Impossible-To-Meet Project Requirements Aren't Necessarily Unreasonable

Monday, May 28, 2018 7:17 am
June 2018 - Volume 40 Number 6

Denied: Solicitation

Matter of: Armstrong Elevator Company 2018 U.S. Comp. Gen. Lexis 83 (March 28, 2018)

A protester failed to show that the past-experience-heavy terms of a government agency’s solicitation were unduly restrictive of competition. Rather, the agency’s expectations were reasonable for the complicated design/build project in question.

In November 2017, the General Services Administration (GSA) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a $15-to-$20-million elevator and escalator modernization project at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. The GSA had previously assessed the capabilities of small business concerns and concluded that none could handle a project of this magnitude---that is, a project to upgrade all of the vertical transportation and support equipment for 20 elevators and 6 escalators. Thus, the agency did not to set aside the RFP for small businesses.

Armstrong Elevator Company (Armstrong) was one of the small businesses that submitted a capability statement to the GSA. Though Armstrong didn’t protest the lack of a set-aside for small businesses, it did object to the agency’s “overly restrictive” insistence that bidders have extensive past experience with multiple, equally complex projects.