Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Advanced Construction Techniques, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Protest of agency’s technical evaluation is denied where protester fails to show that weaknesses attributed to its proposal were unreasonable.
- Notwithstanding the lack of a specific “price realism” evaluation factor, source selection authority’s (SSA) best-value tradeoff decision properly questioned whether protester’s low price was “realistic,” where the solicitation provided for the evaluation of an offeror’s understanding of technical requirements, as well as an assessment of the risks associated with an offeror’s proposal, and the SSA concluded that protester’s low price appeared to stem directly from specific concerns regarding the protester’s lack of technical understanding and risks inherent in its proposal
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
Advanced Construction Techniques, Inc. (ACT) protested the award to Bauer Foundation Corp. of a contract for the construction of a barrier wall at the Center Hill Dam, Dekalb County, Tennessee. The RFP provided detailed specifications for the barrier wall, but permitted alternate proposals so long as the offeror justified the merits of their design for successful performance. Award was to be made on a best-value basis, with the four non-price evaluation factors combined being significantly more important than price.
The GAO found the agency’s evaluation of ACT’s technical proposal to be reasonable, noting that the agency had concerns that certain proposals by ACT reflected its lack of experience in constructing barrier walls and indicated a misunderstanding of the RFP requirements. The GAO also disagreed with ACT’s contention that the agency failed to conduct meaningful discussions regarding ACT’s technical approach, noting that the agency asked at least two detailed questions of ACT requesting deviation data to assess the accuracy of the firm’s proposed verticality for its design. It found the agency’s evaluations of ACT under the experience and management approach factors reasonably supported by the record, and the agency’s assessment of unknown risk under the past performance rating supported by ACT’s lack of experience provided in its proposal.
If an offeror does not have specific experience in the kind of work required by the RFP, it must make sure that its proposal clearly indicates how it intends to successfully perform the work. While experienced subcontractors can make an inexperienced offeror more competitive, the offeror must still ensure that its proposal specifies the experience of those subcontractors, the particular portions of the contract on which the subcontractors will be working and how the offeror intends to coordinate labor, resources, subcontractors, and material suppliers to address the needs of the customer. The offeror should also carefully scrutinize the RFP and make sure that its proposed technical approaches satisfy all the requirements of the solicitation or, if making alternate proposals, explain how its approaches will be successful.