Matt Viator

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With great power comes great responsibility. When talking about mechanics liens (construction’s most powerful tool for payment), this responsibility manifests itself in strict deadlines. Once a lien is filed, the clock starts ticking. If the clock strikes zero and no enforcement action is brought, the lien “expires”. This means that the lien claimant may no longer bring an enforcement action (read: lawsuit) to enforce their lien claim. But what happens when a lien does expire? The answer to…
Construction jobs go off-schedule. As a contractor or sub, this is basically a fact of life – even the best laid plans can fail. But what happens when your work is affected by someone else‘s problem, costing you money? When a job really goes awry and costs a construction company precious time and money, that company might sue for damages related to the delay. Thus, the “No Damages for Delay” clause was born – to protect owners,…
When working on a federal job, there’s a different set of rules. Literally! There are a slew of laws surrounding requirements on federal projects, not the least of which is the Miller Act. But this isn’t another Miller Act post (though we’re sure to publish another one soon). No, this post takes a look at a circumstance of federal projects that’s less obvious – the fact that consequences for mistakes on federal jobs can…
There are plenty of problems with construction payment, and many solutions have been attempted through legislation. But more legislation isn’t the answer. While it’s not the answer, legislative changes can help fix the problems, when done right. Enter Little Miller Acts. Every state provides payment protection on public projects via their own version of a Little Miller act – but the protection is limited to down-the-chain parties. The idea is that since the GC…
In construction, licensing is serious business. In many states, unlicensed contractors and subs can’t file mechanics liens (if licensure is required, of course). But that’s not the worst case scenario. Recently, we wrote about unlicensed contractors facing steep penalties in Florida. While not quite as dire, the penalties in Tennessee can be steep too. Tennessee License Limits Mean Business With design changes, scheduling delays, and unexpected costs lurking behind every corner, it’s common for…
It’s that time of year! New legislation has just been passed, and construction businesses are preparing to incorporate the changes into their current processes. In Pennsylvania, some interesting changes have been made regarding the right to suspend work for nonpayment and the right to withhold payments. Luckily, there’s plenty of time. The new rules won’t go into effect until November 12th. Still, Pennsylvania contractors and subcontractors should start preparing sooner than later. These changes come…
Prevailing wage laws have been in the news a lot lately. In fact, just last week we released an article on the subject: Does Removing Prevailing Wage Laws Lower the Cost of Construction? Many states are asking that same question, and a few have even repealed their prevailing wage laws in recent years. Michigan is the latest addition to that list. Effective immediately, prevailing wages are no longer required for Michigan public projects. Of course,…
The Miller Act is an important piece of legislation. Honestly, it set the precedent for payment protection across the country. Without the Miller Act, and the subsequent Little Miller Acts, those providing work on public projects would lack crucial payment protection. Under a recently proposed amendment, those providing work on federal projects would receive “more” protection moving forward. Further Miller Act Reading: What You Need to Know About The Miller Act. Miller Act…
Mechanics liens and leased property have an interesting dynamic. Depending on a state’s laws, and depending on the property lessor’s role in the improvement, the project property may or may not be lienable. In some cases, the underlying property won’t be lienable, but the lease itself might be liened. Regardless, it can be a nightmare to navigate mechanics liens on leased property. After a recent decision, it looks like filing New York mechanics liens on leased…
Retainage is a funny word. According to the red squiggly line that appeared when I typed this, it might not be a word at all. Regardless, retainage laws are an important concept in construction payment – they regulate how much of payment may be retained and for how long. A recent Louisiana case went a long way to show just how important retainage claims really are.  A Contractor’s Right to Retainage Is Strong In Louisiana Is…