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Do You Bid To Budget On A Buildto Budget Project? It Depends

Tuesday, November 01, 2011 08:01 am


Sustained: Evaluation - Conflict of Interest

Matter of: PCCP Constr., JV; Bechtel Infrasructure Corp., 2011 Comp. Gen. Lexis 144, B-405036-6.6 (Aug. 4, 2011)

Two losing bidders demonstrated that the government improperly evaluated an awardee's technical requirements.

PCCP Constructors, JV (PCCP) and Bechtel Infrastructure Corp. (Betchel) both bid on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) design-build project to repair three canals near Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana. When they lost out to CBY Design Builders (CBY), they challenged the agency's evaluation of bidders' technical proposals, alleged that the agency misled bidders regarding the "build-to-budget" solicitation instruction, and contended that CBY had an organizational conflict of interest the agency didn't properly investigate. PCCP and Betchel were convincing on all counts.

Govt. must honor its own evaluation scheme: First, the protesters alleged that the Corps failed to properly evaluate CBY's plan for pump station operation and should have considered "whether the proposed structure will hold back the water or ... withstand the amount of lateral loading necessary to satisfy the deflection requirements."

The solicitation asked that bids rely on supplemental documentation to thoroughly explain the proposed technical approach, including the foundations' structural design loads. The protesters argued that, if the agency had properly vetted CBY's supporting documentation, it would have concluded that CBY's approach was unacceptable. According to the protesters, CBY's proposed pile-supported foundation (for the pumping station) was noncompliant given the depth to which the piles would be embedded and the manner in which they would connect with the structures. The protesters claimed the agency conducted little independent evaluation of CBY's supporting documentation.

The Corps admitted that it spent about five minutes discussing CBY's proposed foundation. But, the agency argued that, given the design-build nature of the project, general [...]

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