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Design Professional Contract vs Construction Contract

CaliforniaPreliminary Notice

We do two contracts with a client. One for design and then another for construction. So should we wait to send the prelim notice until construction starts? Or is it ok to send once design contract starts? Considering that we can file a lien in CA against a client for non-payment of design services after a demand letter is sent after failure to pay 10 days out and before construction commences. I now have this question. Or does it not hurt to send the prelim early.

1 reply

May 29, 2019
Great question! In California, preliminary notice may be sent early (that is - before work has actually been furnished to the project property), and early notice will still preserve the right to lien. Often, it's a good idea to err on the side of caution, and many construction businesses prefer to send notice prior to their actual first furnishing date.

Of course, it might not be a great idea to send notice extremely early. If notice is sent too far in advance, the benefits of improved communication and better collaboration might be lost - after all, the notice would hardly correspond with the provision of work, material, or equipment.

Still, sending notice early is far more preferable than sending it late, and early preliminary notices are effective in California. For more information, this resource is a one-stop-shop for all things preliminary notice in California (including a brief discussion on early notices): The Ultimate Guide to California’s 20-Day Preliminary Notice.
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