[Protest of HHS Contract Award for Elevator Maintenance and Repair Services]

B-276750: Jul 23, 1997

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A firm protested a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contract award for elevator maintenance and repair services, contending that: (1) HHS unreasonably failed to document its bid evaluation; (2) differences between the two proposals merited, at a minimum, an explanation for the identical technical ratings; (3) its proposed management and mechanical personnel had significantly more experience than the awardee's proposed personnel and, therefore, should have received higher ratings under each qualifications subfactor; and (4) its operating and quality control plan deserved a higher rating. GAO held that: (1) although HHS failed to document its bid evaluations in sufficient detail, HHS provided post-protest narrative explanations as to why it considered the proposals to be technically equal; (2) HHS was not bound to give preference to the bidder with a certain type of experience not required under the solicitation; (3) HHS reasonably gave both proposals full point value under the qualifications subfactor, since the personnel proposed by both firms were all certified elevator mechanics and had specific experience with the brand-name elevators; and (4) the fact that the awardee's total price was 14 percent below the government estimate was not a basis for finding the price realism evaluation inadequate. Accordingly, the protest was denied.