Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Global Protection Group
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest contending that award decision was unreasonable because awardee’s price was unrealistically low and the awardee lacked relevant past performance is denied, where solicitation did not require a realism analysis for this fixed-price contract and record shows that awardee possessed relevant past performance that agency reasonably evaluated.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Global Protection Group, Inc. (GPGI) protested the award to AQuate Corp. of a contract for on-board security services for the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1) vessel. Award would be made to the lowest-priced, technically-acceptable offeror, considering technical, past performance, and price evaluation factors. Prices would be evaluated to determine whether they were fair and reasonable; the RFP did not provide for a realism analysis. Award was made to AQuate, who offered a price approximately $10 million below GPGI.
The GAO found that GPGI’s protest that AQuate’s price was too low failed to state a valid basis for protest. Because the solicitation did not require a realism analysis, GPGI’s complaint that the agency should have performed on was not cognizable. The GAO also found that the record did not support GPGI’s contention that AQuate did not have relevant past performance.
In fixed-price contracts, an agency is permitted to accept low or below-cost offers, because the offeror bears the risk that its low price will not be adequate to meet the costs of performance. While a vendor may be disappointed that they were underbid by the competition, unless the solicitation provides for a price realism analysis, the GAO is unlikely to sustain a protest regarding the realism of the awardee’s price.