[Protest of NOAA Contract Award for Software Development Services]

B-277260: Sep 22, 1997

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A firm protested a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contract award negotiated through the Small Business Administration's section 8(a) set-aside program, for software development, testing, and maintenance, contending that the price at which the contract was awarded exceeded the fair market price. GAO held that NOAA failed to properly estimate the fair market price, and offered no persuasive explanation for why it may ignore the price of already developed software products that can satisfy the agency's needs. Accordingly, the protest was sustained, and GAO recommended that NOAA: (1) review its fair market price estimate, and if appropriate, terminate the awardee's contract, withdraw the 8(a) set aside, and fulfill the requirement under unrestricted procurement; and (2) reimburse the protester for its costs.