Advertising Disclosure Email Disclosure

A contract for construction with an owner is a prerequisite under Pennsylvania’s Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act, and design professionals may qualify as “contractors” under certain circumstances.

January 1, 2012
Apostolou Associates, Inc. v. Dipardo, 2011 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 76 (Mar. 31, 2011)

An architectural firm entered into an oral contract for services to help determine the feasibility of a project. The architectural firm entered into a second oral contract for behind-the-scenes assistance to the owner for planning and zoning. The services were performed before there were any construction contracts for the project. Section 515 of the Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act, 73 P.S.A. § 501 et seq. ("CASPA") applies to a “construction contract,, which is "an agreement, whether written or oral to perform work on any real property …" Real property is "Real estate that is improved …” "Improve" is "to design, effect, alter, provide professional or skilled services, repair or demolish any improvements upon … real property, …” The court held that the second contract was not for construction as the architectural firm had no intention of entering into a construction contract, the architectural firm did not want to be the architect of record, and the architectural firm was not hired to do detailed work needed for actual construction, rather, his drawings were only for business planning purposes. The architectural firm has appealed this decision. For now, it is an open question whether a design professional may be considered a subcontractor under CASPA such that, if a design professional could prove under the CASPA definitions that it was a subcontractor who entered into a construction contract with an owner or a person who is authorized or engaged by an owner to improve real property, then CASPA remedies may apply to non-payment.

Case Law Alert, 1st Qtr 2012

Affiliated Attorney

Gregory J. Kelley
Shareholder
(610) 354-8273
gjkelley@mdwcg.com

Practice Areas

Before you send this email please note:

You are attempting to send email, through a link on our website, to an attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin or an employee in our firm. Please note that your email may not be treated as confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon the transmission of an email through this website if you are seeking to enter into such a relationship. Until such time as we have agreed to represent you, no information in your email will be treated as confidential. Please contact us directly by telephone at 1.800.220.3308 if it is your intent to seek legal counsel with our firm or convey confidential information.

If it is still your intent to send this email, knowing that it may not be treated as confidential, you may accept our terms of agreement by pressing "OK". If you choose not to accept these terms of agreement you may navigate away from this page by pressing "Cancel."