Public and Private Projects

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While working on a construction project, you may need to send a Washington preliminary notice to preserve your mechanics lien rights. The first step to sending the preliminary notice is making the determination of whether the project is a private project (e.g. commercial, residential), a public project (state, county, or city funded), or a federal project. In most states, the type of project the work is being performed on can effect the preliminary notice deadlines and the parties who should receive the document.

In Washington state, preliminary notice guidelines differ vastly between public and private projects.

Private Projects

Who to Send Preliminary Notice To

On private projects in Washington, those who did not contract directly with the property owner must deliver a “Notice to Owner” to the property owner. If you did contract with the general contractor, you must deliver the notice to them as well.

General contractors who contracted directly with the property owner also have a preliminary notice requirement in some instances. On residential projects of four units or fewer with the bid price of over $1,000.00, or on a commercial project with a bid price between $1,000.00 and $60,000.00, the general contractor must send the notice (known as the Model Disclosure Statement) to the property owner. This statement must be signed by the property owner.

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Deadline to Send the Notice

Those who did not contract directly with the property owner (e.g. subcontractors and material suppliers) should send the preliminary notice within 60 days of first furnishing labor or materials to the project. If you send the notice after 60 days of first furnishing the labor or materials, the notice only covers your lien rights for the work performed for the prior 60 days of the date the notice was sent.

It is important to note that while this 60 days extends to commercial projects and remodels of owner-occupied residential projects, if the labor or materials are furnished on the new construction of a single family home, the Notice to Owner must be delivered within 10 days of the first date that labor or materials are furnished to the project.

For general contractors, the Model Disclosure Statement must be sent before work commences on the project.

Public Projects

Who to Send Preliminary Notice To

On public projects in Washington, the general contractor does not have to send the preliminary notice to anyone, because they do not have right to make a claim on the bond.

For those who contracted with the general contractor, they must deliver a preliminary notice to the general contractor.

Deadline to Send

For those who contracted with the general contractor, the notice must be sent within 60 days of the first date of furnishing labor or materials to the project.

For those who contracted with the subcontractor or sub-subcontractor, the notice must be sent to the general contractor within 10 days of the first date labor or materials are furnished to the project.

Sending required preliminary notices correctly, and on time, is the cornerstone to making sure lien rights are not forfeited. The above information should help make sure you don’t miss your Washington preliminary notice deadlines.

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Washington Preliminary Notices: The Difference Between Public and Private Projects
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Washington Preliminary Notices: The Difference Between Public and Private Projects
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