B-246390, October 28, 1991

B-246390: Oct 28, 1991

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Computerized Drafting contends that its proposal was not evaluated properly. The letter stated that while the protester's proposal was considered to be technically qualified. It was not the "most advantageous" to the government. The contracting officer responded to the request by advising the protester of the areas of its proposal which were rated low by the agency evaluation team. Or should have known. Whichever is earlier. 4 C.F.R. Our Regulations provide that a matter initially protested to the agency will be considered only if the initial protest to the agency was filed within the time limits for filing a protest with our Office. The protester was aware of the basis of its protest upon receipt of this letter.

B-246390, October 28, 1991

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

Attorneys

Computerized Drafting/Designers:

Computerized Drafting/Designers protests the award of a contract to Central Associated Engineers, Inc. under request for proposals (RFP) No. DACW69-91-R-0023, issued by the Department of Army Corps of Engineers for drafting services. Computerized Drafting contends that its proposal was not evaluated properly.

We dismiss the protest as untimely.

After evaluating the proposals it received in response to the RFP, the agency notified Computerized Drafting, by letter dated June 7, 1991, that the successful offeror had been determined to be Central Associated Engineers. The letter stated that while the protester's proposal was considered to be technically qualified, it was not the "most advantageous" to the government. Computerized Drafting subsequently requested a debriefing. By letter dated June 20, the contracting officer responded to the request by advising the protester of the areas of its proposal which were rated low by the agency evaluation team. By letter dated August 7, Computerized Drafting attempted to file a protest of the award decision with the agency. /1/

Our Bid Protest Regulations contain strict rules requiring timely submission of protests. Under these rules, protests alleging improprieties in the award of a contract must be filed no later than 10 working days after the protester knew, or should have known, of the basis for protest, whichever is earlier. 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.2(a)(2) (1991). Further, our Regulations provide that a matter initially protested to the agency will be considered only if the initial protest to the agency was filed within the time limits for filing a protest with our Office. C.F.R. Sec. 21.2(a)(3); Tandy Constr., Inc., B-238619, Feb. 22, 1990, 90-1 CPD Para. 206.

Here, the June 20 letter from the agency provided the protester with the reasons its proposal received a low rating in certain technical areas. Thus, the protester was aware of the basis of its protest upon receipt of this letter. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we assume that correspondence is received 1 calendar week after mailing-- in this case, June 27. Since the protester did not attempt to file its protest until August 7, more than a month later, its protest to the agency (assuming it was received) was untimely. Consequently, the subsequent protest to our Office is untimely.

These timeliness rules reflect the dual requirement of giving parties a fair opportunity to present their cases and resolving protests expeditiously without unduly disrupting or delaying the procurement process. Air Inc.,-- Request for Recon., B-238220.2, Jan. 29, 1990, 90-1 CPD Para. 129. In order to prevent those rules from becoming meaningless, exceptions are strictly construed and rarely used. Id.

The protest is dismissed.

/1/ The letter apparently was misaddressed. The protester states that it did not receive a response to this letter and acknowledges that it was sent to the "wrong person."