This feature originally appeared in the April 28th edition of the Pittsburgh Business Times.
Q: My company has been awarded a subcontract on a major construction project. What can I do to optimize the chances of getting paid on the job, and protecting any lien or bond rights I may have?
Advice: You should get as much information as possible about the construction project. This will allow you to know who should receive the required notices to protect your mechanic’s lien rights or payment bond rights (i.e., the project owner, the surety company, the general contractor). Providing these notices in a timely manner will let those who control payment on the project know that there is a vigilant subcontractor or supplier on the job who is aware of his rights and remedies.
The first thing you want to find out is whether this construction project has been registered on the Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Directory, located at www.scnd.pa.gov. It is a central database on which construction projects in Pennsylvania with a prime contract amount of $1.5 million or more can be registered. There you can search construction projects by various search parameters and find detailed property and surety information about the project.
It is best to consult an expert before attempting to navigate the proverbial “minefield” of requirements to protect your lien and bond rights. A qualified attorney will help you determine what notices you need to provide to whom, and when.