U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS WASHINGTON, DC 20401 In the Matter of ) ) The Appeal of ) ) OLYMPIC GRAPHIC SYSTEMS ) Docket No. GPO BCA 01-92 Program 2927-S ) Purchase Order N-1595 ) DECISION AND ORDER By letter dated April 5, 1991, Olympic Graphic Systems (Appellant or Contractor), 3516 East Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90023, filed a timely appeal from the January 17, 1991, final decision of Contracting Officer James A. Davidson, of the U.S. Government Printing Office's (Respondent or GPO or Government) Los Angeles Regional Printing Procurement Office (LARPPO), 3950 Paramount Boulevard, Room 220, Lakewood, California 90712-4137, rejecting the Appellant's claim of a post- award mistake in bid on its contract identified as Program 2927- S, Purchase Order N-1595, and notifying the Contractor that steps would be taken to "recover all payments that may have been made in excess of the agreed to Schedule of Prices rates[.]" (R4 File, Tab M).1 For the reasons which follow, the decision of the Contracting Officer is hereby AFFIRMED, and the appeal is DENIED.2 I. BACKGROUND3 1. On December 19, 1989, the Respondent issued a solicitation for a single-award "Requirements" contract on behalf of the Department of the Navy (Navy) for "Copying, Diazo Printing, and Films" in each of two (2) categories for a one-year term beginning January 1, 1990, and ending December 31, 1990 (R4 File, Tab A, at 1). As described in the solicitation, the scope of the work consisted of "the production of text matter, films, and drawings requiring such operations as copy pickup, copying, diazo printing, camera work, binding, packing, labeling and marking, and distribution[.]" (R4 File, Tab A, at 5). The contract also provided that "[p]ayment will [be] based on the finished trim size indicated on the Print Order, rounded up to the nearest square foot[.]" (R4 File, Tab A, at 13). This dispute concerns the award of, and payment for Category II work. 2. On January 9, 1990, the Appellant, who was the incumbent contractor, submitted its bid for the contract (R4 File, Tabs B and U). In that regard, the Contractor was one of five (5) responsive bidders for the Category II work (R4 File, Tabs C, D and H).4 The Contractor's Category II offer for the line items listed in the solicitation's "Schedule of Prices" was: I. Diazo Prints: (PAYMENT WILL [BE] BASED ON THE FINISHED TRIM SIZE INDICATED ON THE PRINT ORDER, ROUNDED UP TO THE NEAREST SQUARE FOOT.) a. Diazo blueline/blackline prints. . . per square foot $0.06 b. Diazo sepia vellum. . .per square foot 0.25 c. Intermediates. . . .per square foot 0.25 d. Blackprints - electrostatic/xerographic 2080 or equivalent: (1) White bond 20-lb. .per square foot. . 0.44 (2) White vellum 20-lb. . . .per square foot 0.54 II. ADDITIONAL OPERATIONS: a. Folding prints. . . .per 100 leaves $1.00 b. Wrapping in rolls. . . .each roll 1.00 c. Staple sets. . . .each set 1.00 d. Collating prints into sets. . . . .per 100 prints 5.00 III. Films: a. Lithographic Film. . . per square foot $3.00 b. Mylars. . . . . . . . . . per square foot 3.00 c. Washoff Mylars. . . . per square foot 3.25 See R4 File, Tab B. 3. On March 9,1990, the Respondent issued Purchase Order N-1595 to the Appellant awarding it the Category II work at a contract price of $66,650.25 (R4 File, Tab E). Thereafter, it received print orders, satisfactorily performed the work and delivered it on time, and submitted its bills for payment to the Government. See RPTC, at 3. 4. On October 19, 1990, the Navy facility at Point Mugu, California, contacted the LARPPO and complained about the Contractor's charges on seven print orders-Print Orders 21014, 21015, 21016, 21017, 21020, 21022, and 21024 (R4 File, Tab F). Specifically, the Navy said that it appeared the Appellant was overbilling, and wanted GPO to explain the difference between its invoices and the customer-agency's estimates for the work. In that regard, the record shows the following: Print Order Navy Estimate5 GPO Estimate GPO Bill 21014 $ 187.76 $ 164.00 $ 216.00 21015 821.80 867.00 1,743.00 21016 68.56 67.00 126.00 21017 1,236.23 1,330.00 1,374.00 21020 176.48 177.00 352.00 21022 536.57 545.00 1,033.00 21024 112.20 114.00 27.00 See R4 File, Tabs F and G. 5. After receiving the Navy's complaint, the Contracting Officer immediately contacted Robert E. Burns, the Appellant's President, and requested that he send copies of the disputed invoices to the LARPPO (R4 File, Tab F). From his own examination, it appeared to the Contracting Officer that the Contractor was (with one exception) overcharging the Government for the contract work, as alleged by the Navy (R4 File, Tab G). See RPTC, at 3. Therefore, on November 6, 1990, the Contracting Officer wrote to Philip Jones, Chief, General Examination and Support Branch, in GPO's Financial Management Service (hereinafter FMS), and asked him to: (a) audit the invoices in question and make any necessary corrections; and (b) monitor the Appellant's future billings on the contract (R4 File, Tab G). 6. On November 13, 1990, the Contracting Officer received a letter from the Contractor, dated November 7, 1990, which stated, in pertinent part: Today I was involved in a three way conversation with Ms. Diane Abeyt and Ms. Molina of Point Magu [sic] and myself. They brought to my attention category Item II I D Blackprints Electrostatic/Xerographic 2080 or Equivalent. 1 White Bond 20Lb per Square Foot $ .44  White Vellum 20Lb per Square Foot $ .54 Diane Abeyt stated that we were overcharging the Navy for the work. Last year on 9/14/89, you signed a contract modification for these two Items to change the price to .90 for Bond and $1.00 for Vellum. This was necessary due to the cost to produce this work. We continued to charge this price this year with no changes made in the contract. When my Manager Don LaPlante typed up the new contract with the same prices as last year, they were submitted to me to sign and initial. I was under the understanding that all prices were the same and that the two Items in question were still $ .90 and $1.00[,] as the modification stated. If that modification is not acceptible [sic] then I would not be able to do the work for .44 and .54 per Square Foot. You are aware of our previous correspondence which we stated and referred to the modification. Therefore we were not misleading you, the Navy or GPO. We also stated that we were not getting paid for all of the footage that was processed because GPO was figuring on square inches instead of to the nearest square foot which the contract states. * * * * * * * * * * See R4 File, Tab H. [Emphasis added.] 7. The contract modification referred to in the Appellant's letter, was Contract Modification No. 89-1, issued December 20, 1998, for the prior year's Program 2927-S (R4 File, Tab S). Contract Modification No. 89-1 provided: Effective with print order 10124 and continuing for the balance of the contract term add the following items to the specifications: 20-lb. white bond, blackprints, electrostatic/xerographic 2080 or equivalent, per square foot.....................................$0.90[.] 20-lb. white regular vellum, blackprints, electrostatic/xerographic 2080 or equivalent per square foot............................$1.00[.] All other specifications remain the same. See R4 File, Tabs J and S. The contract modification was issued because the 1989 contract for Program 2927-S did not contain these two line item specifications (R4 File, Tab T; Answer, ¶ 3). 8. The Respondent interpreted the Appellant's November 7, 1990, letter as a post-award mistake in bid claim. See RPTC, at 3. Accordingly, on November 14, 1990, the Contracting Officer sent a letter to the Contractor, which said, in pertinent part: This concerns your claim of a mistake in bid alleged after award on Program 2927-S. Before any further action can be taken, you must support this claim immediately, by furnishing a sworn statement (affidavit), . . . supported by all pertinent evidence such as the contractor's file copy of the bid, the original worksheets and other data used in preparing the bid, subcontractors' or suppliers' quotations (if any), published price lists and any other evidence which will serve to establish the mistake, the manner in which it occurred, and the bid actually intended. Failure to submit material as prescribed may preclude consideration of your claim. See R4 File, Tab I. 9. Pursuant to the Contracting Officer's request, the Appellant submitted a document entitled "Affidavit," dated November 27, 1990 (notarized on November 28, 1990), and signed by Burns, which stated, in pertinent part: * * * * * * * * * * 2. The bid Olympic Graphic Systems submitted was for the GPO Program 2927[-]S which was submitted in error in the following respects. a. On Items [sic] I D (1) White Bond 20Lb per Square Foot should be $ .90 not $ .44. b. On Item I D (2) White Vellum 20Lb per Square Foot should be $1.00 not $ .54. 3. The error occurred because the mark up was changed by hand and was not changed by the typist. 4. The attached worksheets are the original worksheets used to prepare the bid and have not been altered. The marked up sheet was typed by Don LaPlante, Production Manager. We can not [sic] find the original copies, all we can find is a copy of the marked up sheet. This is the sheet where the error was made. We also enclose a copy of the contract modification of the previous contract. * * * * * * * * * * 5. We wish the bid to be corrected and, if not correctable, that the bid be withdrawn. See R4 File, Tab J.6 [Emphasis added.] In addition to enclosing the markup sheet and a copy of Contract Modification 89-1, Burns also attached a copy of pages 4 through 8 of the Contractor's "Price Guide" to his Affidavit , (R4 File, Tab J). See also RPTC, at 4. The "Price Guide," showed that the Appellant's standard charge for xerographic copying on bond paper was $1.30 (line item I.d(1)) per square foot, and on 20 pound vellum (line item I.d(2)) it was $1.60 (R4 File, Tabs J and K). Id. 10. On January 3, 1991, after considering the Contractor's evidence, the Contracting Officer determined that the post-award mistake in bid claim had no merit, and he wrote to GPO's Contract Review Board (CRB) requesting its concurrence in his decision to deny it (R4 File, Tabs K and L).7 See RPTC, at 4-5. The Contracting Officer told the CRB, in pertinent part: * * * * * * * * * * The items involved can not [sic] be deleted from the contract. The contract price, if corrected, would exceed that of the next lowest acceptable bidder. At certification, I believed the bid prices were lower for these items, when compared to the prices on the previous year[']s negotiated prices, due to competition. The contractor has performed and received payment for approximately 83 orders. The contractor has not presented clear and convincing evidence that a mistake was made, the mistake was not mutual, and the claimed unilateral mistake was not so apparent as to have charged the contracting officer with notice of a possibility of a mistake. * * * * * * * * * * See R4 File, Tabs K and L. On January 17, 1991, the CRB approved the Contracting Officer's proposal to deny the Appellant's post- award mistake in bid claim (R4 File, Tab K and L). 11. By letter, dated January 17, 1991, expressly designated "final decision," the Contracting Officer notified the Contractor that its post-award mistake in bid claim was rejected and that he was taking steps to recover all excess payments (R4 File, Tab M).8 See RPTC, at 5. On that same day, the Contracting Officer sent a memorandum to the FMS, telling it that the Contractor's claim of a mistake after award on Program 2927-S had been denied, and requesting "an audit of vouchers submitted to date and for the balance of the current term for items I.d.(1) and (2), Category II, Program 2927-S, which was awarded to Olympic Graphic Systems, 040-23092, on [March 9, 1990], under Purchase Order N[-] 1595[.]" (R4 File, Tab N). 12. By letter dated April 5, 1991, the Contractor timely appealed the Contracting Officer's final decision to the Board.9 II. ISSUES PRESENTED10 1. Was the Contracting Officer in error when he decided that under the PPR the Appellant had not supported its post-award mistake in bid claim for line items I.d.(1) and I.d.(2), respectively, with sufficient "clear and convincing evidence"? Stated otherwise, has the Contractor shown, by "clear and convincing evidence," that, in fact, it made a bidding error which was so apparent as to have charged the Contracting Officer with notice of the probability of a mistake, and that it is entitled to a contract modification revising the contract price for line item I.d.(1) from $0.44 to $0.90 per square foot, and for line item I.d.(2) from $.054 to $1.00 per square foot? 2. Are the WRA's printing industry standards which measure diazo/black prints to the nearest "square inch" instead of "square foot" binding on the Government so that the contract may be deemed to be modified to that extent for payment purposes? III. POSITION OF THE PARTIES The Appellant recognizes that its obligation is to prove that it made a mistake in bid by "clear and convincing evidence," and it believes that it has done so in this appeal. See RPTC, at 5; App. Brf., at 2. The Contractor relies primarily on two things in support of its position: (1) Burns' Affidavit, with attachments; and (2) the parties' prior dealings with regard to the 1989 contract. These, the Appellant states are sufficient to show that its bids for line items I.d.(1) and I.(d).(2) of $ .44 and $ .54, respectively, were clearly a mistake, which should have been apparent to the Respondent because it had previously issued Contract Modification 89-1, which allowed prices of $ .90 and $1.00 for the same work.11 See RPTC, at 5-6; App. Brf., at 1; R4 File, Tab J. In the latter regard especially, the Appellant argues that it had a good faith belief that the prices negotiated by the parties when the two disputed line items were added to the 1989 contract remained in force and effect for the 1990 agreement. See RPTC, at 6 (citing R4 File, Tab S; see also Tab J); App. Brf., at 1. Furthermore, the Contractor contends that the Contracting Officer's two (2) month delay in responding to its request for a contract modification, was also prejudicial in this case. See RPTC, at 6 (citing R4 File, Tab M); App. Brf., at 2. Finally, the Appellant also argues that the "square foot" formula GPO employed to price Diazo/black prints was contrary to the WRA standard established for the industry, in which prices are figured on a "square inch" basis. See RPTC, at 6; App. Brf., at 2, 3. The Contractor claimed that the Respondent's "erroneous" pricing method had cost it approximately $4,000.00 over the previous five (5) years. See RPTC, at 6. Since this way of pricing worked to the disadvantage of all GPO contractors, including the Appellant, it urged the Board to reverse the policy and to refund the past deductions made by the Government from its invoices on various contracts. See RPTC, at 7. Accordingly, for these reasons, the Contractor asserts that the Respondent's decision denying its post-award mistake in bid claim and seeking recovery of any overpayments, was in error, and should be overturned by the Board. See RPTC, at 6; App. Brf., at 3. The Respondent, on the other hand, contends that the Appellant's evidence is inadequate to support the Contractor's post-award mistake in bid claim.12 See RPTC, at 4-5; R. Brf., at 3. The Government says that it is clear that if any bidding error occurred in this case it was unilateral on the part of the Appellant, and thus it can recover only if the Contracting Officer had constructive notice of the mistake, when measured against a standard of reasonableness.13 See R. Brf., at 4 (quoting Citiplate, Inc., GPOCAB 4-83 (December 20, 1983), slip op. at 2, 1983 WL 135374. Citing Charnick v. United States, 178 Ct. Cl. 498, 372 F.2d 492 (1967); Wender Presses, Inc. v. United States, 170 Ct. Cl. 483, 343 F.2d 961 (1965)).14 GPO contends that the Contractor's evidence does not meet the standard necessary to place the Contracting Officer on notice that there may have been a bidding error, because, inter alia, the Appellant was not the lowest bidder, but rather the third lowest.15 See RPTC, at 5; R. Brf., at 4 (citing R4 File, Tab C). As for the argument that Contract Modification 89-1 established the prices for the disputed line items in the 1990 contract, the Respondent says that the Contractor has completely misconstrued the facts. See R. Brf., at 4 (citing R4 File, Tab H). In that regard, the contract modification added the two line items in question to the contract-they were not part of the original 1989 solicitation. Id., (citing R4 File, Tab S). Therefore, when the Contracting Officer reviewed the bids for the 1990 contract, he thought that the Appellant had lowered its prices because of competition, and had no reason to suspect that he was looking at an erroneous bid. See RPTC, at 7; R. Brf., at 4-5 (citing R4 File, Tab K). Accordingly, the Respondent asserts that since the Contractor has not presented any new evidence to the Board, the Contracting Officer's decision should be upheld. See RPTC, at 7; R. Brf., at 5. Finally, the Government rejects the Appellant's contention that the WRA measuring standards are binding on the parties to this contract. See RPTC, at 7; R. Brf., at 5. In the Government's view, the contract itself spells out the payment basis for diazo prints-" . . . the finished trim size . . . rounded up to the nearest square foot[.]"-and anything else is irrelevant. See RPTC, at 7; R. Brf., at 5 (citing R4 File, Tab A, at 13). GPO's argument rests on black letter law which holds that the Government is entitled to strict compliance with its contract specifications. Id., (citing Cascade Pacific International v. United States, 773 F.2d 287 (Fed. Cir. 1987); American Electric Contracting Corp. v. United States, 217 Ct. Cl. 338, 579 F.2d 602 (1978); Dependable Printing Co., Inc., GPO BCA 5-84 (September 12, 1985), 1985 WL 154847). The Respondent asserts that contract specifications tell a contractor precisely what the Government wants and is entitled to receive under the "strict compliance" doctrine. Id., (Rohr Industries, Inc., ENGBCA No. 4094, 82-1 BCA ¶ 15,732). The principle also means that a contractor has no right to substitute its views for the Government's requirements, especially where the specifications are clear, unambiguous, and objectively ascertainable, as here. Id., (citing Maxwell Dynameter Co. v. United States, 386 F.2d 855 (Ct. Cl. 1967); Herley Industries, Inc., ASBCA No. 15378, 72-2 BCA ¶ 9749, reconsid. denied, 73-1 BCA ¶ 9922 (1973); Arrow Lacquer Corp., ASBCA No. 4667, 58-2 BCA ¶ 2003). GPO contends that in light of this rule, the Appellant's allegation that the contractual standard of measurement was depriving it of complete compensation for all diazo copying, is absolutely without merit. See RPTC, at 7; R. Brf., at 6 (citing R4 File, Tab H). Indeed, the Government's own analysis shows that there is practically no difference in the compensation for diazo prints whether the calculations are made using the WRA standards or the contractual formula. See R. Brf., at 6 (citing R4 File, Tab W). Therefore, for all of these reasons, the Respondent urges the Board to deny the Appellant's claim and sustain the Contracting Officer's decision. See RPTC, at 7; R. Brf., at 6. IV. DISCUSSION Basically, the Appellant's claim for equitable relief is predicated on two grounds, namely: (1) a clerical error caused its mistaken bid on the 1990 Program 2927-S contract which was discovered after award, but in light of the parties prior dealings with respect to the 1989 contract the Contracting Officer should have known the correct pricing; and (2) the WRA's printing industry standards which measure diazo/black prints to the nearest "square inch" instead of "square foot" should be binding on the Government.16 In the Board's view, neither contention has merit. A. The Appellant has not sustained its claim that it is entitled to relief because it made a mistake in its bid which was only discovered after award. Post-award mistake in bid claims are generally not favored in the law because they tend to disadvantage the unsuccessful bidders by creating a situation where a contractor can "buy into" a contract at a low offer and then rely on its mistake to increase its contract price to a level where it might not have been awarded the contract in the first instance. See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 25. In that regard, the Board has remarked that: It is the duty of the Government to treat all bidders fairly. Indeed, the very nature of advertised competitive procurements mandates such action in order that commercial providers of goods and services will be encouraged to compete for the public's business. This requirement places a heavy burden upon contracting officials to strictly adhere to the exact letter of contract language once award has been made. To do otherwise would be patently unfair to the unsuccessful bidders and would discourage future participation in Government solicitations. The downside of this is that an innocent bidder, as here, who might not fully comprehend the provisions of the solicitation will receive the award as low bidder and be economically injured as a result. Absent Government fault contributing to the commission of such error, there is no means of negating such an unfortunate consequence. See GraphicData, Inc., GPO BCA 28-88 (February 9, 1990), slip op. at 9, 1990 WL 454980 (hereinafter GraphicData I). See also Chavis and Chavis Printing, supra, slip op. at 18-19. Accord Ideal Restaurant Supply Co., VACAB No. 570, 67-1 BCA ¶ 6,237. Consequently, although such claims are recognized by the law, the contractor alleging a post-award mistake in bid bears a heavy burden of proof.17 See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 26. Accord W.B. & A., Inc., ASBCA No. 32524, 89-2 BCA ¶ 21,736, at 109,310 (citing United States v. Hamilton Enterprises, Inc., 711 F.2d 1038 (Fed. Cir. 1983)). Executive Branch boards of contract appeals draw their authority to reform contracts from the CDA and the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), § 14.406-4 (Mistakes after award), which is essentially a statement of the general law pertaining to contract reformation.18 See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 26-27 (citing Construction Administrative Services, Inc., ENG BCA No. 6033, 93-3 BCA ¶ 26,091; Diamond Shamrock Refining and Marketing Co., ASBCA No. 43729, 92-3 BCA ¶ 25,132; Para/Medical Supplies, Inc., VABCA No. 1464, 82-1 ¶ 15,660). As a Legislative Branch agency, GPO is not covered by the CDA, and thus contractors who do business with the Respondent have no access to that statute for resolution of their disputes. See Tatelbaum v. United States, 749 F.2d 729, 730 (Fed. Cir. 1984); Wessel Company, Inc., supra, slip. op. at 17, fn. 18. See also Foss, The First Decade, at 580-81. However, the phrase "related to this contract" in the GPO "Disputes" clause, see GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 5(a), as well as the agency's printing procurement regulation, see PPR, Chap. XI, Sec. 6, ¶ 4, gives the Board the authority to remedy the post-award discovery of a mistake in bid. See GraphicData, Inc., GPO BCA 35-94 (June 14, 1996), slip op. at 86, 1996 WL_____ (hereinafter GraphicData II); Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 27; Peake Printing, Inc., GPO BCA 12-85 (November 12, 1986), slip op. at 6, 1986 WL 181453; Great Lakes Lithograph Co., GPO BCA 18-84 (May 22, 1985), slip op. at 18, 1985 WL 154849. See also Foss, The First Decade, at 587, fn. 41. In that regard, the PPR states, in pertinent part: a. When a mistake in a contractor's bid is not discovered until after the award, the mistake may be corrected by contract modification if correcting the mistake would make the contract more favorable to the Government without changing the essential requirements of the contract. b. In addition to the case in subparagraph 6.4a above, Contracting Officers, after review by the Chairperson, Contract Review Board, are authorized under the circumstances set forth in subparagraph 6.4c to make administrative determinations described as follows in connection with mistakes in bid alleged or disclosed after award. A determination may be made (1) to rescind a contract or (2) reform a contract: (i) by deleting the item or items involved in the mistake; or (ii) by increasing the price if the contract price, as corrected, does not exceed that of the next lowest acceptable bid under the original invitation for bids. c. Determinations under subparagraph 6.4b may be made only on the basis of clear and convincing evidence that a mistake in bid was made, and either that the mistake was mutual or that the unilateral mistake made by the contractor was so apparent as to have charged the Contracting Officer with notice of probability of mistake. If the evidence does not warrant a determination under subparagraph 6.4(b)(i) or (ii), a determination may be made that no change shall be made in the contract as awarded. See PPR, Chap. XI, Sec. 6, ¶¶ 4.a-c. [Emphasis added.] Except for some minor variations in language and structure, the above quoted paragraphs of the PPR are identical to the provisions of FAR § 14.406-4 (Mistakes after award).19 Thus, like FAR § 14.406-4 (Mistakes after award), the above provisions of the PPR basically repeat the general rule of Government contracts law which holds that a contractor who is awarded a contract on the basis of mistaken bid will be bound by its erroneous offer if the mistake was neither induced nor shared by the Government, unless the contracting officer knew or should have known of the existence of the mistake at the time the bid was accepted. See GraphicData, II, supra, slip op. at 87; Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 28; Great Lakes Lithograph Co., supra, slip op. at 20-21 (citing, Doke, Mistakes in Government Contracts- Error Detection Duty of Contracting Officers, 18 S.W.L.J. 1 (1964)). Furthermore, as the Board has indicated several times in the past, where GPO adopts the regulatory language of other agencies as its own (in this case the rules regarding post-award discovery of mistakes in bid), then under settled rules of construction the Board must presume that the uniform interpretation given to those words has also been accepted. See GraphicData, II, supra, slip op. at 87; Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 29; Sterling Printing, Inc., GPO BCA 20-89, Decision Denying Second Motion for Reconsideration and Order (August 12, 1994), slip op. at 3; McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., GPO BCA 40-92 (January 31, 1994), slip op. at 11-12, 1994 WL 275096; Banta Co., GPO BCA 03-91 (November 15, 1993), slip op. at 34, 1993 WL 526843; Shepard Printing, supra, slip op. at 21-22. The leading decision of this Board on the question of post-award discovery of a mistake in bid is Great Lakes Lithograph Co., supra. In that case the Board, relying on the decision of the Federal Circuit in United States v. Hamilton Enterprises, Inc., supra, found for the contractor on its post-award mistake claim because the record showed: (1) the existence of a mistake; (2) that the mistake was not one of judgment but of misreading the specifications; (3) that the Government shared in the mistake; and (4) that the appellant presented clear and convincing evidence what its price would have been but for the mistake. See Great Lakes Lithograph Co., supra, slip op. at 29. In a lengthy opinion, the Board set forth, in detail, the standards which are applied in such cases by this adjudicatory body, explaining, in pertinent part: . . . it is well established that an erroneous bid based upon a mistake in judgment does not entitle the contractor to reformation of its contract. [Footnote and citations omitted.] While on the other hand a "clear cut clerical or arithmetical error, or misreading of specifications" may be compensated in certain circumstances. [Citation omitted.] "The question depends not alone on whether the bidder made a mistake but on the application of certain legal principles to the established facts in the particular case . . . .". [Citation omitted.] * * * * * * * * * * The principles of law to be applied in "mistake in bid" cases have been judicially fashioned (Aydin Corp. v. United States, 669 F.2d 681, 685 (Ct. Cl. 1982)), based on the view that: Although an award normally results in a binding contract fixing the parties' rights and obligations [citation omitted], so that ordinarily no relief will be granted to a party to an executory contract in the case of a unilateral mistake [citation omitted], nevertheless an acceptance of a bid containing a palpable, inadvertent, error cannot result in an enforceable contract. Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke Co. v. City of Rochester, 178 U.S. 373, 20 S.Ct. 957, 44 L.Ed. 1108 (1940); United States v. Metro Novelty Manufacturing Co., 125 F.Supp. 713 (S.D.N.Y. 1954); Kemp v. United States, 38 F.Supp. 568 (D.Md. 1941). * * * * * * * * * * . . . The task of ascertaining what an official in charge of accepting bids "should" have known or suspected is, of course not always an easy one. . . . the test here, as in so many areas, must be that of reasonableness, i.e., whether under the facts and circumstances of 'the particular case there were any factors which reasonably should have raised a presumption of error in the mind of the contracting officer', Welch, Mistakes in Bids, 18 Fed.B.J. 75, 83 (1958), [Wender Presses, Inc. v. United States, 170 Ct. Cl. 483, 343 F.2d 961, 963 (1965)]. . . where it is obvious from the range of bids itself that a mistake must have been made, or that there is a real possibility of such error, and the Government has done nothing by way of making appropriate inquiry, relief will be afforded. [Citations omitted.] Where, as in the case at hand, the Government surmises that there may be a mistake in bid, "[t]here is authority that a mere general request for verification would not suffice; it should invite attention to the reason for surmising error." [Citations omitted.] * * * * * * * * * * In Ruggiero v. United States, 190 Ct. Cl. 327, 420 F.2d 709 (1970), the Court at 715 and 716 said: . . . As we pointed out in [Charnick] v. United States, 372 F.2d 492, 178 Ct. Cl. 498 (1967), what we are really concerned with is the overreaching of a contractor by a contracting officer when the latter has the knowledge, actual or imputed as something he ought to know, that the bid is based on or embodies a disastrous mistake and accepts the bid in face of that knowledge. The corrections of the mistake, perhaps in the teeth of general conditions or specifications, by rescission or reformation, represents an application of equitable principles in a legal action. The mistake, to invoke such principles, must be, as in the cases cited, a clear cut clerical or arithmetical error, or misreading of specifications, and the authorities cited do not extend to mistakes of judgment. . . . [A]n agreement cannot be revised to reflect a plaintiff's subjective understanding the defendant does not and should not know of. Benjamin v. United States, 348 F.2d 502, 172 Ct. Cl. 118 (1965). See Great Lakes Lithograph Co., supra, slip op. at 17-18, 22-23, 25-26. See also Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 29-31; Atlantic Research Corp., GPO BCA 22-87 (July 10, 1989), slip op. at 5-6, 1989 WL 384985; Federated Lithographers- Printers, Inc., GPO BCA 1-86 (May 29, 1987); slip op. at 5, 1987 WL 228970; Peake Printing, Inc., supra, slip op. at 7; Valley Forms, GPO BCA 1-84 (January 15, 1986), slip op. at 10-11, 13-14, 1986 WL 181464. Subsequently, in Taggart Printing Corp., the Board amplified its views when it stated, in pertinent part: Recently in Valley Forms, Inc., . . .and again in Peake Printers, Inc., . . . , we cited Manistique Tool and Manufacturing Company, ASBCA No. 29164, Aug. 13, 1984, 84-2 BCA [¶ 17,599], wherein at page 87,677 it said: As a general rule, neither a Board of Contract Appeals or the Claims Court is authorized to relieve a bidder from its obligations under a contract unless it is subject to invalidation on recognized legal grounds, such as mutual mistake, or a mistake of which the contracting officer was on notice or should have been on notice. [Citations omitted.] Moreover, before relief by reformation or rescission is available to relieve a contractor of the effect of its mistake, the mistake must be a "clear cut clerical or arithmetical error, or misreading of the specifications" and such relief does not extend to mistakes of judgment. [Citations omitted.] * * * * * * * * * * [A]ppellant is entitled to relief in contract reformation or rescission for a unilateral mistake in bid claimed after contract award only where the contracting officer knew or should have known of the mistake at the time the bid was accepted. [Citations omitted.] See Taggart Printing Corp., GPO BCA 11-85 (January 20, 1987), slip op. at 7, 1987 WL 228967. See also Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 31-32; Valley Forms, supra, slip op. at 11; Peake Printers, Inc., supra, slip op. at 7-8. Furthermore, the Board has adopted the Armed Service Board Contract Appeal's (ASBCA) analysis in Aerospace Components, Inc., when considering post-award mistake in bid claims, where the ASBCA said: . . . [F]or a unilateral mistake in bid (discovered or alleged after award), to be remediable, the contracting officer must have had actual knowledge or been on constructive notice of a possible clerical or careless error in bid. [Citations omitted.] Here, the only potential indication would have been a substantial price disparity between the Texas Aerospace bid and the next lowest offers. Given that this disparity with the next lowest offer was only 3 percent and the next two offers were 13.4 and 18.8 percent, respectively, higher than Texas Aerospace's bid, we are unable to conclude that the contracting officer should have been deemed to have been on constructive notice of an error. See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 32-33 (citing Aerospace Components, Inc., ASBCA No. 28606, 84-3 ¶ 17,536, at 87,339); Valley Forms, supra, slip op. at 12 ; Peake Printers, Inc., supra, slip op. at 8. As can be seen, the Board applies precisely the same rules to post-award mistake in bid claims as its Executive Branch counterparts. See e.g., Liebherr Crane Corp. v. United States, 810 F.2d 1153 (Fed. Cir. 1987); Bromley Contracting Co., Inc. v. United States, 794 F.2d 669, 672 (Fed. Cir. 1986); United States v. Hamilton Enterprises, Inc., supra; Aydin Corp. v. United States, supra; Ruggiero v. United States, supra; Wender Presses, Inc. v. United States, supra; Charnick v. United States, supra; Packard Construction Co., ASBCA No. 45996, 94-1 BCA ¶ 26,512; Universal Construction Co., NASA BCA No. 83-1092, 93-3 BCA ¶ 26,173; Construction Administrative Services, Inc., supra; Baltazar Torres, GSBCA No. 11472, 92-3 BCA ¶ 25,178; CESICA S.p.a., ASBCA No. 42021, 92-2 BCA ¶ 24,964; Lake Shore, Inc., ASBCA No. 42577, 92-1 BCA ¶ 24,685; Worldwide Parts, Inc., ASBCA No. 38896, 91-2 BCA ¶ 23,717; Fan Inc., GSBCA Nos. 7836, 8715, 91-1 BCA ¶ 23,364; George A. Harris Enterprises, Inc., GSBCA No. 9888, 90-1 BCA ¶ 22,405; W.B. & A., Inc., supra; Elias Brothers, Inc., ENG BCA No. 5321, 88-3 BCA ¶ 21,091; Chemtronics, Inc., ASBCA No. 30883, 88-2 BCA ¶ 20,534; Penn-Field Industries, Inc., ASBCA No. 31105, 86-3 BCA ¶ 19,228. The type of claim presented by the Appellant has been considered by the Board in numerous other cases. See e.g., Web Business Forms, Inc. supra; Taggart Printing Corp., supra; Peake Printing, Inc., supra; Federated Lithographers-Printers, Inc., supra; GraphicData, I, supra; Great Lakes Lithograph Co., supra. In that regard, the ultimate issue in this appeal is whether or not the Contractor has a right to reformation of the contract so that it can be paid more for the contract work than it originally bid, because its offer was impaired by a clerical error and the mistake was only discovered after award. In the Board's view, the settled law in this area requires that the question be resolved against the Appellant. Under the law, reformation of the Appellant's contract is indicated if one of three circumstances is present: (a) there is proof of a mistake by clear and convincing evidence;20 (b) there is evidence of a unilateral mistake of such a nature as to put the Contracting Officer on notice of the error; or (c) the parties have made a mutual mistake.21 See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 35 (citing Construction Administrative Services, Inc., supra, 93-3 BCA ¶ 26,091, at 129,682; Diamond Shamrock Refining and Marketing Co., supra, 92-3 BCA ¶ 25,132, at 125,293). At the outset, it is clear that we are not dealing here with a mutual mistake. See GraphicData, II, supra, slip op. at 89-94. Accord Rosenburg Lumber co. v. United States, 978 F.2d 660, 668-69 (Fed. Cir. 1992); Atlas Corp. v. United States, 895 F.2d 745, 750 (Fed. Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 811 (1990). Jeppson Sanderson, Inc. v. United States, 14 Cl. Ct. 624, 628 (1988) (citing American Employers Insurance Co. v. United States, 812 F.2d 700, 705 (Fed. Cir. 1987)); LTG Timber Enterprises Incorporated, AGBCA No. 89-126-1, 92-3 BCA ¶ 25,070, at 124,945; Southern Dredging Company, Inc., supra, 92-2 BCA at 124,117 (citing Martin-Copeland Co., supra; Hilton Construction Co., Ltd., supra). In that regard, a "mutual mistake" justifying reformation is generally understood to be a genuine misconception shared by the parties at the time a contract is formed about a basic assumption of the agreement, which is erroneous at the time they enter the contract, and not one which subsequently turns out to be wrong. See e.g., Management & Training Corp. v. General Services Administration, GSBCA Nos. 11182, 11297, 11673, 11698, 93-2 BCA ¶ 25,814 (mutual mistake about the costs of providing chilled water and steam to the buildings under the contracts); Air Compressor Products, Inc., ASBCA No. 40015, 91-2 BCA ¶ 23,957 (mutual mistake about the nature of the product); Active Fire Sprinkler Corp., GSBCA No. 5461, 85-1 BCA ¶ 17,868 (mutual mistake regarding EPA asbestos rules which made work processes more costly). Cf. Jay P. Altmayer, Nancy Hirshler, Jane Beskin, Amsouth Bank, N.A., as Trustee Under the Will of Claire Pollack, and Jay P. Altmayer and Amsouth Bank, N.A., as Co-Trustees Under the Will of Marvin C. Altmayer v. General Services Administration, GSBCA No. 12720, 94-3 BCA ¶ 27,070 (a lessor's claim for reformation of a building lease on the grounds that the parties were mutually mistaken as to the total price of alteration work was rejected because, even if a mistake existed, it did not constitute a basic assumption underlying the lease or have a material effect on the bargain). However, there is no evidence in this record tending to establish the criterion for a mutual mistake, which is that both parties entered the contract unaware of a fact material to its successful performance or that both parties entertained an erroneous belief as to the existence of a matter material to the contract. See GraphicData, II, supra, slip op. at 93-94 (citing Emerald Maintenance, Inc., ASBCA No. 29948, 89-3 BCA ¶ 22,127; Southern Dredging Company, Inc., supra; Martin-Copeland Co., supra; Hilton Construction Co., Ltd., supra); Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 35 (citing Construction Administrative Services, Inc., supra; Elias Brothers, Inc., supra). Instead, the issue before the Board clearly concerns a claim of a unilateral mistake by the Appellant-specifically a mistaken assumption regarding the continued effect of Contract Modification No. 89-1-which resulted in an erroneous initial offer for the contract work. The cases tell us that for reformation of a contract where a unilateral mistake has been made by a bidder, the mistake must be "a clear cut clerical or arithmetic error, or a misreading of specifications," and not a mistake in judgment. See Bromley Contracting Co., Inc. v. United States, supra; United States v. Hamilton Enterprises, Inc., supra; Aydin Corp. v. United States, supra; Ruggiero v. United States, supra. See also Universal Construction Co., supra; Outside Plant Engineering & Construction Company, Inc., NASA BCA No. 58-1191, 93-1 BCA ¶ 25,489; Baltazar Torres, supra. In addition, the bidder must establish that the Government either knew or should have known of the mistake at the time the offer was accepted. See Bromley Contracting Co., Inc. v. United States, supra; Wender Presses, Inc. v. United States, supra. See also Packard Construction Co., supra; Universal Construction Co., supra; Construction Administrative Services, Inc., supra; Baltazar Torres, supra; George A. Harris Enterprises, Inc., supra. Stated otherwise, the controlling legal principle with respect to unilateral mistakes is that a mistake of one party at the time of contract formation may permit rescission or reformation only if the mistaken party "does not bear the risk of the mistake" and either "(a) the effect of the mistake [would make] enforcement of the contract unconscionable, or (b) the other party had reason to know of the mistake or his fault caused the mistake." See Diamond Shamrock Refining and Marketing Co., supra, 92-3 BCA at 125,293 (citing CESICA S.p.a., supra; Uniflite, Inc., ASBCA No. 27818, 85-1 BCA ¶ 17,813; Robert S. Davies, ASBCA No. 27334, 83-2 BCA ¶ 16,556; RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS § 153 (1981)). In the Board's view, the Appellant has not sustained its burden of proof on this issue. To begin with, the Board does not find clear and convincing evidence of a the sort of mistake which would allow reformation of the contract. Assuming arguendo that the facts are as stated by the Contractor-(1) it intended to bid $ .90 and $1.00 for line items I.d.(1) and I.d.(2), respectively; (2) it made hand alterations to its bid markup by crossing out its prices of $ .44 and $ .54 and substituting $ .90 and $ 1.00; and (3) the typist neglected to make those changes on its official offer sheet-that alone is not enough to support reforming the agreement. The problem for the Appellant, in the Board's view, is that while these steps reflect the mechanics of the bidding process, they do not account for the fact, as the Contractor admits, that it was acting in the underlying belief that the 1989 prices for the two disputed line items were still in force and effect. By definition, the Appellant's mistaken belief was a mistake in judgment and not a mere misreading of the specification itself. See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 37; Federated Lithographers-Printers, Inc., supra, slip op. at 5; Taggart Printing Corp., supra, slip op. at 8; Peake Printing, Inc., supra, slip op. at 8; Great Lakes Lithograph Co., supra, slip op. at 26. Accord Universal Construction Co., supra, 93-3 BCA at 130,226; Construction Administrative Services, Inc., supra, 93-3 BCA at 129,682. It is well-settled that a mistake in judgment does not provide a basis for relief. See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 37 (citing Universal Construction Co., supra; Electrical Systems Engineering Co., ASBCA No. 37147, 90-2 BCA ¶ 22,715; Hanna Contracting Co., ASBCA No. 38597, 90-1 BCA ¶ 22,306). Furthermore, the Appellant has not established by clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent either knew or should have known of the mistake at the time the offer was accepted. See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 37; Federated Lithographers-Printers, Inc., supra, slip op. at 5; GraphicData, I, supra, at slip op. 6. Certainly, there was nothing in the Contractor's bid to place the Contracting Officer on notice of the error. As a rule, a difference in price alone is not enough to alert a contracting officer that a mistake has been made, even if the price differential is great. See Packard Construction Co., supra, 94-1 BCA at 131,972 (citing, Wender Presses, Inc. v. United States, supra). In this case, the Appellant's bid price was in line with the other bids, and any price disparity was so negligible that it could not possibly be a basis for charging the Contracting Officer with constructive notice of the probability of a mistake. See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 38 (citing Packard Construction Co., supra, 94-1 BCA at 131,971-72; Universal Construction Co., supra, 93-3 BCA at 130,227). Accord P.J. Valves, Inc., ASBCA No. 39398, 91-3 BCA ¶ 24,251. Indeed, the $768.90 difference between the Appellant's bid of $66,650.25 for Category II work, which resulted in award, and Volt's otherwise low offer of $65,881.35, amounts to a differential of only 1.1 percent (R4 File, Tab D). Similarly, the Contractor's bid is only 1.9 percent less than Continental's third lowest offer of $67,892.60 (R4 File, Tab D). With particular respect to Category II line items I.d.(1) and I.d.(2), the three low bids in order were: (1) Continental-$ .38 and $ .48, respectively; (2) Volt-$ .39 and $ .49, respectively; and (3) the Appellant-$ .44 and $ .54, respectively (R4 File, Tab C). Consequently, it is clear that the range of prices between the Appellant, Volt and Continental, the three lowest bidders for Category II work, is so small that it is ludicrous to think that the disparity should have alerted the Contracting Officer to the existence of an error in the Contractor's offer. See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 38 (the contractor's post-award mistake in bid claim was denied where its low bid, which won it the contract, was only .1 percent less than the next low offer and just 6 percent less than the third low bid, since the price differences were not enough to signal the Contracting Officer that there was an error in bid). Accord Construction Administrative Services, Inc., supra, 93-3 BCA at 129,683 (a mistake on a bid which was only 8 percent lower than the next lowest bid and 12 percent lower than the Government estimate, was not of the significance to place the Contracting Officer on notice of a possible mistake prior to award of the contract); Diamond Shamrock Refining and Marketing Co., supra, 92-3 BCA at 125,294 (price variations of 2.19 percent and 3.99 percent were not large enough to have alerted the contracting officer of a mistake). Moreover, Contract Modification No. 89-1 is a weak foundation for the Appellant's assertion that the 1989 contract established the prices for the disputed line items in the 1990 agreement. In the context of this case, such a "prior course of dealing" argument has no better chance of success than the proverbial attempt to "make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." In the first place, the "prior course of dealing" principle is an interpretative device which applies to situations where the parties are divided over the meaning of contract language.22 See MPE Business Forms, Inc., GPO BCA 10-95 (August 16, 1996), slip op. at 59, 1996 WL_____; Publishers Choice Book Manufacturing Co., GPO BCA 4-84 (August 18, 1986), slip op. at 10-11, 1986 WL 181457.23 See generally, John Cibinic, Jr. and Ralph C. Nash, Jr., Administration of Government Contracts, at 206-09 (The George Washington University, 3rd ed. 1995) (hereinafter Cibinic & Nash, Administration). Here, however, there is no dispute over the contract specifications-they are clear and unambiguous and the parties know exactly what they mean. Second, and perhaps most importantly, one prior contract is not enough evidence to establish a "prior course of dealing." See MPE Business Forms, Inc., supra, slip op. at 62; Publishers Choice Book Manufacturing Co., supra, slip op. at 11 (citing Doyle Shirt Manufacturing Corp. v. United States, supra). Accord Kvaas Construction Co., ASBCA No. 45965, 94-1 BCA ¶ 26,513 (no waiver found even though Government had approved a deviation on four prior contracts); General Secretarial Services Corp., GSBCA No. 11381, 92-2 BCA ¶ 24,897 (no waiver found although the Government had approved a specification deviation on six prior contracts); Western States Construction Co., ASBCA No. 37611, 92-1 BCA ¶ 24,418 (no waiver by course of dealing on two prior contracts-one with another contractor). See also, Cibinic & Nash, Administration, at 206-07. Accordingly, the Appellant's reliance on Contract Modification No. 89-1 is misplaced. In the final analysis, what this case boils down to is a situation where the Appellant made an erroneous assumption about the effect of a contract modification issued with respect to a predecessor contract. While the Board is sympathetic to the Contractor's predicament, its mistake cannot serve as the basis for reformation of this contract.24 See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 39. Accord Liebherr Crane Corp. v. United States, supra, 810 F.2d at 1153; Baltazar Torres, supra, 92-3 BCA at 125,469. See also, Fan Inc., supra. For the Board to reform the contract under these circumstances, would destroy the integrity of the competitive procurement process. See Web Business Forms, Inc. supra, slip op. at 39; Federated Lithographers-Printers, Inc., supra, slip op. at 5. B. The WRA's "square inch" standards for diazo/black prints are not binding on the Government, but rather the contract's "square foot" specification sets the basis for payment in this case. The Appellant's final allegation-that the WRA's "square inch" standard of measurement, in effect, supersedes the terms of the contract which expressly states that "[p]ayment will [be] based on the finished trim size indicated on the Print Order, rounded up to the nearest square foot[.]" (R4 File, Tab A, at 13)-is easily disposed of. In that regard, the Appellant's contention has at least two fatal flaws. First, the Board agrees with the Respondent that the Contractor's reliance on any WRA standards is irrelevant to this agreement. The contract does not incorporate the WRA measuring standards relied upon by the Contractor, and thus they can have no bearing on this dispute. See MPE Business Forms, Inc., supra, slip op. at 49, fn. 45 (in a dispute over the interpretation of certain contract terms, the Board ruled that two of the forms industry's standard lexicons, which the contractor introduced into evidence and relied upon to support its position, were irrelevant because the contract did not incorporate those publications). Accord Hogan Construction, Inc., ASBCA No. 39679, 95-1 BCA ¶ 27, 428 (the board rejected as irrelevant portions of two publications submitted by the parties as evidence of industry standards for the thickness of the sand base to be used under replacement sidewalks because the contract in question did not incorporate those publications). See also Oakcreek Funding Corp., GSBCA No. 11244-P, 91-3 BCA ¶ 24,200 (the board dismissed a contention that the term "routine" in the context of maintaining computers meant "test software" even though there was evidence that the term was so understood in the industry, because there was no proof that it referred exclusively to software in the contract). Second, the Appellant's claim is tantamount to a request that the Board rewrite the parties' agreement. Unfortunately for the Contractor, the Board is not a creature of statute, but rather derives all of its powers from the "Disputes" clause of the contract itself, and thus its jurisdiction is narrowly defined. See Big Red Enterprises, GPO BCA 07-93 (August 30, 1996), slip op. at 38, 1996 WL_____; GraphicData, II, supra, slip op. at 57; R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Co., GPO BCA 15-90 (March 6, 1992), slip op. at 26-27, 1992 WL 382924; The Wessel Company, Inc., supra, slip op. at 32; Automated Datatron, Inc., GPO BCA 20-87 (March 31, 1989), slip op. at 4-5, 1989 WL 384973; Bay Printing, Inc., GPO BCA 16-85 (January 30, 1987), slip op. at 9, 1987 WL 228967; Peak Printers, Inc., supra, slip op. at 6. See generally, Foss, The First Decade, at 584-85. Specifically, as the Board interprets GPO Instruction 110.10C, Subject: Establishment of the Board of Contract Appeals, dated September 17, 1984-its "enabling statute"-and the jurisdictional provisions of its rules of practice and procedure, see Board Rules, Preface to Rules, ¶ I (Jurisdiction), it sees its authority as purely derivative and contractual, and has consistently confined the exercise of its remedial powers to the contract before it. See Big Red Enterprises, supra, slip op. at 38; GraphicData, II, supra, slip op. at 57; Shepard Printing, Inc., supra, slip op. at 9, fn. 8; R.D. Printing Associates, Inc., GPO BCA 2-92 (December 16, 1992) slip op. at 9, 13, fns. 9, 15, 1992 WL 516088; Peak Printers, Inc., supra, slip op. at 6. See also Automated Datatron, Inc.,supra, slip op. at 4-5 ("The Public Printer has not under the provision of paragraph 5 of GPO Instruction 110.10C delegated authority to this Board to consider legal questions existing outside the contract itself."). Accord Wehran Engineering Corp., GSBCA No. 6055-NAFC, 84-3 BCA ¶ 17,614. See generally, Foss, The First Decade, at 585-86. As a forum of limited jurisdiction whose remedial powers are tied to the clauses in the contract, the Board functions essentially as a pre-CDA board of contract appeals. See GraphicData, II, supra, slip op. at 85; R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Co., GPO BCA 15-90, Supplemental Decision (July 1, 1993), slip op. at 28, 1993 WL 526638 (hereinafter Swanson Supplemental); The Wessel Company, Inc.,supra, slip op. at 34. See also H.L. Eikenberg Co., GPOCAB No. 76-13 (May 9, 1979), slip op. at 35, fn. 21. This simply means that the Board must take the agreement as it finds it, and unless the Board can find the relief granting source within the "four corners" of the contract, its hands are tied, and the appellant will have to seek its remedy in another forum. By definition, therefore, the Board cannot revise or tinker with the express terms of the contract, as the Appellant requests.25 See AJN Reporters, GSBCA No. 5022, 78-2 BCA ¶ 13,298 (no equitable authority to revise the terms of the contract); RIHA Construction Co., ASBCA No. 21441, 77-1 BCA ¶ 12,324 (no authority to grant reformation or remedy a mistake in bid without a relief provision in the contract); American Standard, Inc., NASA BCA No. 771-14, 73-1 BCA ¶ 9,899 (no authority to reform the contract); Taiei Co., Inc., ASBCA No. 17123, 72-2 BCA ¶ 9,738 (no jurisdiction to consider a mutual mistake claim); University of Iowa, ASBCA No. 14581, 70-1 BCA ¶ 8,218 (no power to grant reformation of the contract because of a mutual mistake); Horton & Converse, VACAB No. 519, 65-2 BCA ¶ 4,995 (authority of the head of an agency to reform contracts in limited situations not delegated to the board). Here, the contract clearly establishes measurements by the "square foot" as the basis of payment for diazo/black prints. Accordingly, in this forum, at least, the Appellant's request to substitute the WRA's "square inch" standard must be denied. ORDER Because the Board finds and concludes that the Appellant has not sustained its post-award mistake in bid claim, or shown that the WRA's "square inch" standards for diazo/black prints are binding on the Government, the decision of the Contracting Officer is AFFIRMED, and the appeal is DENIED. It is so Ordered. September 13, 1996 STUART M. FOSS Administrative Judge _______________ 1 The Contracting Officer's appeal file, assembled pursuant to Rule 4 of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, was delivered to the Board on March 13, 1992. GPO Instruction 110.12, Subject: Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure, dated September 17, 1984, Rule 4(a) (Board Rules). It is referred to hereinafter as the R4 File, with an appropriate Tab letter also indicated. As originally submitted, the R4 File consisted of 18 documents identified as Tabs A through R. Thereafter, on July 24, 1992, GPO submitted four (4) additional documents as attachments to its Answer, see Board Rules, Rule 6(b), as Tabs S through V of the R4 File. Finally, attached to its brief dated June 28, 1993, the Government submitted one more document-a memorandum dated May 21, 1993, from the Contracting Officer to Counsel for GPO, comparing the square footage measurements on seven (7) Print Orders against the Western Reprographic Association's (WRA) industry standard and the formula used by the Respondent in the disputed contract-which was placed in the R4 File as Tab W. It should be noted that several of the documents in the R4 File are duplicates. For example, R4 File, Tabs C and V are the same abstract of bids for Category II work for the 1990 Program 2927-S. Similarly, R4 File, Tabs B and U are both copies of the Appellant's bid on the 1990 Program 2927-S contract, and Tabs J and S are copies of Contract Modification 89-1. 2 The Appellant's April 5, 1991, notice of appeal was mailed to the Contracting Officer at the LARPPO (R4 File, Tab O ). The Contracting Officer, who received the appeal letter on April 15, 1991, forwarded it to the Board two days later, on April 17, 1991 (R4 File, Tab Q). However, the letter was either misplaced or misdirected by GPO's mail room, and not actually received by the Board until December 31, 1991, and the appeal was not docketed until February 18, 1992. See Letter from the Board to Robert E. Burns, Olympic Graphic Systems, 3516 East Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90023, dated February 19, 1992 (Appeal File, Tab 2). The time limits for filing an appeal with the Board is 90 days from the date the contracting officer's final decision is received by the appellant. Board Rules, Rule 1(a). See also R4 File, Tab M. The notice of appeal in this case was not filed in accordance with Rule 1(a), and normally would be dismissed as untimely. See e.g., Ace Duplicating Co., GPO BCA 44-92 (February 1, 1993); Moore Business Forms & Systems Division, GPO BCA 3-86 (February 25, 1987), 1987 WL 228968. But, the Board also takes judicial notice of the fact that the Contractor issued its notice of appeal (April 5, 1991), and it was received by the LARPPO (April 15, 1991), which promptly forwarded it to the Board's office (April 17, 1991), all within the 90-day time frame (78 days, 88 days, and 90 days, respectively). FED. R. EVID. 201(b) (2). See Asa L. Shipman's Sons, Ltd., GPO BCA 06-95 (August 29, 1995), slip op. at 21, fn. 24, 1995 WL 818784, reconsid. denied, February 13, 1996. Where, as here, the record shows a good faith attempt by an appellant to comply with the Board's procedures, if somewhat imperfectly, the Board has accepted an otherwise untimely appeal. See e.g., McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., GPO BCA 06-91 (May 6, 1994), slip op. at 2, fn. 2, 1994 WL 377581 (appeal docketed six (6) months after the contracting officer's final decision on the basis of a duplicate notice of appeal, where the record showed that the original timely notice was lost by GPO's mail room). Accord Micrographic Technology, Inc., ASBCA No. 25577, 81-2 BCA ¶ 15,357; Astro Industries, Inc., ASBCA No. 19082, 74-2 BCA ¶ 10,921; C & B Construction Co., ENGBCA No. 3317, 73-2 BCA ¶ 10,163. The Board's reasoning is that unlike the 90-day appeal period under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (CDA), Pub. L. No. 96-563, 92 Stat. 2382-91 (1978) (codified at 41 U.S.C. §§ 601-613 (1994), which is strictly construed because the right to appeal a contracting officer's decision is considered a waiver of sovereign immunity by the United States, see Cosmic Construction Co. v. United States, 697 F.2d 1389, 1390 (Fed. Cir. 1982); Elden-Rider, Inc., GSBCA No. 8643, 90-2 BCA ¶ 22,878; George's Lawn & Rental Service, Inc., GSBCA No. 10087, 89-3 BCA ¶ 22,081, it sees nothing in the legislative history of 44 U.S.C. § 502 (1988) to indicate that by authorizing the Public Printer to contract out printing, binding, and blank-book work, Congress thereby also intended to waive the Government's sovereign immunity with respect to the settlement of contract claims against the United States, see The Wessel Company, Inc., GPO BCA 8-90 (February 28, 1992), slip op. at 44, 1992 WL 487877. Accordingly, the Board believes that there is a measure of flexibility in its 90-day rule, which allows it to accept an otherwise late appeal if good cause is shown for the delay. See generally, Matthew S. Foss, U.S. Government Printing Office Board of Contract Appeals: The First Decade, 24 PUB. CONT. L. J. 579, 590-91 (1995) (hereinafter Foss, The First Decade). The Board has accepted the appeal in this case on that basis. 3 The Board's decision is based on: (a) the Appellant's Notice of Appeal, dated April 5, 1991; (b) the R4 File; (c) the Appellant's Letter, dated April 29, 1992, setting forth its summary position in the dispute; (d) the Contractor's letter, dated June 1, 1992, satisfying the requirements for a Rule 6(a) Complaint; (e) the Respondent's Answer, dated July 24, 1992; (f) the Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference, dated June 4, 1993 (RPTC); (g) the Appellant's letter, dated June 24, 1993, constituting its brief (hereinafter App. Brf.); and (h) the Respondent's Brief, dated June 28, 1993 (hereinafter R. Brf.). Neither party filed a reply brief. See RPTC, at 9. Furthermore, while the Board, because of administrative oversight, neglected to issue a formal Order settling the record in this appeal on July 26, 1993, nonetheless, since that date it has considered the record officially closed and ripe for decision. Id. The facts, which are essentially undisputed, are recited here only to the extent necessary for this decision. 4 The other four (4) offerors were Volt Century Graphics, Inc. (hereinafter Volt), Continental Graphics (hereinafter Continental), Commercial Graphics (hereinafter Commercial), and Ready Reproductions (hereinafter Ready) (R4 File, Tabs C, D and V). Volt was the low bidder, but before award could be made it notified the LARPPO that it was going out of business (R4 File, Tab D). The Contractor was the second low bidder (R4 File, Tab D). 5 The Navy's estimate included the Respondent's six (6) percent surcharge (R4 File, Tab F). 6 For comparison purposes, the bids of the other offerors for xerographic printing on 20 pound bond paper and 20 pound vellum paper were: (a) Volt-$ .39 and $ .49, respectively; (b) Continental-$ .38 and $ .48, respectively; (c) Commercial-$ .75 and $ .85, respectively; and (d) Ready-$ .95 and $1.10, respectively (R4 File, Tabs C and D). 7 Attached to the Contracting Officer's memorandum were copies of all of the relevant evidence, as well as his proposed "Determination and Findings" (R4 File, Tabs K and L). See Printing Procurement Regulation, GPO Pub. 305.3 (Rev. 10-90), Chap. XI, Sec. 6, ¶¶ 4.e(ii) (hereinafter PPR). In that regard, the PPR states that "[w]here the contractor furnishes evidence in support of an alleged mistake, the case shall be referred to through the Office of General Counsel to the Chairperson, CRB together with the following data: (a) [a]ll evidence furnished by the contractor[;] (b) [a] copy of the contract, including a copy of the bid and any specifications or drawings relevant to the alleged mistake, and any change orders or supplemental agreements thereto[;] (c) [a]n abstract or record of the bids received[;] (d) [a] written statement by the Contracting Officer setting forth: (1) [s]pecific information as to how and when the mistake was alleged or disclosed; (2) [a] summary of the evidence submitted by the contractor; (3) [a]n opinion whether a bona fide mistake was made in the bid and whether the Contracting Officer was, or should have been, on constructive notice of the mistake before award, together with the reasons or data upon which the opinion is based; (4) [a] quotation of a recent contract price for the supplies or services involved, or, in the absence of a recent comparable contract, the Contracting Officer's estimate of a fair price for the supplies or services, and the basis for such estimate; (5) [a]ny additional evidence considered pertinent, including copies of all relevant correspondence between the Contracting Officer and the contractor concerning the alleged mistake; (6) [t]he course of action with respect to the alleged mistake that the Contracting Officer considers proper on the basis of the evidence, and, if other than a change in contract price is recommended, the manner by which the item will otherwise be procured; and (7) [t]he status of performance and payments under the contract, including contemplated performance and payments[;] (e) [a] proposed Determination and Findings." See PPR, Chap. XI, Sec. 6, ¶¶ 4.e(ii)(a)-(e). 8 The Contracting Officer also informed the Appellant that if it disagreed with the decision it could appeal to the Board (R4 File, Tab M). See PPR, Chap. XI, Sec. 6, ¶ 4.(f) ("Any contractor wishing to dispute a Contracting Officer's determination regarding a post award mistake-in-bid may do so pursuant to the disputes clause in the contract."). The "Disputes" clause is contained in GPO Contract Terms, Solicitation Provisions, Supplemental Specifications, and Contract Clauses, GPO Pub. 310.2, Effective December 1, 1987 (Rev. 9-88) (hereinafter GPO Contract Terms) which is incorporated by reference in the contract (R4 File, Tab A, at 2). See GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 5.b (Disputes) ("The decision of the Contracting Officer shall be final and conclusive unless, within 90 days from the date of receipt of such copy, the contractor mails or otherwise furnishes a written notice of appeal to the Government Printing Office Board of Contract Appeals.")). 9 See note 2 supra. 10 The Board framed three questions for disposition during the prehearing telephone conference. See RPTC, at 8. However, there are really only two issues in this case. 11 The Appellant tells us that its actual costs for bond paper copying was $. 60 per square foot, and for vellum paper it was $ .70 per square foot. See App. Brf., at 1. Therefore, its bids of $ .44 and $ .54, respectively, placed it in a "loss" position, where it "could not do the work for that price." See App. Brf., at 2. Furthermore, the Contractor believes that the reason its bids were within the range of the offers submitted by the other bidders is that its competitors were using "new less expensive machines" to perform the work, even though that equipment produced very poor quality copies. See App. Brf., at 1. 12 GPO notes that the Contractor did not submit the original bid worksheet, as required by the Respondent's regulations. R. Brf., at 3, 4 (citing R4 File, Tab I; PPR, Chap. XI, Sec. 6, ¶ 4.e(i)). 13 The rule, as stated by the Government, is that a mistake in bid after the contract has been awarded must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, that the mistake was mutual or, if the mistake was made unilaterally by the contractor, it was so apparent as to have charged the Contracting Officer with notice of the probability of a mistake when the bid was accepted. See R. Brf., at 3 (citing PPR, Chap. XI, Sec. 6, ¶ 4.c). A mutual mistake, as the term implies, is one that was made by both the Government and the contractor at the time they enter the contract. Id., (citing RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS § 152 (1981)). The Respondent believes there was no mutual mistake in this case because GPO awarded the contract on the basis of the Appellant's price quotations. See R. Brf., at 4. 14 The Board was created by the Public Printer in 1984. GPO Instruction 110.10C, Subject: Establishment of the Board of Contract Appeals, dated September 17, 1984. Before then, ad hoc panels considered disputes between contractors and GPO. Citiplate, Inc. was decided by one of the ad hoc panels. The Board cites the decisions of these ad hoc boards as GPOCAB. However, the Board has consistently taken the position that it is a different entity from the GPOCAB. See The Wessel Company, Inc., supra, slip op. at 25, fn. 25. On the other hand, while the Board is not bound by GPOCAB decisions, its policy is to follow the rulings of the ad hoc panels where applicable and appropriate. See The George Marr Co., GPO BCA 31-94 (April 23, 1996), slip op. at 50, fn. 40, 1996 WL ______; New South Press & Assoc., Inc., GPO BCA 14-92 (January 31, 1996), slip op. at 32, fn. 45, 1996 WL 112555; Shepard Printing, GPO BCA 37-92 (January 21, 1994), slip op. at 11, fn. 10, 1994 WL 275077; Shepard Printing, GPO BCA 23-91 (April 29, 1993), slip op. at 14, fn. 19, 1993 WL 526848; Stephenson, Inc., GPO BCA 02-88 (December 20, 1991), slip op. at 18, fn. 20, 1991 WL 439274; Chavis and Chavis Printing, GPO BCA 20-90 (February 6, 1991), slip op. at 9, fn. 9, 1991 WL 439270. 15 The Respondent is referring to the Appellant's bid for Category I work (R4 File, Tab D). With respect to the Category II work involved in this dispute, the Contractor was the second low bidder (R4 File, Tab D). See note 4 supra. 16 The Board observes that this is the second bid "mistake" made by the Appellant with respect to this contract. The record discloses that the first error concerned a misplaced decimal in its offer for Category I work (R4 File, Tab D [Contracting Officer's memorandum, dated February 6, 1990, at 2]). Here, the Contractor's post-award mistake claim is advanced as justification for its request for an increase in the contract price. While there is certainly no fixed ceiling on the number of mistake claims in any one contract, it is also true that a contractor's too frequent reliance on its own errors will leave the Board wondering about the integrity of the bid preparation practices used, and will tend to cast doubt upon the accuracy and bona fides of the entire bid. See Web Business Forms, Inc., GPO BCA 16-89 (September 30, 1994), slip op. at 25, fn. 25, 1994 WL 837423. 17 It is generally accepted that a mistake of fact supporting reformation does not arise merely from an inability to predict the future, but rather must be a bona fide mistake regarding the existing facts on which a bargain is based. See Southern Dredging Company, Inc., ENG BCA No. 5843, 92-2 BCA ¶ 24,886, at 124,117 (citing Martin-Copeland Co., ASBCA No. 26551, 83-2 BCA ¶ 16,752; Hilton Construction Company, Ltd., DOT CAB No. 1035, 80-1 BCA ¶ 14,318. See also RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS § 151 cmt. a (1981). 18 Reformation of a contract requires that a contract appeals board find the existence of a qualifying "mistake." See Atlas Corp., et al. v. United States, 15 Cl. Ct. 681 (1988); Johns- Manville Corp. v. United States, 12 Cl. Ct. 1 (1987); Olson Plumbing and Heating Co. v. United States, 221 Ct. Cl. 197, 591 F.2d 1308 (1979); ITT Arctic Services, Inc. v. United States, 207 Ct. Cl. 533, 513 F.2d 588 (1975); Foster Wheeler Corp. v. United States, 206 Ct. Cl. 533, 513 F.2d 588 (1975). See also, EDC/MTI Joint Venture, ENG BCA No. 5631, 90-2 BCA ¶ 22,669. In that regard, FAR § 14.406-4 (Mistakes after award) defines what would be considered a qualifying mistake. 19 FAR § 14.406-4 (Mistakes after award) states, in pertinent part: ". . . (a) When a mistake in a contractor's bid is not discovered until after the award, the mistake may be corrected by contract modification if correcting the mistake would make the contract more favorable to the Government without changing the essential requirements of the contract. (b) In addition to the cases contemplated in paragraph (a) above or as otherwise authorized by law, agencies are authorized to make a determination-(1) To rescind a contract; (2) To reform a contract (i) to delete the items involved in the mistake or (ii) to increase the price if the contract price, as corrected, does not exceed that of the next lowest acceptable bid under the original invitation for bids; or (3) That no change shall be made in the contract as awarded, if the evidence does not warrant a determination under subparagraphs (1 or (2) above. (c) Determinations under subparagraphs (b)(1) and (2) above may be made only on the basis of clear and convincing evidence that a mistake in bid was made. In addition, it must be clear that the mistake was (1) mutual, or (2) if unilaterally made by the contractor, so apparent as to have charged the contracting officer with notice of the probability of mistake." 20 There must not only be evidence of the mistake, but the contractor must also establish by clear and convincing proof what the bid price would have been but for the error. See United States v. Hamilton Enterprises, Inc., supra, 711 F.2d at 1046; W.B. & A., Inc., supra, 89-2 BCA at 109,310. 21 In at least one case, the Board, apparently interpreting PPR, Chap. XI, Sec. 6, ¶ 4(b), has indicated that the contracting officer has the exclusive discretion to remedy unilateral mistakes, after properly verifying both the erroneous offer and the intended bid price, finding the latter bid lower than the next lowest offer, and ascertaining that correction of the mistake would make the contract more favorable to the Government. See Atlantic Research Corp., supra, slip op. at 5-6. Consequently, under this principle the Board's review would be limited to a consideration of whether or not the contracting officer abused his/her discretion. However, the standard of review enunciated in Atlantic Research Corp. appears in no other Board post-award mistake in bid case, and thus that decision is probably sui generis. 22 "Prior course of dealing" is defined as a sequence of previous conduct between the parties relating to their former agreements or transactions which is fairly to be regarded as establishing a common basis of understanding for interpreting their expressions and other conduct. See RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS § 223 ("agreement"); U.C.C. § 1-205 (1977) ("transaction"). The rule is that the Government will not be allowed to suddenly change its long-standing interpretation of contract language to the detriment or prejudice of a contractor who has acted in reliance on that historic meaning or contractual practice. See Gresham and Co., Inc. v. United States, 470 F.2d 542 (Ct. Cl. 1972); Western Avionics, Inc., ASBCA No. 33158, 88-2 BCA ¶ 20,662). 23 Publishers Choice Book Manufacturing Co. is the Board's lead case on the issue. In that opinion, it said the following about the use of "prior course of dealing" as an interpretive device in contract interpretation cases: "[¶] On the question of the weight to be given a course of prior dealings, Professors Nash and Cibinic in examining the principal case of L.W. Foster Sportswear, Co. v. United States, 186 Ct. Cl. 499, 405 F.2d 1,285 (1969), tell us that in Government contract law "[w]here the parties to an interpretation dispute have interpreted, either expressly or by their actions, the provisions of a similar, previously performed contract in a certain manner, they will be presumed to have intended the same meaning for those provisions in the disputed contract. This presumption is rebuttable by clear evidence that the parties have changed their intent or are in disagreement at the time they enter into the disputed contract. See, e.g., Lock[h]eed Aircraft Corp. v. United States, 192 Ct. Cl. 36, 426 F.2d (1970)." Ralph C. Nash, Jr. and John Cibinic, Jr., Federal Procurement Law, Third Edition, The George Washington University, 1980, at 969 n.1 (emphasis added). [¶] They further tell us in footnote 2 that "[w]hen the contract language is clear and precise, the court or board will normally give lesser weight to a prior course of dealing. [T]he governing factor in such cases is the degree of clarity or exactness with which the disputed term or clause is written, Robert McMullan & Sons, Inc., ASBCA [No.] 21455, 77-1 BCA [¶] 12,456 (1977) . . . however, superficially exact language may not correctly express the parties agreement. Generally more convincing evidence of a course of prior dealing will be required to controvert contract language which is stated precisely. Cf. Doyle Shirt Manufacturing Corp. v. United States, 199 Ct. Cl. 150, 462 F.2d 1150 (1972)." Id. at 970, n.3. [¶] In addition, they tell us that "[t]he parties may be bound by their interpretation of prior contracts even though the language of the disputed contract has been altered." Id. at 971, n.3. [¶] Lastly, they tell us that "[t]he reasoning underlying the prior course of dealing rule requires that both parties have actual knowledge of the prior course of dealing and of its significance to the contract. Clearly, it would be unreasonable to find that a party had agreed to a term which he was not aware." Id. at 972, n.5 (emphasis added)." See Publishers Choice Book Manufacturing Co.,supra, slip op. at 10-11. [Original emphasis.] 24 In so ruling the Board notes that, in any event, the PPR would preclude reformation of the Appellant's contract. The Contractor's proposed price increase for line item I.d.(1) from $ .44 to $ .90 amounts to nearly a 105 percent boost for that line item. Similarly, its request to increase line item I.d.(2) from $ .54 to $1.00 is nearly as large-85 percent. The PPR states quite clearly that in correcting a post-award mistake in bid, the increase in the contract price may not ". . . exceed that of the next lowest acceptable bid under the original invitation for bids." See PPR, Chap. XI, Sec. 6.b(ii). See also Web Business Forms, supra, slip op. at 39, fn. 31; Atlantic Research Corporation, supra, Slip. op. at 6. The same rule applies in reforming contracts under the FAR. See FAR § 14.406-4(b)(2)(ii), note 19 supra. In this case, the ceiling on any increase in the Appellant's contract price was established by Continental's bid of $67,892,60. More particularly, Continental's Category II offer for line item I.d.(1) was $ .38 and its bid for line item I.d.(2) was $ .48, which are lower than the Appellant's original offers for the same line items (R4 File, Tab C). Stated otherwise, the Contractor's original bid for these line items already exceeded the remedial ceiling. 25 The Board's inability to provide equitable relief also extends to contractor requests for reinstatement of their contracts. See Swanson Supplemental, slip op. at 26, fn. 14 (where the Board denied the contractor's request for reinstatement because that form of equitable relief was solely within the authority of GPO's contracting officers). Accord Crow Fitting Co., Inc., ASBCA No. 25378, 81-1 BCA ¶ 14,951; Campbell & Associates, GSBCA No. 5061, 78-2 BCA ¶ 13,354; Southwestern Cooperative Educational Laboratory, LBCA No. 74-BCA-101, 75-1 BCA ¶ 11,309.