Protest Against Contract Award Alleging Exclusionary Solicitation Specifications

B-204595: Jan 18, 1982

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A firm protested the award of an Army contract for the cleaning, inspecting, testing, and sealing of sanitary sewers alleging that the solicitation specification dealing with sewer line sealing was exclusionary in nature and unrelated to performance requirements. The specification in question required that a polyurethane-based grout be applied to leaking or weak sewer pipe joints. The protester contended that the specification could only be met by one company's products. The Army admitted that the specified grout was manufactured by only one company but asserted that the sealant called for by the specifications met its needs, whereas the grout offered by the protester did not. The Army further stated that the sealant specified was less toxic and far safer to handle than the other types of sealants. GAO has consistently held that contracting agencies are primarily responsible for determining and accommodating their minimum needs. After reviewing the record, GAO concluded that the Army had justified its need for the specified grout and that there was no evidence showing that the procurement limitation was unreasonable. Accordingly, the protest was denied.