B-230291, May 2, 1988

B-230291: May 2, 1988

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PROCUREMENT - Sealed Bidding - Bids - Late submission - Rejection - Propriety DIGEST: Protester's bid properly was rejected as late where bid was delivered by commercial carrier to installation's central receiving facility rather than office designated in IFB for receipt and where carrier's envelope was not marked with information clearly identifying it as a bid. The bid was rejected because it was not received at the bid opening office until 30 minutes after bid opening. Was received at the installation's central receiving facility. The only indication that HSQ's package may have contained bid documents was a notation on a copy of the Federal Express shipping bill in a space entitled "Your Billing Reference Information.

B-230291, May 2, 1988

PROCUREMENT - Sealed Bidding - Bids - Late submission - Rejection - Propriety DIGEST: Protester's bid properly was rejected as late where bid was delivered by commercial carrier to installation's central receiving facility rather than office designated in IFB for receipt and where carrier's envelope was not marked with information clearly identifying it as a bid.

HSQ Technology:

HSQ Technology protests the rejection of its bid under invitation for bids (IFB) No. 9-BG34-06-7-7B, issued by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), for a control and data system for use in a thermal vacuum chamber at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. The bid was rejected because it was not received at the bid opening office until 30 minutes after bid opening.

We deny the protest.

The IFB required that all bids be received for bid opening by January 4, 1988, at 1 p.m. in room 551, building 45 of the Space Center. The IFB also specifically instructed bidders to mark the bid envelope with the time specified for receipt, the solicitation number, and the name and address of the bidder. HSQ's bid, sent by Federal Express, was received at the installation's central receiving facility, rather than the office designated in the IFB, at 10:18 a.m. The only indication that HSQ's package may have contained bid documents was a notation on a copy of the Federal Express shipping bill in a space entitled "Your Billing Reference Information," which states "bid 9-BG34 06-7-7B"; however, this shipping bill was routinely removed from the package and the package itself failed to clearly identify the nature of its contents as a bid or indicate that immediate delivery to the specified location was required by a certain time. Because the receiving facility personnel were not aware of the need for immediate delivery, the bid did not reach the contracting officer until 30 minutes after bid opening, at 1:30 p.m. Consequently, the bid was rejected as late.

NASA states that if the protester had clearly marked the package to identify it as a bid in compliance with the solicitation's requirements, the package would have received priority handling and would have been delivered immediately to the bid opening location rather than during the next scheduled delivery.

A bid delivered to an agency by Federal Express or other commercial carrier is considered to be hand-carried, and if it arrives late, it can only be considered if it is shown that the sole or paramount cause for the late receipt was some government impropriety. American McGaw Division, American Hospital Supply Corp., B-217415, Mar. 26, 1985, 85-1 CPD Para. 351. A late bid or proposal should not be considered, however, if the offeror (or its agent) significantly contributed to the late receipt by not acting reasonably in fulfilling the firm's responsibility to insure delivery to the designated place for receipt by the proper time. See Rodale Electronics Corp., B-221727, Apr. 7, 1986, 86-1 CPD Para. 342. When a bid is paced in an envelope provided by a commercial carrier for overnight delivery, the required information as to the solicitation number, deadline for receipt and ultimate destination may no longer be apparent from the outside envelope. Thus, unless the outside envelope is clearly marked with all this information the offeror generally is considered to have contributed to any delay in delivery. See Systems for Business, B-224409, Aug. 6, 1986, 86-2 CPD Para. 164.

Although HSQ contends that its bid documents were addressed properly, the record shows that neither the Federal Express package nor its shipping bill indicated the scheduled time for receipt, as the solicitation required. Further, HSQ does not dispute that the carrier's envelope failed to contain any information identifying the package as a bid.

Due to HSQ's failure to adequately label and identify its package, we cannot find that NASA's delay in forwarding the package from its central receiving facility to the correct bid opening location was the sole or paramount cause of the late receipt. See American McGaw Division, American Hospital Supply Corp., B-217415, supra. Here, Federal Express failed to properly deliver HSQ's bid to the address required in the IFB which, along with the improper labeling of HSQ's bid package, contributed to its late arrival in the bid opening area. Consequently, we find that the bid may not be considered by NASA. /1/

The protest is denied.

/1/ Concerning HSQ's contention that its bid should have been opened and considered pursuant to the solicitation's provision for late submissions, we note that the applicable late bid provision incorporated in the IFB, Federal Acquisition Regulation Sec. 52.214-7, applies to bids sent by mail. In this case, HSQ sent its bid by commercial carrier, and not by mail, so the IFB provision does not apply. See Consolidated Marketing Network, Inc., B-217256, Mar. 21, 1985, 85-1 CPD Para. 330.