[Protests of Air Force Failure to Use Firm, Fixed-Price Contracts for Repair Services]

B-232694,B-232715,B-232716,B-232732,B-232833: Jan 9, 1989

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A firm protested Air Force solicitations for repair services, contending that the Air Force: (1) should have used firm, fixed-price contracts, since it could realistically estimate performance costs; (2) failed to guarantee that it would order the estimated number of labor hours; (3) failed to send to other bidders a copy of a letter which it sent to the protester; and (4) improperly used requirements contracts, instead of time and materials contracts. GAO held that: (1) there was no evidence that the Air Force's procurement method was unreasonable; (2) the Air Force used the labor estimates for evaluation purposes, not as a guarantee, and there was no evidence that the Air Force did not base the estimates on the best information available; and (3) the Air Force's failure to provide copies of the letter to other bidders did not prejudice the protester, since it received the letter before bid opening. GAO also held that the Air Force should: (1) review whether its use of requirements contracts was proper; and (2) amend the solicitations to include the ceiling price for the repair portion of the contracts, if it concluded that it should have used time and materials contracts. Accordingly, the protests were denied.