Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Technical Evaluation
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: In reviewing protests of alleged improper evaluations and source selection decisions, it is not GAO’s role to reevaluate submissions but will, rather, determine whether the evaluation was reasonable and in accord with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement laws and regulations.
Archer Western Contractors, Ltd. (Archer) protests the award of a task order under a request for task order proposals (RFP) issued by the Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers, for the design and construction of a “warriors in transition” complex, which provides facilities to allow injured or temporarily disabled soldiers to live, eat, train, and work together.
The RFP provided for the issuance of a fixed price task order under a previously awarded multiple-award, task order contract for the design and construction of a warriors in transition complex, consisting of a barracks for wounded soldiers and related items including landscaping, paving, walks, curbs, drainage, and access roads. The Statement of Work (SOW) identified functional, technical, and design requirements and objectives for the complex. Offerors were informed that proposals would be evaluated on a best value basis. The RFP identified a number of desired features as “preferable,” and others as “desirable.”
The evaluation results were provided to the contracting officer, who was the selection official for this procurement.The contracting officer noted that both firms’ proposals were evaluated as having significant strengths and betterments, but the awardee’s proposal included a highly significant strength because the foundation it chose reduces movement and prevents cracking, which “exponentially increases the durability of the facility while [it] reduces maintenance costs due to the environment in which the facility is being built.”
Archer argues that the RFP defined a good rating to be a proposal that had a sound approach with “few relatively minor disadvantages,” and an excellent rating to be a proposal that had “essentially no disadvantages.” Archer contends that because the agency found that the firm’s proposal contained no disadvantages under this factor, its proposal should have been rated as excellent. In this regard, Archer argues that the agency evaluated the firms’ proposals disparately.
GAO states that in reviewing protests of alleged improper evaluations and source selection decisions, it is not GAO’s role to reevaluate submissions; rather, it will examine the record to determine whether the agency’s judgment was reasonable and in accord with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement laws and regulations. In this regard, agencies’ use of evaluation ratings for offerors’ proposals, whether numeric, color or adjectival, are but guides to, and not substitutes for, intelligent decisionmaking; they do not mandate automatic selection of a particular proposal. A protester’s mere disagreement with an agency’s judgment is not sufficient to establish that an agency acted unreasonably.
Here, Archer’s arguments provide no basis to object to the agency’s evaluation of proposals under the design/technical factor. The agency found that the awardee’s proposal was superior to Archer’s, largely due to the awardee’s offer of a specific foundation. Although Archer disagrees with this judgment, it does not show it to be unreasonable. The protest is denied.