Proving Damages for Substantially Completed Construction Projects

Where a building contractor has substantially performed a contract between the parties, the contractor is entitled to be paid the full contract price diminished only by damages which the owner has suffered as the result of such breaches of the contract as may be established by competent evidence. See Fleming v. URDL’s Waterfall Creation, Inc., 549 S. 2d. 1057 (4th DCA 1989), citing T.A.S. Heavy Equipment, Inc. v. Delint, Inc., 532 So.2d 23 (Fla. 4th DCA 1988); Oven Development Corporation v. Molisky, 278 So.2d 299 (Fla. 1st DCA 1973).

On the other hand,“[t]he measure of damages for breach of a partially performed construction contract is, ‘either quantum meruit or * the contractor’s lost profit together with the reasonable cost of labor and materials incurred in good faith in the course of partial performance of the contract.’ ” Nico Indus., Inc. v. Steel Form Contractors, Inc., 625 So.2d 1252 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993) (quoting Brooks v. Holsombach, 525 So.2d 910, 911 (Fla. 4th DCA 1988) ). A contractor may prove lost profit damages “by showing the total cost and expenses of labor, services and materials necessary to perform the contract and then deducting that sum from the contract price.” Ballard v. Krause, 248 So.2d 233, 234 (Fla. 4th DCA 1971).  

A contractor may establish quantum meruit damages by showing “those damages that would put him in the same position that he was [in] immediately prior to the making of the agreement, in which case the contractor’s measure of damages is the reasonable value of the labor and services rendered, and materials furnished.” Id. Be-cause contractors must prove their damages under one of those methods, this court has recognized that evidence concerning the “[p]ercentage of completion is not competent evidence to prove damages for breach of a partially performed construction contract.” Nico Indus., Inc., 625 So.2d at 1252; see also Teca, Inc. v. WM-TAB, Inc., 726 So.2d 828, 830 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999) (en banc); First Atl. Bldg. Corp. v. Neubauer Constr. Co., 352 So.2d 103, 104-05 (Fla. 4th DCA 1977).

See Puya v. Superior Pools, 902 So.2d 973,(Fla. 4th DCA 2005.)

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