Construction professionals at work

I love Seattle in the summer, and personally spend a lot of time in the city during the summer months (of course, who wouldn’t want to get out of the New Orleans heat!).  I am in Seattle today, and was surprised to see construction finishing up on a huge ferris wheel at the waterfront (photo above).

It got me wondering, of course, can the constructors of this beautiful ferris wheel file a mechanics lien if they go unpaid?

Since the ferris wheel is in Washington, we must look to Washington’s mechanics lien law.  And there are two statutes that will be most applicable, RCW 60.04.021 and RCW 60.04.011.

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RCW 60.04.021 indicates who is entitled to file a mechanics lien in Washington:

[A]ny person furnishing labor, professional services, materials, or equipment for the improvement of real property shall have a lien upon the improvement for the contract price of labor, professional services, materials, or equipment furnished at the instance of the owner, or the agent or construction agent of the owner.

Key to determining who fits into this definition requires an understanding of what the statute means by “improvement,” and this term is defined in RCW 60.04.011:

“Improvement” means: (a) Constructing, altering, repairing, remodeling, demolishing, clearing, grading, or filling in, of, to, or upon any real property or street or road in front of or adjoining the same; (b) planting of trees, vines, shrubs, plants, hedges, or lawns, or providing other landscaping materials on any real property; and (c) providing professional services upon real property or in preparation for or in conjunction with the intended activities in (a) or (b) of this subsection.

Is the ferris wheel on Pier 57 real property?

The answer can be a bit confusing at first because we don’t really associate piers with “real property” in everyday thought…but it is, and there should be lien rights here.  Also, since this particular pier is privately owned in Seattle and the ferris wheel is a private project, this is not a state or county job.

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