The legal background will be described in Part I. I begin with the development of the doctrine of substantial performance and the role of willfulness. If the contractor’s compensation were conditional on the architect providing a certificate of completion, what happens if the architect refused to provide the certificate? If a court concludes that the work had been substantially performed, how should the contractor’s award be modified? In Part II, I revisit Jacob & Youngs to show how the result followed from the pre-existing law. That, of course, does not mean that it was a sensible outcome. In Part III, I show that the Jacob & Youngs result has, in essence, been incorporated into the standard form building contracts.

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