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.
Do I Need to Send a Pennsylvania Preliminary Notice?
It depends. Any party with a direct contract with the property owner is not required to give any preliminary notice. For all other potential lien claimants, if the project is more than $1.5 million AND the property owner chose to file a Notice of Commencement in the State Construction Notice Registry, a Notice of Furnishing must be filed in the construction registry within 45 days of first providing labor or materials to the project.
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.
Do I Have to Send the Pennsylvania Preliminary Notice to Someone Other than the Owner?
No. Preliminary notice must only be given to the property owner (or owner’s agent). A preliminary notice of furnishing, however, is given to the owner through filing on the Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Registry website.
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.
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.
What exactly is the the project cost? The cost of the entire job or just the cost of the contract with our customer?
To determine whether preliminary notice will be required, a Pennsylvania sub or supplier can look to the Pennsylvania State Construction Notice Registry to see if a Notice of Commencement was filed there. And, to be sure, a Notice of Commencement will only be available for projects exceeding $1.5M. If a Notice of Commencement wasn't filed on the job, then a Notice of Furnishing won't be necessary. Considering the Notice of Furnishing is filed with the registry as well - so it should be relatively easy to determine whether a Notice of Furnishing is required and then to get that notice filed, if necessary. For more information, this article should be useful: How Pennsylvania’s Construction Notices Directory Affects Lien Rights.
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.
Levelset sends the document for you. Postage included!