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Beit Midrash Series P'ninat Mishpat

Expanding Work and Expanding Pay

The plaintiff (=pl) served as a supervisor of the building of the defendants’ (=def) house, which included inspecting the work going on at the site and also coordinating and taking responsibility for the architect, engineer, contractor, and subcontractors. His fee was 26,000 shekels, and the construction was supposed to be finished by the end of 2015. During the work, pl recommended to def to expand the scope of development and argued (against the other professionals) that they should build supporting walls, at a cost of 200,000 shekels to accomplish this safely. Def accepted pl’s plan. The work dragged out until Oct. 2016. The contract stated that for work that pl will need to do after 2015, he will be paid 260 shekels per visit. Pl says that he has worked 120 hours on matters outside the contract, but is charging for only 50 hours at 260 shekel an hour (13,000 plus VAT). Def argues that it does not make sense that the extra work is more than half of his base salary, that pl did not warn them he would ask for more money, and that his silence implied that the 200,000 shekels for the supporting walls included his fee. They also claim that he is responsible for much of the delay in the project.
---- ---Nisan 27 5779
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Based on ruling 77015 of the Eretz Hemdah-Gazit Rabbinical Courts

Case:
The plaintiff (=pl) served as a supervisor of the building of the defendants’ (=def) house, which included inspecting the work going on at the site and also coordinating and taking responsibility for the architect, engineer, contractor, and subcontractors. His fee was 26,000 shekels, and the construction was supposed to be finished by the end of 2015. During the work, pl recommended to def to expand the scope of development and argued (against the other professionals) that they should build supporting walls, at a cost of 200,000 shekels to accomplish this safely. Def accepted pl’s plan. The work dragged out until Oct. 2016. The contract stated that for work that pl will need to do after 2015, he will be paid 260 shekels per visit. Pl says that he has worked 120 hours on matters outside the contract, but is charging for only 50 hours at 260 shekel an hour (13,000 plus VAT). Def argues that it does not make sense that the extra work is more than half of his base salary, that pl did not warn them he would ask for more money, and that his silence implied that the 200,000 shekels for the supporting walls included his fee. They also claim that he is responsible for much of the delay in the project.



Ruling: There is no logical basis for def’s claim that the quote for the expense of the wall included pay to pl, considering that def did not claim it was said, def did not ask, and the money paid did not pass through pl’s hands. The fact that pl did not ask for his fee before or as the work was being done is inconsequential, as one can ask for payment for that which he did even as an apparent free favor if it is the type of work that is standardly paid for (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 264:4). Here it is even clearer since pl did the work in the midst of professional work for which he was paid (see ibid. 333:8), and provisions were originally agreed for an increase in his fee.

However, def’s claim that such a large increase in pl’s pay for services without warning does have validity. The way pl presents his claim, he is asking for double pay for some of his work, as follows. He was promised pay for work after the construction was supposed to be done because that is in effect new work. But a major part of the delay was due to building the supporting wall, so that if he will be paid for the wall, it should be reduced for what he ostensibly deserves for overtime by going into 2016. Furthermore, pl’s job included taking responsibility for the work of the other professionals.

From the deliberations it emerged that the price for pl’s work was based on an assumption of approximately 100 visits at 260 shekels including VAT per visit. Not including the visits due to unnecessary delays, for which pl had pledged responsibility, there were 120 visits. Therefore, pl deserves 20 * 260 shekels including VAT, or 5,200 shekels.

Other dayanim arrived at the same sum in different ways.
הלכה פסוקה
Rabbi Dov Lior
1 - אחריות לווה על פרעון ההלואה לאחר שנתן המחאה
2 - נזק תוך כדי בדיקת קנייה של אופנוע
3 - שטר שנכתב שלא כדין ובסופו היה קניין
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