Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Disposition: Protest denied.
In a procurement for the issuance of a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) under Federal Acquisition Regulation subpart 8.4 procedures for security guard services, protest that the ordering agency failed to evaluate awardee’s low fixed price to determine whether the awardee had quoted sufficient relief services is denied, where the solicitation provided that the contractor’s plan for providing relief would be provided after issuance of the BPA and thus would not be evaluated.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
Deco argues that Paragon’s unit price is unreasonably low because Paragon did not include sufficient coverage in its fixed hourly rate to account for relief. In this regard, Deco contends that DHS was required under FAR sect. 8.405-2(d) to consider the level of effort and mix of labor proposed to perform a specific task being ordered. The protester asserts that the agency failed to evaluate the level of effort required to provide relief to the various guard posts as well as Paragon’s mix of labor (including billable guards, and not separately billable relief guards) necessary to perform the services here. Deco’s arguments are based upon a misunderstanding of the concept of price reasonableness. The purpose of a price reasonableness review is to determine whether the prices offered are higher–as opposed to lower–than warranted. In contrast, arguments that an agency did not perform an appropriate analysis to determine whether prices are too low such that there may be a risk of poor performance concern price realism; price realism is not required where a solicitation provides for the award of a fixed-price contract, unless the solicitation provides for such an analysis.
Simply, under this RFQ, for evaluation purposes, total price was determined by multiplying the quoted labor rate by the estimated number of hours for each CLIN. The solicitation did not specifically identify what amount of relief was required. More importantly, vendors were not required to demonstrate how they would provide relief, given that the contractor’s relief plan would be provided five days after issuance of the BPA. Thus, the RFQ did not request that vendors identify what level of effort was required to provide relief services. To the extent the protester believes that the solicitation should have required vendors to provide this information and provide for a price evaluation that mirrored the requirements of FAR sect. 8.405-2(d), this allegation is untimely. The protest is denied.