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Can I include the Engineering phase in the Preliminary Lien?

CaliforniaConstruction ContractPreliminary Notice

Can we send out Preliminary liens for our Engineering phase? We have two phases 1) Engineering and 2) Construction. I’d like to send one preliminary lien to cover the entire project. We work in two phases and currently have two contracts for each phase. We are thinking of having one overall contract and adding an addendum when 2nd phase construction begins.

1 reply

Apr 11, 2018
That's are good questions, and the answer will likely depend on how the project is organized. First, regarding whether engineering work can be protected by sending preliminary notice: architects, landscape architects, engineers, and surveyors all have the right to lien in California as long as they're licensed. Thus, since these parties will have the right to lien (just as a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier would), preliminary notice should be sent in order to preserve the right to file a mechanics lien. Keep in mind, though, that notice requirements will vary depending on a party's role on the project. Anyway, in California, a claimant must only send one preliminary notice for most projects. However, when there are two separately executed contracts on the same project, two preliminary notices may be necessary - especially when there are multiple subcontractors in play. If a project is done under one contract with two separate phases, though, one preliminary notice should suffice. Further, it's worth adding that an original notice sent will remain valid even in a situation where some of the work or material furnished was not within the scope of the original description of labor/materials provided. For more information about the preliminary notice and mechanics lien rules in California, these resources should be helpful: (1) Guide to the California 20-Day Preliminary Notice; and (2) California Lien & Notice Overview.

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