GPO BCA 4-85
February 7, 1986

MICHAEL F. DiMARIO, Administrative Law Judge


   This appeal was timely filed by Studio Printing Inc., 2387
   Lewis Avenue, Rockville, MD 20851 (hereinafter "Studio" or
   "Appellant") on March 20, 1985, pursuant to the "Disputes"
   provisions of U.S. Government Printing Office Contract Terms
   No. 1, revised October 1980 (GPO Publication 310.2), which
   were incorporated into and made part of a certain term
   contract between Appellant and the United States Government
   Printing Office (hereinafter "GPO" or "Respondent") identified
   as Program A814-M, Purchase Order 34334, Jacket No. 440-712,
   dated April 2, 1984.  The appeal is from the "Final Decision"
   of Mr. Robert Love, Contracting Officer, GPO, of December 26,
   1984, denying Appellant's claim of entitlement under contract
   print order 18123 to a $50 invoiced charge for "one color wash
   for varnish".  (Appeal file, hereinafter "R4 file," Tab D).

   The decision of the contracting officer is affirmed for the
   reasons hereinafter stated.


   On February 17, 1984, Respondent issued an Invitation to Bid
   (IFB) on a certain general requirements term contract known as
   Program A814-M for the production of various self and separate
   cover books and pamphlets as might be requisitioned from the
   Respondent from time to time by any of the departments and
   agencies of the United States Government; the term of the
   contract being April 1, 1984, through September 30, 1984 (R4
   file, Tab A).  Section 3 of such IFB captioned "DETERMINATION
   OF AWARD AND PLACEMENT OF WORK" in pertinent part specified

Procurement under this solicitation will be divided into two
categories as follows:

Category 1: Quantities up to and including 1,999 copies.

Category 2: Quantities of 2,000 or more copies.

The Government will make multiple awards in each category since
it is anticipated that one firm may not be able to meet all of
the requirements.

Each order will be individually abstracted to determine the
lowest bid.

In placing work, . . . [t]he Government will be obligated to
offer each job to the low contractor first, the next low
contractor second, and so on until the job has been accepted . .
. . When the contractor accepts, a formal print order will be

Some 37 prospective contractors, including Appellant, bid upon
the IFB.  Bids were opened on March 16, 1984, and abstracted.
Thereafter, purchase orders making the multiple awards were
issued to 36 of the participants, including No. 34334 of April 2,
1984, to Appellant "[i]n strict accordance with your Quotation
dated 3-15-84 and our specifications." (R4 file, Tab B) On April
30, 1984, pursuant to the purchase order, Respondent placed Print
Order 18123 with Appellant requiring the production of some 1,875
copies of a certain publication for the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA).  The print order contained the
following pertinent instruction:  "Cover 1 prints in 2 colors
blk. & pms process blue.  Cover 4 is solid blue.  PRESS VARNISH

   Appellant completed and delivered the job in accordance with
   the specification and invoiced Respondent for payment.  At
   this point apparently Respondent's auditor deducted $50 from
   the invoice disallowing "one color wash for varnish."

   There followed a series of written exchanges between the
   parties concerning the claim and its denial culminating in the
   Final Opinion of the contracting officer and this resulting

   As a preliminary matter, a prehearing conference was held on
   July 17, 1985, wherein it was apparent that the parties were
   in agreement that Appellant under the IFB was entitled to
   charge for a washup in conjunction with making its press ready
   for the application of a protective coating of varnish to the
   covers, but differed diametrically as to whether the
   specifications required the bidder to have included such
   charge as part of its all-inclusive price quotation for
   varnishing as asserted by Respondent or whether the
   specifications created an entitlement to an additional charge
   under the provisions of the "Note" respecting washups on page
   18.  The "Note" standing alone states:  "Contractor will be
   allowed additional charges for the following:  A washup charge
   of $50.00 for each additional color required other than

   Appellant argued that varnish is a "color," namely "clear,"
   has all the technical characteristics of inks, and is
   recognized as such within the printing and ink industries and
   by Respondent's own Quality Control and Technical Department.
   Respondent argued that varnish was not a color within the
   meaning of the note and that this point is clear when the
   contract is read as a whole, the word color being used
   extensively throughout the contract specification.  After much
   discussion there followed an oral motion for summary judgment
   by Respondent's counsel on the ground that there was no
   genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
   Respondent was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
   Appellant's representative objected asserting in substance
   that there was a genuine dispute; namely, whether or not
   varnish was a "color".  Respondent's counsel then opined that
   to support the objection, Appellant's representative would
   have to show that there was a genuine dispute of fact.  The
   undersigned then explained to Appellant's representatives,
   both of whom were non-lawyers, that questions of contract
   interpretation such as the meaning of the word "color" within
   the context of the specifications were considered to be
   questions of law and not questions of fact, and that in
   general decisions of administrative boards such as this are
   deemed final.and conclusive as to questions of fact but
   appealable to the Federal courts as to questions of law.

   After further discussion, the undersigned advised the parties
   that he would treat the matter as if cross-motions for summary
   judgment had been filed asking the parties whether they
   desired to brief the issue.  Both were in agreement that the
   issue should be decided at that time whereupon the undersigned
   orally ruled in favor of the Respondent reserving the right to
   modify such preliminary ruling in rendering a written opinion
   if need be.

   The case comes to the Board for written decision in this form.


   The issue presented in this appeal is whether or not "varnish"
   is an "additional color" within the context of the "Note"
   provision concerning additional charges for washup on page 18
   of the specifications.


   The specification language is clear on its face and does not
   require reliance upon rules of construction in order to give
   it efficacy.  The specification tells us in parts pertinent to
   the question presented in this appeal that:

[1] SCOPE:  These specifications cover the production of various
self and separate cover books and pamphlets requiring such
operations as film making, printing, binding, packing, mailing
and delivery.

. . . .

[2]  FREQUENCY OF ORDERS: It is impossible to predetermine the
number or frequency of orders which will be placed during the
term of the contract . . . .

[3]  QUANTITY AND NUMBER OF PAGES: Since the volume of work . . .
cannot be predetermined, no guarantee can be made as to the
quantity and number of pages which will be ordered . . . .

. . . .

Approximately 50% of the total orders will require separate paper

Approximately 3% of the total orders will require fold-ins
(usually printed one side only).

. . . .

[4]  GOVERNMENT TO FURNISH: Camera copy consisting of films,
positives, and/or reproduction copy for cover, and/or fold-ins.

. . . .

[5] CONTRACTOR TO FURNISH: All materials and operations, other
than those listed under "Government to Furnish," necessary to
produce the product(s) in accordance with these specifications.

[6]  PRINTING: The major portion of the work . . . will print in
black ink.  However, an occasional order may require printing in
a color or colors other than, or in addition to black, on text,
covers, and/or fold-ins.

[7] An occasional order may require coating (after printing) the
entire surface of cover pages 1 and 4 with varnish or lacquer . .
. .

[8] [Color is to] Match pantone number as indicated on the print

. . . .

[9] . . . Prices shall be all-inclusive covering all materials
and operations, for complete production in accordance with these

. . . .

[10] PRINTING AND BINDING:  The prices quoted must be all-
inclusive for printing and binding (as required), in accordance
with these specifications . . . .

[11] Text and Cover Pages (printing in a single ink color):  A
charge will be allowed for "each page", whether printed or blank,
contained in the product(s) ordered.  Each text leaf contains two
pages, and each complete cover contains four pages.

[12] Prices quoted for item 6(a) must be all-inclusive for
printing fold-ins on one side only, and binding; and must
include.the cost of film, imposition, platemaking, press
makeready and running, ink, cutting, folding, tipping-in or
inserting throughout text, as indicated.

[13] Prices quoted for item 6(b) must be all-inclusive for
printing fold-ins on one side only, and binding; and must include
the cost of film imposition, platemaking, press makeready and
running, ink, cutting, folding, and gathering in sets at the end
of the text.

[14] Prices quoted for item 6(c) must be all-inclusive for
printing fold-ins on the second side, in the same ink color used
on first side, and must include only the cost of film imposition,
platemaking, press makeready and running, and ink.

. . . .

[15] Additional Color(s):  Prices quoted for item 7(a) shall
include only those costs necessary for printing a single text or
cover page in a color (in addition to or other than the first
single ink color press run charged for under items 1 through 5).

Prices quoted for item 7(b) shall include only those costs
necessary for printing each side of a fold-in in unit in a color
(in addition to or other than the color charged for under item

NOTE:  Contractor will be allowed additional charges for the
following:  a washup charge of $50.00 for each additional color
required other than black.

   Paragraph numbering has been added by the undersigned to add
   extreme clarity to the paragraph groupings, because it is his
   opinion that the "Note" in question reflects back to the two
   subparagraphs immediately preceding it and no others, and that
   the two subparagraphs and the "Note" constitute a single
   paragraph under the heading "Additional Colors".  The reason
   for this conclusion is that the "Note" is speaking to "each
   additional color" (underscoring added) just as the paragraph
   heading speaks of "Additional Color(s)".  Reaching this
   conclusion it follows that the "Note" pertains to price
   quotations being given in line items 7(a) and 7(b) of the
   price schedule.  Moreover, the wording in the two
   subparagraphs refers specifically and respectively to
   "printing  a single text or cover page in a color (in addition
   to or other than the first single ink color press run)" and
   "printing each side of a fold-in unit in a color  (in addition
   to or other than the color charged for under item 6)."
   (Underscoring added)

   In addition, the "Note" and the entire paragraph make it clear
   that the price quotes for line items 7a and 7b are additional
   charges for additional  colors; that is, additional to the
   all-inclusive charges for one color printing in line items 1
   through 6.  It follows that since the note applies only to
   price quotes in line items 7(a) and 7(b), any washup costs
   associated with items 1 through 6 are, as with all other costs
   (except with respect to the use of additional colors), to have
   been included in the applicable line item 1 through 6 price
   quotes on the "Schedule of Prices".  Thus, it is this Board's
   opinion that the application of varnish as a protective
   coating cannot by any stretch of the imagination be construed
   to be printing  of an additional color  in line item 7(a) or
   7(b) to which the note concerning washups makes reference.

   Once this analysis is completed, it becomes abundantly clear
   that "Schedule of Prices" line item 8, "Printing Operation:
   Coating (cover pages 1 and 4)", is the applicable line item
   whereat bidders were to have included under the heading
   "Makeready and/or Setup Charges" any washup costs as an
   integral part of the all-inclusive costs for such protective
   coating operations pursuant to the provisions on page 7 of the
   specification quoted above as numbered specification
   paragraphs 7 and 9.

   Accordingly, the decision of the contracting officer is hereby