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Design-Phase Work Precluded Firm From Bidding On Construction Phase

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 08:06 am

 

Denied: Conflict of Interest

Matter of: HBI-GF, JV, 2017 U.S. Comp. Gen. B-415036 Lexis 326 (Nov. 13, 2017)

An engineering firm that played an early role in a government agency's project design was precluded from later joining forces with a construction firm to bid on the build phase of the project.

HBI-GF, JV (HBI-GF)---a joint venture of Hayward Baker, Inc. and Gannett Fleming, Inc.---submitted a proposal for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) project to construct six miles of cutoff walls at Herbert Hoover Dike embankment at Lake Okeechobee in Florida. The Corps then excluded HBI-GF from the competition for the construction contract due to an organizational conflict of interest (OCI). HBI-GF protested that finding, claiming that the government's OCI analysis failed to meaningfully consider relevant information and was otherwise unreasonable. The Comptroller General was unconvinced.

One of the HBI-GF joint venture firms, Gannett Fleming, Inc. (Gannett Fleming), took part in a separate, initial stage of the project as part of Gannett Fleming/GEI Consultants Joint Venture (GF-GEI). The Corps had issued a task order to GF-GEI to conduct an external safety review for the design phase. And, under that order, GF-GEI agreed to review "the design and construction activities prior to the initiation of physical construction and periodically thereafter until construction activities are completed ... for the purpose of assuring public health, safety, and welfare."

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