Contract for Piece Work

CONTRACT FOR PIECE WORK UNDER THE CIVIL CODE: What is the nature of a contract for piece work?

By the contract for a piece of work, the contractor binds himself to execute a piece of work for the employer, in consideration of a certain price or compensation. The contractor may either employ only his labor or skill, or also furnish the material.

PERTINENT CIVIL CODE PROVISIONS ON PIECE WORK CONTRACTS:

Art. 1714. If the contractor agrees to produce the work from material furnished by him, he shall deliver the thing produced to the employer and transfer dominion over the thing. This contract shall be governed by the following articles as well as by the pertinent provisions on warranty of title and against hidden defects and the payment of price in a contract of sale.

Art. 1715. The contractor shall execute the work in such a manner that it has the qualities agreed upon and has no defects which destroy or lessen its value or fitness for its ordinary or stipulated use. Should the work be not of such quality, the employer may require that the contractor remove the defect or execute another work. If the contractor fails or refuses to comply with this obligation, the employer may have the defect removed or another work executed, at the contractor's cost.

Art. 1716. An agreement waiving or limiting the contractor's liability for any defect in the work is void if the contractor acted fraudulently.

Art. 1717. If the contractor bound himself to furnish the material, he shall suffer the loss if the work should be destroyed before its delivery, save when there has been delay in receiving it.
Art. 1718. The contractor who has undertaken to put only his work or skill, cannot claim any compensation if the work should be destroyed before its delivery, unless there has been delay in receiving it, or if the destruction was caused by the poor quality of the material, provided this fact was communicated in due time to the owner. If the material is lost through a fortuitous event, the contract is extinguished.

Art. 1719. Acceptance of the work by the employer relieves the contractor of liability for any defect in the work, unless: (1) The defect is hidden and the employer is not, by his special knowledge, expected to recognize the same; or (2) The employer expressly reserves his rights against the contractor by reason of the defect.

Art. 1720. The price or compensation shall be paid at the time and place of delivery of the work, unless there is a stipulation to the contrary. If the work is to be delivered partially, the price or compensation for each part having been fixed, the sum shall be paid at the time and place of delivery, in the absence if stipulation.

Art. 1721. If, in the execution of the work, an act of the employer is required, and he incurs in delay or fails to perform the act, the contractor is entitled to a reasonable compensation.

The amount of the compensation is computed, on the one hand, by the duration of the delay and the amount of the compensation stipulated, and on the other hand, by what the contractor has saved in expenses by reason of the delay or is able to earn by a different employment of his time and industry.

Art. 1722. If the work cannot be completed on account of a defect in the material furnished by the employer, or because of orders from the employer, without any fault on the part of the contractor, the latter has a right to an equitable part of the compensation proportionally to the work done, and reimbursement for proper expenses made.

Art. 1723. The engineer or architect who drew up the plans and specifications for a building is liable for damages if within fifteen years from the completion of the structure, the same should collapse by reason of a defect in those plans and specifications, or due to the defects in the ground. The contractor is likewise responsible for the damages if the edifice falls, within the same period, on account of defects in the construction or the use of materials of inferior quality furnished by him, or due to any violation of the terms of the contract. If the engineer or architect supervises the construction, he shall be solidarily liable with the contractor.

Acceptance of the building, after completion, does not imply waiver of any of the cause of action by reason of any defect mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

The action must be brought within ten years following the collapse of the building.

Art. 1724. The contractor who undertakes to build a structure or any other work for a stipulated price, in conformity with plans and specifications agreed upon with the land-owner, can neither withdraw from the contract nor demand an increase in the price on account of the higher cost of labor or materials, save when there has been a change in the plans and specifications, provided: (1) Such change has been authorized by the proprietor in writing; and (2) The additional price to be paid to the contractor has been determined in writing by both parties.

Art. 1725. The owner may withdraw at will from the construction of the work, although it may have been commenced, indemnifying the contractor for all the latter's expenses, work, and the usefulness which the owner may obtain therefrom, and damages.

Art. 1726. When a piece of work has been entrusted to a person by reason of his personal qualifications, the contract is rescinded upon his death.

In this case the proprietor shall pay the heirs of the contractor in proportion to the price agreed upon, the value of the part of the work done, and of the materials prepared, provided the latter yield him some benefit.

The same rule shall apply if the contractor cannot finish the work due to circumstances beyond his control.

Art. 1727. The contractor is responsible for the work done by persons employed by him.

Art. 1728. The contractor is liable for all the claims of laborers and others employed by him, and of third persons for death or physical injuries during the construction.

Art. 1729. Those who put their labor upon or furnish materials for a piece of work undertaken by the contractor have an action against the owner up to the amount owing from the latter to the contractor at the time the claim is made. However, the following shall not prejudice the laborers, employees and furnishers of materials: (1) Payments made by the owner to the contractor before they are due; (2) Renunciation by the contractor of any amount due him from the owner.

This article is subject to the provisions of special laws.

Art. 1730. If it is agreed that the work shall be accomplished to the satisfaction of the proprietor, it is understood that in case of disagreement the question shall be subject to expert judgment.

If the work is subject to the approval of a third person, his decision shall be final, except in case of fraud or manifest error.

Art. 1731. He who has executed work upon a movable has a right to retain it by way of pledge until he is paid.

PERTINENT PROVISION UNDER THE LAW ON SALES: Art. 1467. A contract for the delivery at a certain price of an article which the vendor in the ordinary course of his business manufactures or procures for the general market, whether the same is on hand at the time or not, is a contract of sale, but if the goods are to be manufactured specially for the customer and upon his special order, and not for the general market, it is a contract for a piece of work.

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