Email Contract Didn't Spell Out Who Was Responsible For Concrete Specs

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 8:51 am
February 2018 - Volume 40 Number 2

Contracts --- Specifications

New Prime, Inc. v. Brandon Balchune Constr., Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. Lexis 206749 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 15, 2017)

In this case, a "woefully deficient email ‘contract’ failed to include almost all key terms to the parties’ agreement, including price, duration, [and work scope]."

New Prime hired Patrick McLaine and Civil Design Partners Inc. (Civil Design) to create the necessary documents to procure government permits for construction of a 250,000 square-foot trailer parking lot. (Brandon Balchune Construction, Inc. was the general contractor on the project.) Specifically, Civil Design was hired to "generate and submit a land development plan for the purpose of complying with the ordinances and permit requirements" of local authorities---but what exactly that plan was supposed to contain became the basis of this dispute.

The land development plan (LDP) Civil Design prepared did not provide specifications for the concrete to be used on the project---other than to call for Class A concrete for curbing and eight-inch thick slabs for the lot. According to New Prime, Civil Design should have provided specs for: "the design and construction" of the parking lot as well as the materials, including "the required quality of concrete (i.e., concrete type and target slump and strength) and required methods of quality control, testing, construction, and curing of concrete as required by civil engineers for projects of this magnitude."

Consequently, New Prime brought claims of breach of contract and breach of warranty against Civil Design for failure to provide adequate construction/design specs.

The problem with re[..]