Iowa Retainage Overview

Retainage serves two general purposes: (1) To provide an incentive to the contractor or subcontractor to complete the project; and (2) To give the owner some protection against problems like liens, contractual defaults, delays, and more.  In most states, laws exist to regulate how the parties use the retainage concept, mostly protecting some parties against abuse of the tool from others. The following are resources, legal information, and frequently asked questions about Iowa’s retainage requirements. The Iowa retainage statutes are reproduced below on this page.

Iowa Retainage for Private Projects FAQs

Iowa Retainage FAQs

Does Iowa limit the amount of retainage that can be withheld from a contractor?

Iowa does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified.

How long can a party withhold retainage in Iowa?

Iowa does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified.

Does Iowa require retained funds be deposited in a special account? Can securities be substituted for retainage?

Iowa does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified.

How can I make a claim to recover retainage in Iowa?

Iowa does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified.

Is there a specific notice required to recover retainage in Iowa?

Iowa does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified.

Iowa Retainage for Public Projects FAQ

Iowa Retainage FAQs

Does Iowa limit the amount of retainage that can be withheld from a contractor?

Maximum retainage is 5% of the estimated labor/material furnished. Contractors may retain from the subcontractor the smaller of either 5% or a contractually agreed amount.

How long can a party withhold retainage in Iowa?

Funds shall be released within 30 days of when payment to contractor becomes due. Payment to a subcontractor shall be made no later than 7 days after the contractor receives payment or a reasonable time after the contractor could have received payment for subcontractor’s work. All should be defined in the contract. Otherwise, a public corporation may release retained funds upon 95% completion of contract.

Does Iowa require retained funds be deposited in a special account? Can securities be substituted for retainage?

The Iowa retainage statue is unclear about this.

How can I make a claim to recover retainage in Iowa?

A claim may be filed at any time before the expiration of 30 days following the completion and final acceptance of improvement, or at any time after the 30 day period, if the public corporation has not paid the full contract price and no judicial action is pending.

Is there a specific notice required to recover retainage in Iowa?

All claims must be filed with the officer, board, or commission authorized by law for that specific contract. If road construction, the county auditor must immediately notify the state department of transportation of the filing of all claims.

Iowa Retainage Statutes

Getting informed about prompt payment laws is important. An examination of Iowa’s retainage laws, the rules and regulations related to the amount and timing of allowable retained payments, is important to know your rights and responsibilities as a party on a construction project. Iowa’s specific laws can be found in: 573.12-573.14, and are reproduced below.

Retainage Statute on Private Projects

N/A

Iowa does not provide a retainage statute for private projects.

Retainage Statute on Public Projects

573.12: Payments and Retention from Payments on Contracts

1. Retention. Payments made under contracts for the construction of public improvements, unless provided otherwise by law, shall be made on the basis of monthly estimates of labor performed and material delivered, as determined by the project architect or engineer. The public corporation shall retain from each monthly payment not more than five percent of that amount which is determined to be due according to the estimate of the architect or engineer. However, institutions governed pursuant to chapter 262 may, on contracts where a bond is required under section 573.2, make payments under this section without retention until ninety-five percent of the contract amount has been paid and the remaining five percent of the contract amount shall be paid as provided under section 573.14.

The contractor may retain from each payment to a subcontractor not more than the lesser of five percent or the amount specified in the contract between the contractor and the subcontractor.

2. Prompt payment.

a. (1)  Interest shall be paid to the contractor on any progress payment that is approved as payable by the public corporation’s project architect or engineer and remains unpaid for a period of fourteen days after receipt of the payment request at the place, or by the person, designated in the contract, or by the public corporation to first receive the request, or for a time period greater than fourteen days, unless a time period greater than fourteen days is specified in the contract documents, not to exceed thirty days, to afford the public corporation a reasonable opportunity to inspect the work and to determine the adequacy of the contractor’s performance under the contract. (2)  Interest shall accrue during the period commencing the day after the expiration of the period defined in subparagraph (1) and ending on the date of payment. The rate of interest shall be determined as set forth in section 573.14.

b. A progress payment or final payment to a subcontractor for satisfactory performance of the subcontractor’s work shall be made no later than one of the following, as applicable: (1)  Seven days after the contractor receives payment for that subcontractor’s work. (2)  A reasonable time after the contractor could have received payment for the subcontractor’s work, if the reason for nonpayment is not the subcontractor’s fault.

A contractor’s acceptance of payment for one subcontractor’s work is not a waiver of claims, and does not prejudice the rights of the contractor, as to any other claim related to the contract or project.

3. Interest payments.

a. If the contractor receives an interest payment under section 573.14, the contractor shall pay the subcontractor a share of the interest payment proportional to the payment for that subcontractor’s work.

b. If a public corporation other than a school corporation, county, or city retains funds, the interest earned on those funds shall be payable at the time of final payment on the contract in accordance with the schedule and exemptions specified by the public corporation in its administrative rules. The rate of interest shall be determined by the period of time during which interest accrues, and shall be the same as the rate of interest that is in effect under section 12C.6 as of the day interest begins to accrue.

573.13: Inviolability and Disposition of Fund

A public corporation shall not be permitted to plead noncompliance with section 573.12 and the retained percentage of the contract price, which in no case shall be more than five percent, constitutes a fund for the payment of claims for materials furnished and labor performed on the improvement and shall be held and disposed of by the public corporation as provided in this chapter.

573.14: Retention of Unpaid Funds

The fund provided for in section 573.13 shall be retained by the public corporation for a period of thirty days after the completion and final acceptance of the improvement. If at the end of the thirty-day period claims are on file as provided the public corporation shall continue to retain from the unpaid funds a sum equal to double the total amount of all claims on file. The remaining balance of the unpaid fund, or if no claims are on file, the entire unpaid fund, shall be released and paid to the contractor.

The public corporation shall order payment of any amount due the contractor to be made in accordance with the terms of the contract. Except as provided in section 573.12 for progress payments, failure to make payment pursuant to this section, of any amount due the contractor, within forty days, unless a greater time period not to exceed fifty days is specified in the contract documents, after the work under the contract has been completed and if the work has been accepted and all required materials, certifications, and other documentations required to be submitted by the contractor and specified by the contract have been furnished the awarding public corporation by the contractor, shall cause interest to accrue on the amount unpaid to the benefit of the unpaid party. Interest shall accrue during the period commencing the thirty-first day following the completion of work and satisfaction of the other requirements of this paragraph and ending on the date of payment. The rate of interest shall be determined by the period of time during which interest accrues, and shall be the same as the rate of interest that is in effect under section 12C.6, as of the day interest begins to accrue, for a deposit of public funds for a comparable period of time. This paragraph does not abridge any of the rights set forth in section 573.16. Except as provided in sections 573.12 and 573.16, interest shall not accrue on funds retained by the public corporation to satisfy the provisions of this section regarding claims on file. This chapter does not apply if the public corporation has entered into a contract with the federal government or accepted a federal grant which is governed by federal law or rules that are contrary to the provisions of this chapter.