Protest of Bid Rejection as Nonresponsive

B-199669: Feb 11, 1981

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A firm protested the award of a contract by the Forest Service for a prefabricated log building. The protester's bid was rejected as nonresponsive because it offered to provide regular glass windows instead of windows with insulating glass. The protester argued that: (1) the term "insulating glass" was ambiguous; (2) its storm/screen windows were more efficient than insulating glass windows; (3) the specifications and drawings were defective; and (4) the Forest Service should not have rejected two other bids merely for failure to offer the exact shingle weight called for in the invitation for bids (IFB). GAO has held that the test to be applied in determining the responsiveness of a bid is whether the bid as submitted is an offer to perform without exception the exact thing called for in the invitation. In this case, the protester clearly did not offer the required insulating glass by taking specific exception on the material list. Further, the protester's bid was offering regular glass which was undefined in the bid. Therefore, GAO found nothing unreasonable about the Forest Service's rejection of the bid as nonresponsive. Regarding the protester's claim that the IFB specifications and drawing were defective, under bid protest procedures, such protests must be filed with GAO prior to the date set for bid opening. The protester filed its protest after bids were opened; thus it was considered untimely and was not considered on the merits. As to the rejection of the other bids, GAO did not believe that the protester was an interested party since it had no economic interest in such a protest. Therefore, since the other two companies did not protest the rejection of their bids, this ground of the protest was not considered. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.

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