[Protest of Solicitation Cancellation by Air Force]

B-210684,B-210684.2: Dec 21, 1983

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Two firms protested the Air Force's cancellation of a solicitation for maintenance work at an Air Force base. The contracting officer canceled the solicitation after bid opening, in the belief that it was defective because: (1) the inventory of equipment to be maintained failed to differentiate between two types of air conditioners; (2) the provisions for painting work were ambiguous; and (3) the inventory failed to identify two unusually large air conditioners that would have to be moved for maintenance. GAO held that no bidder complained about the failure to differentiate between types of air conditioners and that the failure to differentiate did not preclude evaluation of bids on an equal basis. Further, GAO found that the record did not support the contracting officer's contention that the specifications for painting work were ambiguous, because any ambiguity that may have existed was clarified at a bidders' conference. GAO was not persuaded by the contracting officer's argument regarding the large air conditioners, and it noted that other pieces of equipment covered by the contract were unusually large and would require a contractor to make appropriate handling provisions. Accordingly, the protest was sustained, and GAO recommended that the contract be awarded to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder under the original solicitation.

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