⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Bookshop House Ltd. v. Stanley Consultants Ltd. (1986) – SC
Bookshop House Ltd.
Stanley Consultants Ltd
(1986) NWLR (Pt. 26) 87;
⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
* FOR THE APPELLANT
– Kehinde Sofola, SAN.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
– Mr. A. Odofin;
⦿ FACT (as relating to the issues)
The facts of this case are quite straightforward and simple. The Appellant, the Bookshop House Ltd. wanted to erect a multi storey ultra modern office block. Their architects Messrs Godwin and Hopwood then invited the Respondents, Stanley Consultants Ltd. to undertake the engineering design of the said building known as Bookshop House. After the usual negotiations and exchange of correspondence, the Appellant, the Bookshop House accepted the Proposals submitted by the Respondents (Stanley Consultants Ltd.). These Proposals were tendered in evidence. Stanley Consultants Ltd executed their own part of the contract. But a dispute arose between the parties over one single solitary issue, namely “The Fees” to be paid by the Bookshop House Ltd. to Stanley Consultants Ltd. as per the contract documents.
1. Whether the decision of the Court of Appeal is wrong in interpreting the terms of the Agreement between the parties relating to the payment of fees on the basis of the total construction cost of the project as generaly defined by the Association of Consulting Engineers.
⦿ HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI
[APPEAL: DISMISSED WITH N300 COST]
1. ISSUE 1 WAS RESOLVED AGAINST THE APPELLANT BUT IN FAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENT.
i. In this one Project there are so many “works” as defined above but the important thing is that the proposals of the Respondent in EX.A1 (which the Appellant accepted as the basis of their contractual relationship) was “our proposal for providing the engineering consulting services for the project. It is therefore my view that the proper interpretation of “Fee” as used in EX. A1 will take into account the whole contract documents EXS. A1 to A10. If this is done, it will be obvious that the Fee agreed upon by the parties will be based on:- 1. Estimated scope of the “work” of the Respondent. 2. Plus the total construction cost of the project. It cannot be the total construction cost of the “work” for two reasons:- 1. As defined in EX.A10, it will be absurd to talk of the total construction cost of the “work”. One may have the cost of the “work” but certainly not the total construction cost of the work. 2. Fee as proposed in EX. A1 at the bottom of p.4 clearly and in a univocal and unequivocal language referred to “total construction cost of the project” and project as defined in EX. A10 is made up of many “Works”. The engineering work of the Respondent formed but merely a part of the “Works” envisaged in the project. This notwithstanding, the scale of “Fee” was agreed at 3.85% of the total construction cost of the project. The use of the word total above amply suggests that the cost of all the construction “works” has to be added up to get the total construction cost of the project. This, in my view, means the total cost to the Client here the Appellant of putting up the Bookshop House as it now stands. That was the interpretation of the Court of Appeal. That is my interpretation.
⦿ SOME PROVISIONS
⦿ RELEVANT CASES
⦿ NOTABLE DICTA