Protest Against Contract Award

B-198095: Jun 27, 1980

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A firm protested a contract award for the complete electric rewiring of a Government building. The firm claimed that its bid was improperly rejected as nonresponsive for failure to provide a bid bond as required in the invitation for bids. A bond in the amount of 20 percent of the total bid price was required. The firm contended that a bid price had to be more than $25,000 to require a bid bond in accordance with the Miller Act. In its case, the protester claimed that the requirement for a bid bond was invalid and its bid should not have been rejected as nonresponsive. GAO determined that the bid bond requirement was apparent from the face of the invitation for bids, and since the firm did not file its protest before bid opening, it was untimely filed and could not be considered on its merits. The firm claimed that if it had filed a timely protest before bid opening, it would have put its competitors on notice that its bid was going to be under $25,000. GAO determined that, while there was that possibility, the requirement was necessary because it permitted the invitation to be corrected before bid prices were made public and thereby insured that bidders were competing on a common basis. GAO recommended that the agency consider including in future solicitations a provision to the bond requirement stating that bonds need not be furnished where the bid does not exceed $25,000. The protest was denied.

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