APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon.
KENNETH J. JUEN, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE HARRISON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Plaintiff below, Charles Rutledge, a construction contractor, appeals from a judgment denying his claim for the reasonable value of services rendered to defendants, the Housing Authority of the city of East St. Louis, Illinois, which was based upon the theory of a contract implied in law. Judgment was rendered in the circuit court of St. Clair County on December 2, 1975, following a directed verdict in favor of the defendant. Plaintiff's initial post-trial motion was filed December 30, 1975, and an order denying the motion was entered on March 23, 1979. Rutledge charges the circuit court with a single encompassing error, that, contrary to its findings, the plaintiff did carry his burden of proof in attempting to establish a right to recover based on the doctrine of quantum meruit. We affirm the decision of the circuit court.
The defendant (hereinafter referred to as the Housing Authority), organized in conformity with the Housing Authorities Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 67 1/2, par. 1 et seq.), sought to construct a new central office building in order to house its administrative staff and invited planning and construction proposals based on what is referred to as the "Turnkey" development procedure. The latter is a project methodology whereby a developer designs and constructs the facility concerned at a given site and upon completion the finished product is sold to the Housing Authority. During the interim period of planning and construction, done in conjunction with and according to the needs and specifications of the Housing Authority, the developer is engaged in an independent venture and carries the cost of financing the operation. The official bidding invitation was issued December 3, 1971. It indicated that the entire project would require the coordinate approval of both the Housing Authority and that of the Housing Assistance Office of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter referred to as HUD), since Federal funds were essential to its accomplishment. Page 5 of the invitation consisted of the following paragraph:
"This Housing Authority, after conferring with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Housing Assistance Office, will evaluate the Developer's proposals as to (1) Reasonableness of the prices, and (2) Designs and typical site layout; in accordance with the procedures of Paragraph 4 of the Low-Rent Housing Turnkey Handbook, RHA 7420.1, (3) Experience of Developers, (4) Affirmative Action Program, and (5) Financial capability of Developer. In selection of the most satisfactory development proposal the Housing Authority of the City of East St. Louis will not be bound to make that selection on the basis of the lowest price. This Authority reserves the right to reject, accept, or request modification of any and all proposals submitted in response to this invitation."
The Turnkey Handbook, issued to all bidders, detailed a 12-step process on pages 1 and 2 leading up to the commencement of construction.
"c. The sequence of steps of Turnkey projects is set forth below. Except as stated in paragraph 1d below, all of the steps and related procedures set forth in this Handbook shall be taken for each Turnkey project in the order stated. Briefly, these include, following the approval of the LHA's application for a low-rent housing program, the following steps:
(1) the advertisement by the LHA for Turnkey proposals;
(2) the evaluation of proposals by the LHA and the Regional Housing Assistance Office (HAO);
(3) the appraisal of the proposed site;
(4) the Feasibility Conference during which agreement is reached on the project design and the price of the land;
(5) the developer's preparation of preliminary drawings and outline specifications;
(6) independent cost estimates and LHA and HAO evaluation of the proposed price for improvements;
(7) the Negotiation Conference during which a price for the ...