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A firm requested that GAO reconsider a prior decision which denied its protest against the rejection of its bid as nonresponsive under an invitation for bids (IFB) issued by the Army. The IFB required that a bidder enter either a price, an "N" if not applicable, or an "NSP" if not separately priced, in the appropriate space for each of the four first article-related items. Bidders were cautioned that the failure to follow this instruction would render a bid nonresponsive. The protester bid to furnish the first article, but left the other three spaces blank, and the bid was rejected. The protester asserted that, by inserting a price to furnish the first article item and by signing the bid, it committed itself to all first article-related requirements. The original protest was denied because GAO could not conclude that the Government's acceptance of a bid that priced only the first article unit itself would legally obligate the contractor to furnish a first article test plan, perform the testing, and furnish a test report all for the price of the first article unit. In requesting reconsideration, the protester suggested that the IFB clearly required a contractor subject to the first article requirement to furnish a plan, test the article, and submit a report; thus, a bidder signing the bid committed itself to meeting all those requirments. GAO held that a bid that failed to price three first article-related requirements as mandated by the IFB was properly rejected, because the Government's acceptance of the bid would not legally obligate the firm to meet those requirements. Accordingly, the prior decison was affirmed.


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