Bidder's 'Very Relevant' Past Performance Failed To Secure $500M Contract

Thursday, August 30, 2018 6:44 am
September 2018 - Volume 40 Number 9

Denied: Past Performance

Matter of: Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors, LLC, 2018 U.S. Comp. Gen. Lexis 227 (July 16, 2018)

A protester who lost out on a half-a-billion-dollar contract award failed to show that the government should have taken the awardee’s past, public failure into account.

On March 31, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Navy (Navy) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a small business set-aside, fixed-price contract for the design and construction of a towing/rescue ship. The RFP also contemplated options for seven follow-on ships. The Navy awarded the contract to Gulf Island Shipyards, LLC (Gulf Island) for a total price, including options, of $522,701,092.

Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors, LLC (Thoma-Sea), who also submitted a proposal, protested the award, claiming that the agency’s evaluation of Gulf Island’s proposal under the past performance and ship design factors was flawed. It also argued that Gulf Island had not demonstrated the financial means and performance record required to be considered a responsible contractor for the project. The Comptroller General denied the protest in part and dismissed it in part.

Past performance ‘magnitude’ did not equal price

The RFP sought the best value proposal based on a tradeoff between price and technical factors. While reviewing the proposals, the Navy ranked the technical factors in descending order of importance: first ship design, followed by past performance, and lastly production and management. All these factors, except past performance, were assigned adjectival ratings ranging from “outstanding,” to “unacceptable.” Past performance was evaluated on relevancy--i.e., “sc[..]