Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Rocamar Engineering Services, Inc.
Agency: Department of State
Disposition: Protest Sustained.
Protest against the rejection of the protestor’s proposal of a modular bastion wall defense system for failing a fire/burn test conducted by the agency is sustained where the record shows that the test was unfair and unreasonable.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Rocamar Engineering Services, Inc. protested the rejection of its proposal for modular bastion wall defense systems. The RFP provided that the systems were required to meet certain minimum force protection standards, including testing to determine whether they were acceptable. Rocamar’s wall system passed all the minimum force protection standards, and Rocamar had begun dismantling the wall when the agency decided to conduct a second fire/burn test. The agency justified its second test on the grounds that the testing official had observed that Rocamar’s wall system was constructed with a different material on the rear wall.
The GAO found that the second fire/burn test was neither fair nor reasonable, and sustained the protest. It noted that nothing in the RFP reasonably suggested that testing would be performed on anything other than the fully assembled system, and that no other offeror was subjected to a similar test. It recommended that the agency review its test results to determine whether Rocamar’s system should be considered acceptable and whether any other offerors’ systems should be subject to further testing.
Where an RFP provides for the testing of offerors’ proposed products or systems, offerors should ensure that the agency adheres to the testing procedures as detailed by the RFP. If the agency deviates from the provided procedures, offerors whose products or systems were not selected for award may have sustainable grounds for protest. However, if an offeror’s proposed product or system would otherwise not have been selected for award despite the flawed testing, the offeror will not be able to demonstrate that they were prejudiced by the agency’s failure to follow its testing procedures.