[Protest of Navy Contract Award]

B-215689.3: Jan 7, 1985

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A firm protested a Navy contract award, contending that the awardee's bid should have been rejected as nonresponsive because the awardee failed to submit a required certification with its bid. The Navy had initially rejected the awardee's bid as nonresponsive; however, upon reconsideration, it determined that the certification requirement actually concerned bidder responsibility, and the awardee was permitted to furnish the certification after bid opening. GAO held that, since a certification requirement is a matter of responsibility, a bidder should be afforded a reasonable opportunity after bid opening to furnish the certification. Accordingly, the Navy's actions in this matter were proper. The protester also contended that the Navy made the award without first conducting a preaward survey. Since contracting officials have broad discretion regarding whether to conduct preaward surveys, GAO will not review such decisions absent a showing of fraud or bad faith or that definitive responsibility criteria were not applied. Since neither was alleged in this case, GAO would not question the contracting officer's decision not to conduct the preaward survey or his determination that the awardee was a responsible contractor. Finally, the Navy's decision to award the contract before the resolution of this protest was a procedural defect which did not affect the validity of the award. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.

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