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'Marginal' Rating Improper Where Strengths My Overpower Weakness

Thursday, July 27, 2017 05:15 am

 

Sustained: Evaluation & Tradeoff Decision

Matter of: Mevacon-NASCO JV; Encanto Facility Services, LLC, 2017 U.S. Comp. Gen. -414329; B-414329.2; B-414329.3; B-414329.4 (May 11, 2017)

Together, two protesters managed to convince the Comptroller General that a government agency conducted improper evaluations, inadequate discussions, and an unfounded tradeoff decision. Thus, its award was made unreasonably.

Mevacon-NASCO JV (Mevacon) and Encanto Facility Services, LLC (Encanto) were both bidders on a $30-million Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) project to perform repair, maintenance, and construction at Fort Hood, Texas. Despite a solicitation that favored non-price factors over price, the higher-priced Infinite Energy Construction, Inc. (Infinite) won the award. Mevacon and Encanto protested and succeeded on several points outlined below.

Other than price, the key difference between Infinite's proposal and those of Mevacon and Encanto was the rating given for the management approach factor. Infinite's proposal earned an "outstanding" for this factor, while the other two earned "marginal" ratings because of errors in their responses to a hypothetical job order calculation (sample problem). The Comptroller ruled that the agency's interpretation of the sample problem was reasonable, and that it reasonably found that Mevacon's sample problem response contained an error. Importantly, however, the Comptroller also ruled that the agency's evaluation placed unreasonable emphasis on this single aspect of the proposal.

Automatic 'marginal' ignored strengths

The sample problem was one of three subfactors under the management approach factor. Because the solicitation did not specify the weights of these subfactors, each should have been given equal weight. See Bio-Rad Labs., Inc., B-297553 CPD para. 58 at 6 (2007) (generally, where a solicitation does not disclos[...]

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