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Is it ever too early to file prelim notice in Washington state?

WashingtonPreliminary Notice

I work in Washington state. Say we get a job new job but the work will not start for three months. However, we do have plans that are being worked on now. 1. Does that current work count for the 60 days to file a prelim notice? 2. Can I file the prelim when we enter the job into our system, even if workers are not on job for several months? 3. Is it ever too early to file prelim notice?

1 reply

Jan 26, 2018
I hope you don't mind if I answer your questions in reverse order. For questions (3) and (2): Under RCW § 60.04.031, preliminary notice "may be given at any time but only protects the right to claim a lien for professional services, materials, or equipment supplied" sixty days before the notice is made. So it would appear that, after a contract is agreed upon, this notice would be effective whenever it is sent, regardless of how early - even if sent well before the project has actually begun. Keep in mind that for residential projects, that deadline is shortened to 10 days - which of course would be irrelevant if preliminary notice is sent before work even begins. Anyway, as for the 1st question, a different notice may be necessary to preserve the right to lien for planning work provided prior to the commencement of the project. Securing the right to payment for planning work performed prior to the commencement of physical work on the improvement would require a Notice of Furnishing Professional Services. "Professional Services" are defined as "surveying, establishing or marking the boundaries of, preparing maps, plans, or specifications for, or inspecting, testing, or otherwise performing any other architectural or engineering services for the improvement of real property." This notice may be sent at any time, but it will be ineffective for any work performed prior to sending the notice. So, from a protection standpoint, for both the Preliminary Notice and Notice of Furnishing Professional Services - the earlier the better.
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