[Protest of Proposed GSA Contract Award for the Lease of Office Space]

B-218668: Aug 14, 1985

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A firm protested a proposed General Services Administration (GSA) contract award for the lease of federal office and warehouse space, contending that the procurement practices used and the evaluation process were deficient. Because of defects found in the solicitation, GSA reopened the negotiation for three rounds of best and final offers and, finally, made an award to the low offerer. The protester argued that GSA: (1) reopened the negotiations without sufficient justification; and (2) prolonged the procurement process to benefit the awardee. GAO has held that reopening a competition is appropriate where a valid reason exists for the action. In this case, GAO found that GSA: (1) had a valid reason for requesting three best and final offers; and (2) properly extended the closing date to rectify an error. The protester also contended that the awardee's proposal should have been rejected because the property it offered was not suitably zoned. GAO has held that zoning is a matter of bidder responsibility, and the awardee properly submitted proof of approved zoning prior to award. In addition, GAO found that: (1) the protester failed to show that the agency's evaluation of the building offered by the awardee was unreasonable or otherwise improper; (2) there was no basis for the protester's contention that, in selecting the awardee, GSA improperly applied the solicitation's evaluation criteria; and (3) the protester failed to show that GSA inaccurately estimated the cost of janitorial services in evaluating its proposed lease price. Finally, although the protester objected to the agency's discussion of certain solicitation items with only the awardee, an agency is not required to hold identical discussions with all bidders. Accordingly, the protest was denied.