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When does the 45 days from completion start?

1 week ago

Does the 45 days from completion date start when all punch list items are completed?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

It sounds like you may be asking in reference to California’s retainage laws. If that’s the case, keep in mind that the “45 days from completion” requirement refers to the fact that a California owner must release retainage to their contractor within 45 days of the completion of the project (and then that contractor must then release payment within 10 days of receipt).

You can read more about CA retainage requirements here: California Retainage Guide and FAQs.

When is a project “complete?”

Project completion will generally occur when the overall project is substantially completed. Usually, this will not include minimal contributions (like punch list work). So, a project may be considered “complete” before punch work is even finsihed. But, once all punch list work is done, the project has quite likely been completed for the purposes of California’s retainage laws. Still, knowing exactly when the project will be considered “complete” is tough.

If there’s a Notice of Completion filed on the job, that would serve as an extremely clear marker for when the project was completed. Unfortunately, though, they’re not used all that commonly.

Here are some other markers that might constitute the completion of the project:

– the owner’s acceptance of the project;
– completion and passing of all inspections;
– a certificate of occupancy being issued for the job;
– a certificate of completion

For a little more discussion about the completion date for California projects, here’s a great resource from Levelset: California Mechanics Lien Law: When Is A California Construction Project Substantially Complete?

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