Construction liens aren’t exactly a conversation topic at parties, but maybe they should be. Mechanics liens affect celebrities, are placed on high profile properties, and the inventor of modern mechanics liens, Thomas Jefferson, was a huge wino. While tax liens may pop up in the news more often, who really wants to talk about taxes?
Ok. Mechanics liens may not be great party fodder. But recently, a museum in Miami was hit with a mechanics lien among other suits due to a construction project gone awry. Liens and museums might not sound like a wild time, but the project does lie in the party capital of America.
Miami’s Frost Museum of Science has seen more than its fair share of setbacks. The museum, a Miami institution for over 60 years, elected to spend $325M on a new home. The new location stands closer to the waterfront, and will be home to a 500,000 gallon aquarium among other attractions. The extraordinary design also features a planetarium, so visitors will be able to look both to the sea and the stars. If we were to put on a virtual construction lien tour, this would certainly be the list, along with Calgary’s National Music Centre.
But the project hasn’t been all fun and games. From the start, the museum failed to raise the necessary funds for the project. The undertaking has seen contractors come and go, the board of directors fired, and even a bailout by the city. Finally, it appears that the project is back on track following the injection of capital and new leadership. However, payment issues have recently arisen. The former prime contractor, a concrete subcontractor, and another sub in charge of masonry installation and hiring have all taken legal action to secure payment, with the latter filing a mechanics lien.
Museum Hit With a Lien, Other Suits
The prime, Suffolk Construction, was fired from the project due to delays and a litany errors, including hiccups with the building’s most prominent features. According to Suffolk, these setbacks were largely due to the design team’s habit of sending incomplete plans and contradictions among their revisions. Considering the entire board was cleaned out in the middle of the construction, that part is not surprising. With the new board in place, it appears design changes have not been a problem.
Baker Concrete Construction’s claims arise mostly out of the same issues as Suffolk’s. The subcontractor was in charge of pouring the concrete shell of the project, and blames the inconsistency of direction for the problems that arose.
Formrite, another subcontractor, filed a lien on the project. According to Formrite, massive flaws from the design team left Formrite unable to complete work on certain parts of the project. The subcontractor wasn’t even able to access some of the areas where work was to be done. All in all, Formrite’s claim is for $141,000 plus damages. Considering how this project is already strapped for cash, it will be interesting to see how the legal battle plays out. Honestly, it’s surprising this is the only time the projects has been hit with a lien.