CoatingsPro Magazine

NOV 2017

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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16 NOVEMBER 2017 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Money Matters N ot receiving payment for your work is a principal concern on every job. With many facing tough economic challenges, it has become a real concern to get paid for services, labor, and material provided. Generally, contractual disputes on construction projects are complicated by the fact that not all of the parties have actually contracted with each other. It is not uncommon for several layers of separa- tion to exist between the owner and the persons or entities actually perform- ing the labor or services or providing materials. e general contractor, architect, or engineer may each contract directly with the owner. e general contractor will, in turn, then contract with any number of subcon- tractors, who themselves may contract with one or more sub-subcontractors and/or material suppliers. e one constant is that the owner remains responsible for making payments when due; however, once the owner makes payment, the money may not always flow down the chain as it should. Avoid these four traps to get paid. Timely Serve Your Preliminary Notices In specific states, it is required that a lienor who does not have a direct contract with the owner serve the owner with a Preliminary Notice. is includes a subcontractor and a materialman, and it is a prerequi- site to perfecting and recording a Claim of Lien in states that require a Preliminary Notice. If the material- man to a sub-subcontractor knows the name and address of the subcon- tractor, it may also need to serve a copy of the Preliminary Notice on the subcontractor. e failure of a subcontractor or a materialman to serve a copy of the Preliminary Notice on the owner may bar a potential lienor's claim. e Preliminary Notice must be served prior to the deadline specified in your state. However, in some states, the Preliminary Notice must be served before the date of the owner's disbursement of the final payment after the contractor has furnished the Contractor's Final Affidavit. Timely Record Your Claim of Lien A Claim of Lien may be recorded at any time during the progress of the work but never later than the deadline in your state after last furnishing labor or materials. A lienor is also advised to file separate claims of lien for work done under separate direct contracts between the owner and general contrac- tor. A lso, in some states, a separate Notice of Commencement should be filed for every separate contract between the owner and the contractor. As an example, a contractor was required to file two claims of lien against the same property: one for the actual construction and then one for subse- quent repair work done on the same property, even though the work was done on the same structure. is was because the construction and repairs were done under two separate contracts. More often than not, you will only have one opportunity to record and serve a claim of lien. Errors or omissions are permanent and could remain with you throughout the enforcement process. Make Sure Your Work Constitutes an "Improvement" Under the Lien Law "Improve" means build, erect, place, make, alter, remove, repair, or demol- ish any improvement over, upon, connected with, or beneath the surface of real property; excavate any land; furnish materials for any of these purposes; or perform any labor or services upon the improvements, including the furnishing of carpet, rugs, or appliances that are perma- nently affixed to the real property and final construction cleanup to prepare a structure for occupancy. Improve can also mean perform any labor or services or furnish any materials in grading, seeding, sodding, or planting for landscaping purposes, or in equipping any improvement with fixtures, perma- nent apparatus, or provide any solid waste collection or disposal on the site of the improvement. Some improvements, however, are not subject to lien. In Florida, for example, a lienor was not entitled to lien a shopping mall property for a kiosk. e trial court found that such a structure was not a permanent benefit to the mall. Another example: a mainte- nance landscaping service consisting of mowing a lawn and cutting shrubbery did not bestow a "permanent benefit" upon the land within the mechanic's lien statute and, thus, did not entitle the laborer to a mechanic's lien. It is not the duty of the court to weigh the relative advantage to the owner of each struc- ture erected on the land to determine whether there has been an improvement of the land sufficient to support a lien. Because there is no bright line rule, a lienor is advised to serve a timely By Ariela Wagner, Founder of SunRay Construction Solutions Get Paid Faster by Avoiding These 4 Lien Law Traps

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