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.