[Protest of Proposed Air Force Contract Award]

B-208081: Jul 27, 1982

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A firm protested the proposed award of a contract for custodial services at an Air Force base issued under an invitation for bids as a small business set-aside. The protester alleged that: (1) the two prospective contractors were not small businesses; (2) their bids were too low; (3) there was insufficient time between bid opening and the expected starting date of the contract for any contractor to prepare for contract performance; (4) both bids were nonresponsive because the signers lacked authority to sign bids; (5) one prospective contractor's bond was inadequate for construction contracts; and (6) the other was nonresponsive because it was not a properly organized corporation in the State where the contract would be performed. GAO held that: (1) the Small Business Administration has exclusive authority to determine the size status of small businesses for Federal procurement purposes; (2) the below-cost bid provided no basis for challenging the award of a Government contract to a responsible prospective contractor; (3) it will not consider any protest alleging that a contractor has insufficient time to prepare for performance unless the protest is filed before bid opening; (4) evidence of authority to sign a bid may be submitted any time before award as long as it is provided promptly upon request; (5) the defect in the bond did not affect the bond's enforceability or the responsiveness of the bid; and (6) the fact that the bidder was not organized in that State provided no legal basis for challenging an award. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.

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