Matter of: Fire Security Systems, Inc. File: B-284147 Date: February 23, 2000

B-284147: Feb 23, 2000

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Item No. 0001 was to upgrade sprinkler systems at building 5207. Item No. 0002 was to upgrade sprinkler systems at building 5210. Item No. 0003 was to upgrade sprinkler systems at buildings 751 through 756. Item No. 0004 was to install/repair fire appurtenances at buildings 5207 and 5210. Bidders were required to insert separate lump-sum prices for each line item and a "grand total" of the items. A single award will be made to that responsive. The Government . . . will award a contract to the responsible bidder whose bid. Will be most advantageous to the Government. Unless doing so is precluded by a restrictive limitation in the solicitation or the bid. Were received by bid opening. The bid whose "grand total" was low overall was rejected as nonresponsive because it contained a defective bid bond.

Matter of: Fire Security Systems, Inc. File: B-284147 Date: February 23, 2000

DIGEST

Attorneys

DECISION

Fire Security Systems, Inc. protests receiving a partial award under invitation for bids (IFB) No. DAKF23-99-B-0318, issued by the Department of the Army, for upgrading a fire sprinkler system at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Fire Security contends that the terms of the IFB required the Army either to award all line items of the IFB to a single bidder or to cancel the IFB.

We deny the protest.

The IFB schedule identified four separate line items of work. Item No. 0001 was to upgrade sprinkler systems at building 5207; item No. 0002 was to upgrade sprinkler systems at building 5210; item No. 0003 was to upgrade sprinkler systems at buildings 751 through 756; and item No. 0004 was to install/repair fire appurtenances at buildings 5207 and 5210. Bidders were required to insert separate lump-sum prices for each line item and a "grand total" of the items. IFB Bid Schedule. The bid schedule further stated:

In keeping with contract clause/provisions contained herein, Contract Award-Sealed Bidding-Construction, a single award will be made to that responsive, responsible bidder who submits the lowest total bid for all contract line items.

The IFB also contained clause 52.214-19, "CONTRACT AWARD-SEALED BIDDING-CONSTRUCTION," which stated:

a. The Government . . . will award a contract to the responsible bidder whose bid, conforming to the solicitation, will be most advantageous to the Government, considering only price and the price-related factors specified elsewhere in the solicitation.

b. . . . . .

c. The Government may accept any item or combination of items, unless doing so is precluded by a restrictive limitation in the solicitation or the bid.

Three bids, including Fire Security's, were received by bid opening. The bid whose "grand total" was low overall was rejected as nonresponsive because it contained a defective bid bond. Fire Security's bid reflected the second lowest "grand total" of $1,260,000, including prices of $580,000 for line item No. 0001, $325,000 for line item No. 0002, $185,000 for line item No. 0003, and $170,000 for line item No. 0004. Fire Security's bid did not specifically state that it was "all or none." Due to the unavailability of funding, the Army awarded a contract to Fire Security only for line item No. 0003, for which item Fire Security offered the lowest price of the bids received. Contracting Officer's Statement at 1; Agency Report, Tab C.3, Abstract of Offers. This protest followed.

Fire Security contends that the IFB provisions quoted above solicited bids on an "all or none" basis, which precluded the Army from awarding a single line item. While not disputing that the agency does not have sufficient funds to award all of the line items, Fire Security argues that the Army may only award a contract under the IFB for all of the line items or cancel the solicitation and resolicit. Protest at 2.

Where, as here, an IFB allows an agency to accept any item or combination of items, it has the discretion to make an award of less than all of the line items, unless the IFB contains express language precluding such an award. See Talbott Dev. Corp., B-220641. Feb. 11, 1986, 86-1 CPD Para. 152 at 2; Granite State Mach. Co., Inc., B-199644, Nov. 26, 1980, 80-2 CPD Para. 396 at 5. The provision on the IFB schedule indicating that a single award would be made to the bidder who submitted the lowest total bid for all line items does not expressly preclude the agency from making a partial award to the low bidder on a single item, which right was expressly reserved to the government under the IFB by FAR Sec. 52.214-19. Contrary to the protester's argument, the IFB schedule does not promise an award of all items to a single bidder. We therefore conclude that the IFB terms gave the agency right to award less than all line items. Since the Army lacked funding and Fire Security did not otherwise specify that its bid could only be accepted on an "all or none" basis, we see no basis to object to the agency's decision to make a partial award. See Alcon Div. of Boyles Bros. Drilling Co., B-241058, 91-1 CPD Para. 46 at 2-3.

The protest is denied.

Comptroller General of the United States