This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The relation between the contract price and the damage due to defective or incomplete performance may be so great, according to the test suggested in some jurisdictions, as to prevent performance from being substantial.1 It is said that a contract to do certain excavation for thirty-five hundred dollars, is not performed substantially if the cost of completing the contract is six hundred dollars.2 A contract for building a house at a cost of about four thousand dollars is not performed substantially if it will cost over two thousand dollars to supply the omissions.3 A contract for painting a building is not performed substantially if it is necessary to repaint about a third of the building at a cost of about a third of the original contract price.4 If the contract calls for three coats of plaster, such contract is not performed substantially by putting on two coats only.5 If it is conceded or established that a contract to install a heating plant has been so defectively or imperfectly performed that it furnishes about three hundred feet of radiation less than that provided for by the contract, it has been said that such fact shows that there is no substantial performance and that a finding of the trial court that such contract has been performed substantially is inconsistent therewith.6 If a contract for remodeling a building is intended primarily to secure a level floor, failure to perform so as to secure this result substantially at least, prevents substantial performance of the entire contract, although a great many of the preliminary steps to obtaining this result had been taken.7 A contract to bore a well of a specified diameter is not performed substantially by boring a well of a less diameter, although such well may be of the same practical value as that required by the terms of the contract.8
19 Schultze v. Goodstein, 180 N. Y. 248. 73 N. E. 21.
20 Vincennes Bridge Co. v. Walker, 181 Ky. 651, 205 S. \V. 778.
21 Hartsell v. Turner, 196 Ala. 209, 71 So. 658; Connor v. Trapp, 127 Ia. 742, 104 N. W. 333.
2 2 Bates v. Harte, 124 Ala. 427, 82 Am. St. Rep. 186, 26 So. 898.
1 United States. Bush v. Jones, 144 Fed. 942, 6 L. R. A. (N.S.) 774.
Connecticut. Tice v. Moore, 82 Conn. 244, 73 Atl. 133.
Iowa. Connor v. Trapp, 127 la. 742, 104 N. W. 333.
Minnesota. Anderson v. Pringle, 79 Minn. 433, 82 N. W. 682.
New York. Flaherty v. Miner, 123 N. Y. 382 (obiter); Van Clief v. Van Vechten, 130 N. Y. 571, 29 N. E. 1017.
Pennsylvania. Gillespie Tool Co. v. Wilson, 123 Pa. St. 19, 16 Atl. 36.
South Dakota. Symms-Powers Co. v. Kennedy, 33 S. D. 355, 146 N. W. 570.
Wisconsin. Manthey v Stock, 133 Wis. 107, 113 N. W. 443.
2 Flaherty v. Miner, 123 N. Y. 382. (This statement was obiter, since the question of substantial performance was not raised in the trial-court.)
3 Tice v. Moore, 82 Conn. 244, 73 AtL 133.