UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE CONTRACT APPEALS BOARD Appeal of CELIA TRANSLATIONS, INC. Program 1548-S Decision dated February 6, 1981 GPO CAB Panel 10-79 THOMAS O. MAGNETTI, Chairman WILLIAM J. COSTIGAN, JR., Member JEFFREY L. BOWMAN, Member Preliminary Statement This is a decision on a timely appeal by Celia Translations, Inc. (hereafter referred to as the contractor). The appeal disputes the final decision of the Contracting Officer disallowing certain charges made by the contractor in its vouchers. The appeal was taken pursuant to Article 29 (the "Disputes" clause) of the Government Printing Office (hereafter GPO) Contract Terms No. 1, as incorporated by reference into both the Specifications and the Bid and Acceptance document of this contract. See Exhibit 2 of the Appeal File (hereafter A.F.). The contract required the contractor to produce reproduction galley proofs (repros) from manuscript copy as needed by the Forest Products Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture. When the contractor submitted its vouchers for payment, certain charges were disapproved by the Contracting Officer. The contractor claims these costs on the grounds that they were justifiably incurred (Exhibit 7, A.F.). In accordance with the request of the contractor, the decision of this panel is based solely upon the record as evidenced by the documents and exhibits that constitutes the Appeal File. This procedure is in accordance with GPO Instruction 110.10A titled, "Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure," dated September 17, 1980. Statement of Facts On May 21, 1976, in accordance with GPO contract award procedures, a GPO Term Contract Program 1548-S for the procurement of reproduction proofs for the period of June 1, 1976 to May 31, 1977, was awarded to the contractor because its bid was the lowest responsive bid that was in accordance with the specifications (approximately $2,700.00; Exhibit 2, A.F.). Pursuant to this contract, a purchase order was issued to the contractor (Exhibit 2, A.F.). This was then supplemented by print orders for each job placed over the term of the contract. The print orders involved in this appeal are numbered 31 to 36 and 1 to 21 (Exhibits 5 and 9, A.F.). Each order was accompanied by manuscript copy consisting of textual and tabular matter and/or mathematical equations. Samples of these equations were included in the specifications. The contractor was to produce reproduction proofs of the copy in accordance with the instructions in the specifications and the manuscripts. However, the specifications cautioned the contractor not to perform any work not provided for in the specifications without prior authorization in writing from the GPO (Specifications, Pg. 3, Exhibit 2, A.F.). Work performed under the contract which could not be properly classified under any item for which a specific price quotation was asked, was to be charged on a pro rata hourly basis, as timework. In order for such charges to be considered for payment, each item that required the timework and the time required to perform it had to be indicated separately and fully described when each print order's voucher was submitted for payment. The GPO reserved the right to decide whether the operations billed and the charges made were proper and just (Specifications, Pg. 5, supra). The Schedule of Prices set out the prices to be charged for textual matter, tabular matter (per column inch) and single level and multiple level equations (per each equation). Additional charges could be submitted for the reproduction of any author's alterations in the manuscript copy as defined on page 5 of the Specifications. These alterations of either the text or the tables were priced at a different rate than the reproduction of the original manuscript copy. However, the charges for the alterations on any one galley could not exceed the cost of setting that galley new from the manuscript copy (Specifications, Pg. 9, supra). Furthermore, no timework could be charged for work done on these alterations. The contractor performed the work required by each print order but did not submit its vouchers to the GPO for payment until after the term of the contract had expired (Exhibits 5, 6, and 9, A.F.). Attached to these vouchers were copies of the manuscript and the repro proofs. Upon the examination of these vouchers, the GPO discovered that the contractor had billed, not only for the tabular and textual matter, but for other work, i.e., preparation of various cover pages, proofs, etc. Timework for various tasks, e.g., paste-ups, was also included as a separate charge. The charges were disallowed by the Government on the grounds that they were either: computed incorrectly; or the contract did not call for the work described on the vouchers as timework; or because the title and cover pages did not have to be made up. Timework charges were disallowed in nineteen of the vouchers and the charges for cover and the title page work disallowed in sixteen. The charges for tabular composition were recomputed in some of the print orders to correspond to the per column inch formula established in the Schedule of Prices. See Exhibit 9, A.F. The GPO authorized payment to the contractor in the amount of $2,767.66, instead of the $7,960.45 billed by the contractor. The contractor protested the reduction in the payments by a letter dated August 26, 1977, claiming that the extra work was necessitated because the mathematical equations provided in the manuscript copies were much more complex than the samples in the specifications and, further, that some of the specifications were erroneous, requiring many hours of unanticipated work attempting to straighten out the confusion caused by the allegedly misleading specifications (Exhibit 7, A.F.). The Contracting Officer responded in a letter dated October 7, 1977, justifying its disallowance of the timework and equation charges. Ibid. On December 27, 1977, the Contracting Officer, after reviewing the method used to compute timework for horizontal and vertical rules, readjusted the final payment by authorizing the further payment of $825.41. Ibid. This final decision was appealed by the contractor in a letter dated January 3, 1978, alleging that the Government disallowed valid charges for timework and inconsistently computed the price for tabular matter. Ibid. A more complete description of the nature of this appeal was provided by the contractor in a letter addressed to the GPO CAB and dated March 20, 1978. In accordance with GPO Instruction 110.10A, this appeal is now being decided on the material contained in the Appeal File and the documents submitted by the contractor. Decision This Board determines from the facts before it that the Contracting Officer was correct in disallowing the bill for timework charged to this contract. He also properly computed the price for the tabular matter. The decision is based on a determination that the contractor has failed to support the affirmative claims presented in its appeal letter by the production of any substantial evidence proving those claims. Without demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that either the specifications were erroneous or that the timework was justified, the contractor cannot expect to be granted relief. Claims may not be allowed against the Government on the basis of mere allegations. EG & G, Inc., ASBCA No. 14051, 71-1 BCA ¶ 8867. Moreover, an examination of the claims and assertions of this contractor leads one to the conclusion that the contractor might not have understood either the bidding procedures or the performance standards required in Federal procurement. See the contractor's letters dated January 3 and March 20, 1978, respectively. As regards, the contractor's claim for compensation for timework performed under the contract, the Board concludes from an examination of the timework as described in the vouchers and the requirements of the contract language, that this timework was either not required by the contract or should have been factored into the bid price prepared by the contractor prior to the award. Although the contractor claims that some of this additional work was requested by the Forest Products Laboratory, this is unsupported by any concrete evidence. The contractor has the burden of proving such allegations. EG & G, Inc, supra. Furthermore, as stated above, the contractor was specifically warned not to perform any work not provided for in the specifications without previous written authorization from the GPO ("Authorization for Additional Performance", Specifications, supra). Without the appropriate change order permitting the additional work, the Government could not reimburse the contractor for the unauthorized and unnecessary work. Louise Hardwick, Administratrix, 95 Ct. Cl. 336 (1942). The contractor seemed confused over the procedure for computing the price to be charged for tabular matter. The specifications provided two separate prices for this computation; the first price was for tabular matter that had to be reproduced from the manuscript copy - charged by the column inch; the second was the price for tabular matter that has been altered by the author - this was charged by the line. The contractor has alleged that the Contracting Officer charged by the first method when he should have used the second. However, once again the contractor has not provided specific examples of this discrepancy in that the contractor failed to indicate exactly which print order(s) this involved. Failure in this regard must bring a determination that the Contracting Officer was correct in his computations. The contractor has claimed that it attempted to follow the contract specifications. However, because they were defective, it spent much time and effort trying to perform the contract, thereby justifying an adjustment in the contract price. See the contractor's letter dated August 26, 1977, Exhibit 7, A.F. In cases where the contractor alleges faulty specifications, the contractor has the burden of proving that the specifications were in fact defective and that the defects caused the difficulties encountered. Baifield Industries, Div. of A-T-O, Inc., ASBCA 18057, 77-1 BCA ¶ 12,348 (1977). In the instant case, the contractor has alleged that the equations provided to it in the manuscript copies of the print orders were so much more complex than the samples provided in the specifications that more time and effort was required to produce repro proofs for the equations, necessitating a higher charge (Exhibit 7, A.F.). The contractor has not demonstrated that this was indeed the case since it has not proven how much extra work was involved by the allegedly more complicated equations or how much of an upward adjustment in price was required by the extra work. Therefore, it has failed in its burden of proving that it should receive relief for the additional work. Nager Electric Company, Inc. v. United States, 194 Ct. Cl. 835 (1971). Moreover, when the contractor discovered that the specifications were erroneous, it should have notified the Contracting Officer immediately upon the discovery. This is required by Article 2 of U.S. GPO Contract Terms No. 1 (Exhibit 2, A.F.). This clause allows for altering the specifications or the price if warranted by the facts. There is no evidence that either the Contracting Officer was ever notified of alleged defects in the specifications or that these defects caused the delays experienced by the contractor. Baifield Industries, supra. The Government acted properly in these circumstances by disallowing these charges since Article 23 of the above term contract directs that no payment be made for any charge not properly authorized by the original specifications and purchase order or by a change order. The difficulty the contractor encountered when it attempted to be reimbursed for the work it performed was compounded by the fact that it submitted its vouchers for payment long after completion of the work (Exhibit 9). If each voucher had been submitted in a timely fashion after the completion of work on each print order, the contractor could have been alerted by the Government that the work that was being performed on almost every print order was unnecessary. In the process of arriving at its decision, the Board has carefully reviewed each print order submitted by the contractor. During this procedure, the Board noticed that on at least sixteen occasions, work done by the contractor on cover or title pages, which had been submitted as such by the Government within its manuscript copies, was disallowed by the Contracting Officer. Although the contractor did not specifically appeal the disallowance of these charges, since the principal issue raised in this appeal was whether the Government properly interpreted the schedule of price provisions and the specifications of the contract when it reimbursed the contractor at a rate substantially less than the amount the contractor billed, it is proper for the Board to examine the validity of all of these disallowances. This would necessarily include the propriety of billing for the cover or title pages. The contract specifications state that title or cover pages would be reimbursed at the rate of $8.00 per page (Specifications, Pg. 9, Exhibit 2, A.F.). Title and cover pages are defined as follows: "This item applies to setting the type for title or cover pages in any size or combination of sizes of type, whether hand machine set, and the makeup, including rules borders, cuts, ornaments, etc., or leaving space therefor in accordance with the format submitted, usually 39 1/2 x 53 picas." (Pg. 5, supra.) Therefore, wherever the contractor set type for and madeup a page signified by the Government as a cover or title page, regardless of the amount of work involved, the contractor should have been reimbursed at the rate of $8.00 for each page. Apparently, this did not occur. For example, when the contractor submitted the voucher for Print Order 20, it included a charge for title and cover pages. These charges were disallowed. (P.O. 20, Pg. 2, Exhibit 9, A.F.) On the reverse side of page 4, there is a typewritten manuscript copy of what is referred to as a "title page" together with various written instructions concerning type size for reproduction. Although it is not readily apparent who has written these instructions, it is assumed that they were written by the Contracting Officer or his agents. Page 5 of this part of Exhibit 9 is the reproduction proof of the manuscript copy and reflects the typesetting and makeup done. It might be argued that these charges were properly disallowed because the contractor was not instructed by the Contracting Officer to "makeup" any of the cover or title pages, however, this is not a reasonable interpretation of the contract language. While it is agreed that this contract did not provide for makeup of the repro proofs for ordinary textual or tabular matter, the contract specifications did call for the makeup of title and cover pages. This provision was not qualified by any warning to the effect that makeup was not to occur unless specifically instructed by the Government to perform the operation. Absent any clear instructions to the contrary, it would be reasonable for the contractor to rely on the specifications and not only typeset manuscript copies clearly marked as title and cover pages, but also makeup these pages as per the contract provisions. Where the Government draws up specifications which are susceptible to a certain construction and a contractor actually and reasonably construes them according to that construction, justice and equity require that construction be adopted. Peter Kiewit Sons' Co. v. United States, 109 Ct. Cl. 390 (1947). The Contracting Officer or his representative had the opportunity to examine the repro proofs as the proofs for each print order were delivered. The responsible official should have noticed that these cover or title pages were being made up and instructed the contractor to cease this operation. There is no evidence in the Appeal File that would indicate that such communication ever took place. In our view, this was in variance with the contract specifications and the contractor should have been paid for this work. Therefore, unless the Contracting Officer can prove that it instructed the contractor not to makeup any of these pages, this Board requires the Contracting Officer to examine each voucher, print order, manuscript copy and reproduction galley and reimburse the contractor at the rate of $8.00 for every cover or title page which the contractor was required to set type in accordance with the contract specifications and the format submitted in the manuscript copies. The Board retains jurisdiction to hear any further dispute arising from the disposition of the cover or title pages charges. The contractor is warned that, if it decides to dispute this final disposition of its claim, it must be prepared to prove and justify each charge for the work on a cover or title page. The remainder of the contractor's appeal is denied in its entirety except to the extent that the Board directs the Contracting Officer to check the mathematics used in computing the proper charges. A mistake was found by the Board in a random perusal of the print orders. See, Print Order 15, pg. 2, across from the heading "4 (1) Display - 18 Picas", 63 is multiplied by $ .50 with a result of $8.00 instead of $31.50 (Exhibit 9). Therefore, there seems to some basis for a belief that some of the computations may be incorrect and should be rechecked.