Does a Construction Contract Mean “Do Whatever”?

Briefs are sometimes difficult to follow without review of the full terms of the underlying contract, or previously filed briefs in the same case. I see the following in the respondent’s brief in Cope Marine Tablerock, Inc v. Hensley d/b/a/ Construction Processing Co., No. SD32670, 2014 WL 2573096 (Mo. Ct. App. S.D.) (May 27, 2014):

Appellants argue at page 16 of their Brief that there is no cause of action in Missouri for breach of applied [sic] warranty for commercial construction. This is not correct.

I regret that the appellant’s brief is not in Westlaw, because I really want to see it. The above language in respondent’s brief seems to say that appellant’s view is that a construction contract does not impose a duty to perform the specified construction in a reasonable workmanlike manner. I would be interested in the authority for that proposition.

Of course, it is a separate matter if one is asked to perform commercial construction pursuant to stated specifications and the specifications will not produce construction meeting the desired objectives.

Respondent’s brief goes on to note:

Baerveldt & Honig Construction Company v. Szombathy, 289 S.W.2d 116 (Mo. 1956) was a suit on a contract to build an office building to be leased to the United States as a Post Office. The court stated at page 4, “Defendants correctly assert that in every contract to perform work there is an implied agreement that the work will be done in a skillful and workmanlike manner.”

That seems eminently sensible.