FEDERATED LITHOGRAPHERS-PRINTERS, INC. GPO BCA 1-86 May 29, 1987 Michael F. DiMario Administrative Law Judge Opinion This appeal, timely filed by Federated Lithographers-Printers, Inc. (hereinafter "Appellant"), 369 Prairie Avenue, Providence, RI 02901, is from the final decision of Michael J. Atkins, Contracting Officer, Seattle Regional Printing & Procurement Office (hereinafter "SRPPO"), U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20401 (hereinafter "GPO" or "Respondent"), dated January 16, 1986, terminating Jacket No. 691-542, Purchase Order R-3951 "for default because of . . . failure to produce the maps as specified." (Rule 4 File, hereinafter "R4 File," Tab F) The decision of the Contracting Officer is affirmed for the reasons set forth hereinbelow. On or about December 12, 1985, Appellant was awarded GPO SRPPO contract Jacket No. 691-542, Purchase Order R-3951 to produce 26,838 5-color maps, 36 x 40 inches, folded to 4 x 9 inches, with 9 accordion folds and 2 right angle folds to ship complete by January 24, 1986. The award was made in the amount of $14,010 in accordance with Appellant's low bid. According to Atkins, Appellant's Mr. Paul DeGasparre telephonically informed him on January 3, 1986, that Appellant could not perform the .required folding and would like to return the order to the SRPPO. Atkins informed DeGasparre of Appellant's responsibility for performance and suggested that Appellant subcontract the work. DeGasparre indicated that subcontracting would cause his price to exceed the next lowest bidder's price and rather than do that his firm would accept default. Atkins explained the consequences of such action to DeGasparre who according to Atkins indicated his understanding and said his decision to accept default would be confirmed in writing. (R4 File, Tab E) That same day, DeGasparre wrote to Atkins, referenced the conversation, and requested that Atkins "consider this letter as confirmation that we cannot manufacture the above job. Our folding equipment prevents us from producing the necessary accordion folds in the second and third sections of the machine which have a maximum capacity of 35" and 27" respectively and the map dimension is 36"." (R4 File, Tab C) On January 6, 1986, upon receipt of the letter, Atkins telephonically contacted Appellant because the letter did not expressly state that the "default" was being voluntarily accepted. Atkins asserts that he was then told that Appellant did not agree with the consequences of "default," and would not complete the order but would return the Government-furnished materials. That same day Atkins caused a "Cure Notice" to be delivered to Appellant by private express carrier advising Appellant that: (1) Its failure to perform was considered "a condition that is endangering performance of the contract in accordance with its terms."; (2) it was being "afforded the opportunity.to present, in writing, within 5 days from receipt hereof, the measures adopted which have cured such condition."; and (3) that "[u] nless such condition" was cured, the Government might "terminate the contract for default pursuant to the article entitled 'Default,' United States Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. 1." (R4 File, Tab D) Following such action the SRPPO received the Government-furnished materials on January 16, 1986. Thereafter, Atkins, as Contracting Officer, issued the final decision letter terminating the contract. He also advised the Appellant that the Government might reprocure the required products from another contractor, and in such case could hold Appellant liable for any excess reprocurement costs. Lastly, he advised Appellant of its right to appeal his decision. By letter of January 30, 1986, addressed to SRPPO Attn: Atkins, one Dennis R. Newsham, not further identified, wrote to the SRPPO referencing Atkin's January 16 letter and advising that the instant letter was Appellant's notice of appeal. The letter in pertinent part stated that "[w]ithout the benefit of a folding dummy which usually accompanies most bids, we misinterpreted your folding specifications which did not allow us to fit the map on any of our four (4) folders. . . . If a dummy had been supplied, we would have immediately refrained from bidding; but as such was not the case, we, in good faith, submitted a bid as best as we interpreted it." (R4 File, Tab G) Atkins subsequently forwarded the appeal letter and Rule 4 File to this Board where it was received on February 4, 1986. By letter of March 12, 1986, the Board provided Appellant with a copy of GPO Instruction 110.12, "Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure" dated September 17, 1984, and advised Appellant that such Rules required the filing of a Complaint, and an election and notification to the Board as to whether Appellant desired a hearing or a decision upon the written record alone. The Board received no response. Thereafter, by letter of May 30, 1986, the Board advised the parties that as a matter of procedure it was entering a general denial into the record on behalf of Respondent pursuant to GPO Instruction 110.12, supra, Rule 6.(b). The appeal has laid dormant in the dockets of this office since that time. Therefore, this Board, under its own initiative and pursuant to its Rules of Practice and Procedure, supra, elects to decide this case upon the written record now before it. Discussion The issue presented by this appeal is founded in Appellant's contention that Respondent was in some way culpable for Appellant's default after award but before performance because Respondent had failed to provide it with a "folding dummy" which it asserts "usually accompanies most [Invitations for] bids . . . ." This Board believes that such argument has been proffered by Appellant to cloak its own shortcomings respecting its failure to properly evaluate the product specifications prior to its bid. (R4 File, Tab B) The specifications provide that the finished product trim size shall be 36 x 40 inches. Moreover, the additional instructions under the caption "Binding" specify: "Fold to 4 x 9" with 9 accordion folds and 2 right angle folds. Last fold to be on top of cover panel. (Two half folds)" Certainly, such instructions are enough to alert a reasonably prudent printer knowledgeable of its own equipment limitations, i.e., that the 2nd and 3rd sections of its folding equipment have maximum capacities of 35 x 27 inches, respectively, to question its own ability to perform such folding work for a map of fixed trim size as above before submitting its bid, irrespective of whether or not it was furnished a folding dummy. Moreover, the record shows that 2 other bidders responded to the Invitations for Bid (R4 File, Tab A) without raising any questions concerning the necessity of such dummy. It is inconceivable to this Board that 3 bidders would fail to question a routine customary practice of the sort alleged here if such practice were consequential to their bid submissions. Finally, to allow such argument to prevail after award under established law regarding post-award discovery of mistake in bid, this Board must make a determination that the Government either knew or suspected the mistake and failed to request Appellant to review and confirm its bid, Chernick v. United States, 178 Ct.Cl. 498, 372 F.2d 492 (1967), or that the Government contributed to the error. Leal v. United States, 149 Ct.Cl. 451 (1960). This Board declines to make such judgment from the facts before it. To do otherwise would destroy the integrity of the competitive procurement process. Accordingly, this Board affirms the decision of the Contracting Officer.