Sending a Pennsylvania preliminary notice is an effective way to speed up payment on a construction project. A preliminary notice is an informational document typically sent to the property owner near the beginning of a construction project. Here's what you need to know about the rules and requirements for sending preliminary notice in Pennsylvania.
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Notice of intent to lien
Pennsylvania preliminary notice requirements for:
General contractors are not required to send notice on private projects.
General contractors are not required to send notice on public projects.
Since GCs will not make a claim against their own bond for non-payment, they do not have bond claim rights, and have no preliminary notice requirement.
If the project value is greater than $1.5 million and a notice of commencement has been filed, subcontractors and suppliers must send a notice of furnishing.
Notice must be sent within 45 days
Notice CANNOT be sent late
Notice is filed in the Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Registry
On all projects, a notice of intent to lien is required 30 days before filing a lien.
Subcontractors and suppliers do NOT need to send notice on public projects.
However, sending preliminary notice even when not required is generally beneficial to promote visibility, open channels for communication, and streamline payment.
If you're sending preliminary notices in Pennsylvania, it's important to get all the details right. Whether sending a preliminary notice of furnishing or a notice of intent there are rules and regulations that apply - and not knowing what to do or missing a deadline can have significant consequences. If you're receiving prelims, it's important to know what you're looking at and know what to do in followup. Sending and receiving prelims can be a tedious and time consuming process for everyone involved. These are some frequently asked questions (and answers) about the Pennsylvania preliminary notice process.
Who needs to send a Pennsylvania Notice of Furnishing on private projects?
Generally, preliminary notices aren’t required on private projects in Pennsylvania. However, if the project is “searchable” (overall project cost of $1.5M or more) and the property owner chose to file a Notice of Commencement, then any claimant who didn’t contract directly with the property owner is required to send a Notice of Commencement.
Notice of Intent to Lien: Additionally, lien claimants without a contract directly with the owner must provide the property owner (or owner’s agent) with a formal Notice of Intent to File a Lien. Further discussion here: Pennsylvania Notice of Intent to Lien Guide and FAQs.
Who do I need to send the Notice of Furnishing to?
The Notice of Furnishing must be filed with the PA State Construction Notices Directory website. Once filed, the registry will provide a copy of the notice to the project owner. However, it may be a good idea to send a copy to the owner in any event. That way they know who you are and what you’re providing to the project.
What information is required on a Pennsylvania Notice of Furnishing?
The form requirements for a Pennsylvania Notice of Furnishing can be found under 49 Pa. Stat. §1501.3(b) and should contain all of the following information, most of which can be obtained directly from the Notice of Commencement.
• Property owner’s name & address • Notice of Commencement number • Building permit number for the project • Tax ID number for each parcel • Hiring party’s name & address • General description of labor and/or materials • Property description • First furnishing date • Claimant’s name & address
What if I send a Pennsylvania Notice of Furnishing late?
If required, the failure to send a PA Notice of Furnishing within the 45-day deadline is fatal to the party’s lien rights. This is explicitly mentioned under 49 Pa. Stat. §1501.3(c), “A subcontractor that fails to substantially comply with this section forfeits the right to file a lien claim.”
Do I Need to Send a Pennsylvania Preliminary Notice?
No. Pennsylvania does not require preliminary notice to preserve rights on public projects. However, sending preliminary notice even when not required is generally beneficial to promote visibility, open channels for communication, and streamline payment.
To Whom Must the Pennsylvania Preliminary Notice be Given?
People are asking Pennsylvania construction attorneys:
How to deal with restoration company's inflated bill?
If you did not agree to pay them $8,000 for the work, then the contractor should not be able to sucecssfully file a lien for that amount. Contractors in PA can file a lien based on a verbal contract, but the burden is on them to show that one existed (i.e., they showed you a written proposal for $8,000 and you verbally directed them to proceed). They cannot just submit a bill and say that you gave them verbal approval to proceed absent any dollar limit or estimated cost. You should get notice of any lien claim from the contractor, so it's improtant that you respond in a timely manner.
It's possible that the restoration contract was not in conformance with the components that PA home improvement contractors are bound to follow. See http://www.krautharris.com/documents/hicpa-seminar-utpcpl.pdf. A letter from a lawyer threatening to file suit against them may persuade them to abandon the effort.
The Owner (or GC on behalf of the Owner) has the option to file a "Notice of Commencement" with the State Construction Notices Directory prior to the commencement of the Project. However, this is not a required step. If the Owner does not file a Notice of Commencement (and it appears they have not), you do not need to file a Notice of Furnishing and you will still retain lien rights to the extent a payment dispute arises in the future.
Given that your lien rights are preserved, it would be unnecessary to serve the owner/GC with a preliminary notice.
Good luck and please feel free to reach out directly if you have any additional questions.
Generally speaking, the first furnishing date is the first date when labor is furnished or materials are delivered to the job site. However, every state is different - so it may be worth looking into the specific deadline for the state of the project you're shipping to. Plus, keep in mind that it's usually a good idea to send preliminary notices early rather than late - so erring on the side of caution may be in order. Looking at Pennsylvania, specifically - most projects there won't actually require a Notice of Furnishing at all, so the first furnishing date might not matter all that much. Still, the statute states that the notice must be sent "within forty-five (45) days after...first providing materials to the job site..." So, presumably, that deadline should run from when materials are delivered. Regarding completion date - it's hard to know when the project is complete, but if deadlines run from substantial completion, it's important for a claimant to either figure out that information, or to play things conservatively so that potential claims are made before the deadline regardless. This article helps to define both last furnishing dates and completion dates: Confusing Dates: What’s the Difference Between Date of Last Furnishing and Date of Substantial Completion? Lastly: If you have questions about the Levelset platform, feel free to reach out to the Levelset Support team or your account manager. The Expert Center is designed to provide answers to construction law and construction payment questions at large, not for platform questions - at least at the moment.
Pennsylvania only relatively recently joined the ranks of the more “traditional” preliminary notice states, and added an additional potentially required preliminary notice to the already required notice of intent to lien. While Pennsylvania jumped right in to the deep end with the creation of an electronic notice database, they only tested the waters with respect to the projects and situations in which the notice requirement applies. In Pennsylvania, most projects on which preliminary notice will be required will be larger-scale commercial projects.
Pennsylvania decided to modify the notice scheme and passed legislation that went into effect on the last day of 2016. From that date, property owners in Pennsylvania who are contracting for construction work that exceeds $1.5MM can choose to register their project in the Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Directory by filing a Notice of Commencement. If the property owner chooses to do so, all project participants who do not contract directly with the property owner will be required to provide a preliminary notice, called a Notice of Furnishing in Pennsylvania, within 45 days of first furnishing labor or materials to the project in order to retain lien rights.
Parties required to provide a Notice of Furnishing must do so by filing through the directory. A failure to file a Notice of Furnishing within 45 days will result in a forfeiture of lien rights. No party (owner, contractor, sub, supplier, etc.) may suggest, request, encourage or require another party not to file a Notice of Furnishing. This Notice of Furnishing form is included in the Pennsylvania mechanics lien statute. General contractors need not provide a Notice of Furnishing in order to preserve their lien rights.
The first step is to download the correct preliminary notice form for Pennsylvania. Depending on the project’s value and whether or not a notice of commencement has been filed, you may need to send a notice of furnishing.
Our free forms were written by construction attorneys to meet the strict language and formatting requirements under Pennsylvania construction law, making this part easy for you to get right.
Fill out the form
Be careful! Accuracy is important.
It’s important to make sure you get his part exactly right. That’s because making a mistake on your preliminary notice form could strip you of your right to file a Pennsylvania mechanics lien down the line.
Include all required information, and make sure the information you include is 100% accurate.
File or serve your notice
Preliminary notices in Pennsylvania must be filed in the Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Registry. Notices of intent to lien must be served on the property owner by registered mail, personal service, or certified mail, return receipt requested.
How to send a Preliminary Notice with Levelset
Select Preliminary Notice document.
Provide basic job information.
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