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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>When we as a concrete foundation/flatwork/excavation subcontractor are contracted by a construction company to do the foundation for a home, but they do not include the flatwork in their projects (as the homeowner is responsible for that) and we are contracted then by the homeowner to do the flatwork and any excavation work related to that, is it necessary to order 2 separate pre-liens even though it is the same project property?

When we as a concrete foundation/flatwork/excavation subcontractor are contracted by a construction company to do the foundation for a home, but they do not include the flatwork in their projects (as the homeowner is responsible for that) and we are contracted then by the homeowner to do the flatwork and any excavation work related to that, is it necessary to order 2 separate pre-liens even though it is the same project property?

CaliforniaPreliminary Notice

My question pretty much sums up my situation.

1 reply

Jan 28, 2019
That's a really good question. When situations occur that change up a participant's role on the project, it can be unclear what needs to happen, logistically. First, as implied above, those hired by someone other than the property owner are required to send preliminary notice to the property owner, the general contractor, and the construction lender. For those under a direct contract with the property owner, only the construction lender must receive preliminary notice. But the question remains - when a party was originally hired by someone other than the owner, but later enters into a separate contract directly with the owner, does additional notice need to be sent? Luckily, the California Civil Code has provided for exactly this scenario. Under § 8206(b), "If a claimant provides work pursuant to contracts with more than one subcontractor, the claimant shall give a separate preliminary notice with respect to work provided pursuant to each contract." Right before that, § 8206(a) of the California Civil Code provides "Except as provided in subdivision (b), a claimant need give only one preliminary notice to each person to which notice must be given under this chapter with respect to all work provided by the claimant for a work of improvement." Thus, when a party has provided work under two separate contracts on the same work of improvement, that party need only send more than one notice when both contracts are with a subcontractor. It follows, then, that when a claimant has provided proper preliminary notice based on one contract and is later hired by the property owner, additional notice should not be necessary. Of course, that's assuming notice was properly sent in the first place. In the event that it wasn't, it might be too late to send a completely effective preliminary notice based not the first contract (though there are benefits to late notice), and a claimant could still send notice (to the lender) based upon their direct contract with the owner. For more on California's preliminary notice rules, these two resources should be helpful: (1) Guide to CA Preliminary Notices; and (2) California Lien & Notice FAQs.
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