Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Walbridge Aldinger Company
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Agency’s source selection under a solicitation that provided for the award of multiple contracts, and which did not expressly discuss the protester’s and certain of the other offerors’ proposals as compared to the awardees’ proposal, was reasonably based, where the agency received and evaluated 41 proposals for award, and expressly discussed in its best-value analysis, but did not select, proposals that were lower-priced and equally or higher rated than the protester’s proposal.
- Agency’s evaluation of the protester’s proposal was reasonable where the evaluation was consistent with the solicitation’s evaluation criteria, and the agency apparently did not realize when evaluating the protester’s proposal that certain requested information that was not in the section of the protester’s proposal subject to evaluation was included elsewhere in the proposal.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
Walbridge Aldinger Company protested the award to MW Builders, Inc.; M.A. Mortenson, Inc.; Satterfield and Pontikes/Mason & Hanger, a Joint Venture; and Caddell Construction Company, Inc., of ID/IQ contracts to construct, or design and construct, certain facilities in the western region of the United States. Offers were to be considered on a “best value” basis, with corporate relevant specialized experience and past performance evaluation factors equal and more important than the remaining non-price factors. The design experience factor would be considered more important than the proposed contract duration and summary schedule factor, which in turn was more important than the small business factor. Walbridge argued that the process used by the source selection authority (SSA) was improper because Walbridge’s proposal was not specifically discussed in the SSA’s best value determination.
The GAO first pointed out that there is no requirement that an SSA discuss its comparison of every proposal received in order to document the selection of the awardees’ proposals. The GAO found the agency’s process of comparing the awardees’ proposals to the next-lowest priced offers with lower, equal, and higher ratings well documented and sufficient to support the agency’s decision. The GAO declined to sustain Walbridge’s claim that it should not have been assessed a weakness for failing to address cooling tower activities in its narrative, noting that even had Walbridge’s proposal been rated as “above average” on the contract duration and summary schedule factor, it still would not have been in line for award. Finally, the GAO found the agency’s evaluation of Walbridge’s proposal on the small business utilization factor to be reasonable, noting that offerors bear the burden of submitting adequately written proposals.
An offeror must pay close attention to an RFP’s requirements, making sure that all requested information is presented in the appropriate volume of the offeror’s proposal. Where the RFP indicates that proposals must include a detailed narrative containing categories of small business subcontractors, type of work and estimated percentage in relation to the overall project they would provide, offerors must ensure that this information is all included in the narrative in order to receive the highest possible rating. Even if the offeror includes this information in another volume, failure to provide information in the location requested may result in the assessment of a weakness. In evaluating one portion of a proposal, the agency is not required to go looking for the requisite information elsewhere.