LOGMET LLC

B-405700: Dec 14, 2011

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Ralph O. White
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WhiteRO@gao.gov

 

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LOGMET LLC protests its elimination from the competition under request for proposals (RFP) No. W911S8-11-0003, issued by the Department of the Army for aircraft services. The protester asserts that the agency acted unreasonably in eliminating its proposal on the basis that the firm’s proposal failed to include pricing for several contract line items (CLINs).

We deny the protest.

B-405700, LOGMET LLC, December 14, 2011

Decision

Matter of:LOGMET LLC

File:B-405700

Date:December 14, 2011

WayneC. Rankin for the protester.
Capt. Joon K. Hong, Department of the Army, for the agency.
Paula A. Williams, Esq., and Edward Goldstein, Esq., Office ofthe General Counsel, GAO, participated in the preparation of the decision.

DIGEST

Agency's elimination of protester's proposal from competitionwas reasonable where protester failed to include pricing for required contract lineitems.

DECISION

LOGMET LLC protests its elimination from the competition under request for proposals (RFP) No. W911S8-11-0003, issued by the Department of the Army for aircraft services. The protester asserts that the agency acted unreasonably in eliminating its proposal on the basis that the firm's proposal failed to include pricing for several contract line items (CLINs).

We deny the protest.

Issued on July 5, 2011 as a set-aside for service-disabledveteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) concerns, the RFP's performance work statement(PWS) described a variety of aircraft transient alert services and aircraftwash services to be provided by the selected contractor at the Joint BaseLewis-McChord Field in the State of Washington.The solicited services include: aircraft services management functions;aircraft arrival services; aircraft processing services; aircraft departureservices; aircraft wash and lubrication services; and flight line deicing fluidand wash water cleanup services.RFP at 36-52.

The RFP provided for award of a single fixed-pricerequirements contract for a base period and four 1-year option periods to theresponsible offeror who submitted the lowest-priced, technically acceptableoffer with acceptable or neutral past performance.Id. at 139.However, the solicitation cautioned that"offers received for less than the stated number of items listed in theProposal Schedule" would be "ineligible for award."Id.Of relevance here, the solicitation required offerors to furnish

proposedpricing on the attached Contract Line Item Number (CLIN) Schedule. . .Theofferors shall submit a Unit Price and Total Estimated Amount for each lineitem and complete the table of Estimated Contract Totals.

Id. at 133-34.Price would be evaluated by adding thetotal proposed price for the base year and all option years.Id. at 96.The RFP also stated that the agency intendedto make award on the basis of initial proposals without conducting discussionsunless the agency otherwise determined discussions to be necessary.Id. at 139.

On August 10, the agency issued amendment No. 2 to revise,update, and/or clarify various solicitation requirements and to establish aproposal due date of August 23.Amongother things, amendment No. 2 incorporated a revised PWS, and added two newCLINs for the base year (one for servicing the C-130 aircraft, another forservicing the KC-135 aircraft) and comparable CLINs in each option year for atotal of 10 new CLINs over the 5-year performance period.RFP amend. 2 at 1, 15-18.

Several offerors, including the protester, submittedproposals by the August 23 due date.Inits proposal, LOGMET acknowledged receipt of amendment No. 2, however, it didnot submit pricing for the 10 CLINs added by the amendment.

On August 31, the agency sent letters to each offeror,including LOGMET, seeking to clarify each offeror's understanding of the termsof the solicitation.Specifically, theagency sought assurance that, if awarded the contract, the offeror would complywith the limitations on subcontracting requirements--i.e., that theSDVOSB concern would have to perform at least 50 percent of the solicited servicesas required by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) sect. 52.219-14, "Limitationson Subcontracting" and FAR sect. 52.219-27, "Notice of Total Service-DisabledVeteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside." See Agency Report (AR) exh. 8, Clarification Letter to LOGMET.LOGMET acknowledged its understanding of thelimitations on subcontracting requirements.Id. exh. 9, LOGMETAcknowledgment.

Following evaluation of proposals, the agency informed LOGMETthat its proposal was eliminated from the competition since it did not submitpricing for the new requirements added to the scope of work by amendment No. 2.Id. exh. 10,Agency Letter to LOGMET (Sept. 7, 2011).This protest followed.

LOGMET contends that it elected not to price these newrequirements because it intended to "utilize [its] proposed employees toaccomplish the work at no additional cost to the [a]gency."Protest at 1.In any event, the protester maintains that the agency should have raised"this issue" with the firm when the agency issued its August 31 clarificationletter.Protester's Comments at 2.We disagree.

In a negotiated procurement such as this, a proposal thatfails to conform to the material terms and conditions of the solicitation isconsidered unacceptable and may not form the basis for award.Manthos Eng'g, LLC,B-401751, Oct. 16, 2009, 2009 CPD para. 216 at 2.

Here, as discussed above, the solicitation specifically requiredeach offeror to submit unit and extended prices for each CLIN and also providedthat each offeror's total evaluated price would be derived by adding the totalprice proposed for the base and option years.Since LOGMET did not submit unit and extended pricing for the 10 line items added to the scope of work by amendment No. 2, its proposal didnot conform to the material terms of the solicitation and was thereforeunacceptable.

While the protester argues that it acknowledged amendmentNo. 2 and elected not to price these 10 new requirements, the RFP clearlystated that submission of unit and extended prices for each CLIN was mandatoryand that they would be evaluated by the agency.LOGMET's failure to price unit prices for the additional CLINs, or to expressly indicate in its proposal that theCLINs would be performed at no charge, created doubt whether LOGMET's proposalobligated it to perform the work associated with the CLINs added by amendmentNo. 2.On this basis, the recordprovides no basis to conclude that the agency acted unreasonably in finding LOGMET'sproposal unacceptable.See AllBuilding Servs., Inc., B-293519, Mar. 23, 2004, 2004 CPD para. 73 (holding thatagency properly rejected protester's proposal as unacceptable where theprotester failed to provide unit prices for work added by amendment, orindicate that new work would be performed at no charge).

To the extent LOGMET argues that the agency was requiredto address this issue with the firm when it sent the August 31 letter, thisargument is without merit.The August 31communication, which was sent to all offerors, merely sought confirmation ofthe offerors' understanding of their subcontracting obligations duringperformance, and did not provide for the submission of revised proposals.As such, it constituted clarifications, whichis a limited exchange intended to clarify aspects of an offeror's proposal orto resolve minor or clerical mistakes.See FAR sect. 15.306(a).

LOGMET's failure to submit prices for the added services,by contrast, was a material issue in its proposal since it created doubt as towhether LOGMET was obligated to perform the un-priced CLINs, and could only beaddressed through substantive changes to its proposal.As a consequence, this issue could only beaddressed through the discussions process, which provides a firm with theopportunity to make substantive proposal revisions.FAR sect. 15.306(d); ManthosEng'g, LLC, supra.Giventhat the solicitation announced the agency's intent to make award withoutdiscussions, the agency was under no obligation to engage in discussions, andwe have no basis to object to the agency's decision not to conduct discussionswith LOGMET.SeeAll Building Servs., Inc., supra.

The protest is denied.

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General Counsel

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