Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: InfraMap Corp.
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest Sustained.
Protest of agency’s estimate of requirements for underground utility location work is sustained where record shows that agency’s inclusion of a 10% escalation factor for future work did not reasonably encompass significant future work associated with recently-awarded utility privatization contract which will require location services prior to burial of more than 150 miles of electric cable.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
InfraMap Corp. protested the terms of an RFP for underground utilities location (UUL) services at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, on the grounds that the RFP failed to accurately reflect the level of work to be performed under the contract. InfraMap had originally protested award of the contract to Accumark, Inc.; the agency elected to take corrective action, clarifying its price analysis requirements and reevaluating revised proposals. After award was again made to Accumark, InfraMap protested and the agency undertook a second round of corrective action. Accumark protested the amendments to the solicitation, and the agency agreed to further amend the RFP to remove a labor data requirement. InfraMap asserted that current RFO is flawed because its anticipation of an annual 10% increase in excavation permits fails to adequately convey the magnitude of the likely work under the contract
The GAO found that the agency’s estimates as to workload were not based on the best information available. It found that agency’s assumption of a 10% escalation rate, without supporting analysis, to be low, particularly when the actual increase under the prior contract from year to year had ranged from 17% to 19%. It noted that the agency’s claims that the projected lower rate was due to the completion of another project at the site, which had attributed to the higher rate, was not supported by any information in the record. It held that the RFP’s failure to provide reasonably accurate estimates deprived InfraMap and other offers of the information required to assess the likely cost to perform the contract requirements and sustained the protest. It recommended that the agency amend the RFP to provide sufficient information to convey the level of work associated with electric cable burial work and other excavation permits, and obtain revised proposals from the offerors in the competitive range. It further recommended that InfraMap be reimbursed for the costs of filing and pursuing its protest, including attorneys’ fees.
When preparing a proposal, an offeror should ensure that it has an accurate understanding of the full scope of the project. If the RFP includes general estimates as to increases in workload over the course of the contract, but the offeror is aware of specific future work that would drastically increase the workload, the offeror should request clarification from the agency. The agency should have clear reasoning and detailed analysis supporting any increase or decrease in the level of work over the course of performance and the RFP should clearly detail any changes in workload so that offerors can make accurate cost assessments.