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Can I send the preliminary notice before I've started work on the job site?

WashingtonPreliminary Notice

We do work in Washington and Oregon as a subcontractor on commercial and public projects. Sometimes we are hired directly by the property owner. When required, can we send the preliminary notice before the job has started, at the time we book the job in our system or receive the contract? Are there any penalties for sending too early?

1 reply

Jul 11, 2018
That's an excellent question, and it's one we get fairly often. Regarding private jobs in Washington, under RCW § 60.04.031, preliminary notice "may be given at any time but only protects the right to claim a lien for professional services, materials, or equipment supplied" 60 days before the notice is made. So, while there is danger in sending a notice late, sending early notice should not have any negative effect - and due to potentially tight deadlines, sending notice early makes a lot of sense in many situations. It's a little less clear for public projects - but recall that only suppliers who contract with a subcontractor are required to give notice for Washington public jobs. Looking at Oregon - for commercial jobs, the only parties required to provide preliminary notice are material suppliers (including specially fabricated materials) who do not have a direct contract with the property owner and who did not also install the materials delivered. Granted, it's a good idea to send preliminary notice anyway. Under § 87.021(1) of Oregon's mechanics lien statute, The notice of right to a lien may be given at any time during the progress of the improvement, but the notice only protects the right to perfect a lien for materials, equipment and labor or services provided after a date which is eight days, not including Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays as defined in ORS 187.010, before the notice is delivered or mailed." So, while Oregon preliminary notice might not be required, if sent, it should be sent "during the progress of the improvement" to be effective. On Oregon public projects, no notice is required. If a project participant does decide to send notice when it is not required, that notice may be sent at any time.
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