Specifications for Painting at Army Base

B-203665: Published: Nov 12, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1985.

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GAO responded to allegations regarding the use of vague and indefinite specifications for painting at an Army facility. The Army explained that the invitation for bids (IFB) was a requirements contract in which the agency was able to describe clearly a repetitively needed service, but was unable to describe precisely when and where the services would be performed or how much of them would be required. It is not always possible or feasible for an agency to state its needs precisely. In such situations, the agency may adopt reasonable alternatives such as a requirements contract. In a requirements contract, agencies are required to provide an estimated total quantity of each item or service required based on the best information available. GAO found that the IFB contained detailed descriptions of the various items of work which might be required, and estimated quantities and individual unit prices for each item. Moreover, all bidders were permitted to visit every building for a site inspection. This provided a firm basis for the bidders to compete intelligently and minimized the risk to bidders. Some risk is inherent in most types of contracts. However, the presence of such risks does not render a solicitation improper.

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