Agency: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Where protester’s proposal for construction of a tunnel system reserved right to build a construction shaft not contemplated by solicitation, and not consistent with requirements for optional construction shaft specifically authorized by the solicitation, agency properly found proposal unacceptable
Walsh/Atkinson Joint Venture (Walsh/Atkinson) protested the award to Keiwit Infrastructure Company (Keiwit) of a contract for construction of a tunnel system for the Army’s Chicagoland Underflow Plan McCook Reservoir. Walsh/Atkinson had declined to offer a Construction Shaft detailed as an option in the RFP, but reserved the right to construct a temporary construction shaft at a location of its own choosing, which would be filled prior to completion.
The GAO disagreed with Walsh/Atkinson’s assertion that it was permitted to construct a temporary construction shaft as an “alternate point of entry,” noting that Walsh/Atkinson’s reading of the solicitation would give no effect to specific requirements for Construction Shaft Excavation provided in the RFP. It pointed out that the questions and answers (Q&As) raised during the procurement clearly indicated that the location of the Construction Shaft could not be changed. It agreed with the agency that the Q&As should have put Walsh/Atkinson on notice that a construction shaft differing materially from the shaft described in the RFP would not be acceptable.
Offerors should pay particular attention to the technical specifications detailed in an RFP. Failure to adhere to all specifications will make a proposal unacceptable. Although an offeror does not need to offer all options indicated in an RFP, they must ensure that all aspects of the proposal, including any options or alternate proposals if permitted, comply with the specifications of the RFP.