Construction professionals at work

Getting paid in construction is hard – fortunately, there are a number of tools you can use to speed up the process. But using these tools requires you to have certain information on hand. Before you start work on a construction project, make sure you have all of the details you need to send notices, record a lien, or file a bond claim. Put a process in place to ensure someone on your team is documenting key information on every job, and it’s easy to find when you need it.  

Here are 7 essential project details you need to collect on any construction job to ensure you can take action to speed up payment when necessary. 

Note: If you have trouble finding any of these details, try submitting an RFI, like this project information request form, to request information from the GC or other party.

7 details to track on every construction job

1. Project Address

A property address is perhaps the most fundamental detail of any construction project. Without it, endless problems can occur while filling contracts and trying to file claims and notices. All property documents attach to this address in the county records. 

You may assume that a project address is self-evident – how else does your crew know where to show up every day? But it’s not as simple as that, especially when the job is in an urban area. A jobsite’s entrance is often on a different street than the property’s recorded address.  

  • Information to collect: Number, street, city, state, zip code
  • Why it Matters: All county and property documents will be associated with this address
  • When you need it: Preliminary notice, mechanics lien claim, bond claim
  • Where to find it: Your contract, property deed, Notice of Commencement

How Levelset Job Research ensures accurate project details every time

2. Project Type 

The type of construction project you are working on is important because it determines what type of documents you need to submit on a project, and the level of payment protection you have. 

For example, if your project is on a private homestead in Texas, you have additional contractual and notice requirements. And if you are working on a federal construction project, you will likely need to follow prevailing wage rules

You need to know this information from the start. Sometimes, the address itself can be a hint to the project type. 

  • Why it matters: Property type decides what documents you will need for a job and the rules for getting paid
  • When you need it:  Preliminary notice, mechanics lien claim, bond claim 
  • Where to find it: The project’s address can be a hint to if the job is residential, commercial, or public and then the project owner can help determine if the job is a public or private job.

3. Property Owner

By knowing the property owner at the beginning of a project, you can save yourself a lot of time and confusion later. The simplest way to break down property owners is public v. private owners. A public property owner is one where the state or federal government in the owner whilst a private property owner is a private entity is the owner on residential or commercial jobs.

  • Information to collect: Legal name (business or personal) of all owners, address(es)
  • Why it matters: Helps determine the project types and what documents will be needed
  • When you need it: Sending notices, filing a mechanics lien
  • Where to find it: Request it from the GC, or ask for a copy of the prime contract. Property details may also be found in the county recorder’s office, construction job database, Notice of Commencement,

Learn more: How to find the property owner on a construction project

4. General Contractor

Identify the general contractor on the project, including their legal business name and their address of record. 

The GC typically manages all payments to subs and suppliers down the chain, so it stands to reason why this information is important. The general contractor is generally hired directly by the property owner.

Ideally, you identified the GC before the project even began as part of your prequalification process. Because their financial management is critical to your ability to get paid, any past history of missed payments or liens on a project could be a red flag. 

In some states, you will need to send a preliminary notice or other documents to the general contractor as well as other parties. 

  • Information to collect: Business name, address, phone, email address
  • Why it matters: In the payment chain, they oversee getting paid themselves and making sure that every party down the payment chain is also getting paid. They also must collect, track and organize lien waivers from all parties involved in the project. 
  • When you need it: Sending a notice, filing a mechanics lien or bond claim  
  • How to find it: Ask your hiring party, request a copy of the prime contract, or search the building permit office

5. Lender information

Not every project has a lender, since jobs can be financed in a variety of ways. A lender is generally a bank or financial institution that loans money to help owners with their new construction or remodel projects. 

Learn more: What you need to know about construction lenders

The lender has a vested interest in ensuring that the project is completed on time and under budget, and that the property remains free of liens and encumbrances. After all, their money is at stake. 

If you encounter a payment problem during the project, the lender will want to know about it. They can help make sure that any financial problems are resolved quickly. 

  • Information to collect: Business name, address, phone, email address
  • Why it matters: Financing is essential to making sure a job gets completed. If the owner has enough money to pay everyone, either through their own money or a loan, it will make the payment process easier and limit job delays. 
  • When you need it: Sending notices, or a copy of a lien
  • How to find it: Search relevant documents in the county’s public land records

Learn more: A mechanics lien gets the lender’s attention 

6. Surety information

Construction bonds can be secured on any construction project, but they are most common on public jobs. On federal and state projects of a certain size, the GC is generally required to purchase a payment and performance bond

If a subcontractor or supplier is unpaid on the project, they can file a claim against the bond. When you file a bond claim, you will need to identify the surety that supplied the bond. 

Waiting to ask for the surety’s information until it’s time to get paid is a risky proposition. The GC or public agency may be less likely to respond to your request in a timely fashion if they know you are planning to file a claim against their bond. They are more likely to be forthcoming if you request it as part of your general record collection procedures.

  • Information to collect: Business name, address, payment bond information
  • Why it matters: You will need to notify the surety in the event of a bond claim
  • When you need it: Sending a notice, filing a bond claim 
  • How to find it: Request a copy from the public agency in charge, search relevant documents in the county’s public land records

Learn more: How to find the surety on a public project

Knowing the project address isn’t always enough. Streets can change names, and lots can be split up or combined. An address isn’t a long-term way to consistently identify a piece of property. 

In some states, the recording office may require the full legal property description, which uses metes, bounds, and other geographical identifiers to identify a precise location.

  • Information to collect: The full legal property description
  • Why it matters: A legal property description ensures that the identification of the property is legally and completely accurate. Some states require a full legal property description to file a mechanic lien claim.
  • When you need it: Filing a mechanic lien (in some states)
  • How to find it: Check the deed or other property documents, or review the sales contract. 

Learn more: How to find the legal property description on any project

Other information to document

Your role on the project

Are you the general contractor? A third-tier subcontractor? Are you supplying materials to another supplier on the project? Your position in the payment chain can affect your notice requirements, deadlines, and lien rights. 

In some states, if you are hired by a sub-subcontractor, you won’t be able to file a lien. In others, you will retain lien rights only if you send a notice to the owner, general contractor, and lender on the job. 

Hiring party information

Knowing the hiring party information, as well as the hierarchy of roles on the job, is incredibly useful when it comes to following the money and making sure you get paid. It is also useful to have access to this information early on to send out the preliminary notices to all parties involved and then later down the road, send out other notices and liens. 

Project dates

States calculate lien and notice deadlines differently. In some states, the deadlines are based on the project overall. In others, they are based on the work dates for each contractor. Record any important dates related to the project and your own company’s work.

Project start & end dates

A project start and end date may determine when a lien or a bond claim can be filed against the job. The start date will typically be found on a Notice of Commencement, the building permit, or other property records. 

The end date of a project can sometimes be hard to determine. Generally, it will be found on the Certificate of Occupancy, a Notice of Completion, or a certificate of substantial completion

Date of first & last furnishing

The date of first furnishing is the first day your company provided labor, materials, or equipment on the job. The date of last furnishing, of course, is your last day on the job. 

These dates are important because they may decide the timeline for sending notices or filing a claim. In states that use this basis for deadlines, the first furnishing date generally determines the deadline for a preliminary notice, and the last furnishing date determines the deadline for a lien or bond claim. 

State requirements & deadlines

Every state has their own mechanics lien rules and deadlines, and they can vary widely. In some states, you may need to send a preliminary notice at the start of the project in order to retain the right to file a lien later on. States have specific deadlines for notices and liens – make sure you know the deadlines on each project.  

Project Information Sheet for Construction Jobs - thumbnail

Download a free project information sheet

Use a project information sheet to collect essential information before the project begins, and keep it in the project folder for easy reference.

This free job information sheet makes it easy to record all of the information you need to navigate the payment process on any job.

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