U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS The Appeal of ROSE PRINTING COMPANY Docket No. GPO BCA 2-87 June 9, 1989 MICHAEL F. DiMARIO Administrative Law Judge OPINION This appeal, timely filed by Rose Printing Company, 4382 Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Road, Cincinnati, OH 45244 (Appellant), is from the October 2, 1986, "final decision" of Linwood Imlay, Contracting Officer (CO), United States Government Printing Office (GPO/Respondent), terminating GPO's contract with Appellant identified as Purchase Order 82412, Program B-369-S, Jacket No. 491-676, for "default" because of Appellant's "inability to furnish 9 point typefaces as per contract specifications." The appeal is denied and the decision of the CO is affirmed for the reasons set forth hereinbelow. BACKGROUND On April 21, 1986, Respondent, upon the requisition of the Department of the Navy, issued an Invitation for Bids (IFB) for the production of certain pamphlets entitled "Navy Club and Recreation Currents (NAVPERS 15173)," as might be required by the Navy from time to time during the term July 1, 1986, to June 30, 1987. The IFB, among other things, specified: Typefaces and Sizes: The contractor is required to furnish the following: Century Schoolbook Light, Medium Italic, Bold and Bold Italic: 6 through 24 point. Helvetica Light Italic: 6 through 12 point. Helvetica Light, medium, Medium Italic, Bold and Bold Italic: 6 through 24 point. While the above typefaces are preferred, suitable alternates of comparable weight, face, and size will be considered. If an alternate typeface is proposed, each bidder shall list in the bid the name of the alternate typeface(s) and composing machine to be used. Helvetica typeface weights must match the typeface weights on the attached "Helvetica Type Specimens" sheet. The GPO reserves the right to require samples and to judge the suitability of any alternate typeface offered in order to make an award which is deemed to be in the best interest of the Government. In addition, the successful bidder must provide the ordering agency with specimens or a complete listing of typefaces and sizes which are available for use under this contract. Rule 4 File, hereinafter "R4 File," Tab B. The specified "attached 'Helvetica Type Specimens' sheet" illustrates 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, and 24 point Helvetica, Helvetica medium, Helvetica light, Italic, Italic medium, and Italic legal; and 10, 12, 18, and 24 point for Helvetica Bold type sizes. (R4 File, Tab B, attachment.) The IFB was sent to some 33 prospective bidders and its availability was also advertised in the "Commerce Business Daily." Appellant, although not among the 33, saw the advertisement and on May 3, 1986, wrote Respondent requesting "the necessary application forms, abstract and a sample copy of the above programs." All requested materials, except the sample copy, were apparently furnished (Official File, Tab 1), and Appellant tendered its bid on May 12, 1986. (R4 File, Tab E.) The bid was the lowest of 7 received and bore no proposed use of an alternative typeface. Appellant was telephonically requested to review and confirm its bid on May 29, 1986, and did so by letter of that same date. (R4 File, Tab F.) The contract was thereafter awarded to Appellant on June 11, 1986, in strict accordance with its bid quotation of $6,076.90 and GPO's specifications. (R4 File, Tab G.) On August 20, 1986, GPO's Mrs. A. Nadine Collins telephoned Appellant and asked whether or not it would be able to provide 9 point type size with the caveat that no other type size would be accepted. (R4 File, Tab K.) Appellant apparently could not but instead, by letter of August 21, 1986, furnished a booklet of type specimens "available with its sub-contractor" and a sample copy of "Navy Chaplain Bulletins" it had previously produced, expressing the hope that "the types and their points could be resolved from the attached booklet and that whould [sic] meet the criterion laid in the composition section of [the] program." (R4 File, Tab H.)These samples were apparently unacceptable. Appellant being so advised by Collins on August 30, 1986. (Official File, Tab 5, supplement to appeal letter dated March 16, 1987.) Nevertheless, Appellant, by letters of that same date and September 19, 1986, continued its attempt to convince the CO to accept an alternative type size to the 9 point size requested by the Navy. (R4 File, Tabs J & K.) The CO was unrelenting and on October 2, 1986, terminated the Print Order 40001 and the balance of the contract in its entirety. Appellant then appealed to this Board claiming that it should not be held liable for default or excess costs because: 1. "[T]he . . . program calls for a wide variety of typefaces if in case any one particular typeface is not available, and it is mandated in the program in the form of "6 through 24 and 6 through 1. In addition . . . the program also mandates "SUITABLE ALTERNATES OF COMPARABLE WEIGHT, FACE AND SIZE."; 2. "[N]o sooner the question of typefaces of certain points was raised, Appellant . . . sent a copy of the specimen of typefaces . . . requesting the use of alternate typefaces but of no avail."; 3. "Recently, Appellant . . . completing five . . . issues of . . . "NAVY CHAPLAINS BULLETIN" under Program 5353, . . . Hampton Regional Printing Procurement Office . . . under . . . similar situation, the ordering agency and the contractor reached an agreement suitable to both of them."; 4. "In all its typesetting and layout, Appellant . . . depended on its sub-contractor, and default of the program B369-S arose out of causes beyond its control."; Official File, Tab 1, Complaint dated December 30, 1986. 5. The solicitation was purportedly "ambiguous" "in that it does not, with specificity, indicate to a reasonably prudent bidder the required or even the desired typeface . . . . [T]he attachment to the . . . Specifications . . . sets forth all inclusive general parameters without specifying the exact point size type required. The different type sizes mentioned does not even specifically indicate 7 or 9 point type sizes."; 6. The contracting officer has offered no evidence whatsoever . . . that the Appellant failed to provide specified type size as mentioned in the [Invitation] for Bid."; 7. "[T]he Appellant . . . sought . . . the help and guidance of the Government . . . to fulfill contractual obligations, . . . requesting . . . the use of alternate type size . . . ."; 8. "The first . . . this bidder was made aware of the required preference for 9 point type size was during . . . telecom . . . with . . . Nadine Collins . . . [on] 21 August, 1986, . . . . 71 calendar days after issuance of original purchase order . . . 11 June, 1986."; and 9. "[O]n 30 August, 1986, without having resolved the ambiguity . . . relative to the required type size as desired but not set forth with specificity . . ., Ms. Collins advised that . . . no alternate type size would be considered, contrary to the implication and specific indication in the [solicitation]." Official File, Tab 5, Supplement to appeal dated March 16, 1987. The appeal is before the Board in this form for decision upon the written record. DISCUSSION There is no genuine dispute concerning any question of fact. The above quoted typeface and size contract provisions required Appellant to furnish "the ordering agency with specimens or a complete listing of typefaces and sizes which are available for use under this contract." Although requested by Appellant, samples were furnished none of the bidders under the terms of the specifications. Thus, to comply with such request would have given Appellant an illegal advantage in the bid competition. It should be noted, however, that as Exhibits A through E to the specifications, facsimile sample pages, representative of composition requirements which were to be ordered under the contract, were provided with the caveat that there would be no guarantee that the future orders would correspond exactly to these exhibits. (R4 File, Tab B, page 4 of 13.) Additionally, the default clause of the contract itself makes clear that a contractor is liable for the defaults of its subcontractor irrespective of the fact that the causes of the default are beyond the control and without the fault or negligence of the contractor. 1/ Moreover, as we recently noted in the appeal of Fry Communications, Inc., GPO BCA 1-87, 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). Accordingly, the only real issue is whether, as a matter of contract interpretation, and thus of law, the IFB required Appellant, as a condition of its bid, to be able to furnish 9 point type if such were ordered during the contract term. Examining the IFB specification language in this regard, we see the unequivocal statement that "[t]he contractor is required to furnish the following:" followed by a listing of specific patented typeface designs modified by point sizes, i.e., "6 through 24 point"; "6 through 12 point"; and "6 through 24 point." Going to G.C. Merriam Company, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, MA (1977), we find on 1217 that the word "through" is a function word used, among other things, to mean "to and including" as in Monday through Friday. Its use in such manner clearly includes the unstated but implied terms falling between the two end terms. From this we conclude that the plain meaning of the requirement was that the contractor had to be able to furnish 9 point type in any of the specified typefaces, except to the extent that other provisions of the contract modified such requirement. Looking to the exception language we find that while suitable alternate typefaces might be allowed, the Respondent reserved to itself the right to judge the suitability in the best interest of the Government. Moreover, to be considered, the proposed alternate had to be of comparable weight, face, and size and be listed in the bid by typeface and composing machine to be used, which Appellant plainly failed to do. Additionally, the only mention of the "Helvetica Type Specimens" sheet in the text of the specifications is the above cited requirement that "Helvetica typeface weights" match the typeface weights of the illustrations on the sheet. (Emphasis added.) Since it is clear from the context of the specification that the term "weights" is used to convey a technical concept familiar in the trade rather than its ordinary dictionary meaning, the Board has consulted the National Composition Association, Glossary of Typography, Computerized Typesetting and Electronic Publishing Terms, (1987) which on page 110 defines such term as: "The relative thickness and/or blackness of type characters, as in boldface, lightface, demi, or medium." From this it is clear that the attachment was not intended to modify the "6 through 12" and "6 through 24" provisions, supra, or create discretion in the contractor as Appellant suggests, but rather as a guide to be used solely to judge the thickness and/or blackness of the type characters. Thus, we conclude that Appellant was required by the terms of the contract to provide the 9 point typeface as ordered which it was unable to do. Accordingly, DECISION The appeal is denied and the decision of the CO is affirmed. IT IS SO ORDERED. _______________ 1/ Article 2-18(c) of "U.S. Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. 1," GPO Publication 310.2, revised October 1, 1980.