Connecticut Retainage Guide and FAQs

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Connecticut Retainage FAQs

Connecticut Retainage Overview

Connecticut Retainage Requirements


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Retainage 5% Icon
5% Retainage Limit

5% of the estimated amount of payment


Payment Period 30 Days Icon
30 Day Pay Period

Owners must pay funds within 30 days of request. Contractors must pay within 30 days of receipt of funds.


YES
PROCESS
There is a Process to Recover

Yes. written notice through registered or certifed mail required.


Escrow Icon
Held In Escrow

In Connecticut, contractors and owners need to hold retainage funds in a separate escrow account.

Retainage 10% Icon
10 Percent

The Department of Works or State Agency projects have a maximum retainage rate of 10%. The Department of Transportation projects have a maximum retainage rate of 2.5%. Municipal contracts have a maximum retainage rate of 5%.


Payment Period 30 Days Icon
30 Day Pay Period

General contractors (and subcontractors) must pay subcontractors within 30 days of receiving payment.


NO
PROCESS
There's No Process to Recover

No process is specified by state statute.

Retainage serves two general purposes: (1) To provide an incentive to the contractor or subcontractor to complete the project; and (2) To give the owner some protection against problems like liens, contractual defaults, delays, and more.  In most states, laws exist to regulate how the parties use the retainage concept, mostly protecting some parties against abuse of the tool from others. The following are resources, legal information, and frequently asked questions about Connecticut’s retainage requirements. The Connecticut retainage statutes are reproduced below on this page.

Connecticut Retainage Frequently Asked Questions

Connecticut Retainage Private Projects FAQs

Does Connecticut limit the amount of retainage that can be withheld from a contractor?

The maximum retainage allowed is 5% of the estimated amount of payment throughout the project.

How long can a party withhold retainage in Connecticut?

An owner must pay any party in direct contractual relationship with them within 30 days of request of payment. Contractors must pay subcontractors and suppliers within 30 days of receiving payment.

Does Connecticut require retained funds be deposited in a special account? Can securities be substituted for retainage?

An escrow account must be established for all the retainage withheld. Securities can be substituted for retainage.

How can I make a claim to recover retainage in Connecticut?

A contractor, subcontractor, or supplier shall make a claim through a notice by registered or certified mail.  10 days after receipt of the notice, the recipient will be liable for interest on the amount due, owing at a rate of 1%/month.

Is there a specific notice required to recover retainage in Connecticut?

See above.

Connecticut Retainage Public Projects FAQs

Does Connecticut limit the amount of retainage that can be withheld from a contractor?

The Department of Works or State Agency projects (excluding the Department of Transportation projects) have a maximum retainage rate of 10%. The Department of Transportation projects have a maximum retainage rate of 2.5% both for payments from the public entity to an original contractor and from payments from an original contractor to subcontractors. Municipal contracts have a maximum retainage rate (for both public entity and contractor) of 5%.

How long can a party withhold retainage in Connecticut?

General contractors (and subcontractors) must pay subcontractors within 30 days of receiving payment.

Does Connecticut require retained funds be deposited in a special account? Can securities be substituted for retainage?

The contractor or subcontractor may substitute securities. Any interest accrued shall be paid to the contractor or subcontractor.

How can I make a claim to recover retainage in Connecticut?

This is not specified in the Connecticut retainage statute for public projects.

Is there a specific notice required to recover retainage in Connecticut?

This is not specified in the Connecticut retainage statute for public projects.

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Connecticut Retainage Statute FAQs

Getting informed about prompt payment laws is important. An examination of Connecticut’s retainage laws, the rules and regulations related to the amount and timing of allowable retained payments, is important to know your rights and responsibilities as a party on a construction project. Connecticut’s specific laws can be found in: Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 42-158j-42-158r, § 49-41b(1), § 49-41b(2),§ 49-41b(3) and § 3-112a, and are reproduced below.

Retainage Statute on Private Projects

§ 42-158j: Required Contract Provisions RE Timely Payment of Contractors, Subcontractors and Suppliers. Payment Requisition Statement. Remedy for Untimely Payments. Penalties. Escrow Accounts. Withholding Payments Due Because of Disputes Prohibited. Progress Payments. Rights of Action.

(a) Each construction contract shall contain the following provisions: (1) A requirement that the owner pay any amounts due any contractor, subcontractor or supplier in a direct contractual relationship with the owner, whether for labor performed or materials furnished, not later than thirty days after the date any written request for payment has been made by such contractor, subcontractor or supplier; (2) a requirement that the contractor pay any amounts due any subcontractor or supplier, whether for labor performed or materials furnished, not later than thirty days after the date the contractor receives payment from the owner which encompasses labor performed or materials furnished by such subcontractor or supplier; and (3) a requirement that the contractor shall include in each of its subcontracts a provision requiring each subcontractor and supplier to pay any amounts due any of its subcontractors or suppliers, whether for labor performed or materials furnished, not later than thirty days after the date such subcontractor or supplier receives a payment from the contractor which encompasses labor performed or materials furnished by such subcontractor or supplier.

(b) Each payment requisition submitted in accordance with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section shall include a statement showing the status of all pending construction change orders, other pending change directives and approved changes to the original contract or subcontract. Such statement shall identify the pending construction change orders and other pending change directives, and shall include the date such change orders and directives were initiated, the costs associated with their performance and a description of any work completed. As used in this section, “pending construction change order” or “other pending change directive” means an authorized directive for extra work that has been issued to a contractor or a subcontractor.

(c) (1) If payment is not made by an owner in accordance with the requirements of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section or any applicable construction contract, such contractor, subcontractor or supplier shall set forth its claim against the owner through notice by registered or certified mail.

(2) If payment is not made by a contractor in accordance with the requirements of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section or any applicable construction contract, the subcontractor or supplier shall set forth its claim against the contractor through notice by registered or certified mail.

(3) If payment is not made by a subcontractor or supplier in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section, the subcontractor or supplier to whom money is owed shall set forth its claim against the subcontractor or supplier who has failed to comply with the provisions of said subdivision (3) through notice by registered or certified mail.

(4) Ten days after the receipt of any notice specified in subdivisions (1), (2) and (3) of this subsection, the owner, contractor, subcontractor or supplier, as the case may be, shall be liable for interest on the amount due and owing at the rate of one per cent per month. Such interest shall accrue beginning on the date any such notice is received. In addition, such owner, contractor, subcontractor or supplier, upon written demand from the party providing such notice, shall be required to place funds in the amount of the claim, plus such interest of one per cent per month, in an interest-bearing escrow account in a bank in this state, provided such owner, contractor, subcontractor or supplier may refuse to place the funds in escrow on the grounds that the party making such demand has not substantially performed the work or supplied the materials according to the terms of the construction contract. In the event that such owner, contractor, subcontractor or supplier refuses to place such funds in escrow and such owner, contractor, subcontractor or supplier is found to have unreasonably withheld payment due a party providing such notice, such owner, contractor, subcontractor or supplier shall be liable to the party making demand for payment of such funds and for reasonable attorneys’ fees plus interest on the amount due and owing at the rate of one per cent per month. In addition, any owner, contractor, subcontractor or supplier who is found to have withheld payments to a party providing such notice in bad faith shall be liable for ten per cent damages.

(d) No payment may be withheld from a subcontractor or supplier for work performed or materials furnished because of a dispute between a contractor and another contractor, subcontractor or supplier.

(e) This section shall not be construed to prohibit progress payments prior to final payment of the contract and is applicable to all subcontractors and suppliers for material or labor whether they have contracted directly with the contractor or with some other subcontractor on the work. Each owner that enters into a contract under this section and fails or neglects to make payment to a contractor for labor and materials supplied under a contract, as required pursuant to this section, shall, upon demand of any person who has not been paid by the contractor for such labor and materials supplied in the performance of the work under the contract, promptly pay the person for such labor or materials. Demand for payment shall be served on the owner and a copy of each demand shall be sent to the contractor by certified mail, return receipt requested to any address at which the owner and contractor conduct business. If the owner fails to make such payment, the person shall have a direct right of action against the owner in the superior court for the judicial district in which the project is located. The owner’s obligations for direct payments to the contractor, subcontractors or suppliers giving notice pursuant to this section shall be limited to the amount owed to the contractor by the owner for work performed under the contract at the date such notice is provided.

§ 42-158k: Retainage Limitation

No construction contract may provide for any retainage in an amount that exceeds five per cent of the estimated amount of a progress payment for the life of the construction project.

§ 42-158p: Retainage Escrow Accounts. Monthly Reports. Combining Accounts. Termination of Accounts. Fees and Expenses. Form and Provision of Account. Failure to Deposit or Release Retainage. Acceptance of Securities

An escrow account shall be established for all retainage, subject to the following:

(a) An escrow account shall be established in state or national banks domiciled in this state or in savings and loan associations domiciled in this state.

(b) The owner shall provide a monthly report to the contractor as to the value of the retainage being held in the escrow account and any additions to or payments from the escrow account. Upon request by a subcontractor, the contractor shall make such monthly report available for review by the subcontractor. Withdrawals from the escrow account shall be made only subject to approval of the owner.

(c) If the owner has entered into more than one construction contract with the same contractor requiring the maintenance of escrow accounts, the owner may elect to combine the amounts held as retainage under each contract into one or more escrow accounts or may establish a separate escrow account for each contract.

(d) The escrow account shall be terminated upon substantial or final completion of all work in accordance with the terms of the construction contract and full payment to the contractor.

(e) All fees and expenses related to maintaining the escrow account shall be paid by the owner.

(f) The form and provisions of the escrow account shall be included in all solicitations for construction services and shall be provided to the contractor and subcontractor prior to entering into a contract with the owner. Upon request by a subcontractor, the contractor shall make such form and provisions available for review by the subcontractor. Failure to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall not give rise to a defense to the enforcement of a contract.

(g) If an owner fails to deposit retainage that is withheld or to release retainage as required by public act 03-167*, the owner shall pay to the contractor an additional one and one-half per cent of the amount not deposited or released for each month or fraction of a month, until the retainage amount is paid in full.

(h) An owner may accept securities in lieu of retainage from a contractor and a contractor may accept securities in lieu of retainage from a subcontractor.

(i) For the purposes of this section, “owner” means “owner”, as defined in subdivision (1) of section 42-158i.

§ 42-158r: Enforcement of Retainage and Adjudication in this State

In an action to enforce the provisions of section 42-158k, 41-158m or 42-158p, a court may award court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.

Retainage Statute on Public Projects

§ 49-41a: Enforcement of Payment by General Contractor to Subcontractor and by Subcontractor to its Subcontractors

(a) When any public work is awarded by a contract for which a payment bond is required by section 49-41, the contract for the public work shall contain the following provisions: (1) A requirement that the general contractor, within thirty days after payment to the contractor by the state or a municipality, pay any amounts due any subcontractor, whether for labor performed or materials furnished, when the labor or materials have been included in a requisition submitted by the contractor and paid by the state or a municipality; (2) a requirement that the general contractor shall include in each of its subcontracts a provision requiring each subcontractor to pay any amounts due any of its subcontractors, whether for labor performed or materials furnished, within thirty days after such subcontractor receives a payment from the general contractor which encompasses labor or materials furnished by such subcontractor.

(b) Each payment requisition submitted in accordance with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, except for any such payment requisition submitted pursuant to a contract administered by or in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, shall include a statement showing the status of all pending construction change orders, other pending change directives and approved changes to the original contract or subcontract. Such statement shall identify the pending construction change orders and other pending change directives, and shall include the date such change orders and directives were initiated, the costs associated with their performance and a description of any work completed. As used in this section, “pending construction change order” or “other pending change directive” means an authorized directive for extra work that has been issued to a contractor or a subcontractor.

(c) If payment is not made by the general contractor or any of its subcontractors in accordance with such requirements, the subcontractor shall set forth his claim against the general contractor and the subcontractor of a subcontractor shall set forth its claim against the subcontractor through notice by registered or certified mail. Ten days after the receipt of that notice, the general contractor shall be liable to its subcontractor, and the subcontractor shall be liable to its subcontractor, for interest on the amount due and owing at the rate of one per cent per month. In addition, the general contractor, upon written demand of its subcontractor, or the subcontractor, upon written demand of its subcontractor, shall be required to place funds in the amount of the claim, plus interest of one per cent, in an interest-bearing escrow account in a bank in this state, provided the general contractor or subcontractor may refuse to place the funds in escrow on the grounds that the subcontractor has not substantially performed the work according to the terms of his or its employment. In the event that such general contractor or subcontractor refuses to place such funds in escrow, and the party making a claim against it under this section is found to have substantially performed its work in accordance with the terms of its employment in any arbitration or litigation to determine the validity of such claim, then such general contractor or subcontractor shall pay the attorney’s fees of such party.

(d) No payment may be withheld from a subcontractor for work performed because of a dispute between the general contractor and another contractor or subcontractor.

(e) This section shall not be construed to prohibit progress payments prior to final payment of the contract and is applicable to all subcontractors for material or labor whether they have contracted directly with the general contractor or with some other subcontractor on the work.

§ 49-41b: Release of Payments on Construction Projects

When any public work is awarded by a contract for which a payment bond is required by section 49-41 and such contract contains a provision requiring the general or prime contractor under such contract to furnish a performance bond in the full amount of the contract price, the following shall apply:

(1) In the case of a contract advertised by the Department of Construction Services or any other state agency, except as specified in subdivision (2) of this section, (A) the awarding authority shall not withhold more than ten per cent from any periodic or final payment which is otherwise properly due to the general or prime contractor under the terms of such contract, and (B) any such general or prime contractor shall not withhold from any subcontractor more than (i) ten per cent from any periodic or final payment which is otherwise due to the subcontractor, or (ii) the amount withheld by the awarding authority from such general or prime contractor under subparagraph (A) of this subdivision, whichever is less. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision (1), the awarding authority shall establish an early release program with respect to periodic payments by general or prime contractors to subcontractors.

(2) In the case of a contract advertised by the state Department of Transportation, (A) the department shall not withhold more than two and one-half per cent from any periodic or final payment which is otherwise properly due to the general or prime contractor under the terms of such contract, and (B) any such general or prime contractor shall not withhold more than two and one-half per cent from any periodic or final payment which is otherwise due to any subcontractor.

(3) If the awarding authority is a municipality, (A) it shall not withhold more than five per cent from any periodic or final payment which is otherwise properly due to the general or prime contractor under the terms of such contract, and (B) any such general or prime contractor shall not withhold more than five per cent from any periodic or final payment which is otherwise due to any subcontractor.

§ 3-112a: Substitution of Securities for Retainages on State Contracts and Subcontracts

(a) Under any contract made or awarded by the state, or by any public department or official thereof, or under any subcontract made directly thereunder with the contractor, the contractor and any subcontractor may, from time to time, withdraw the whole or any portion of the amount retained for payments to the contractor or subcontractors, as the case may be, pursuant to the terms of the contract or subcontracts, upon depositing with the Comptroller (1) United States Treasury bonds, United States Treasury notes, United States Treasury certificates of indebtedness or United States Treasury bills, or (2) bonds or notes of the state of Connecticut or (3) bonds of any political subdivision in the state of Connecticut. No amount shall be withdrawn in excess of the market value of the securities at the time of deposit or of the par value of such securities, whichever is lower.

(b)  The Comptroller shall, on a regular basis, collect all interest or income on the obligations so deposited and shall pay the same, when and as collected, to the contractor and the subcontractors who deposited the obligations. If the deposit is in the form of coupon bonds, the Comptroller shall deliver each coupon as it matures to the contractor and the subcontractors.

(c)   Any amount deducted by the state, or by any public department or official thereof, pursuant to the terms of the contract, and subcontracts made directly thereunder with the contractor, from the retainages due the contractor and said subcontractors, shall be deducted, first from that portion of the retainages for which no security has been substituted, then from the proceeds of any deposited security. In the latter case, the contractor and the subcontractors shall be entitled to receive interest, coupons or income only from those securities which remain after such amount has been deducted.

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