Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Interior
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Delivery schedule
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: In a negotiated procurement, any proposal that fails to conform to material terms and conditions of the solicitation is unacceptable and may not form the basis for an award.
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (BoR) issued a solicitation for construction services on the Weber Siphon project, a project that would include the installation of equipment on the East Low Canal of the Columbia Basin Project in Washington. Proposals were to be evaluated under five non-price factors, including a critical path method (CPM) schedule, and award would be made to the proposal that provided the best value, based on both price and non-price factors. The solicitation specifically provided that the work needed to be complete and ready for use no later than 18 months following receipt of the notice to proceed. After receiving 11 proposals, BoR awarded the contract to Mowatt Construction Company, Inc., despite the fact that BOSS Construction, Inc.’s proposal had a lower price. BOSS acknowledged the fact that its CPM schedule proposed minor project completion activities that would occur 20 days after the required completion date, however, it still protested the award to Mowatt.
Upon learning of the protest, BoR announced that it would take corrective action by reevaluating BOSS’s proposal. Upon reevaluation, BoR determined that BOSS should have been rated unacceptable overall because its CPM schedule was outside of the solicitation’s required 18 months. BOSS then protested the findings of the reevaluation, arguing that it intentionally placed a one-month lag on the start of certain steps in its proposal because it was the only way to complete the work properly for that locale and weather conditions.
GAO disagreed, stating that a firm delivery schedule in a solicitation is a material requirement and that nay proposal that fails to meet a material term of a solicitation is unacceptable. For these reasons, GAO determined that BoR was reasonable in its rating of BOSS proposal under the CPM schedule factor and denied BOSS’s protest.