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FL Plant Coating Project Let Amid Flap

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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A Florida contractor has been awarded a $137,000 contract for concrete coating and metal painting work at a municipal wastewater plant after the low bidder erred and a higher bidder lodged an unsuccessful protest.

PGA Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Seacoast (FL) Utility Authority Board awarded the coatings work at the PGA Wastewater Treatment Plant on Jan. 26 to Fleischer's Inc., of West Palm Beach, as the “lowest responsible bidder.”

The authority had received 11 bids for the project, with the lowest—for $125,207—from Merkury Development of Miami. But Merkury’s bid was not signed and was thus considered not properly executed, the board found. It rejected the bid as non-responsive.

Legal Review

A law firm reviewing the bids found that Merkury’s failure to execute its bid created a potential for competitive advantage.

For example, the attorneys said, Merkury could back out of the work after receiving the contract, contending that its bid had been submitted without proper authority.

“This could conceivably allow Merkury to submit the low bid, test the waters, and then make a determination after bid award as to whether it wished to honor its bid,” wrote attorney Nathan E. Nason, of Nason Yeager Gerson White and Lioce PA. “Merkury’s bid should be rejected for this reason alone.”

Bidder Protest

Once Merkury was eliminated, however, the third-highest of the bidders protested, arguing that Fleischer’s bid was also flawed.

Sun Art Painting Corp. of Riviera Beach, FL, contended that Fleischer’s had not provided documentation showing that it was authorized to do business in Florida, as required by the Instructions to Bidders (ITB). Nor, Sun Art said, did Fleischer’s provide an ITB-required list of assets and liabilities, writing in the bid form that it would provide the information “as necessary.” It eventually provided the information after the bids were opened, which Sun Art contended was a major bid defect. Sun Art had bid $148,334 for the project.

Sun Art also contended that Fleischer’s lacked the experience for the project, but Nason Yeager disagreed. So did Holtz Consulting Engineers Inc., which was also retained to review the bids.  Both Nason Yeager and Holtz recommended that the project be awarded to Fleischer’s, and SUA agreed.

Scope of Work

The project involves cleaning and coating the exterior of three concrete clarifiers, the interior metal of the North clarifier, multiple pump stations, equipment, and a surface reclaimed water pump station wet well at the plant.

Metal surfaces will be abrasive blast-cleaned to SSPC-SP 10 (near white), spot-power-tool-cleaned to SP 11 (bare metal); and coated with epoxy and fluoropolymer systems. Concrete and masonry surfaces will be coated with a 100% acrylic emulsion system.

Reported by Paint BidTracker, a construction reporting service devoted to identifying contracting opportunities for the coatings community.


Tagged categories: Bidding; Concrete coatings and treatments; Contract awards; Government contracts; Metal coatings; Protective coatings; Wastewater Plants

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