[Protest of D.C. National Guard Contract Award]

B-217027: Jan 14, 1985

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A firm protested the award of a contract to the low bidder under an invitation for bids issued by the District of Columbia National Guard for the repair and replacement of heating systems. The protester contended that: (1) the awardee made a mistake in calculating its bid price and could not perform the required work at that price; (2) the contracting officer was required to reject the awardee's bid because it was below cost; and (3) the awardee's bid was nonresponsive. The agency stated that the protester challenged the awardee's ability to perform the contract but failed to establish bad faith on the part of the contracting officer or to show that responsibility criteria were not applied. GAO found that: (1) the 6-percent difference between the bid prices of the awardee and the protester did not indicate an obvious error in the awardee's bid; (2) where a low bidder is determined to be responsible, award to it is not precluded even if its bid is below cost; and (3) the protester failed to show that the awardee's bid was nonresponsive. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.