Preliminary notices are among the most common construction notices. Contractors exchange them over the course of countless construction projects each day. On top of that, each state has its own notice requirements that regulate them. Under Utah lien law, you need to send a preliminary notice in most situations. If you’re looking to file a preliminary notice in Utah, this is the page you’ve been looking for.
What’s the Utah State Construction Registry?
Utah is home to five (stunningly beautiful) national parks, the 2002 Winter Olympics, and the Utah State Construction Registry (SCR). However, unlike every other state, Utah tracks preliminary notices entirely through their online registry, the just-mentioned ‘SCR.’
The SCR serves a unique function in Utah mechanics lien law. Rather than sending the preliminary notice directly to the owner of the property, you file with the SCR. After that, the SCR sends your notice to all the parties who need to receive it.
Why Send a Preliminary Notice in Utah?
If you’ve worked construction in Utah, you’re probably already aware that in order to secure your lien rights, a preliminary notice must be filed at the start of construction or supply work in order to protect your lien rights and stay informed about who else is working on the same job.
While vitally important, securing your right to file a lien claim isn’t the only reason to send a preliminary notice. Preliminary notices:
- Improve transparency and communication on the construction project.
- Help prevent the need for a mechanics lien because they make payment easier.
- Speed up payment, regardless of whether or not you need to file a mechanics lien.
The time period to file a preliminary notice through the SCR is within 20 days of beginning work, supplying materials, or the notice of commencement.
Who Must Send a Notice?
All parties providing preconstruction services must file a Notice of Retention. Keep in mind that you lose your lien and payment bond rights if you don’t file one. (Preconstruction services include the design and planning of improvements.)
Additionally, all parties need to send a preliminary notice in Utah in order to maintain a valid lien claim.
How Do I Send a Preliminary Notice?
A good place to start is finding out the parcel number and county where job site is. Some counties have online search tools you can use to find the parcel number. In other counties, you’ll need to track down that information yourself by calling county recorders, clerks of court, or other governmental resources that may be available. When you’re searching, don’t forget that the property address listed with the county may be different than the common address.
Once you have the parcel number, you can find out if anyone else has already filed a document for the same project on the same real property. If you’re the general contractor or an original contractor on a job, you may be the first party to be filing a document, and if you’re a subcontractor or supplier, you’ll be able to link your preliminary notice in Utah to a document the general contractor has already filed on the project. Whether you’re filing a new document or linking to a previous one, you’ll want to verify the property owner, the general contractor on the project, and real property details such as zip code, telephone number, address of the person, city, and legal metes and bounds.
Make Sure You Do Your Research
A word of warning: Don’t rely solely on the information already filed on a past document. It may be out of date or inaccurate. Protecting your mechanics lien rights is worth the extra time it takes to verify your project info, so be sure to do a good job researching the project information on your job.
Once you’ve filled out all the requested fields, you can choose to add your email address so you’ll be notified about any future Preliminary Notices or Notices of Completion that are filed on the project. This is useful because once a Notice of Completion is present, the clock starts ticking on the deadline to file any lien claims.
When Do I Send a Preliminary Notice?
A Utah Notice of Retention must be filed no later than 20 days after the party commences pre-construction services. You may file it before construction work begins on the project.
A Utah preliminary notice must be filed within 20 days from the date the lien claimant first furnished labor and/or materials to the project. Filing preliminary notice in Utah late is not necessarily fatal to a lien claim. However, if you file a preliminary notice late, you may not claim a construction lien for any construction work you did prior to 5 days after the date on which you filed the notice. Thus, if you file the preliminary notice on June 5, (and that date was more than 20 days after the your first furnishing of labor) you only have lien rights for work you perform after June 10.
Utah law outlines the contents of this blog post in great detail in Utah Code 38-1a-101. Take a look for more information about Utah’s preliminary notice requirements.
Keep in mind:
- To be effective, a preliminary notice must be filed no more than 10 days after a Notice of Completion is filed.
- Best practice is to send preliminary notice as soon as you commence work.
For more information, feel free to check out our page dedicated to Utah preliminary notices.