Public Works Contractors Entitled to Recover for Extra Work Absent Board Approval

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On public projects, disputes frequently arise between a public entity owner and general contractor as to whether the contractor is entitled to be paid for project-related work performed beyond the original contract plans and specifications. In a decision published November 2, 2010 the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, found that a contractor may recover for extra work despite the fact that the public entity’s governing board did not approve such work, where the contract terms are inconsistent regarding whether the board or the board’s authorized representative must approve of the extra work. In the case, Mepco Services, Inc. v. Saddleback Valley Unified School District, D055018, the School District argued that the contractor should have been prohibited from claiming that it was entitled to compensation for the extra work in light of California law, which generally holds that because of competitive bidding requirements, contractors are not permitted to recover on contracts entered outside the authority of the public entity’s board. To read the lengthy opinion, which dealt with various other evidentiary issues, click here.

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