Washington Bond Claim Guide and FAQs

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Washington Bond Claim Overview

Washington

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None / not applicable.

Washington

Bond Claim Deadlines
Prime contractors cannot file a claim against their own bond.

Washington

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
60 Days

Must deliver Notice to Contractor to the prime contractor. If you contracted with the prime contractor, delivery must be within 60 days of first furnishing labor/materials, or within just 10 days if you contracted with a sub or sub-sub.

Washington

Bond Claim Deadlines
30 Days

Claim against the public entity / payment bond must be made by contractors within 30 days from the acceptance of the work, and against the retainage within 45 days from the acceptance of the work.

Washington

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
60 Days

Must deliver Notice to Contractor to the prime contractor. If you contracted with the prime contractor, delivery must be within 60 days of first furnishing labor/materials, or within just 10 days if you contracted with a sub or sub-sub.

Washington

Bond Claim Deadlines
30 Days

Claim against the public entity / payment bond must be made by contractors within 30 days from the acceptance of the work, and against the retainage within 45 days from the acceptance of the work.

Washington Bond Claim FAQs

Claim FAQs

Who is protected under Washington Bond Claim Laws?

In Washington, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and laborers or material suppliers to the general contractor or first-tier subcontractors are protected. A supplier to a supplier is not allowed to recover.

But protected parties must take a step early on in the project in order to protect their right to file a bond claim: Send preliminary notice, known as a Notice to Contractor.

How do I make a payment bond claim in Washington?

Washington law requires certain steps to secure your right to make a bond claim, including sending a Notice to Contractor within 10 days of first furnishing labor or materials to the project.

Making a successful bond claim includes several required and recommended steps:

  1. Submit preliminary notice (required)
  2. Send a Notice of Intent to Make a Bond Claim (recommended)
  3. Make the bond claim (required)
  4. Enforce the bond claim (if necessary)

Read the step-by-step guide to making a Washington bond claim.

When is the deadline to file a Washington Bond Claim?

Bond Claim: The bond claim must be delivered to and filed with the contracting public entity within 30 days from the completion of the contract and acceptance of the project as a whole.

Lien on Funds: The notice of a claim of lien on funds must be given to the contracting public agency within 45 days of completion of the work.

Who should receive the Washington Bond Claim?

Bond Claim: In Washington, the bond claim must only be provided to the board, council, commission, trustees or body acting for the state, county or municipality, or other public body, city, town or district.

Lien on Funds: Must only be delivered to the contracting public entity.

When is the deadline to initiate suit, or, how long is my Washington Bond Claim effective?

In Washington, a suit to enforce a bond claim has no specific statutory time limit. However, if there is limiting language in the terms of the bond itself, it will be held to control. In any event, the suit may not be initiated more than 6 years after the notice of the claim.

A suit to enforce the lien on contract funds must be initiated within 4 months of the filing of the claim.

What must the Washington Bond Claim include?

In Washington, the basic form for the bond claim is set out by statute and must include the name of the claimant, the amount of claim, the name of the general contractor, the surety, and a description of the project and labor and/or materials furnished.

How must the Washington Bond Claim be sent?

A Washington bond claim and lien on contract funds must be delivered to and filed with the public entity. It may be advisable to send the claim to the public entity via registered or certified mail, or personal service to ensure receipt.

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Washington Bond Claim Free Forms

Notice of Intent to Make Bond Claim Form - free from

Notice of Intent to Make Bond Claim Form

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Washington State or County Bond Claim Form - free from

Washington State or County Bond Claim Form

A Public Claim of Lien should be filed/delivered on public or government projects when labor has been performed or materials provided, and you have not...

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Washington Bond Claim Statutes

When you perform work on a state construction project in Washington, and are not paid, you can file a “lien” against the project pursuant to Washington’s Little Miller Act. Since the claim is not against the state or county’s actual property, but instead against a posted bond, the claim is not really called a “lien” but is more frequently referred to as a “bond claim” or “little miller act claim.” Washington’s Little Miller Act is found in Revised Code of Washington, Title 39, Chapter 39.08, and is reproduced below. Updated as of 2020.

Washington Little Miller Act

§ 39.04.010. Definitions

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

(1) “Award” means the formal decision by the state or municipality notifying a responsible bidder with the lowest responsive bid of the state’s or municipality’s acceptance of the bid and intent to enter into a contract with the bidder.

(2) “Contract” means a contract in writing for the execution of public work for a fixed or determinable amount duly awarded after advertisement and competitive bid, or a contract awarded under the small works roster process in RCW 39.04.155.

(3) “Municipality” means every city, county, town, port district, district, or other public agency authorized by law to require the execution of public work, except drainage districts, diking districts, diking and drainage improvement districts, drainage improvement districts, diking improvement districts, consolidated diking and drainage improvement districts, consolidated drainage improvement districts, consolidated diking improvement districts, irrigation districts, or other districts authorized by law for the reclamation or development of waste or undeveloped lands.

(4) “Public work” means all work, construction, alteration, repair, or improvement other than ordinary maintenance, executed at the cost of the state or of any municipality, or which is by law a lien or charge on any property therein. All public works, including maintenance when performed by contract shall comply with chapter 39.12 RCW. “Public work” does not include work, construction, alteration, repair, or improvement performed under contracts entered into under RCW 36.102.060(4) or under development agreements entered into under RCW 36.102.060(7) or leases entered into under RCW 36.102.060(8).

(5) “Responsible bidder” means a contractor who meets the criteria in RCW 39.04.350.

(6) “State” means the state of Washington and all departments, supervisors, commissioners, and agencies of the state.

§ 39.08.010. Bond required - Conditions - Retention of contract amount in lieu of bond - Contracts of one hundred thousand dollars or less

(1)

(a) Whenever any board, council, commission, trustees, or body acting for the state or any county or municipality or any public body must contract with any person or corporation to do any work for the state, county, or municipality, or other public body, city, town, or district, such board, council, commission, trustees, or body must require the person or persons with whom such contract is made to make, execute, and deliver to such board, council, commission, trustees, or body a good and sufficient bond, with a surety company as surety, conditioned that such person or persons must:

(i) Faithfully perform all the provisions of such contract;

(ii) Pay all laborers, mechanics, and subcontractors and material suppliers, and all persons who supply such person or persons, or subcontractors, with provisions and supplies for the carrying on of such work; and

(iii) Pay the taxes, increases, and penalties incurred on the project under Titles 50, 51, and 82 RCW on: (A) Projects referred to in RCW 60.28.011(1)(b); and/or (B) projects for which the bond is conditioned on the payment of such taxes, increases, and penalties.

(b) The bond, in cases of cities and towns, must be filed with the clerk or comptroller thereof, and any person or persons performing such services or furnishing material to any subcontractor has the same right under the provisions of such bond as if such work, services, or material was furnished to the original contractor.

(2) The provisions of RCW 39.08.010 through 39.08.030 do not apply to any money loaned or advanced to any such contractor, subcontractor, or other person in the performance of any such work.

(3) On contracts of one hundred fifty thousand dollars or less, at the option of the contractor or the general contractor/construction manager as defined in RCW 39.10.210, the respective public entity may, in lieu of the bond, retain ten percent of the contract amount for a period of thirty days after date of final acceptance, or until receipt of all necessary releases from the department of revenue, the employment security department, and the department of labor and industries and settlement of any liens filed under chapter 60.28 RCW, whichever is later. The recovery of unpaid wages and benefits must be the first priority for any actions filed against retainage held by a state agency or authorized local government.

(4) For contracts of one hundred fifty thousand dollars or less, the public entity may accept a full payment and performance bond from an individual surety or sureties.

(5) The surety must agree to be bound by the laws of the state of Washington and subjected to the jurisdiction of the state of Washington.

§ 39.08.015. Liability for failure to take bond

If any board of county commissioners of any county, or mayor and common council of any incorporated city or town, or tribunal transacting the business of any municipal corporation shall fail to take such bond as herein required, such county, incorporated city or town, or other municipal corporation, shall be liable to the persons mentioned in RCW 39.08.010, to the full extent and for the full amount of all such debts so contracted by such contractor.

§ 39.08.030. Conditions of bond - Notice of claim - Action on bond — Attorney's fees (as amended by 2012 c 28) (Effective until June 30, 2016)

(1)

(a) The bond mentioned in RCW 39.08.010 must be in an amount equal to the full contract price agreed to be paid for such work or improvement, except under subsection (2) of this section, and must be to the state of Washington, except as otherwise provided in RCW 39.08.100, and except in cases of cities, towns, public transportation benefit areas, passenger-only ferry service districts, and water-sewer districts, in which cases such municipalities may by general ordinance or resolution fix and determine the amount of such bond and to whom such bond runs. However, the same may not be for a less amount than twenty-five percent of the contract price of any such improvement for cities, towns, public transportation benefit areas, and passenger-only ferry service districts, and not less than the full contract price of any such improvement for water-sewer districts, and may designate that the same must be payable to such city, town, water-sewer district, public transportation benefit area, or passenger-only ferry service district, and not to the state of Washington, and all such persons mentioned in RCW 39.08.010 have a right of action in his, her, or their own name or names on such bond for work done by such laborers or mechanics, and for materials furnished or provisions and goods supplied and furnished in the prosecution of such work, or the making of such improvements, and the state has a right of action for the collection of taxes, increases, and penalties specified in RCW 39.08.010: PROVIDED, That, except for the state with respect to claims for taxes, increases, and penalties specified in RCW 39.08.010, such persons do not have any right of action on such bond for any sum whatever, unless within thirty days from and after the completion of the contract with an acceptance of the work by the affirmative action of the board, council, commission, trustees, officer, or body acting for the state, county or municipality, or other public body, city, town or district, the laborer, mechanic or subcontractor, or material supplier, or person claiming to have supplied materials, provisions or goods for the prosecution of such work, or the making of such improvement, must present to and file with such board, council, commission, trustees or body acting for the state, county or municipality, or other public body, city, town or district, a notice in writing in substance as follows:

To (here insert the name of the state, county or municipality or other public body, city, town or district):

Notice is hereby given that the undersigned (here insert the name of the laborer, mechanic or subcontractor, or material supplier, or person claiming to have furnished labor, materials or provisions for or upon such contract or work) has a claim in the sum of …… dollars (here insert the amount) against the bond taken from …… (here insert the name of the principal and surety or sureties upon such bond) for the work of …… (here insert a brief mention or description of the work concerning which said bond was taken).

(here to be signed) . . . .

(b) Such notice must be signed by the person or corporation making the claim or giving the notice, and the notice, after being presented and filed, is a public record open to inspection by any person, and in any suit or action brought against such surety or sureties by any such person or corporation to recover for any of the items specified in this section, the claimant is entitled to recover in addition to all other costs, attorneys’ fees in such sum as the court adjudges reasonable. However, attorneys’ fees are not allowed in any suit or action brought or instituted before the expiration of thirty days following the date of filing of the notice as provided in this section. However, any city may avail itself of the provisions of RCW 39.08.010 through 39.08.030, notwithstanding any charter provisions in conflict with this section. Moreover, any city or town may impose any other or further conditions and obligations in such bond as may be deemed necessary for its proper protection in the fulfillment of the terms of the contract secured thereby, and not in conflict with this section. The thirty-day notice requirement under this subsection does not apply to claims made by the state for taxes, increases, and penalties specified in RCW 39.08.010.

(2) Under the job order contracting procedure described in RCW 39.10.420, bonds will be in an amount not less than the dollar value of all open work orders.

(3) Where retainage is not withheld pursuant to RCW 60.28.011(1)(b), upon final acceptance of the public works project, the state, county, municipality, or other public body must within thirty days notify the department of revenue, the employment security department, and the department of labor and industries of the completion of contracts over thirty-five thousand dollars.

§ 39.08.065. Notice to contractor condition to suit on bond when supplies are furnished to subcontractor

Every person, firm, or corporation furnishing materials, supplies, or provisions to be used in the construction, performance, carrying on, prosecution, or doing of any work for the state, or any county, city, town, district, municipality, or other public body, shall, not later than ten days after the date of the first delivery of such materials, supplies, or provisions to any subcontractor or agent of any person, firm, or corporation having a subcontract for the construction, performance, carrying on, prosecution, or doing of such work, deliver or mail to the contractor a notice in writing stating in substance and effect that such person, firm, or corporation has commenced to deliver materials, supplies, or provisions for use thereon, with the name of the subcontractor or agent ordering or to whom the same is furnished and that such contractor and his or her bond will be held for the payment of the same, and no suit or action shall be maintained in any court against the contractor or his or her bond to recover for such material, supplies, or provisions or any part thereof unless the provisions of this section have been complied with.

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