Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of State
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Technical Evaluation
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: An offeror is required to prepare its proposal in accordance with the terms of the solicitation and, where discussions occur, to address and supplement areas of weakness identified in discussions.
American Physical Security Group, LLC (APSG) protests the award of contract under a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the Department of State (DOS), for forced-entry/ballistic-resistant windows.
The RFP, issued as a small business set-aside, provided for the award of an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract for the fabrication and installation of aluminum forced-entry/ballistic-resistant windows. Detailed performance specifications required that the windows achieve specific “security-related resistances, along with other indicated performances.” Offerors were informed that award would be made on the basis of low price and technical acceptability. The RFP identified a number of technical evaluation factors, including, that the agency would evaluate the offeror’s submission for compliance with the stated specifications, which could be shown by providing a certification letter from the agency’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS). Additionally, this factor required that offerors provide sample shop drawings with each DS certification. The RFP also identified product compliance as another factor.
APSG’s proposal was found to contain numerous deficiencies and weaknesses. A number of the deficiencies reflected the evaluators’ judgment that APSG had failed to provide documentation establishing compliance with specification requirements, such as, for example, for air infiltration and water penetration. DOS conducted discussions with each of the offerors and informed APSG of each of the evaluated deficiencies and weaknesses in its proposal and requested the firm’s final proposal revisions. DOS received and evaluated revised proposals from the offerors, including APSG. The agency found that APSG’s proposal continued to be technically unacceptable.
The record supports the agency’s determination that APSG’s proposal was deficient in a number of regards and therefore technically unacceptable. For example, the evaluators found that APSG did not demonstrate that its proposed windows would satisfy the RFP’s air infiltration requirements. Specifically, the solicitation required offerors to demonstrate through laboratory test reports and other documentation that their proposed fixed windows would not have air infiltration exceeding a rate of 0.010 cubic feet per minute/square feet. In its initial proposal, APSG provided a one-page test result summary for an air infiltration test done on an “aluminum fixed window,” which stated that the tested window would satisfy the solicitation’s air infiltration requirements. APSG did not provide a more complete test report. In discussions, DOS informed the protester that it had failed, with respect to the air infiltration requirements, to provide “documentation of compliance with the specified testing.” In response, APSG merely informed the agency that it was “not correct” and resubmitted the same one-page summary that was provided in its initial proposal.
We find that the agency reasonably found APSG’s proposal deficient for failing to provide testing reports demonstrating the compliance of its proposed windows for the air infiltration requirements. The RFP specifically required offerors to provide documentation, including laboratory test reports, demonstrating such compliance. APSG failed to do so, despite being specifically informed of this deficiency in discussions and despite a more complete report being available. The protest is denied.