Delaware Retainage Guide and FAQs

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Delaware Retainage FAQs

Delaware Retainage Overview

Delaware Retainage Requirements


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  • Public Jobs
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Retainage No Limit Icon
No Retainage Limits

Not Regulated by State Law


Payment Period Not Regulated Icon
Pay Period

Not Regulated by State Law


NO
PROCESS
There's No Process to Recover

N/A


No Escrow Icon
Not Held In Escrow

In Delaware, contractors and owners do not need to hold retainage funds in a separate escrow account.

Retainage 5% Icon
5 Percent

Retainage cannot exceed 5% of the value of work completed by a contractor.


Payment Period Icon
Pay Period

Upon completion of the project, 60% of the withheld retainage may be released. The remaining amounts may be released after submittal (by contractor) of all required reports, all subcontractors are paid, and the public entity authorizing the release.


NO
PROCESS
There's No Process to Recover

Not Specified

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 Delaware retainage requirements. The Delaware retainage statutes are reproduced below on this page.

Delaware Retainage Frequently Asked Questions

Delaware Retainage Private Projects FAQs

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

Delaware does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified by state law.

How long can a party withhold retainage in Delaware?

Delaware does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified by state law.

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

Delaware does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified by state law.

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

Delaware does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified by state law.

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

Delaware does not provide a retainage statute for private projects, so this is not specified by state law.

Delaware Retainage Public Projects FAQs

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

Retainage limited to not more than 5% of the value of work completed by a contractor. In the event of a dispute between the original contractor and subcontractor, the public entity is allowed to retain 150% of the amount withheld by the original contractor in that dispute.

How long can a party withhold retainage in Delaware?

The balance of the amount retained will be held until: all reports required by the contract are received; all subcontractors in trades listed on the bid form are paid by the contractor, unless the amount owed to a sub is disputed, in which case the agency may withhold 150% of the amount withheld by the contractor in its dispute with the subcontractor; and final payment is authorized by the public agency.

After all elements are satisfied, the agency must pay the contractor within 60 days of completion or within 30 days of final approval or certification by the federal agency. Any retention held for longer than 60 days requires a specific written finding by the agency of the reason(s) for the delay. This notice should be sent to the contractor within 10 days of completion of the project of within 10 days of the required federal agency’s approval. After the 60 day period, only 150% of the necessary amount to pay expenses the agency reasonably expects to incur.

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Delaware Retainage Statute FAQs

Getting informed about prompt payment laws is important. An examination of Delaware’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. Delaware’s specific laws can be found in: Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 6516(3), 29, § 6962(c)(5), 29 § 6962(d)(5). and are reproduced below.

Retainage Statute on Private Projects

N/A

Delaware does not provide a retainage statute for private projects.

Retainage Statute on Public Projects

29 § 6516(3):

(3) The retainage, as allowed by § 6962(d)(5) of this title, shall be retained by the agency as a guarantee for complete performance of the contract, to be paid to the contractor within 60 days after completion or filing notice of completion of the contract or within 30 days of a required federal agency’s final approval or certification. Retention of payments by an agency longer than 60 days after final completion and acceptance requires a specific written finding by the agency of the reasons justifying the delay in payment. Such written finding shall be furnished by the agency within 10 days after completion or filing notice to the contractor or within 10 days of the required federal agency’s final approval or certification. No agency may retain any moneys after 60 days in an amount exceeding 150% of the necessary amount to pay the expenses the agency reasonably expects to incur in order to pay or discharge the expenses determined by the agency in the finding justifying the retention of moneys.

29 § 6962(c)(5):

a. Based upon the submission provided for in paragraphs (c)(3) and (4) of this section, the Office Review Committee, which shall include at least 2 Office employees, shall assign a contractor or subcontractor the following classification or classifications and limits for the purpose of determining the types of projects for which a contractor or subcontractor is entitled to bid:

1. A trade(s) or work classification(s); and

2. The maximum contract dollar value for which the contractor subcontractor may submit a bid.

To effectuate these requirements of the prequalification process, the Office shall develop rules and regulations for assigning classifications and maximum dollar limits.

b. The classification shall be made, or prequalification may be denied, and notice thereof shall be sent to the contractor or subcontractor within 5 days of the determination made pursuant to paragraph (c)(5)a. of this section by registered or certified mail or other legally valid methods. Notice of prequalification classification or denial shall also be sent to the contracting agency if said agency is not the Office.

29 § 6962(d)(5): Retainages and Substitution of Securities

a) Authority to withhold contract retainage.

1. Agencies may retain a portion of the payments to be made to a contractor for work performed pursuant to a public works contract. The percentage of the value of work performed which may be retained shall be established for each particular contract in the contract bidding documents and shall be incorporated into the contract. The percentage retained shall be 5% of the value of the work completed by the contractor under the contract. Upon completion of the work under the contract, the agency may release 60% of the amount then retained. The balance of the amount retained will be held until:

A. All reports required of the contract are received;

B. All subcontractors in trades listed on the bid form are paid by the contractor, unless the amount owed to the subcontractor is disputed, in which case the agency may withhold 150% of the amount withheld by the contractor in its dispute with the subcontractor; and

C. Final payment is authorized by the agency.

2. The agency may, at its option, retain, temporarily or permanently, a small amount and may cause the contractor to be paid, temporarily or permanently, from time to time, such portion of the amount retained as it deems equitable. The contractor shall be paid for all work that is due to the contractor under the contract except for the amount retained.

3. The agency may at the beginning of each public works contract establish a time schedule for the completion of the project. If the project is delayed beyond the completion date due to the contractor’s failure to meet his or her responsibilities, the agency may forfeit all or part of retainage at its discretion.

b) Procedures requirement.–Agencies shall establish standard procedures and regulations for the administration of contract retainages prior to entering into contracts which require retainages. All agency procedures shall provide for contract retainage and substitution of securities for retainage.

c) Substitution of Securities.

1. The contractor under a public works contract, with the approval of the agency, may deposit securities as authorized by this section in substitution for monies being withheld from the contractor as retainage. Securities allowable for substitution of retainage shall be: United States Treasury Bonds, United States Treasury Notes, United States Treasury Certificates of Indebtedness or United States Treasury Bills; bonds or notes of the State; bonds of any political subdivision of the State; or certificates of deposit from state or national banks located in this State; or any letter of credit or other security approved by the agency.

2. The contractor shall have the right to withdraw and take all or portions of the monies being retained from the contractor under the contract by depositing securities in substitution for such monies. The contractor may do so only in accordance with the agency’s standard procedures and mechanisms. Such substitution shall be approved by the agency only if the aggregate market value of the securities are at least as great as the contract retainages being withdrawn.

3. A contractor may substitute cash for and receive back all or part of the securities on deposit from the contractor. The cash must at least have the same value as the market value of the securities received back from the agency.

4. The contractor shall be entitled to receive, in all events, all interest and income earned on the securities deposited by the contractor in substitution for contract retainage. If the securities deposited are in the form of coupon bonds, the agency or the escrow agent designated by it and holding the deposited securities shall deliver each coupon to the contractor as it matures.

5. All securities shall be released, delivered and paid over to the contractor at such time as cash monies being retained from the contractor would have been released, delivered and paid over to the contractor under the public works contract if there had been no substitution for the cash monies.

6. All costs of depositing and maintaining securities as provided for in this section shall be borne by the contractor.

7. No agency shall have any duty to invest monies being retained by it from a contractor under a public works contract in any interest bearing account or to establish any procedures or mechanisms for any such investment.

8. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, any contracting agency may deny the contractor on any public works contract permission to substitute securities for monies being held as retainages. This action shall be taken only for good cause and when the agency deems it to be in the best interest of the contracting agency. Written notice shall be given to the contractor and a hearing shall be held by the agency showing cause for such denial if requested in writing by the contractor. Denial of such substitution shall be for a stated period of time, not to exceed a period of 3 years, and shall continue until the end of the stated time period, or until the contractor has successfully completed all outstanding public works contracts without forfeiting any part of the retainage held by the agency, whichever occurs first.

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