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What is the best course of action when supplying material to a sub contractor for a federal government project?

Rhode IslandMiller Act

We are a flooring distributor that works with flooring retailers as sub-contractors. We have run into a situation where our customer is not willing to provide a full copy of the contract. Where this is a government project, it would fall under the Miller Act? I am making sure we do not need to acquire a copy of the contract or payment bond to protect our rights in the event of non-payment.

1 reply

Jan 17, 2019
Great question! On all federal projects exceeding $100,000, the prime contractor must provide a payment bond for the benefit of the subcontractors and suppliers on the project. Any person who supplies labor or material for the project is actually entitled to a copy of the prime contract for the work, as well as a copy of the payment bond for the project. However, the prime contractor or some other party on the project is not responsible for providing that copy. Rather, in order to receive a copy of the contract and payment bond, the party providing work must request that information from the public entity (specifically, the department secretary or agency head of that entity) that contracted for the project, and the request must include an affidavit stating that the party requesting the contract and bond has supplied labor or material for the project. Changing gears a bit, in order to protect payment rights on a federal job, it's a good idea to obtain a copy of the project's payment bond as well as the prime contract for the project before any issues arise. That will make life much easier if a dispute does arise, and could save valuable time. Further, on federal projects, claimants who were hired by someone other than the prime contractor must first provide a notice of claim ("Miller Act Claim") before filing suit against the payment bond. That claim must be made within 90 days of the claimant's last furnishing of labor or materials to the job. You can learn more about requirements on federal projects at the following resources: (1) Miller Act FAQs, and (2) The Miller Act: What You Need to Know and How to Make a Claim.
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