[Protest of Air Force Contract Award for Materiel Handling System]

B-241589: Feb 21, 1991

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A firm protested an Air Force contract award for a mechanized materiel handling system, contending that: (1) the awardee proposed a noncompliant electric lift instead of the required hydraulic lift; (2) the Air Force improperly evaluated its bid; (3) the Air Force failed to conduct meaningful discussions; and (4) it should have received the award on the basis of its low bid. GAO held that the Air Force: (1) reasonably construed the awardee's electric lift feature as an enhancement, which did not prejudice the protester; (2) properly did not credit the protester for exceeding specifications, since the protester failed to comply with instructions regarding enhancements; (3) reasonably concluded that the awardee's bid was technically superior to the protester's; (4) reasonably considered past performance problems to be weaknesses that could not be remedied through discussions; (5) properly advised the protester of its failure to identify a subcontractor; and (6) was not required to award to the low bidder in a negotiated procurement. GAO also held that the protester untimely filed after bid opening its protest regarding solicitation improprieties. Accordingly, the protest was denied.