Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of State
Disposition: Protest sustained.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO sustained the protest of Basic Overnight Quarters, LLC (BOQ) based on the Department of State’s award of contracts to Worldwide Corporate Housing and National Corporate Housing, Inc. (NCH), under a request for proposals (RFP), for long and short-term temporary housing.
The solicitation was for the award of multiple fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contracts, for a base year plus four one-year options, considering corporate experience, past performance, plan of operation and management structure, key personnel, quality control plan, and subcontracting and small business participation. BOQ received a weakness under the corporate experience, past performance, and plan of operation evaluation factors. Under the corporate experience factor, offerors were required to provide information on at least one contract performed in the past where they managed more than one building. For past performance, offerors had to provide information on up to three recent contracts for similar services to demonstrate the offeror’s capability to meet the requirements. Finally, under the plan of operations factor, offerors were required to demonstrate their approach to providing housing.
GAO stated, with regard to the corporate experience and past performance factors, that it was unreasonable for the agency to issue a weakness to BOQ based on whether proposed team members committed to providing apartments in the future. GAO noted that both factors, as analyzed under the solicitation, required looking at services in the past.
As to the quality control factor, GAO also agreed with the protester that there was nothing in the solicitation that would have put BOQ on notice that the agency intended to evaluate procedures utilized by the offeror.
Finally, under the plan of operation evaluation factor, it was unclear in the solicitation when the agency expected the full number of offered rooms to be available. The solicitation stated that not only would the contractor be expected to fill “up to 650-700 apartments per room night during the initial year of the contract,” and that “[h]ousing units needed for the base year is anticipated at estimated 500-650 corporate style apartments per night,” but also that the “[c]ontractor shall provide about 20,000 minimum room nights per year with the ability to grow as program demands increase.” The solicitation did not indicate how many of these rooms had to be available when the contract began, and the agency indicated in its report that it expected full performance within six months. NCH’s proposal was not assigned a weakness on that basis, but BOQ’s proposal was, and proposals must be evaluated on an equal basis.