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TITAN ENVTL. CONSTR. SYS. v. SCHOOL DIST. OF PHILA

October 21, 1976

TITAN ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTRUCTION SYSTEMS, INC.
v.
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BECHTLE

 BECHTLE, J.

 Plaintiff, Titan Environmental Construction Systems, Inc. ("Titan"), brought this action against the School District of Philadelphia ("School District"), seeking compensation for architectural services rendered by it to the School District. The case was tried, non-jury, before this Court. After careful consideration of the conflicting testimony and exhibits presented at trial, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Titan is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of, and with its principal place of business in, the State of Maryland. Titan is in the business of designing and constructing school and other commercial buildings. Titan employs a systems approach to construction, which generally denotes that the building and all of its component parts are pre-engineered and, in some instances, prefabricated so as to permit easy assembly at the construction site.

 2. The School District is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, created pursuant to the Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. §§ 1-101 et seq.

 3. Titan was first contacted by the School District in 1969. James L. McIntyre, the president of Titan, received a telephone call from a staff member of the School District who requested that representatives of the School District be given a tour of certain buildings which Titan had constructed in Baltimore, Maryland. The tour was arranged and was attended by Edward W. Deissler, the then Director of Architecture, Engineering and Construction Services for the School District, and several members of his staff.

 4. In March of 1971, Mr. McIntyre received another telephone call from a Mr. Mowbray of the School District who also requested a tour of Titan-constructed buildings. In August of 1971, Mr. Mowbray and Dr. Michael P. Marcase, the then Deputy Superintendent for Planning of the School District, were given a tour of buildings which Titan had constructed in Chicago, Illinois.

 5. The Chicago tour was followed by several meetings between representatives of Titan and those of the School District, which took place in September, October and December of 1971. The purpose of these meetings was for Titan to familiarize the School District with the mechanics of Titan's systems approach to construction, and for the School District to familiarize Titan with its various educational requirements with respect to new school buildings.

 6. At a meeting held on December 22, 1971, Titan was informed that the School District had decided to construct two systems-built Titan schools, and that Titan would serve in a management relationship in constructing those schools.

 7. On January 19, 1972, a meeting was held at the request of the School District in Dr. Marcase's office. The meeting was described as the "kick off" meeting. It was attended by Dr. Marcase and several other members of the School District staff, including people specializing in architecture, engineering, facilities planning and education. Attending for Titan were Mr. McIntyre, John Newby, Titan's director of new business, and Peter Moore, Titan's lead architect. At that meeting, Dr. Marcase posed numerous questions to the Titan staff. Following the questioning, Dr. Marcase stated that a decision had been reached to build two Titan schools.

 8. During that same meeting, and at subsequent meetings through the Spring of 1972, it was agreed that Titan would prepare drawings, specifications and equipment lists for two school buildings, as well as for an addition to a third school building. Those drawings, specifications and equipment lists ultimately formed the "bid documents" for the projects, i.e., the documents which bidders were to review and upon which they were to base their bids.

 9. The School District agreed that it would construct the two school buildings, as well as the addition to a third school building, based upon the drawings, specifications and equipment lists which Titan would prepare. The School District further agreed, as the sole consideration for Titan's services, that the contract for the construction of these buildings would be awarded on the basis of competitive public bidding, and that Titan would have the opportunity to bid as well as the possibility of being awarded the contract if it was the lowest responsible bidder.

 10. The Board of Education of the School District approved the proposed construction of two Titan experimental systems school buildings and an addition to a third school building and approved the competitive public bidding for those buildings in which Titan would be given the opportunity to bid.

 11. Finally, at the meeting of January 19, 1972, a question was raised by Titan concerning the legality of soliciting bids for school construction projects involving only a single prime construction contract. The question was asked because the Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. § 7-751 (Supp. 1976), requires, with certain exceptions, that contracts for school construction be entered into with four separate prime contractors, as opposed to one. In light of Titan's systems approach to construction, it would not have been feasible for Titan to have bid for these projects, unless the entire contract was awarded to the successful bidder.

 12. Titan was advised by the School District, both at the January 19 meeting and on other subsequent occasions, that, in light of an exception in § 7-751 pertaining to prefabricated buildings, the contemplated Titan projects could be legally let on a single prime construction contract basis.

 13. When the School District made the decision to build two school buildings and an addition to a third based on the Titan design, it was acting under the assumption that those projects would be funded, in whole or in part, by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Commonwealth's Department of Education. The School District, no later than February, 1972, realized the necessity of confirming with the Department of Education that funding for the Titan projects would in fact be available. However, the School District made no such request for confirmation to the Department of Education until the third week of July, 1972, which was after Titan had completed its services and after the public had been invited to bid on the Titan-designed projects. Notwithstanding the fact that the School District did not check with the Department of Education until July, the School District informed Titan by February, 1972, that it had received the necessary Department of Education approvals.

 14. During the period of approximately January 19, 1972, to June 15, 1972, Titan performed services on behalf of the School ...


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