Quantum meruit in construction

The following Construction practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Quantum meruit in construction
  • What is quantum meruit?
  • When does a quantum meruit claim arise?
  • Quantum meruit and letters of intent
  • Valuing a quantum meruit claim

Quantum meruit in construction

This Practice Note looks at what quantum meruit is, the most common situations where a quantum meruit claim may arise in relation to a construction project and how the court may value the claim and determine what constitutes a ‘reasonable sum’. See also, more generally, Practice Note: Quantum meruit (value of services) and quantum valebat (value of goods).

What is quantum meruit?

The term ‘quantum meruit’ means ‘as much as he has earned’ and a quantum meruit claim means that a party is claiming a reasonable sum, ie the amount that it deserves, taking into account the works or services that it has performed.

When does a quantum meruit claim arise?

A claim on the basis of quantum meruit will arise out of a situation which, for one reason or another, involves an element of uncertainty as to the amount due to the contractor. In general, a claim for quantum meruit indicates that there is no contract between the parties in respect of the specific work/services that have been performed and for which the claim is being made—even though there may be a contract between them in respect of other related/associated works.

In the context of construction projects, quantum meruit claims most commonly arise in the following circumstances:

  1. the contract agreed between the parties does not state a fixed price for the works/services and the amount

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