U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS JAY E. EISEN, Chairman ROBERT ARMENTROUT, Member ALEXANDER MATOSIAN, Member Panel 79-4 Appeal of VEITCH PRINTING CORPORATION November 5, 1979 This is an appeal filed by the Veitch Printing Corporation, 1812 Hempstead Road, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17601, hereinafter referred to as the contractor, on May 21, 1979, under the "Disputes" clause of the contract, Jacket 274-544, Purchase Order 70352, Article 29, U.S. Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. 1, Revised, July 15, 1970. The Board of Contract Appeals is the Public Printer's representative for the determination of appeals under the "Disputes" clause. The appeal came before the Board on August 29, 1979, following a decision of the contracting officer on May 8, 1979, to terminate for default Jacket No. 274-544, following the rejection by the Government Printing Office of the printed matter based on an inspection of a random sampling which revealed poor match of the furnished transparency, printing not in register, and excessive ink causing loss of detail. The contractor requested an informal hearing pursuant to paragraph 13, GPO Instruction 110.10, June 6, 1979. This procedure consists of a written submission and an informal hearing before the Board. The purpose of such a hearing generally is not to serve for introduction of new matter but to permit explanations and/or argument regarding written matters already in the record. Consequently, no transcript of the proceedings was prepared. The decision of the Board is based upon information contained in the appeal file, supporting explanations and argument regarding written matters in the record and Exhibit ''A-l" through "A-68" consisting of 68 random samples of the form, "Landsat Image 'A', San Francisco." In addition the attached proofs were made available for inspection. Mr. Boyer L. Veitch appeared for the appellant, and Mr. James Lane, Office of General Counsel, appeared for the contracting officer. The contractor submitted a closing statement dated September 25, 1979. Findings of Fact a. This case arises out of a contract entered into by the contractor, and the U.S. Government Printing Office, hereinafter referred to as the GPO, for the production of a quantity of 75,000 forms, "separate face and back forms printing back in 4 color process and face in black only." The form is titled "Landsat Image 'A', San Francisco." b. The contract, designated as GPO Jacket No. 274-544, is a fixed price agreement for the procurement of the forms, awarded at a cost of $2,330 on October 13, 1978. The total cost amounted to $4,660, based on the invitation for bids for strapped jackets Nos. 274-544 and 274-545 at a cost of $2,330 for each jacket. Jacket No. 274-545 is not an issue in connection with this appeal. c. Jacket No. 274-544 is a requirement of the United States Department of Interior, Geological Survey. The shipping date of November 17, 1978, was extended to February 7, 1979, by a change order due to a delay by the Government in returning proofs. Shipment of the items by the contractor was scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Geological Survey, Distribution Center, 604 South Pickett Street, Alexandria, Virginia. d. The specifications issued on September 30, 1978 included the following provisions: "In accepting this contract the contractor specifically agrees to all the provisions of GPO Form 198, U.S. Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. 1, approved July 1, 1943 (Rev. 7-15-70) and GPO Form 2459D, Special Terms and Conditions (Rev. 8-78) which are hereby made an integral part of this contract except where in conflict with these specifications. A copy of GPO Form 2459D will be furnished to the successful bidder. . . . "Offset Printing: Head to head, face side in black only and back in 4 color process, exact register. Contractor to select inks to faithfully match the full color film transparencies to be furnished. Subject Matter: Both items contain a halftone illustration.Plus typematter on face sides and a.full color illustration on the back (Item 1. also contains black typematter on back). 1 ". . .Clean, sharp, highest quality printing, exact register a faithful match of the full color transparencies to be furnished and with full, even ink coverage and reproduction quality required throughout. See GPO Form 2459D 'WORKMANSHIP'." "Proofs: Submit 1 set of color key (3M or similar) proofs for each item. Submit proofs, together with materials furnished for approval before printing, to the Government Printing Office, . . . "Note: The contractor is cautioned that these proofs must be made from the films as used for this printing. See hereinbefore under 'OFFSET PRINTING' for quality of reproduction required." e. GPO FORM 2459D SPECIAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS (SUPPLEMENTAL TO THE BASIC SPECIFICATIONS) incorporated into the contract by reference provides, in part, the following: "WORKMANSHIP: All workmanship in connection with the article or product manufactured under these specifications must be first class in every respect. "All operations required such as imposition, press makeready, press running, and binding must be performed with care to insure that (1) the printing on the article or product delivered will be good, clear, and sharp, with full and uniform ink coverage, free from filled or broken letters, grayness, or pinpoints in the printing, or other imperfections; . . .'' f. The customer agency, Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, upon taking a random sampling throughout the delivered finished product of Jacket 274-544 concluded on March 21, 1979 that the stock had major defects in the quality of printing, as related to the color image on the flyer on the backside. The Geological Survey rejected two sets of proofs until finally a cromalin proof looked close enough to the original that it could be approved for printing with further instructions to bring out detail and match transparency. Reprinting at the contractor's expense was recommended. g. On April 30, 1979, the contracting officer by letter rejected the forms produced by the contractor based on an inspection of a random sampling which revealed poor match of furnished transparency, printing not in register, and excessive ink causing lack of detail. The contractor responded on May 4, 1979, to the effect that the rejection was unwarranted; that based "upon your requirements calling for cromalin proofs rather than progressives and based upon the industry-wide acknowledged problem of separating transparencies created from ultraviolet lighting, we contend that our reproduction was craftsmanlike and fully acceptable." h. Mr. Emanuel Fontana, Typography and Design (GPO), upon review of the random samples on July 11, 1979, recommended rejection of the job, "Landsat Image Flyer'', for the following reasons: 1. Inconsistency of ink flow thickness causing a variance of colors. 2. Overpacking of the black plate or blanket causing a loss of detail. 3. Ink was run too heavy in all colors causing a bridging of dots which resulted in loss of detail i. On May 8, 1979, the contracting officer's final decision terminating the contract for default was transmitted to the appellant. This was supplanted by a notice of termination on June 20, 1979. j. The contractor responded by a written appeal to the Public Printer dated May 21, 1979, that it would not reprint the form without assurances that any additional costs would be reimbursed by the GPO. He reiterated in part that since the specifications called for a "3M or similar non-press proof," industry practice interprets such a requirement as meaning that something less than the highest quality match is expected to be produced. He states that cromalin proofs were resubmitted which was marked by the customer agency for more color intensity and detail. The contractor contends that no request was made by the customer agency to visit the plant to approve the first full color sheets, a practice normally engaged when high quality, process printing is required. The contractor interpreted this failure by GPO as an absence of a request for a press proof as being evidence that the maximum fidelity of reproduction of the transparency was not required or expected. Discussion and Conclusion Having recited the operative facts in this case, the Board now focuses on the question of the propriety of the decision by the contracting officer to terminate Jacket 274-544 for default following the rejection by GPO of the printed matter based on an inspection of a random sampling which revealed poor match of the furnished transparency, printing not in register, and excessive ink causing lack of detail; the contractor was requested to replace the rejected copies at no additional costs to the Government in accordance with the terms of the contract, but refused to do so which gave rise to this appeal. The appellant's arguments are summarized in its post hearing statement of September 25, 1979. The contractor at the outset argues that they proceeded to produce the work in accordance with the specifications but were surprised that press proofs were not required, nor inspection at the site of early production run sheets for last minute modification so as to more closely match the transparencies. The contractor argues additionally that the GPO printing technician at the conference proved with his densitometer that the reading of ink thickness and the reading of some of the random samples of the flyer revealed that his densitometer readings were within 5 or 10 points of one another. The appellant contends that color drift is a common occurrence in offset printing and that one person's eyes may see things differently from others. The fact that the flyer was intended for issuance to the public and that the recipient would see only one copy without an opportunity for comparison to see the minor variance that exists from the worst to the best flyer is a factor that should have been considered as far as acceptance of the product. With regard to the criticism by the Government of ''poor match of furnished transparency," the appellant asserts that they followed the directives on the proofs; in regard to the complaint that "printing [is] not in register''; it is argued that the register was well within industry standards and that as to "excessive ink" as a complaint, the densitometer readings indicated otherwise. The Government contends that the appellant's products were not in compliance with the strict requirements of the contract. There were at least two inspections of the random samples of the flyer by representatives of the customer agency and GPO. Later rejection inspection was made by Mr. Emanuel Fontana of the Typography and Design Division. The contracting officer asserts that the printed matter delivered based on the inspection of the random samples disclosed that the subject matter failed to comply with the specifications in that it revealed poor match of the furnished transparency, printing not in register, and excessive ink causing lack of detail and that since the deficiencies were not corrected by the contractor he was justified under the terms of the contract to terminate the contract under the "Default" clause. It is undisputed that under the provisions of the contract, even though the contractor may deliver the items to be furnished on the scheduled delivery date, he may still be terminated for default if the items do not meet contract specifications. The question frequently raised in connection with this requirement is whether the contractor must strictly comply with the specifications or is substantial compliance or completion sufficient. It is believed that under the terms of the contract provided in part in Article 9, United States Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. l, which requires under Workmanship that good quality workmanship in every respect is required and in GPO Form 2459D Special Terms and Conditions (Supplemental to the Basic Specifications) which calls for workmanship in connection with the item manufactured under the specifications to be first class in every respect, we interpret that the doctrine of strict compliance be followed as to the specifications in this contract. 2 The specifications required "clear, sharp, highest quality printing, exact register a faithful match of the full, color transparencies to be furnished and with full even ink coverage and reproduction quality required throughout." It is apparent that under the terms of the specifications, the Government had a right to insist upon strict compliance with these specifications. The Government contends there is ample evidence based on the random sampling that the flyer copies are defective because of poor match of the furnished transparency, printing not in register, and excessive ink causing lack of detail. In considering the evidence the Board carefully and thoroughly compared the random samples of the form "Landsat Image 'A', San Francisco'', Exhibits ''A-1'' through "A-68" with the revised proof marked "O.K. to print after correction -- bring out detail in MTS'', and concluded that the forms are not a faithful match of the proof. The deviations compared to what appears on the proof are clearly patent and visible. The contentions of the appellant in his brief and correspondence in the file were seriously considered including the comments that the contractor was surprised that GPO did not require press proofs in the specifications since such a requirement normally assures maximum fidelity of color match. It was not provided in the contract, but the contractor by bidding on the terms as advertised, warranted that it was ready, willing and capable of producing a first class item strictly in compliance with the specifications as written. We believe that the specifications were clear and they were not lived up to. The Government had a right to obtain what it contracted for and it did not receive it. Accordingly, in reviewing all the evidence that has been presented and after considering all of the arguments, the Board finds. 1. The default termination was proper. 2. The appeal is denied. _______________ 1 Item 1 relates to Jacket 274-544 2 GPO Contract Terms No. 1 and GPO Form 2459D are both incorporated by reference in the contract.