Protest of Contract Award Without Competition

B-194470: Nov 30, 1979

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Two firms protested the award of a sole-source Navy contract for aircraft components. The protesters contended that the requirement that the cabinet drawers being procured be interchangeable was unreasonable because: in practice the drawers are not moved; they would be damaged if they were moved; and since the Navy was still studying the need for requiring interchangeable drawers for future procurements, the requirement was contradictory in this procurement. The record supported the need for interchangeable drawers because they are moved in practice, and it would clearly be easier to move the drawers than an entire cabinet. The record also showed that it would have been impossible to draft a competitive specification to ensure current interchangeability and that the most economically sound alternative was to purchase compatible cabinets from the awardee since it had the greatest number of cabinets already in use on Navy carriers. While sole-source procurements are subject to close scrutiny by GAO, they are considered to be valid if the Government can efficiently satisfy its needs only through this procurement method, as was established in this case. One of the protesters also alleged that the awardee's contract price was unreasonable and should have been audited prior to the award. The record showed the contracting officer's determination not to request an audit was proper because she found the price to be lower than another bid price for similar items. Accordingly, the protests were denied.