Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Building Solutions, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest that agency failed to evaluate the relevancy of protester’s past performance in accordance with the terms of the solicitation is denied where, reading the solicitation as a whole, the protester’s reading of the solicitation is not reasonable.
General Counsel PC:
Building Solutions, Inc. (BSI) protested the award to JDD, Inc. of a contract for base-wide custodial services at Edwards Air Force Base and the Air Force Research Laboratory. The RFP, issued as a HUBZone set-aside, provided for award to the lowest-priced, technically acceptable proposal offering a past performance rating of substantial confidence. If the lowest-priced, technically acceptable proposal did not receive a substantial confidence past performance rating, the agency would continue evaluating proposals until a technically acceptable proposal received a substantial confidence rating, at which point the SSA would consider which proposal reflected the best value. Although BSI offered a lower price than JDD, it only received a past performance rating of satisfactory confidence, and the SSA determined that JDD represented the best value to the government.
BSI argued that the agency, in determining the relevance of BSI’s construction services contract, should have considered BSI’s performance of contract management functions, as that is the work it proposed to perform under the present solicitation. The GAO found this interpretation of the evaluation provision of the solicitation to be unreasonable, noting that such a reading ignored the remainder of the RFP that plainly provided that the agency would consider as the most important relevance consideration the type of services provided. The GAO also disagreed that the agency had not given BSI sufficient credit for its teaming partner’s past performance.
In submitting past performance, offerors should strive to provide contracts which are recent and relevant according to the terms of the solicitation. Offerors should pay strict attention to what the solicitation explicitly defines as very relevant, relevant, or somewhat relevant past performance. If an offeror does not have extensive very relevant experience, if the solicitation allows, offerors should seek out teaming partners which will enhance their proposals. However, offerors should not rely entirely on the strength of their subcontractors or they may be assigned a lower past performance rating.