Last-Minute Price Change Turns A Timely Bid Submittal Into A Tardy One.

Monday, May 28, 2018 7:18 am
June 2018 - Volume 40 Number 6

Denied: Bid Modification

Matter of: Williams Building Company, Inc. 2018 U.S. Comp. Gen. Lexis 129 (April 12, 2018)

In attempting to modify its bid price for a government project, a bidder ended up submitting two different bid amounts, both of which were rejected.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) scheduled a bid opening for a construction services procurement on September 13, 2018 at 9:00 am. Williams Building Company, Inc. (Williams) ended up submitting not one but two different bid amounts to the contracting officer (CO)---but both were deemed late even though Williams’ initial bid had been submitted on time. The VA rejected both bids, and Williams protested. The Comptroller General denied its protest.

2 bids is not better than one (that was timely)

Williams submitted its initial bid in a sealed envelope to the CO on September 13 at 8:30 am, 30 minutes before the set deadline. However, at 9:00 am, Williams asked to change its bid. According to the record, the CO believed that Williams intended to exchange one envelope for another, so the CO handed over the sealed envelope containing the original bid. Instead of swapping out the envelope, Williams’ representative opened it, “wrote something down,” and then inserted a new bid sheet, leaving the original bid sheet in the envelope as well. (The record states that the representative intended to remove the original bid sheet.) Williams’ representative returned the envelope---now containing two offer forms---to the CO at 9:02 am. One minute later, at 9:03 am, the CO read all the bids submitted.

One of the forms Williams submitted was for $4,795,139; the other was for $4,929,583. The C[..]