Protest Alleging Late Bid Was Timely Delivered

B-194895: Oct 3, 1979

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A firm protested the rejection of its late bid under an invitation for bids (IFB) for roof repairs to a building at McChord Air Force Base, Washington. The IFB set bid opening for 2:00 P.M. The protester asserted that its bid was delivered by 1:59 P.M. to the designated location and taken into the bid opening room. The Air Force, however, contended that when the protester's agent arrived at the procurement office, the bid opening official was proceeding to the bid opening room, and the receptionist noted by hand on the protester's bid envelope the time of delivery as 2:02 P.M. The protester objected that its bid was timely delivered because: (1) the personal watch of its agent read 1:59 P.M. when he delivered the bid, and (2) at that time the bid opening official had not declared to those present that the time for bid opening had arrived. The protest was denied. The clock used to time the receipt of bids read 2:02 P.M. when the protester's bid was delivered, and the bid opening official, in reliance on the time showing on that clock, was proceeding to the bid opening room to open bids. This action had the effect of establishing the deadline for receipt of bids; the absence of a specific verbal announcement was of no consequence. GAO also found no merit to the protester's contention that improper action by Government personnel caused the protester's bid to be late. The protester complained that its agent was required by the gate guard on duty to park his vehicle and call the procurement office in order to obtain permission to go to the procurement office, and that its agents had gained access several times previously without following this time-consuming procedure. GAO held that it is the responsibility of the bidder to deliver its bid to the proper place at the proper time. Delays in gaining access to military installations are not unusual and should be expected.