Matter of: Simula, Inc. File: B-251749 Date: February 1, 1993

B-251749: Feb 1, 1993

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PROCUREMENT Bid Protests GAO procedures Purposes Competition enhancement PROCUREMENT Specifications Minimum needs standards Competitive restrictions GAO review Protest that specifications for helicopter crewseats were improperly relaxed to permit consideration of a competitor's equipment and that the agency allegedly ignored the conclusions found in a report concerning the crashworthiness of the seats. Is dismissed because the General Accounting Office will not entertain arguments that agencies should use more restrictive specifications. We dismiss the protest because we will not consider claims that specifications should be more restrictive. The procurement was synopsized in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD) on December 26.

Matter of: Simula, Inc. File: B-251749 Date: February 1, 1993

PROCUREMENT Bid Protests GAO procedures Purposes Competition enhancement PROCUREMENT Specifications Minimum needs standards Competitive restrictions GAO review Protest that specifications for helicopter crewseats were improperly relaxed to permit consideration of a competitor's equipment and that the agency allegedly ignored the conclusions found in a report concerning the crashworthiness of the seats, is dismissed because the General Accounting Office will not entertain arguments that agencies should use more restrictive specifications.

Attorneys

DECISION Simula, Inc. protests the specifications in request for proposals (RFP) No. DAAJ09-92-R-0262, issued by the Department of the Army for crewseats for the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. We dismiss the protest because we will not consider claims that specifications should be more restrictive.

The procurement was synopsized in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD) on December 26, 1991, and the agency issued the RFP on August 21, 1992. The CBD announcement listed the protester and ARA, Inc. as the only approved sources of the seats. On October 7, Simula filed an agency-level protest challenging various solicitation provisions, which the agency dismissed in part and denied in part on December 8. This protest to our Office followed on December 22.

The protester contends that the Army has ignored the results of a report concerning the crashworthiness of the crewseats, and alleges that the agency has improperly relaxed the performance specifications to favor or permit consideration of ARA's equipment. The protester further contends that the agency has admitted that the current specifications are deficient and require "reformulation," and intends to further relax the specifications to "whatever level of performance the ARA seat design" will achieve.

Although Simula objects to various RFP provisions related to the crewseat's performance specifications as being against the agency's interest, the protester fails to show how the solicitation is restrictive of competition. The protester does not argue that it cannot meet the RFP's current specifications, only that the agency should consider, and incorporate into the RFP's performance specifications, more restrictive specifications based upon the results of the referenced report.

Without a showing that competition is restricted, agencies are permitted to determine how best to accommodate their needs, and are entitled to use relaxed specifications when they reasonably conclude that they can increase competition and meet their needs at the same time. See Mine Safety Appliance Co., B-242379.2; B-242379.3, Nov. 27, 1991, 91-2 CPD Para. 506. Our Office will not consider contentions that specifications should be made more restrictive, particularly where, as here, they are based on the argument that the less restrictive requirement is contrary to what in the protester's view is best for the agency. See Matanuska Maid, B-235607.2, June 30, 1989, 89-2 CPD Para. 18. Our role in reviewing bid protests is to ensure that the statutory requirements for full and open competition are met, not to consider a protester's assertion that the needs of the agency can only be satisfied under more restrictive specifications than the agency believes necessary. Id.; Petchem Inc., B-228093, Sept. 8, 1987, 87-2 CPD Para. 228.

Although the protester argues that as currently written the RFP effectively precludes Simula from receiving award, thereby limiting the competition to ARA, if we were to sustain the protest, the remedy Simula seeks (to amend the RFP to incorporate the stricter performance and safety specifications) would essentially limit the competition to Simula. Our review of the protest thus would not promote competition or otherwise enhance the procurement system. To the extent that Simula argues that it is at a disadvantage because its seats are manufactured to more restrictive safety specifications, and are therefore not competitively priced when compared to ARA's seats, its alleged disadvantage is attributable to Simula's business judgment, which the agency is not required to ameliorate. See Military Waste Mgmt., Inc., B-240769.3, Feb. 7, 1991, 91-1 CPD Para. 135, citing Matanuska Maid, supra.

The protest is dismissed.