Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Intelligent Investments, Inc.
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Protester’s challenge to awardee’s compliance with locality set-aside provision of solicitation is denied where contracting officer had substantial information that awardee complied with provision.
- Agency properly found that awardee was a sole proprietorship eligible to receive award.
- Protester’s challenge to agency’s evaluation of its proposal is denied where agency’s evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Intelligent Investments, Inc. (I2) protested the award to Riley’s Mobile Homes (RMH) of a contract for long-term maintenance and deactivation of temporary housing units (including mobile homes and other types of prefabricated housing). Offerors were required to certify according to FAR Clause 52.226-3 whether they do or do not “reside or primarily do business in the set-aside area,” which consisted of a number of counties in Missouri. The CO determined that RMH complied with FAR Clause 52.226-3 on the basis of a CCR search, which indicated both a mailing and physical address for RMH within the set-aside area. Following a pre-award notice to offerors, the agency received an email asserting that RMH did not exist as a bona fide local small business. I2 filed an agency-level protest, and RMH was asked to provide documentation to support its certification under FAR Clause 52.226-3. I2‘s protest was denied, but another offeror filed a size protest with the SBA. Award was made to RMH after the SBA found RMH to be a small business, and this protest followed.
The GAO found no reason to question the agency’s determination that RMH’s main operating office and principal business was within the set-aside area, noting that it was supported by substantial documentation. It further rejected I2‘s assertion that RMH did not exist as a Missouri corporation eligible to do business in the state, on the grounds that it had dissolved in 2000. The GAO pointed out that, while the corporation had in fact dissolved in 2000, RMH had submitted its proposal as a sole proprietorship. The GAO then found I2‘s challenge of its technical evaluation to be without merit, finding reasonable the SSEB’s determination that I2‘s proposal had lacked specificity and did not sufficiently identify the timing of specific key tasks in its phase-in plan. It finally found reasonable the agency’s consideration of the fact that I2‘s quality control plan was not ISO 9000 accredited in determining whether the plan was acceptable.
Offerors bear the burden of submitting adequately written proposals. Although a proposal may address all requirements in the RFP, failure to detail how the contractor plans to satisfy particular tasks may result in the assessment of weaknesses or in lower evaluation ratings. The agency is not obligated to conduct discussions or permit offerors to revise their proposals if they determine there is insufficient detail in the proposal.