APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS
J. JANCZY, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE MCNAMARA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Plaintiff, Herbert Shaffer Associates, Inc., filed suit in the circuit court of Cook County to foreclose a mechanic's lien for architectural services expended by it in connection with work on a dwelling project in the City of Chicago. Defendants were the legal owner of the property, First Bank of Oak Park, as trustee, and the beneficial owner of the property, Michael Stein. Defendants counterclaimed for a refund of part of the money already paid to plaintiff, alleging that they had overpaid plaintiff on the basis of work completed by it. At the close of all the evidence, the trial court, as trier of fact, entered judgment for plaintiff, assessed damages in the amount of $6,340.32, and dismissed the counterclaim.
Although the voluminous record contains scores of exhibits, the case actually revolves upon the construction of a standard, written architect's contract. It was plaintiff's position at trial that pursuant to that document it was entitled to compensation for work done up to the time defendants terminated the contract. Defendants maintained that they had never terminated the contract and that plaintiff had been overpaid. The pertinent facts are as follows.
The parties entered into a written contract for services on December 17, 1970, although they had been working on an oral agreement since earlier in that year. As stated in the contract, the owners' intention was to erect "a multiple dwelling building consisting of approximately thirty-seven units located on four stories" at 732-46 Gordon Terrace in Chicago. The contract specified that plaintiff was to prepare drawings for various phases of development of the project. These drawings were to consist of schematic design studies, design development drawings, and working (construction) documents. The manner in which plaintiff was to be compensated for its services is outlined in paragraph II of the contract. In pertinent part that provision reads as follows:
"a. FOR THE ARCHITECT'S BASIC AND ADDITIONAL SERVICES, * * * compensation computed as follows:
Principals' time at the fixed rate of Twenty-Five dollars ($25.00) per hour. * * *
Employees' time computed at a multiple of two & one-half (2 1/2) times the employees' Direct Personnel Expense as defined in Article 4.
Services of professional consultants at a multiple of one and one-quarter (1 1/4) times the amount billed to the Architect for such services.
c. FOR THE ARCHITECT'S REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES, amounts expended as defined in Article 5.
d. THE TIMES AND FURTHER CONDITIONS OF PAYMENT shall be as described in Article 6 and as follows:
Compensation for BASIC SERVICES shall be limited to a total of $15,000.00 and shall be due and payable according to the following Schedule of Payment:
On Completion of the Schematic & Design Development Phases:
One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00)
On Completion of the Construction ...