B-228488, Nov 5, 1987, 87-2 CPD 450

B-228488: Nov 5, 1987

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PROCUREMENT - Competitive Negotiation - Contract Awards - Administrative Discretion - Cost/Technical Tradeoffs - Technical Superiority DIGEST: Award of a negotiated contract to a higher-cost technically superior offeror is not objectionable where award on that basis is consistent with the evaluation criteria. JWK argues that it should have received the award based on the fact that it was in the competitive range and submitted a lower priced offer than did the awardee. Does not provide that low cost is to be the determinative factor. Subsection M-2 in essence states that proposed cost will be evaluated on the basis of whether it reflects an offeror's understanding of the project. Whether the cost is reasonable for the effort proposed.

B-228488, Nov 5, 1987, 87-2 CPD 450

PROCUREMENT - Competitive Negotiation - Contract Awards - Administrative Discretion - Cost/Technical Tradeoffs - Technical Superiority DIGEST: Award of a negotiated contract to a higher-cost technically superior offeror is not objectionable where award on that basis is consistent with the evaluation criteria.

J.W.K. International Corp:

JWK International Corp. (JWK) protests the award of a contract under request for proposal (RFP) No. MDA903-87-R0080 by the Defense Supply Service-Washington.

We dismiss the protest.

JWK argues that it should have received the award based on the fact that it was in the competitive range and submitted a lower priced offer than did the awardee.

Section M of the RFP, entitled Evaluation Factors for Award, does not provide that low cost is to be the determinative factor, as JWK suggests. Subsection M-2 in essence states that proposed cost will be evaluated on the basis of whether it reflects an offeror's understanding of the project, on cost realism, and whether the cost is reasonable for the effort proposed. Proposed cost is stated to be subordinate to technical considerations. Subsection M-3(a) states that "award shall be made to that responsible offerors whose offer ... is determined to be the best overall response, price or cost and other factors considered." Subsection M-3(b) then defines best overall response as "the most superior technically with a realistic estimated cost." This subsection also clearly indicates that award would be made to the offeror with the lowest realistic estimated cost only when two or more proposals were assessed as being substantially equal in technical merit. Subsection M-4 goes on the enumerate the technical evaluation criteria in descending order of importance.

It is clear from the language of the solicitation that award of the contract was to be made on the basis of technical superiority provided that the estimated cost was realistic and reasonable for the effort involved. The contracting officer therefore was clearly not required to select the lowest-priced offeror, but instead was to determine the awardee based on selection criteria that gave greater weight to technical factors then to cost. Barco of Virginia, B-228375, Oct. 13, 1987, 87-2 CPD

Since there is no indication that the contracting officer did not make the award based on the evaluation criteria, the protest is dismissed.