How to Prelim a single contract with multiple locations?

1 week ago

We have a single contract and invoice that’s for 5 different properties. Some are located in Pennsylvania and some are in New Jersey. What’s the best way to go about sending preliminary notices on these jobs when the invoice amount isn’t separated but is one lump sum?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
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Every state has different notice requirements, so let’s look at what may be required to preserve rights in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Note, though: regardless of what’s required, it’s a good idea to voluntarily send prelims on every project. But, where there’s no preliminary notice requirement, there won’t necessarily be a huge emphasis on getting an exact total for work done at each project site.

Pennsylvania’s preliminary notice requirements

For the most part, preliminary notices aren’t required in Pennsylvania. In fact, prelims are only required on jobs where the project exceeds $1.5M and where the property owner filed a Notice of Commencement in the State construction Notice Registry. In that situation, a Notice of Furnishing is required and must be filed within 45 days of first providing labor or materials to the job.

Notably, that notice doesn’t actually require the amount or value of the work that’s being provided to appear on the notice. So, what amounts should appear on a PA preliminary notice is really a moot point since its not required.

Pennsylvania is a state which requires a Notice of Intent to Lien, though. So, if things did come down to a Notice of Intent needing to be sent, then a claimant would likely need to come up with a figure that proportionately represents how much of their claim should be tied to that single location – even if the project is for a lump sum payment.

Additional information on Pennsylvania’s notice requirements here: Pennsylvania Preliminary Notice Guide and FAQs

New Jersey notice requirements

Preliminary notices aren’t required for commercial NJ projects. So, if it’s a commercial job, then what amount appears on a prelim is inconsequential – and deciding not to include an amount on that prelim might make sense, too.

If it is a residential job and notice is ultimately required, then a claimant would need to try and apportion amounts they’re owed to specific job sites. Understandably, that can be tough with a lump sum contract – but, generally, it should be possible to ballpark what amounts should be apportioned to what project sites.

For more on New Jersey’s preliminary notice requirements: New Jersey Preliminary Notice Guide and FAQs.

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