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Is a restaurant manager a GC or Owner Designee?

ArizonaPreliminary Notice

I'm working in Arizona on a commercial job, and was hired by the restaurant manager. Is the restaurant manager considered the GC or the Owner Designee on this project?

3 replies

May 22, 2019
Classifying the contracting parties on a job can be difficult, and since certain requirements are set by a participant's project tier, it is also important.

There a couple things to consider here:

1) First, "owner designee" has a very particular meaning, and is not relevant to many states with respect to lien and notice requirements. An "owner designee" is often, and easily, confused with an owner's "agent" but those are not actually the same. An owner designee, is a party specifically identified and designated by the property owner in a Notice of Commencement filing to receive notices on the owner's behalf. Arizona does not use owner's designees in determining the parties to whom notice must be provided, or otherwise contemplate owner's designees as a 'participant' on construction projects.

An owner's "agent," however, is a party that can be found in any state. An owner's agent is a party tasked with acting for the owner in certain situations, and who can step into the shoes of the owner and bind the owner base on those actions. A party contracting with the agent of an owner is generally treated as if they contracted with the owner him/herself.

2) In Arizona, it doesn't really matter with whom a party contracted for deadline purposes on commercial jobs. Every party on a commercial construction project in Arizona is required to provide a 20-day Preliminary Notice in order to maintain lien rights. The only difference is that a direct contractor must provide the notice to the Owner and Lender (if any); and sub-tier parties must also deliver the notice to the GC.

Since it is always a good idea to send notice to the hiring party - it likely doesn't make much of a difference if an agent of the owner is listed as a "hiring party" or a "GC" or an "owner" to the extent that all the required parties receive the notice. For general classification purposes, it's worth noting that a GC is required to have a contractor's license in Arizona, so to the extent a manager doesn't have a contractor's license it is unlikely that they are technically a GC.
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