How to handle a hostile architect / construction manager on disagreement of percent complete?

7 months ago

I am with a general contractor working on a private sector construction project in Arizona. The architect / construction manager (same person in this case) is refusing to sign pay-app, stating that he disagrees with 100% complete on many scopes of work within the SOV’s. He claims more money than the agreed to retention is needed to insure sub-contractors make corrective actions such as punch list items. This has delayed payment for several months on a project that is 99% overall completed.

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When the project’s construction manager is refusing to accept the project as complete, it might be worthwhile to ask for a line-item list of work that must be completed before the project is considered complete. That way, there will be official documentation going forward and that work can be undertaken to achieve completion. Even in a situation where they’re being nitpicky, it’s likely a good idea to try and resolve things without much event.

Ultimately, though, making questionable arguments about whether certain scopes are finished or requiring excessive retainage out of nowhere at the end of the job are common tactics used when completion is around the corner. If things are getting ugly, threatening to proceed with payment claims can be helpful.

In that case, a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien to the construction manager and property owner can help to notify the owner of the payment dispute and can show the manager you’re serious about closing the project out and getting paid. Further, if payment is being unreasonably withheld, threatening to make a claim under the state’s prompt payment or retainage laws might be effective, too. Granted, if possible, it’s usually a good idea to try and resolve things amicably before payment threats or claims become necessary.

In addition to the above, these resources might provide some value:

– Project Closeout: Best Practices for Closing Out and Getting Paid
– Arizona Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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