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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I worked as a consultant for the owners rep ( who is a GC but is not acting like a GC as the vendor payments are being paid directly to the contractors on a new commercial construction project ) and I am still owed $35,000 for my services that were completed. The owners rep is also an owner of the building in progress therefore I should be able to place a contractor lien on the building in progress correct?

I worked as a consultant for the owners rep ( who is a GC but is not acting like a GC as the vendor payments are being paid directly to the contractors on a new commercial construction project ) and I am still owed $35,000 for my services that were completed. The owners rep is also an owner of the building in progress therefore I should be able to place a contractor lien on the building in progress correct?

WisconsinMechanics LienPreliminary Notice

The GC who has a contract with the ownership group for a $4.5m senior living facility ( and he also happens to be one of the owners ) has a contract with me to provide construction consulting services for $50,000 and has paid me $15,0000 after loan closing to start construction last fall, is now refusing to pay the remainder of the money owed to me even after I completed my work due to the fact that his contract with the ownership group states if he is over budget he is not responsible for the overages but will not get paid any additional GC money. But the fact is he is not acting as a GC, he is actually an owners rep because he is not guaranteeing the overages which are over $1m dollards,, yes he totally underestimated the cost of the project because they did not want to get final bids and engineered plans until AFTER the construction loan closed. But my contract with his GC company does not state that if he doesnt get paid, I dont get paid so technically I am still owed my money and can file a contractors or professional lien against the building which he is part owner.

1 reply

Apr 19, 2018
That's a great question. First, it's worth mentioning that Wisconsin does allow for mechanics liens for those who provide design, engineering, managing, or other construction services. In many states, such work might not be lienable unless the claimant has also provided some tangible benefit to the project like on-site labor or materials. In Wisconsin, it seems as though construction consulting services are likely contemplated as lienable under the statutory scheme. Anyway, as far as who qualifies as a Prime Contractor - Wisconsin is actually pretty specific about situations where an owner is also a prime contractor, which also differs from many other states. Often, any party in contract with the property owner is considered a general, prime, or direct contractor. In Wisconsin, though, if a party enters into contract with an owner who is also personally acting as general contractor, the parties that an owner contracts with are not considered prime contractors. However, this will not destroy a claimant's ability to file a mechanics lien - in Wisconsin, every person who furnishes labor or material for the erection, alteration, repair, or improvement of a building or structure is entitled to a mechanics lien in Wisconsin – regardless of their tier on the project. Again - this includes architects, engineers, surveyors, construction managers, and others providing construction services, as long as visible construction is started on the project at some point. Of course, the ability to file a valid mechanics lien will hinge on whether proper notice was sent. Wisconsin is in the minority of states where both preliminary notice and Notice of Intent to Lien is required, so filing a Wisconsin lien could take some planning. More on that topic can be found here: Wisconsin Mechanics Lien Law: Preliminary Notice and Notice of Intent to Lien.
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