Brandt Group, Inc.
B-409104: Jan 16, 2014
- Full Report:
Brandt Group, Inc., of Newport Beach, California, protests the award of a contract to Terran Corporation, of Beavercreek, Ohio, under request for proposals (RFP) No. W9124B-13-R-0009 issued by the Department of the Army for shock absorbing concrete (SACON) panel kits able to absorb specified calibers of ammunition. The protester challenges the agency's rejection of its proposal as technically unacceptable.
We deny the protest.
Matter of: Brandt Group, Inc.
Date: January 16, 2014
Protest challenging the agencys evaluation of the protesters proposal as technically unacceptable is denied where agency reasonably found that the protester failed to adequately demonstrate its understanding of and capability to perform the solicitation requirements.
Brandt Group, Inc., of Newport Beach, California, protests the award of a contract to Terran Corporation, of Beavercreek, Ohio, under request for proposals (RFP) No. W9124B-13-R-0009 issued by the Department of the Army for shock absorbing concrete (SACON) panel kits able to absorb specified calibers of ammunition. The protester challenges the agencys rejection of its proposal as technically unacceptable.
We deny the protest.
The RFP, issued on September 17, 2013, as a small business set-aside, contemplated the award of a fixed-price contract on a best-value basis considering technical acceptability and price. Agency Report (AR) Tab 5, RFP Amend. 2 at 38-40. To be considered technically acceptable, an offerors proposal was required to contain documented evidence that the offeror meets all requirements and certifications. Id. at 40. Offerors were specifically instructed to provide documentation demonstrating a clear understanding of the requirements, how they would utilize resources in performance of the contract, and how their experience with similar requirements demonstrated their capability to perform the RFPs requirements. Id. at 39-40. Moreover, concerning the evaluation of proposals, the RFP established that the agency would consider the extent to which the offeror identifies those technical capabilities that will address the requirements in the Performance Work Statement [(PWS)]. Id. As it is relevant to the protest, the PWS, which was in fact entitled Statement of Work (SOW), specifically required, among other things, that the offerors SACON concrete panels be made of bullet absorbing material capable of absorbing the impact of 5.56mm, 9mm, .45 caliber and up to 7.62mm ammunition from internal and external angles with minimal damage. Id. at 8. An additional RFP requirement, listed as a matter of technical acceptability, was for each offeror to submit with its proposal a copy of the firms SACON certification or license. Id. at 35, 38-39.
The agency received four proposals by the RFPs September 25 amended closing date. Brandts proposal, priced at $437,960, was rejected as technically unacceptable because the agency concluded that it failed to provide required information pertaining to the RFPs stated work requirements. For example, the agency found that Brandt failed to demonstrate its capability to meet the absorption requirements for three of the four specified calibers of ammunition. Contracting Officers Statement at 2. The agency selected Terrans proposal, with a price of $461,860, as the lowest-priced technically acceptable proposal, and the agency made award on September 30. This protest followed.
In reviewing a protest against the propriety of an evaluation, it is not our role to independently evaluate proposals and substitute our judgment for that of the contracting activity. Barents Group, L.L.C., B-276082, B-276082.2, May 9, 1997, 97-1 CPD ¶ 164 at 6. Rather, we will review an evaluation to ensure that it was reasonable and consistent with the evaluation criteria in the solicitation and applicable procurement statutes and regulations; a protesters mere disagreement with the evaluation does not show it lacked a reasonable basis. Id.
Brandt contends that the agency unreasonably evaluated its proposal as technically unacceptable. We disagree. The record confirms, for instance, the agencys finding that Brandts proposal failed to include information regarding the ability of the proposed panels to meet the required absorption capability for three of the four types of ammunition listed in the SOW. In this regard, the agency points out that Brandts proposal only mentions 5.56mm ammunition, and does so only by providing what appears to be a title page from the SACON technical specification in its proposal. Brandt Technical Proposal at 22.
In its response, Brandt concedes that it did not address the requirements, but argues that its general commitment to comply with the requirements of the RFP should have been sufficient for the agency. Brandt Comments at 1-2 (Brandt never addressed any type of specific ammunition . . . but rather agreed to perform pursuant to all terms and conditions as stated in the SOW) (emphasis in original). We disagree.
An offeror is responsible for demonstrating affirmatively the merits of its proposal and risks rejection if it fails to do so. See John Blood, B-402133, Jan. 15, 2010, 2010 CPD ¶ 30 at 3-4. No matter how competent an offeror may be, the technical evaluation must be based on information included in the firms quotation. See Watson Indus., Inc., B-238309, Apr. 5, 1990, 90-1 CPD ¶ 371 at 3-4. The RFP here required offerors to demonstrate their understanding and capability to meet all of the SOW requirements, including, for instance, the absorption requirements for specific types of ammunition. Since the protesters proposal failed to do so, we have no basis to question the agencys rejection of it as technically unacceptable. Brandts general statements of compliance with all RFP terms are insufficient in this regard. See National Shower Express; Rickaby Fire Support, B-293970, B-293970.2, July 15, 2004, 2004 CPD ¶ 140 at 4-5 (offeror is responsible for including sufficient information to establish compliance with solicitation requirements, and blanket statements of compliance are insufficient to meet this obligation).
The protest is denied.
Susan A. Poling
 SACON is a form of shock-absorbing concrete developed and patented by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps issues non-exclusive licenses to contractors that allow them to produce it. Contracting Officers Statement at 1.
 The panels were required to absorb 1,000 rounds of all four of the specified calibers of ammunition before repair or replacement of the panels. RFP at 8, SOW.
 The firms proposal also provided only an unsigned copy of what the firm referred to as its SACON license, along with an unsigned email from an Army engineer--addressed to Brandt 6 months prior to proposal submission--stating that Brandt was on that offices SACON licensees list. Brandt Comments at 1; Brandt Technical Proposal at 3-21. The proposal was also found to lack information about similar SACON-specific experience; lastly, the agency was concerned that the proposals cover letter was unclear about whether assembly of the panels, which was contemplated by the solicitation, was included in Brandts price. Contracting Officers Statement at 1-3.
 Because, as discussed above, we find that the agency reasonably evaluated Brandts proposal as technically unacceptable, we do not discuss the additional concerns expressed by the agency about the adequacy of Brandts proposal, to the extent they have been challenged.