Docket No. GPO BCA 2-87
June 9, 1989

Administrative Law Judge


        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.


        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

     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

     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.


        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,


        The appeal is denied and the decision of the CO is



1/  Article 2-18(c) of "U.S. Government Printing Office Contract
Terms No. 1," GPO Publication 310.2, revised October 1, 1980.