AMERICAN DRAFTING & LAMINATING CO. GPO BCA 15-85 June 25, 1986 MICHAEL F. DiMARIO, Administrative Law Judge OPINION This appeal timely filed by American Drafting & Laminating Company (hereinafter "ADL" or "Appellant"), P.O. Box 62464, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, arises under the "Disputes" clause of the U.S. Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. 1, revised October 1, 1980 (GPO Publication 310.2) which was incorporated in each of two certain contracts between the Appellant and the U.S. Government Printing Office (hereinafter "GPO" or "Respondent"), the contracts being identified as Jacket No. 739-923 and Jacket No. 740-101. Under each contract Appellant submitted a voucher for certain sums of money it deemed due and owing for work performed. Thereafter, Respondent remitted reduced payments to the Appellant disputing Appellant's method of computing charges for composition of text matter. Appellant then requested reconsideration of the payment reduction and asked for clarification of the method of composition measurement used by the Government. After two reviews and certain modifications to the Government's position, not important to the current appeal, the dispute remains unresolved. Thus, Appellant appealed to this Board for resolution of the appeal requesting that the matter be decided upon the written record using accelerated procedures. The appeal is denied for reasons set forth hereinbelow. BACKGROUND The Appellant in its notice of appeal states that: The dispute "centers upon the method of measurement used to compute composition payments. ADL submitted its' [sic] bid and vouchers based upon the bid specification terms of 'per column inch basis,' white areas not included. The GPO is believed to have computed payment based upon line count." Subsequently, by letter of December 23, 1985, Appellant, having reviewed the Contracting Officer's appeal file (hereinafter "R4 File") of November 20, 1985, stated: [t]he GPO has since conceded that column inch measurement was proper . . . . After conceding [this] . . ., the GPO's reason given for voucher reductions has now been changed to ADL billing for white space and space for illustrations in line I(a)(l) and I(a)(2). (Exhibit W, Chronology of Events paragraph 8 and Finding of Fact paragraph 2.) ADL, the Contracting Officer and FME all concur that all other lines were billed correctly and paid accordingly. (Exhibits S, T, U, W.) Accepting that, the dispute now centers only on the above named lines and the supposed white spaces within them billed as text. ADL again states its column inch measurements did not include illustration spacing. Any small white areas that were included were integral to running text spacing or measured to include the folio number which is considered text composition in the contracts (Exhibits B and G, Text matter . . .) Official Record, Tab 6 Respondent's narrative explanation of November 1, 1985, signed by Daniel H. Clurman, Acting Manager, Hampton Regional Printing Procurement Office, R4 File, Exhibit W, together with the statement of reexamination of the disputed vouchers by G. W. Berard, Voucher Examination Branch, dated October 31, 1985, and related memoranda and documents in the R4 File, set forth Respondent's reasons for disallowing Appellant's composition measurements. The case comes to the Board in this format. DECISION There being no factual disputes, this case presents a single legal question which must be resolved. The legal question is one of contract language interpretation which is a matter of law. Thus, any decision by this Board concerning such question is subject to review by the courts pursuant to the Wunderlich Act (41 U.S.C. 321 et seq). This Board believes that the contract speaks precisely to the question of composition measurement and whether or not white spaces falling between text matter is to be included within the measurement of column inches of composition for payment purposes under the terms of the contract. The contract expressly states that "[t]ext matter will be paid for on a per column inch basis for lines up to 30 picas and for lines over 30 picas." (Emphasis added) The Schedule of Prices upon which the contractor sets forth his bid includes under I.(a) an all- inclusive price for text composition up to 30 picas per column inch, and I.(2) an all-inclusive price per text composition over 30 picas per column inch. "Text matter" is defined in the contract "as all type set in sizes up to and including 14- point except for legends, captions, running heads, and typematter within an illustration." (Emphasis added) The law of contract interpretation requires that words be given their plain meaning unless there is some ambiguity which would require the use of interpretative rules to ascertain the intention of the parties. Kass v. William Norwitz Co., 509 F.Supp. 618 (D.D.C. 1980). In the case at hand, text matter is type. The word type is qualified only by reference to point size and exclusion of material which would otherwise be included within the ordinary meaning of type; that is, printed legends, captions, running heads, and type matter within an illustration. Certainly, there is no intention to include within the word "type" white space or space between groupings of text or text and illustrations. The Board, therefore, holds that under the terms of the contract, the proper method of measuring text matter for payment for composition purposes would be to measure text material excluding white spacing, such as white spaces between paragraphs, and white spaces between text and illustrations in calculating the number of column inches of composition for which the Appellant is entitled to be paid. Since the Respondent has apparently followed this method of measurement, the Board affirms the Respondent's decision and denies the appeal. The Board has not and does not intend to review the arithmetic used by the Respondent. It directs the Respondent, however, to assure that the Appellant has been paid in accordance with the decision of this Board as to the proper method of measurement pursuant to the contract specifications. Denied.