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SECURITY PAINTING COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/17/76)

decided: May 17, 1976.

SECURITY PAINTING COMPANY
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Board of Arbitration of Claims in case of Security Painting Company v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Docket Nos. 267 and 272.

COUNSEL

Arthur H. Marateck, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellant.

Earl J. Melman, with him August W. Petroplus, and Melman, Gekas, Nicholas and Lieberman, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judge Kramer did not participate. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 508]

This appeal by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is from an award by the Board of Arbitration of Claims (Board) to Security Painting Company (Security) for alleged extra work performed by Security in the course of painting twelve bridges.

In March of 1971, Security, as the successful bidder, entered into two contracts with PennDOT for the painting of twelve bridges in Potter and Clearfield Counties

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 509]

    for the total consideration of $23,580. As a painting contractor, Security was required, by the terms of the contract, to first sandblast the metal surfaces on the bridges in order to properly prepare them for the application of paint. Security began its sandblasting operations and was soon informed by PennDOT inspectors that it would have to remove substantially all of the sound and adherent old paint from all of the surfaces. Prior to this development, Security had intended only to remove loose, excessively thick or inflexible paint from the structures. Security acceded to the inspectors' demands and allegedly incurred considerable expense, resulting in the expenditure of a sum of money on the bridges in excess of the bid price.

After completion of the projects, Security filed timely exceptions to PennDOT's final payment order and, on November 11, 1971, filed two complaints before the Board, seeking additional compensation in the amount of $49,703.58 for the alleged extra work. These complaints were consolidated and, on September 17, 1975, after two extensive hearings, the Board awarded Security damages in the amount of $30,255.45, together with interest. This appeal followed.

Our scope of review is limited, and we are generally obliged to affirm an order of the Board unless it is contrary to the law or unless the Board's findings of fact are not supported by substantial evidence in the record. Penn-Jersey Contractors, Inc. v. General State Authority, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 203, 315 A.2d 920 (1974). Here, the Board has committed an error of law and we are therefore compelled to reverse.

The substantive issues before us involve the construction of the contractual provisions applicable to the facts as found by the Board. We initiate our analysis by reference to the basic contractual provisions concerning the extent of sandblasting ...


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