Illustration of electric car with Ford logo, "subcontractor payment guide" illustration, and "BlueOval City" label

Ford’s Blue Oval City (also stylized as BlueOval City) in Stanton, Tennessee is a 6-square-mile project where the next generation of electric vehicles — and the batteries that will power them — will be made. This guide for contractors and subcontractors interested in working on the site will provide background info about the project, information about the laws regarding bonds and payments, as well as provide some important contact info needed to apply for work at the site.   

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Ford Blue Oval City: Quick facts

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has called the Blue Oval City project “the largest single investment in Tennessee’s history.” Ford plans to use this site to create and recycle electric vehicle batteries, and to create the new F-Series Lightning pickup trucks. 

The project is expected to be completed in 2025, and begin construction in 2022. 

Some other facts include: 

  • Blue Oval City aspires to be one of the biggest manufacturing campuses in American history with a site sized at 3,600 acres/6 square miles.
  • Walbridge is the general contractor for this project. They were selected as one of the best-managed companies in the US according to a program run by the Wall Street Journal and Deloitte
  • Due to the size of the project, it’s estimated to create 33,000 construction jobs — with a payroll of $1.8 billion.
  • Ford is set to invest $5.6 billion into the construction of Blue Oval City, and the state of Tennessee has set aside $884 million in government grants, infrastructure improvements, and the construction of a new campus for the Tennessee College Of Applied Technology (TCAT).
  • Once the site is completed, it’s projected to add $3.5 billion per year to Tennessee’s gross domestic product. 

While Blue Oval City will be used by Ford, the state of Tennessee has set aside a large amount of money for its construction. This project is a type of public-private partnership, known as a “P3” project. Learn more about how P3 projects work — and their pros and cons.

Tennessee’s payment rules for subcontractors

Walbridge, the general contractor, is actively recruiting subcontractors and they are anxious to get all the tradespersons needed for a project of this size. Before getting started, we suggest that anyone interested in the project should familiarize themselves with the bond claim laws, prompt payment laws, and the ins and outs of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). Tennessee has many set rules and conditions protecting subcontractors in the scenario that they have difficulty receiving payment. 

Tennessee bond claim laws

Tennessee’s bond claim laws state that anyone who furnishes labor and materials to the general contractor, or even another subcontractor, can make a bond claim. This also includes architects, engineers, and land surveyors but not suppliers who supply to other suppliers.  

Below this section is more details on how to submit a bond claim, but it’s important to keep in mind who to submit it. Any bond claims should be provided to the prime contractor, in this case Walbridge, or the public official that awarded them the contract. 

Tennessee prompt payment laws

Tennessee has Prompt Payment Laws that set a payment schedule for all parties on a project. 

Under these laws, a subcontractor is protected in the case that they don’t receive timely payments. Prime contractors are required to release any payments received from the government agency that sent them the payment within 30 days. Any late payments are subject to a 1.5% interest rate that begins the day after payment becomes due. Timely payments to subcontractors and second-tier contractors are necessary to ensure a steady cash flow on a project of this size.

A project that’s partly funded by the state government, like this one, has statutes that regulate payments

What to know about project labor agreements

A project labor agreement (PLA) sets the wages and benefits for all workers on a project, and is meant as a collective bargaining agreement before hiring begins. The agreement will only apply to the Blue Oval City project and lasts for as long as the project lasts. The highlight of a PLA is that it guarantees a project will use union labor, and in so doing it will ensure all laborers will be paid according to preset terms. 

The PLA will instruct subcontractors on specific procedures for settling labor disputes as well as provide overtime, working conditions, and rules for working on the project. This is also an advantage to the general contractor as they will not have to reference all the separate agreements that could come about from working with many various unions. 

PLAs also regulate matters regarding safety, labor standards, and health laws. 

How to send a preliminary notice in Tennessee

It’s important to note that the state of Tennessee doesn’t require you to send a preliminary notice to preserve the right to make a bond claim. But to promote project visibility and open channels of communication, it may help to send a preliminary notice to the general contractor or government agency in question. It would also be a best practice to request a copy of the payment bond from the general contractor too. 

Tennessee Preliminary Notice Guide – All You Need to Know

How to file a bond claim in Tennessee

Contractors who haven’t been paid need to submit a claim to the surety company approved by the PLA as well as the general contractor.

It’s also important to be aware of the deadlines for making a bond claim way before the project’s completion. 

The deadline to make a claim against the payment bond in Tennessee is no later than 90 days after the project’s completion as a whole, but no sooner than the last day of the claimant’s furnishing of labor and/or materials. 

A bond claim is best sent through certified mail, return receipt requested, with the claimant’s information, an itemized account of labor and/or materials furnished, as well as the balance due, and description of the property improved. 

According to Tennessee law, a suit must be initiated no later than six months after the claimant’s last date of furnishing labor or materials to a project. 

Tennessee Bond Claim Law in Construction

Walbridge’s Blue Oval City Local Trade Contacts

As Blue Oval City is subject to project labor agreements, Walbridge has made the following list of local contacts for various tradespersons to contact for work opportunities and wage rates: 

Boiler Makers Local 455

Edwin Howard III |

Bricklayers Local 8 

Phillip Husband |

Carpenters Local 345

Jeremy Tallent |

Elevator Constructors Local 30 

Skipper Hillman |

Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers Local 90

Blake Joyner |

IBEW Local 474

Paul Shaffer |

Ironworkers Local 167

James Cole |

Ironworkers Local 846

Jose Mendoza |

Laborers Local 386

Johnny Orton |

Millwrights Local 1554

William Condon |

Steve Williams |

Operating Engineers Local 369

James Poole |

Painters / Glaziers District Council 58 / Local 456

Carl Farrell |

Willie Peralta |

Plumbers Local 17

Brandon Osbahr |

Smart Local 4

John Williams |

Sprinkler Fitters Local 669

Mark Davis |

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