U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS The Appeal of FRY COMMUNICATIONS, INC. Docket No. GPO BCA 1-87 June 1, 1989 MICHAEL F. DiMARIO Administrative Law Judge OPINION This appeal, timely filed by Fry Communications, Inc., 800 West Church Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-0211 (Appellant), is from the final decision of John J. O'Connor, Contracting Officer (CO), dated December 24, 1986, terminating U.S. Government Printing Office, San Francisco Regional Printing and Procurement Office (SFRPPO/Respondent) contract, Purchase Order P-4853, Jacket No. 687-502, for default for failure to furnish satisfactory press sheets for this order." The appeal is denied and the decision of the CO affirmed for the reasons set forth hereinbelow. BACKGROUND Appellant was awarded contract Purchase Order P-4853, Jacket No. 687-502, on June 30, 1986, to produce some 3,136 books requisitioned from the SFRPPO by the Department of the Interior (Requisition No. 6-04627) in accordance with certain specifications prepared by the SFRPPO. Among other things, the specifications required Appellant to reproduce some 34 pages of halftone text pages using a 300 line screen. The paper to be used was specified as matte coated offset book, basis size and weight: 25 x 38", 60 lb., equal to JCP Code A-240 of the U.S. Government Paper Specification Standards issued by the Congressional Joint Committee on Printing. The quality of such halftone printing was to be in conformance with attribute P-8 of the GPO Quality Assurance Through Attributes Program (QATAP) with the specified standard being the match of Velox proofs. The first set of proofs was rejected for failure to meet the P-8 halftone attribute. At that time Appellant advised Respondent that it did not believe such standard could be met using the specified paper. (Rule 4 File, hereinafter "R4 File," Tab 4.) Appellant, nevertheless, attempted a second and third set of proofs each of which were rejected for the same defects in halftone reproduction. (R4 File, Tab 4, sheets 5 and 6.) At that point, Respondent, by letter dated October 29, 1986, advised Appellant that GPO considered Appellant's inability to furnish a press sheet with satisfactory halftone illustrations to be a "condition that is endangering performance of the contract in accordance with its terms [and that] unless such condition [was] cured within 5 days after receipt [of the notice] the government [might] terminate subject contract for default." (R4 File, Tab 5.) Appellant, by letter dated November 11, 1986, responded that it was "in the process of buying non-compressable [sic] blankets, a different ink, plus re-shoot dark halftones." Thereafter, a fourth set of proofs was furnished and rejected. The rejection letter dated December 12, 1986, again advised Appellant that its inability to furnish press sheets with satisfactory halftones was a condition endangering performance of the contract in accordance with its terms and that the contract might be defaulted unless such condition was cured within 5 days after receipt of the letter. (R4 File, Tab 8.) In response, Appellant, by letter dated December 19, 1986, advised: "We have reviewed each step of operation, and have been advised by outside specialist, plus purchased equipment and also the proofs were printed on a new Heidelberg ZP102 press. With the interest of the agency to give the best results possible, for 34 photo's w/overlays per specifications." (R4 File, Tab 9.) The CO then decided to terminate the contract for default and sought the concurrence of the GPO Contract Review Board. In so doing, the CO expressed its opinion to the Board that Appellant's repeated claim respecting the inappropriateness of specified paper for the halftone reproductions was unfounded because "[n]umerous similar jobs have been successfully produced for this customer and Fry was even furnished a sample of one of these previous orders." (R4 File, Tab 10.) Concurrence was given and the contract was terminated by letter dated December 24, 1986, for the reasons stated, supra. (R4 File, Tab 11.) Appellant thereafter filed its Notice of Appeal dated December 30, 1986. (R4 File, Tab 12). This was followed by the issuance of an internal "Inspection Results" memorandum by Darwin D. Hughes, the Chief of GPO's Quality Assurance Section, to GPO's Western Regional Printing Procurement Assistant Superintendent which in pertinent part stated: Comparing the press sheets to the camera copy Quality Assurance has determined that there is a definite detail loss in the shadow and mid-tone areas. We assesed [sic] 20 demerits against each halftone using attribute P-8. Halftone Match, Procedure: 1, paragraph a. Conclusion: I do not feel this contractor has achieved the standards of our Quality Assurance Through Attributes program for level 3 halftone match. R4 File, Tab 13. Appellant, by letter of February 12, 1987, advised the Board that it desired to have the appeal decided on the written record and further expressed the view that the paper specification created: [A]n unjustifiable requirement. Simply, the manufacturing of this paper in addition to 34-300 line halftone pages at quality level III, has demonstrated that we cannot produce these halftones to meet the quality level required using the above mentioned paper specifications. We offered at no additional cost to the government a higher quality grade paper over and above original specifications, to achieve the results expected. Case in point we do numerous Department of Interior publications with no printing problems. Official File, Tab D. The case is thus before this Board for decision in this form. DISCUSSION It is well settled in the law of Government contracts that the contractor has the burden of proving that the Government's specifications were defective in design and that such defects were the cause of the problems in question, Bailfield Industries, Div. of A-T-O, Inc., ASBCA 18057, 77-1, BCA ¶ 12,348 (1977). Absent such proof, the general rule is that the Government is entitled to strictly enforce compliance with its specifications, S.S. Silberblatt, Inc. v. United States, 433 F.2d 1314 (1970). Thus, the Government can refuse to acquiesce to a contractor's request that it be allowed to use substitute materials, Polyphase Contracting Corp., ASBCA 11787, 68-1, BCA ¶ 6,759 (1967), even if such materials are superior. Nichols & Co. v. United States, 156 Ct. Cl. 358 (1962), cert. denied, 371 U.S. 959 (1963). FINDINGS OF FACT Examining the record in the light of the law, the Board finds that Appellant has failed to carry its burden of proof inasmuch as it has offered no probative evidence whatsoever to support its contention that its "failure to furnish satisfactory press sheets for this order." was caused by the specification of inappropriate paper stock. Accordingly, DECISION The appeal is denied and the decision of the CO affirmed. IT IS SO ORDERED.