B-205881.2, FEB 3, 1982

B-205881.2: Feb 3, 1982

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DIGEST: PROTEST ALLEGING THAT AWARDEE CANNOT PERFORM CONTRACT AT CONTRACT PRICE IS DISMISSED BECAUSE REJECTION OF BELOW-COST OFFER REQUIRES DETERMINATION THAT OFFEROR IS NONRESPONSIBLE AND GAO DOES NOT REVIEW AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY EXCEPT IN CIRCUMSTANCES NOT APPLICABLE HERE. THE CONTRACT IS FOR THE SUPPLY OF THE MAJOR CRANE SYSTEM AT THE GAS CENTRIFUGE ENRICHMENT PLANT UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT PIKETON. WE ASSUME THAT THE PROCUREMENT CONDUCTED BY STONE & WEBSTER IS THE TYPE WHICH WE ORDINARILY REVIEW. THE SUBMISSION OF A BELOW-COST OFFER IS NOT. THE REJECTION OF AN OFFER AS UNREASONABLY LOW REQUIRES A DETERMINATION THAT THE OFFEROR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE. REVIEW PROTESTS AGAINST AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY ABSENT A SHOWING OF FRAUD ON THE PART OF THE PROCURING OFFICIALS OR AN ALLEGATION THAT DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CONTAINED IN THE SOLICITATION WERE NOT APPLIED.

B-205881.2, FEB 3, 1982

DIGEST: PROTEST ALLEGING THAT AWARDEE CANNOT PERFORM CONTRACT AT CONTRACT PRICE IS DISMISSED BECAUSE REJECTION OF BELOW-COST OFFER REQUIRES DETERMINATION THAT OFFEROR IS NONRESPONSIBLE AND GAO DOES NOT REVIEW AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY EXCEPT IN CIRCUMSTANCES NOT APPLICABLE HERE.

ACCO INDUSTRIES INC.:

ACCO INDUSTRIES INC. PROTESTS THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO WESTMONT INDUSTRIES UNDER SOLICITATION NO. 13100-11696-0728 ISSUED BY STONE & WEBSTER ENGINEERING CORPORATION ON BEHALF OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY. THE CONTRACT IS FOR THE SUPPLY OF THE MAJOR CRANE SYSTEM AT THE GAS CENTRIFUGE ENRICHMENT PLANT UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT PIKETON, OHIO. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS DECISION, WE ASSUME THAT THE PROCUREMENT CONDUCTED BY STONE & WEBSTER IS THE TYPE WHICH WE ORDINARILY REVIEW. SEE OPTIMUM SYSTEMS, INC., 54 COMP.GEN. 767 (1975), 75-1 CPD 166. NEVERTHELESS, WE DISMISS ACCO'S PROTEST BECAUSE IT CONCERNS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LOW BIDDER, A MATTER WHICH WE DO NOT GENERALLY CONSIDER.

ACCO MAINTAINS THAT WESTMONT INDUSTRIES CANNOT PERFORM THE CONTRACT AT THE AWARD PRICE OF $8,664,050 WITHOUT INCURRING HUGE LOSSES ON THE CONTRACT. THE SUBMISSION OF A BELOW-COST OFFER IS NOT, STANDING ALONE, A PROPER BASIS TO CHALLENGE THE VALIDITY OF A CONTRACT AWARD. GUPTA CARPET PROFESSIONALS, INC., B-204260, AUGUST 24, 1981, 81-2 CPD 172. THE REJECTION OF AN OFFER AS UNREASONABLY LOW REQUIRES A DETERMINATION THAT THE OFFEROR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE. NONPUBLIC EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, INC., B-204008, JULY 30, 1981, 81-2 CPD 69. OUR OFFICE DOES NOT, HOWEVER, REVIEW PROTESTS AGAINST AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY ABSENT A SHOWING OF FRAUD ON THE PART OF THE PROCURING OFFICIALS OR AN ALLEGATION THAT DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CONTAINED IN THE SOLICITATION WERE NOT APPLIED. THIS POLICY EQUALLY APPLIES TO OUR REVIEW OF PROCUREMENTS CONDUCTED BY CONTRACTORS ON BEHALF OF A GOVERNMENT AGENCY. SEE ARROWHEAD LINEN SERVICE, B-194496, JANUARY 17, 1980, 80-1 CPD 54. AS ACCO HAS NOT ALLEGED AN EXCEPTION TO OUR GENERAL POLICY, WE WILL NOT CONSIDER ITS PROTEST.

THE PROTEST IS DISMISSED.