[Protest of State Department Contract Award for Chancery Construction]

B-270505.2,B-270505.3: Sep 12, 1996

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A firm protested a State Department contract award for secure chancery construction, contending that State: (1) failed to hold meaningful and equal discussions; (2) did not follow the solicitation's evaluation and selection criteria; and (3) improperly waived the requirement that all joint venture firms have a top secret facility clearance by a certain date. GAO held that: (1) State held meaningful and equal discussions, since it pointed out all of the principle weaknesses in the bidders' proposals; (2) State reasonably evaluated and scored the proposals in accordance with the solicitation's evaluation criteria; and (3) the protester was not prejudiced by State's alleged waiver of the top secret facility clearance requirement, since there was no evidence that the protester would have made its proposal more desirable by adding to its joint venture additional firms that had the appropriate clearance. Accordingly, the protest was denied.