Urgent Repairs Were 'Compelling' Reason To Cancel Bid

Tuesday, April 03, 2018 9:09 am
April 2018 - Volume 40 Number 4

Bid Protest

Matter of: Veterans Electric, LLC, 2018 U.S. Comp. Gen. B-415064.2 (Feb. 1, 2018)

Much to the dismay of a would-be bidder, a federal agency was permitted to cancel an invitation for bids after bid opening because new project-related circumstances cropped up.

In February 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued an invitation for bids (IFB), set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs), for the removal and replacement of obsolete fire alarm devices located at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago. The VA then cancelled the IFB in response to a protest by SDVOSB Veterans Electric, LLC (Veterans Electric) that the IFB was "ambiguous, contained obvious errors and was structured to prevent competition by requiring replacement fire alarm devices to be obtained from the manufacturer."

That was not the outcome Veterans Electric had hoped for. The would-be bidder protested again. In the subsequent, instant protest, it claimed that the VA lacked a compelling reason to cancel the IFB.

Protest #1: Immediate need for repairs changes IFB scope

Veterans Electric’s initial protest, filed in August 2017, alleged in part that the IFB’s requirements regarding subcontracting were limiting and ambiguous---and that the fi[..]