be canceled. A review of the record showed that GAO based its determination on the fact that the invitation for bids (IFB) contained a fundamental defect in its specifications which rendered any award under the IFB improper. The defect concerned IFB requirements which specified that bidders submit a total price for the seven line items of bus and taxi services at bid opening and that the low bidder, within 10 days after bid opening, complete a Schedule of Prices for the seven line items and submit it for approval. The approved Schedule of Prices would then become a part of the contract and would provide the basis for payments and for any withholding. The IFB also provided that unbalancing in the Schedule of Prices would be grounds for withholding approval and requiring resubmission of a balanced Schedule, and might result in bid rejection. In its request for reconsideration, the protester asserted that the contract was a lump-sum contract where payment was not affected by the unit prices set in the Schedule of Prices. The Schedule of Prices would provide the basis for making progress payments or for instituting withholdings in the event the contractor failed to perform the required services. The protester thus argued that the GAO concerns regarding the lack of any real obligation on the bidder at bid opening to perform any portion of the work at any particular price, and the bidder's ability to negotiate material terms of the contract after bid opening, do not apply. GAO held that, since the record establishes that NAVFAC intended by acceptance of a bid to commit the contractor to provide bus and taxi service for a particular period at a stated total cost and that it was evident that the bidders understood the Government's intentions, the IFB need not be canceled. Additionally, GAO held that, since the awardee's bid was responsive, award should be made to it, if otherwise appropriate.