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In CA is an Architect Co. providing HABS/HAER services protected?

CaliforniaLien WaiversMechanics Lien

We have an Architect Co who we hire to provide HABS/HAER consulting and documentation services. Scope of work; Review of research materials related to the building(s), creation of HAER Level II documentation of building(s) - (we provide photographs), updates to any previously prepared reports. Ongoing consulting. Are their services lienable here in California? Asking so I'll know whether or not to ask for a waiver and release form.

1 reply

May 2, 2018
That's a great question. First, it's worth noting that even where a party might not have a right to lien, obtaining a mechanics lien waiver from them might be the safest route for proceeding - especially when there is some grey area/room for argument. In California, though, design professionals (including licensed architects, landscape architects, engineers, and surveyors) have the right to file a lien regardless of whether any work is actually commenced. If no work is commenced, a design professional may pursue a "design professionals lien" under § 8300-8318 of the California mechanics lien statutes if they have produced services pursuant to a written contract with a landowner. If work is undertaken, that design professional may have the right to file a more traditional mechanics lien. In order to obtain the right to file a design professionals lien, a design professional's services must be provided "pursuant to a written contract with a landowner for the design, engineering, or planning of a work of improvement." Thus if that type of work was not provided, a design professional's lien will not be available. Regarding an ordinary mechanics lien, if no work is ever commenced, a mechanics lien will not be available to a design professional. If work is undertaken, though, the design professional's services may very well be lienable. Regardless - if there's any possibility that a design professional might be able to file a lien on a given project, a lien waiver should likely be requested in exchange for payment.
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