Home>Payment Q&As>Public or Private Project

Public or Private Project

New JerseyMechanics LienPreliminary Notice
Expert Icon
Anonymous contractor
Oct 14, 2020

As a subcontractor we installed a traffic signal for GC who was contracted to build a new chain grocery store. The grocery store owner was required to install and pay for traffic signal by county. However once accepted by the county they will maintain the traffic signal, which is located on CR541, Burlington Twp., Burlington Co., New Jersey. Would this be deemed a public or private project. We would like to file a NJ Mechanic Lien but have not sent a preliminary notice. We are at 85 days since last working on project so if its deemed public we are out of time.

2 replies

Expert Icon
Anonymous contractor
Oct 15, 2020
If a public owner was not involved in the contract chain, then it is likely a commercial Project and you would have 90 days from your last date of work to file the lien.
0 likes
Expert Icon
Anonymous contractor
Oct 15, 2020

This question is tough to answer, because it would depend on who contracted with the GC. It could be that the private developer who built the grocery store was required to install the traffic light with the understanding that maintenance and control of the signal would be turned over to Burlington County. Alternatively, part of the developer's agreement might have been that he had to reimburse the County for its obligation to install the traffic signal based on the construction of the new store.  

Because budgets for public agencies are pre-established and less amenable to unexpected costs (like installing a new traffic signal), I would suspect that it's more likely to be the first option. As you noted, N.J.S.A. 2A:44-132 requires claimants to file notice of their lien claim within 60 days after the completion or acceptance of that work. Based on the fact that limitation alone, I would recommend liening the private property.  

You should also keep in mind that NJ's Prompt Payment Act (the "PPA") guarantees subcontractors prompt payment for invoices that are submitted as required per the underlying contract. If you submit an invoice for work performed and the GC fails to provide a written justification why that invoice is improper within 20 days, that invoice is "deemed approved" under the PPA. Unpaid subcontractors who are forced to commence legal action for invoices which are not paid promptly , are entitled to interest on the unpaid invoices AND attorney's fees. The PPA is no joke and I always recommend that my contractor clients consider its benefits.  

0 likes

Add your answer or comment

Not the answer you were looking for? Check out other Mechanics Lien topics or ask your own question