Decided December 31, 1974. Rehearing denied February 4, 1975. Certiorari granted March 24, 1975.
In action to recover for services rendered in surveying defendants' land, trial court awarded plaintiff $607.50 for the part of the surveying work found accurate and an additional $6,000 as the reasonable value of the work performed. Defendants appealed.
Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part.
1. CONTRACTS — Action — Surveying Services — No Benefit to Defendants — Survey Inaccurate — No Recovery — Quantum Meruit. In action to recover for services rendered in surveying defendant's land, there was no evidence or finding by the trial court that the time spent by plaintiff bestowed upon or resulted in any benefit to defendants, and by the court's findings, the whole survey performed by plaintiff was inaccurate; thus, the court erred in concluding that plaintiff was entitled to recover on its claim for quantum meruit.
2. Action — Surveying Services — Findings — Not Support — Reasonable Value of Services — Judgment — Not Upheld. In action to recover for services rendered in surveying defendant's land, the revised findings of the trial court do not support its conclusion that the reasonable value of the services is $6,000, and any conclusion of the court as to the indebtedness of defendants to plaintiff would be based on conjecture and speculation and not on any evidence; thus, the judgment awarding plaintiff $6,000 as the value of its services cannot be upheld on review.
3. Action — Surveying Services — Substantial Performance — Recovery — Precluded. In action to recover for services rendered in surveying defendant's land, the burden of proof is on plaintiff to prove substantial performance and since, on supporting evidence, the court found that there had not been substantial performance and that the survey had been of no benefit to defendants, recovery on a substantial performance theory was precluded.
4. INTEREST — Action — Surveying Services — Unliquidated Claim — Entitled — — Interest From Date of Judgment. Since action to recover for surveying work performed by plaintiff was suit on an unliquidated claim, plaintiff was entitled to interest only from the date of the judgment, and not from the date of the commencement of the action.
5. COSTS — Expenses of Trial — Error — Award to Plaintiff. Where in action to recover for surveying work performed by plaintiff, there was an expensive trial and the expenses of that trial were incurred primarily in litigating the issue of remuneration to plaintiff for the boundary survey, plaintiff should bear the costs of that trial and it was error for the court to award costs to plaintiff.
Appeal from the District Court of the County of Pitkin, Honorable Gavin D. Litwiller, Judge.
Moore, Francis Van Domelen, Robert A. Francis, for plaintiff-appellee.
Charles M. Stoddard, for defendant-appellants.
Survey Engineers, Inc., brought an action against the Zoline Foundation and Joseph Zoline to recover $10,878.29 which plaintiff alleged defendants owed it for services rendered in surveying defendants' land. After trial, the court found that only part of the surveying work was accurate and awarded $607.50 for that portion. After hearing plaintiff's motion for a new trial, the court amended its findings to reflect that in spite of the claimed inaccuracies of the survey, the plaintiff was not negligent in performing the survey and was entitled to recover the reasonable value of the work performed and entered judgment in favor of plaintiff for an additional $6,000.
Defendants appeal, contending that the trial court erred in awarding the plaintiff compensation for the work performed, in awarding interest from the commencement of the action, and in awarding costs to plaintiff. Plaintiff also urges that the court erred in not awarding the total amount claimed for services performed. We reverse the judgment entered for the additional $6,000.
In January 1967, the defendants requested George Nelson, a registered land surveyor, who, at the time, was employed by Gerard Pesman to check the survey of a boundary line between defendants' land and land of a third person. At that time, defendants were under the impression that Nelson was self-employed. Nelson performed the survey and this work was accepted by defendants.
In July of 1967, defendants requested Gerard Pesman, a licensed surveyor and Nelson's employer, to perform a boundary line survey of defendants' property which consisted of approximately 180 acres of land. On August 18, 1969, Pesman incorporated his business as Survey Engineers, Inc., assigned all of his accounts receivable to the corporation, and continued to perform the work as an employee of the corporation. Defendants confirmed this employment by letter in which they agreed to pay Pesman his regular rates. In addition to the boundary survey, the defendants also requested that Pesman perform a fence line survey and a separate survey of a 56 acre tract. The latter two surveys were treated as part of the boundary survey by Pesman, and subsequently by Survey Engineers. There was evidence presented during the trial that defendants knew or should have known of the incorporation by 1970, and did not object to the corporation doing the work. Upon completion of the survey, plaintiff presented a statement to defendants which they refused to pay and plaintiff brought suit.
After trial, the court awarded plaintiff $607.50 as the reasonable value of its services relative to certain previous survey work, but declined to award plaintiff anything for the boundary survey work. The award of $607.50 is supported by the evidence, so it will not be disturbed on review. Linley v. Hanson, 173 Colo. 239, 477 P.2d 453.
Based on substantial evidence, the court in its initial findings found: (1) That plaintiff treated the two separate surveys as part of the boundary line survey, (2) that no evidence was presented as to how much of plaintiff's time was spent on these surveys apart from the boundary line survey nor as to the reasonable value of the time spent in doing the two separate surveys, (3) that it would be necessary in order for plaintiff to perform the survey to establish the section lines of the section of land wherein defendants' land was situate, (4) that plaintiff had incorrectly located the east 1/4 section corner of the section where defendants' land was situated thereby causing the north boundary of defendants' land to be inaccurately located, and (5) that the plaintiff failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the west boundary line was correctly located. The court then concluded that the survey as made by plaintiff had not been substantially performed, was of no benefit to defendants, and that defendants owed nothing to plaintiff for the boundary survey.
After hearing on motion for new trial, the court departed from its prior conclusion that plaintiff had breached its contract, had not substantially performed, and was not entitled to recover, and made new findings, still finding that the east 1/4 corner was not accurately located, and that the evidence was evenly balanced as to whether plaintiff had correctly located the west line of defendants' property. It then found that plaintiff had exercised due care in the performance of its duties, had not been negligent, and was entitled to recover on quantum meruit. The court awarded plaintiff $6,000 for the reasonable value of its services.
 The court erred in concluding the plaintiff was entitled to recover on its claim for quantum meruit. The modern trend is to allow recovery on a quantum meruit basis even though there is not substantial performance, the reasoning being that when there has been a benefit bestowed upon a party, that party should pay for the benefit which he has received. Reynolds v. Armstead, 166 Colo. 372, 443 P.2d 990; Milner v. Ruthven, 116 Colo. 22, 178 P.2d 417. Here, however, there is evidence that much time was spent in making the survey, but no evidence or finding by the trial court that the time spent by plaintiff bestowed upon or resulted in any benefit to defendants. To the contrary, the court in its initial findings, found that the survey as made by plaintiff was of no benefit to defendants and that defendants owed nothing to plaintiff for the boundary survey. The evidence supports this finding. In its supplemental findings, the court still found that the east 1/4 corner is incorrectly located and the evidence does not prove that the west line is accurate. Accordingly, the entire north line of the survey is out of position, and the whole survey is thus inaccurate.
 Ordinarily, if findings are supported by competent evidence, they will not be disturbed by the reviewing court, but if erroneous principles of law are applied to the facts, as they were in this case, judgment rendered on such facts will not be upheld on review. American National Bank v. Christensen, 28 Colo. App. 501, 476 P.2d 281. Even accepting the revised findings of the trial court as true, they do not support its conclusion that the reasonable value of the services is $6,000. As to the value of the services rendered by plaintiff to defendants, the court found that time sheets were not kept in a reliable manner and that on occasions work was improperly charged and that the court was unable to determine the contract price of the survey which plaintiff and its predecessor had agreed to perform for defendants. Under these circumstances there was no factual finding which would support the conclusion that defendants are indebted to plaintiff in the amount of $6,000 or in any amount. Any conclusion of the court as to the indebtedness of defendants to plaintiff would be based on conjecture and speculation and not on any evidence.
 If we were to consider this case on the basis of substantial performance, plaintiff would again not be entitled to recover. The burden of proof is on plaintiff to prove substantial performance, Morris v. Hokosona, 26 Colo. App. 251, 143 P. 826, and, on supporting evidence, the court found that there had not been substantial performance and that the survey had been of no benefit to defendants. Thus, recovery on a substantial performance theory is precluded. Little Thompson Water Ass'n v. Strawn, 171 Colo. 295, 466 P.2d 915.
 The court erred in awarding interest to plaintiff from the date of the commencement of the action. This was a suit on an unliquidated claim, so plaintiff is entitled to interest only from the date of the judgment on the $607.50. Hunter v. Wilson, 147 Colo. 36, 362 P.2d 553.
 It was error for the court to award costs to plaintiff. This was an expensive trial and these expenses were incurred primarily in litigating the issue of remuneration to plaintiff for the boundary survey; therefore, plaintiff should bear the costs of trial.
We have considered plaintiff's allegations of cross-error and find them to be without merit. Accordingly, that part of the judgment entered in favor of plaintiff in the amount of $6,000 for the boundary survey and for costs is reversed and that part of the judgment for the previous survey work for $607.50 is affirmed.
JUDGE PIERCE and JUDGE SMITH concur.